To Over-Seed or Start Over with Your Ugly Lawn?

Category: Lawn Care

If you are frustrated about an ugly lawn and it’s towards the end of summer or early fall, there is good news. Fall is the ideal time to renovate your lawn. Fall provides some advantages over a spring seeding. In fall, you don’t need to worry about the timing of your seeding efforts in coordination with pre-emergent crabgrass control and broadleaf weed control. Another advantage is the temperatures are cooling off and won’t be reaching the blasting heat of summer for a half a year or more. This means less stress for your new grass plants.

A common question we get as a professional lawn care service in Lancaster, PA is, “Should I just kill-off my whole lawn and start over again?”

Not Too Bad:  When possible, you should try to avoid a complete renovation. There are two approaches to lawn renovation. The first, and less aggressive approach, is to over-seed with the method of slice-seeding. It’s better to improve on 60% or more density than to go back to zero. Treating in late summer or early fall for crabgrass and weeds allows you to get the lawn cleaned-up to a degree, then come in with slice-seeding a few weeks later (consult the label on your herbicides for timing). Existing grass plants help to deter wash-outs when that thunderstorm passes by. Slice-seeding is a great way to renovate a lawn because the new grass plants grow right up through the existing lawn. Aerating at this time is also recommended to loosen compacted soil for new and existing grass roots to grow better.

core aeratorPretty Bad:  If your lawn has thick areas of crabgrass, or undesired turfgrass varieties in some areas, these may need to be additionally sprayed with non-selective herbicide to allow for less competition of new seedlings, and to improve the appearance. Spraying these areas with a non-selective herbicide allows for partial renovation to improve the lawn. Remember, avoid completely starting from scratch when you can. If these areas only represent a small percentage of areas in your lawn, don’t go overboard.

Completely Horrible:  If your lawn is at least 60%-70% crabgrass and weeds, you may want to consider a complete renovation. Likewise, if you have a mix-match of different turfgrass varieties that aren’t blending too nicely in a majority of your lawn, you may also want to consider a complete renovation. If your grade has a bunch of fluctuations or you have areas where water pools when it rains, you may also want to consider an aggressive approach that includes some re-grading. Sometimes this is the best solution. Complete renovations can involve spraying the entire lawn with non-selective herbicides a few times, and then either using slice-seeders or even bringing in a Bobcat to scrape off dead sod, add soil, and start with a new lawn entirely. You’ll just need to figure out if seeding versus sodding is the right choice for you.

In order to tell what measures are best for your lawn, the best approach is to find a professional lawn care service with experienced, certified individuals. These pros can walk you through all the considerations of each method. Find a company that can perform a wide array of options so they sincerely direct you to what is best for your lawn, not just what they are limited to doing. Some lawn care companies aren’t even capable of an aggressive approach, and unfortunately will only direct you to the services they offer. Find a full-service lawn and landscape company that can perform whatever method is best. Also be sure to get the best out of your investment when seeding. You spent the money on this project, so make sure you get the most bang for your seeding bucks.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help transform your ugly lawn, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Schedule a Free Consultation with Tomlinson Bomberger

Schedule Your Consultation