Top reasons why reseeding fails
#4- Seeding too heavy- Most people put down grass seed way too heavy. More is better, right? Not with seeding. When seeding too heavily, you get lots of small grass plants too close together without enough space for their roots to grow. As a result, most of the plants die, and you are left with very thin grass. Study the label on your grass seed bag for instructions on how to properly apply the grass seed. The picture above shows the correct density of seed when reseeding.
#3- Lack of sunlight- Many times, people are reseeding because their lawns are thin in the shady areas. As trees grow taller and thicker, the Kentucky Bluegrass under these trees starts to die as it won’t grow in dark conditions. If you don’t improve the sunlight, the new grass won’t survive. Trimming or removing trees may be necessary to grow grass. Take a step back and assess whether trying to plant grass is the best option for your space. Would a mulch bed with shady-loving plants be better for this area?
#2- Poor Soil Preparation- Seeding is all about preparation. Simply broadcasting seed over your lawn is worthless. Grass seed needs to be touching bare, loose dirt to grow. There are two different options for preparing your soil for seed. The first option is to use a hard-tined rake to rake the top inch of soil. The second option is to add a thin layer of dirt. We like to do both; rake the top inch of soil and add a thin layer of dirt. Doing both options will give the roots of your new grass the best chance to grow.
#1- Not watering enough- For grass seed to grow, it needs to stay moist for 21 days in a row. That usually means watering at least twice a day. If you have an underground sprinkler system, we recommend setting your sprinkler system to come on four times a day for 4-6 minutes per zone. You want the seeded area to stay moist, but you don’t want water to puddle. At 10 days, ryegrass and fescue will start to germinate, but don’t stop watering! If you stop watering at 10 days, the Kentucky Bluegrass won’t grow, and it is the most desirable variety of grass. It doesn’t start to germinate until 21 days.
Grass seed needs three things to germinate: It needs to be touching bare loose dirt, it needs sunlight and water. If all 3 of these elements are present, you will win at seeding. But if you are missing any one of these, your seeding will fail.