Do you ever look at your neighbor’s lawn and wonder how they got it looking so green? No matter how many times you water and weed your own lawn, it just can't seem to fill in the way you want. How do people keep their grass looking so lush and alive, even in the middle of the blazing Texas heat? It could be that they spend thousands of dollars every year on professional landscapers. Then again, maybe they just know the secret behind every healthy yard: lawn reseeding.
What Is Lawn Reseeding?
As your lawn matures, it’s reasonable to start to see thinning. Older lawns are often more insect and disease prone and require more water and maintenance. One way to combat this natural progression is through reseeding. Reseeding - also referred to as overseeding - is scattering grass seed over your existing lawn. This allows new grass to grow alongside the greenery that exists, making it appear fuller and alive. It’ll help fill in any bare spots, crowd out weeds, and improve the lawn’s overall heat and drought tolerance. Reseeding is also faster, cheaper, and less labor-intensive than pulling up your old grass and laying down new sod, and the results are often just as impressive.
When Should You Reseed Your Lawn in Texas?
When it comes to reseeding your lawn, timing is everything. In warmer climates like Texas, late spring is the perfect time to reseed, just in time for warm-season grasses to enter their active growth period. Aim for reseeding when the temperatures hover between 70° and 80° F. You better be quick, though, since that perfect temperature range is fairly short-lived in this state.
How Do You Reseed Your Lawn?
Now that you know what reseeding is and when you should do it, let’s take a look at how it’s done.
Step One: Prepare Your Lawn and Fix Any Existing Issues
First and foremost, if you see any significant problems with your lawn like dead patches, you’ll want to take care of those before reseeding. If the area has ongoing issues due to pests or pH imbalances, planting new seeds won’t solve the problem. You’ll end up with dead grass.
Test your soil and take the necessary steps to remedy issues before moving on to the next phase: preparation.
To prepare your soil and lawn, you’ll mow it short and remove the clippings. The new seeds should be able to fall into the soil and receive water and sun. Remove any twigs, leaves, and other debris with a rake. If possible, aerate the lawn to alleviate soil compaction and to allow maximum seed-to-soil contact.
Step Two: Choose the Correct Seed
Next up is choosing the right grass seed. You’ll want to use a type of grass that is best suited for your climate. By utilizing grasses that grow well or are native to your area, you will save yourself the time and headache of trying to develop a lawn with the wrong kind of seed. Since Texas is home to several different climates, we’ve broken up grass recommendations by region.
- Central Texas: Drought and heat tolerance are needed here. Many find that buffalo and St. Augustine varieties deliver.
- West Texas: The arid desert climate presents a challenge for most grasses. With high heat, saline water, alkaline soil, and blazing sunlight, most turf grasses don’t stand a chance. That's why Bermuda grass and buffalo grass are smart choices for people in West Texas. These grasses can thrive in the heat and deal with the lack of water in this region.
- East Texas: In the piney woods of East Texas, grasses that have adapted to moist areas and have some degree of shade tolerance work best. Carpet grass and centipede grass both do well.
- Panhandle: Buffalograss and tall fescue remain green year-round in this region.
- South Texas and the Gulf Coast: St. Augustine grass does well in the South Texas summer heat and humidity.
Overall, to survive in Texas, grasses need to be drought-proof, heat and cold resistant, and traffic tolerant. You’ll also want to consider your yard and choose a seed that fits in terms of soil type, sun, shade, and foot traffic that your lawn receives.
Step Three: Spread Seed Across Your Yard
Now is the fun part— scattering the seeds! Check the seed package to determine the reseeding rate. Be careful not to mix up the seeding and reseeding rates. Drop and broadcast spreaders can cover large areas quickly while handheld spreaders work fine for small lawns. Spreaders ensure that your garden is covered evenly; scattering by hand isn’t recommended unless the area is minimal. After the dispersion, water the area to wash the seeds off the top of the grass and into the ground.
If it’s windy outside, put a pause on the reseeding and wait for conditions to die down. Wind can blow the seeds away, creating uneven distribution leading to more patchy grass.
Step Four: Fertilize and Water
Fertilizing your lawn after spreading the seed will give the fresh grass seeds all of the nutrients that it needs to grow. Phosphorus and nitrogen are two elements to be on the lookout for in your fertilizer mixtures. Be careful to avoid any fertilizers that also contain herbicides— these may prevent the seeds from germinating.
Your germinating grass seeds also need water. For the first four days, lightly water twice a day. After that, water more heavily every other day for five days. This will allow the plant to develop a thriving and healthy root system. Keep an eye on your lawn and water it regularly to prevent wilting.
New grass will begin to emerge five to seven days after planting but expect it to take six to eight weeks for the reseeded lawn to reach its peak growth.
Step Five: Maintain
If a lush lawn were only as easy as the first four steps! To keep your yard healthy year-round, it’ll require some maintenance. Don’t worry, you won’t have to spend every Saturday meticulously trimming each blade, but it will require consistent watering, proper mowing, and preventative care.
Follow these helpful tips to get your lawn in shape for all of those spring and summertime barbeques and outdoor fun. This is the year to make the neighborhood jealous of your crisp green grass and leave them wondering just how you did it!