How to Select Grass Seed for Overseeding

Fall is the best time to overseed your lawn—whether for winter greenery or for repair and replacement of patchy damaged areas. Not all grass seed is created equal, though, and not all lawns need to or can be overseeded. Here’s how to choose the right grass for your lawn.

Overseeding for Winter Color

Overseeding for winter color is primarily done in areas where the main turfgrass is a warm-season grass. Bermudagrass, centipede grass, and Zoysiagrass are all warm-season grasses that can be overseeded. St. Augustine grass is not usually overseeded because its coarse texture doesn’t lend itself to finer textured cool-weather grasses.

Homeowners in Texas, North Carolina, northern Florida, South Carolina and Georgia can overseed their warm-weather grasses with annual ryegrass, creeping bentgrasses, fine fescues, and Kentucky bluegrass. Annual ryegrass grows the fastest and gives instant color. Kentucky bluegrass holds up well to freezing temperatures, but takes a while to get started. A mixture of ryegrass and bluegrass will give you instant color and long-lasting green into the spring. Both types of grasses will naturally die out in the heat of the late spring and early summer to let warm season grasses shine.

This type of overseeding is primarily done in southern, warmer regions.

Overseeding for Repair and Lawn Thickness

This type of lawn seeding is primarily done in areas where the primary lawngrass is cool-season grass. Lawns seeded with perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and fescue mixes can be overseeded in the fall for repair and thickening.

The type of grass you select for overseeding should blend well with the grass that’s already in your yard. Texture is the primary consideration for selecting a grass for overseeding. Most cool-season grasses are fairly fine in texture, but try to identify what you have in your yard before selecting a grass to use for overseeding.

In addition to texture, when selecting a grass, consider how overseeding can help the overall health of your lawn. Certain grasses are more shade-tolerant, while others are drought-tolerant. Some grasses do well in wetter areas. Here are some grass seed types to consider for certain conditions.

Droughty areas: Buffalograss and tall fescue are good for droughty areas.

Wet areas: Reed canarygrass is best for wet areas.

Shady areas: Plant fine-leafed fescues such as chewings fescue, creeping red fescue and hard fescue.

High-traffic areas: The most tolerant cool-season grasses for high-traffic areas are Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and tall fescues.

Select the right grass type for your lawn needs and you will be rewarded with thick, lush turf, year-round. 

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