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.  

How to check your mowing height

There is one free and easy change that you can make to improve the health of your lawn.  Are you ready to do it?

For a great lawn, you must mow your grass at the proper height. For the summer months, your grass should be mowed at 3.5 inches.  Grass that is mowed below 3 inches lacks good color, has more weeds, and needs more water.

Here is how to check that you are mowing at the proper height:  After you mow your lawn, take a credit card and hold it sideways in the grass.  Your grass blades should be cut at the height of the card or slightly higher.  If you are cutting below the height of your card, (like in this picture), you need to raise the mowing height of your lawn mower.  Don’t trust the markings on your mower for height as they are rarely correct. Click here for more information on the benefits of a higher mowing height.

Tire Tracks in Turf

-This is a part of the article entitled “Mowing in the heat” by Dr. Kevin Frank.

“Last year I witnessed several incidents of tire tracks on turfgrass simply from mowing during the hottest part of the day. Typically tip burn happens when mowing occurs on heat or drought stressed turf. When the turf is close to wilting and you apply any sort of impact, especially from hot black tires on mowers, you will likely get tip burn. The plant hasn’t been killed and will recover rather quickly.”

It appears that you have some tip burn in your lawn. The causes for this problem are anything that will put pressure on dry, stressed turf: footsteps, lawn mower tires, automobile tires, or our fertilizing equipment. This only happens to dry, brittle turf in sunny areas. The same principal applies as in the article; the turf looks bad but will recover. Adequate watering will speed up the turf’s recovery.



Pet Spots – No Problem

Green Grass Treates ImageWe love our pets, but not the damage they do to our lawns.  Brown spots left in the lawn from pet urine is common.   Many believe it is the ammonia in their urine that is killing the lawn, but it is in fact the salt.

The best option to prevent this problem is a product called Green Grass. It’s a tasty dog snack that neutralizes the salt in their urine leaving you without brown spots in your lawn. Check your local pet store for these treats.

Seeding Your Lawn

Successful lawn establishment means doing the right thing at the right time.  New seed fails because of timing, poor quality seed, improper seed selection, poor soil conditions, improper site preparation, or improper water and fertilizing.

Timing is Everything

The best time of the year to seed is from August 15 to September 15.  The warm days and cool night are ideal for seed germination.  Spring is the second best time to seed, but could result in crabgrass and excessive weeds.

Seed Selection

Most retailers offer grass seed that is clearly marked as “sunny” or “shady” mixes.  Shady mixes have mostly fescue and rye grass which are better for low light areas.  For a sunny mix, look for one with at least 70% Kentucky Bluegrass.

Site Preparation


In order to grow grass from seed, the grass seed needs to be touching bare, loose dirt.  Most seeding fails because the seed is not in contact with the soil.  This may require raking with a firm rake and/or spreading some fresh topsoil.


If using straw, spread one to two bales of straw per 1000 square feet.  Spread it so that 1/3 to 1/2 of the soil is visible.  If seeding in the fall, the straw should be left on over the winter.  If you do not use straw or mulch, rake in the seed lightly: the teeth of your rake should just lightly touch the soil.  Too much pressure will cover the seeds too deep.  Cover the seed so that 10 percent of them are still visible.



SprinklerSprinkle frequently enough to keep the soil moist, but also avoid puddling.  This will require watering several times a day for the first couple of weeks.


Mow as soon as the grass blades exceed 3 inches in height.  Keep traffic off the new lawn until the new turf has filled in enough that you cannot see the soil.  Expect some weeds to come up along with your new grass.

Fertilizer and Weed Control

Let us know about any seeding in your lawn and we will make the necessary adjustments to your program for optimal growth.

Dealing with Brown Patches


Areas affected by Brown Patch are initially roughly circular and vary in size from one to five feet. It is a foliar disease that does not affect crowns or roots.

During early morning hours, fine strands of grayish, cobwebby fungal growth (mycelium) may be evident at the margin of actively developing patches. The band (often called a smoke ring) is caused by advancing mycelium and water-soaked infected grass blades. This “smoke ring” disappears quickly as the dew dries.


Tall fescue and perennial ryegrass are the lawn grasses most susceptible to Brown Patch. Fine fescues and zoysia are all moderately susceptible to the disease. Occasionally, Kentucky bluegrass lawns can be affected by Brown Patch, although this grass is less susceptible than others. Seedlings of all grasses are more susceptible to infection than established plantings.


Brown Patch is most destructive when the weather is humid and temperatures are stressful to the grass. Thus, in cool-season grasses such as tall fescue and perennial ryegrass, the disease is most severe under high temperatures (highs above 85 F, lows above 60 F).


→ Don’t overwater or water in late afternoon.

→ Aerate to reduce excessive thatch.

→ Don’t mow grass when it is wet.

→ Keep mower blades sharp, dull mower blades also can enhance disease se-verity.

Watering Guidelines

If you want to keep your lawn healthy and green, then watering is important. Warm temperatures will rapidly dry out the soil of a lawn.

Here are a few watering tips you may find helpful:

– Use water or sprinkle 1 inch of water per week, and even more when it is hot.

– If you have an irrigation system, set it to run in the early morning and make sure it is finished by 8:00am.

– If you don’t have an irrigation system, water anytime. Try to avoid watering when evaporation will occur due to of wind or sunshine. Watering during these times won’t harm your lawn, but is just less efficient.

– If you are unable to water, mow your lawn as high as possible and only when it needs it. Keeping your grass longer will help prevent the lawn from drying out.

– Try to begin watering your lawn before it turns brown and becomes dormant.

– If you mow your lawn shorter than 3 inches, then your lawn can dry out quickly. Mowing too short causes increased stress to your turf and encourages diseases, weeds, and crab- grass. Your lawn should be mowed between 3 and 3.5 inches. During the summer months, move toward the higher mowing heights, as this will help your lawn retain more moisture.

Every lawn is different. There are many factors to consider when deciding how much to water: How hot is it? Is the lawn shady or sunny? Is the soil type clay or sand? Is the humidity high or low?

With trial and error, we’re confident you can determine when and how much to water your lawn.