How Does An Overseeder Work?

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An overseeder can drill a shallow furrow and distribute seed into the surface of the seed bed. 

It is capable of spreading grass seed in spaces that are difficult to access, or too wet to walk.

This machine is pushed over the lawn while spreaders are configured to deliver 25 to 50 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet. It comes with a blade that chops the soil to a uniform depth.

The overseeding machine spreads grass seed in wet or heavy soil. The hydraulic drive of a lawn overseeder can be a pull-type or a PTO-driven unit

Its plant wheel is powered by hydraulics to move the unit around the field. This plant wheel has a seed metering device that disburses seeds to the ground at the desired rate.  

Important Tips To Follow Before Overseeding

1. Investigate What is Causing Your Lawn To Deteriorate

Your old turf might begin to degrade or dry out as a result of various reasons. 

Overseeding with an ideal grass seed mixture can spruce up areas where the turf looks thin and unhealthy.

Before using an overseeder, the first step to take is to analyze the problems that caused your turf to degrade. 

Some correctable problems include:

  • General neglect.
  • Excess thatch
  • Grass varieties that are not ideal for the area.
  • Poor soil condition.
  • Soil compaction.
  • Improper drainage.
  • Insufficient sunlight.
  • Insufficient water.
  • Poor air circulation
  • Poor fertility

If you have issues identifying these problems, it is best to contact local lawn professionals to help correct the issue before you establish new grass.

2. Mow the Grass

The lowest setting is recommended when mowing.

3. Prepare/Dethatch Your Lawn

Ensure that you inspect the lawn for thatch. It is important to use a dethatcher to take debris from your lawn.

Remove thatch in large clumps to prevent lawn damage. You need to drag the rake across the lawn to loosen the topsoil and get rid of weeds from the clumps.

Water the lawn thoroughly, making sure the soil is damp. You can now put the seed directly into wet soil for remarkable results.

4. Aerate The Lawn

It is important to aerate the lawn if the soil is significantly compacted.

Aerating the lawn helps to loosen the soil so that air and water can get to the roots. It will also make your grass seed grow faster and better.

To aerate your lawn, you need to move a core aerator across the yard in straight lines. After that, ensure that you completely cover the yard.

You can also make a second pass parallel to the preceding one if necessary.

Using a core aerator will help pull up the plugs of the soil rather than punch holes in the ground. If you need to fertilize the lawn, you can do this before overseeding.

How To Use the Overseeder

Here are some tips to follow while using your lawn overseeder:

Fill the Overseeder

You need to fill the overseeder with the right grass seed to prepare it for the season. You can also adjust the speed of the overseeder to spread or drop the grass seed properly.

To use your overseeder, make sure that you do not turn without first closing the overseeder’s delivery trap while walking at a steady pace. 

This will stop seeds from falling in clusters  as you make a turn.

Make the Necessary Adjustments

Make sure that you adjust your overseeder appropriately. 

Ensure that you set it to the recommended drop rate as indicated by the manufacturer (this is usually indicated under the seed box lid) plus the slit depth.

To know the right depth of slits to set, it is essential to know the grass seed type that you are using. It is not advisable to go deeper than half the length of your grass seed husk.

Run the Machine Over the Yard

You may need to tow or walk behind the overseeder. In most cases, make two passes at half the application rate and each pass in a crisscross pattern/at right angles.

Use an Overseeder Basket

This feature is responsible for holding the seeds and enabling you to sort and store them. 

For instance, you can put your warm season grass seeds in the overseeder basket until the ground is ready.

Move these seeds to the right place in the yard without needing to bend down every time.

Tips To Follow After Overseeding

Here are some tips to follow after overseeding:

1.  Water the Lawn

Depending on the type of seeds and conditions, new grass seeds can emerge in 5 to 7 days after seeding if the soil and moisture temperatures are sufficient.

Proper watering is important while overseeding. Homeowners can follow this recommended watering program:

Immediately after overseeding: Ensure that you water heavily so that grass seeds can be washed into slits.

Until grass seeds germinate:  You can now water the grass seeds lightly on a daily basis, saturating the top inch of soil. This should be done in the first 10 to 14 days.

After germination: Water less regularly, but give the soil a chance to penetrate and soak up more water to enhance deeper root growth.

After grass becomes established: Depending on the grass type, ensure that you water the lawn at the recommended level.

2. Mow the Lawn

Mow your lawn after the grass is up to 2-1/2 – 3 inches tall. Ensure that you do not take off more than one inch of the grass blade with each pass.

When is the Right Time to Overseed?

The right time to overseed your lawn depends on the area where you live.

Northern Areas: Overseeding in the fall is recommended for those who stay in northern regions with cool-season grasses such as fescue, perennial ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass blends.

Overseeding during the fall enables the grass to receive cool temperatures, warm soil and constant moisture needed to grow and thrive.

This also means that fewer weeds will compete for sunlight and nutrients since the trees have begun to shed their trees.

Southern Areas: It is advisable to overseed in the spring if  you reside in the Southern region with warm-season grasses like Zoysia and centipede, Saint Augustine and Bermuda grasses.

Overseeding the lawn in spring gives warm-season grasses the time they need to germinate and grow before the summer temperatures begin to heat up.

Some homeowners who stay in this region can also fall overseed using cool-season grasses.

Warm-weather grass goes dormant in cooler temperatures while cool-weather grasses keep the lawn green during winter.

Is Overseeding Worth it?

Yes, it is worth it because it can help you maintain a luxuriant and healthy lawn. Overseeding can target sparse areas to enhance excellent growth of the lawn.

Overseeding newer turfgrass varieties into an old lawn will help it withstand shady conditions, insects, drought, heavy traffic and disease.

Furthermore, this technique also minimizes the amount of pesticides, fertilizer and water required. 

Overseeding enables the lawn to develop thicker blades and this will allow water and soil to stay in the grass.

Sparse lawns are prone to soil and water run-off. This technique will surely prevent such issues. 

It can also act as natural weed control to ensure a healthy-looking lawn. 

Using a lawn overseeder with an aerator increases the ground’s capacity to absorb nutrients and water.

In addition, you will see a reduction in bare spots and brown patches on your lawn if you overseed. 

Can I Use An Overseeder For A New Lawn?

Yes, you can use the machine on your new lawn when the soil is warm. This will allow your grass seeds to bloom.

You need to consider factors such as the variety of grass, soil type and type of lawn before using the machine for your new lawn.

How Much Does it Cost To Buy An Overseeder?

The cost of an overseeder ranges from $2500 to over $4500.

Overseeder vs Broadcast Spreader: Head-to-Head Comparison

Here is a well-detailed comparison of  an overseeder vs broadcast spreader:

Design

An overseeder comes with a blade that cuts the soil to a uniform depth. Its plant wheel has a seed metering device to help release seed at the desired rate to the ground. 

Some overseeders have flow lever controls and adjustable holes to distribute the right amount of seeds.

On the other hand, a broadcast spreader makes use of a rotating base plate to disperse granules or seeds that pour slowly from a hooper. 

This  hopper can be made of plastic, painted steel or stainless steel. 

It has a horizontal spinning disk that throws the dropped materials from the hopper out and away from the spreader. 

Some broadcast spreaders come with a side-shield feature that enables you to shut off half of the spreader which is helpful when you try to avoid hard surfaces and landscaping.

Performance

An overseeder drills a shallow furrow and distributes seed into the surface of the seedbed. With an overseeder, you can have better germination rates. 

Furthermore, the yard tool can make your lawn thick by adding more grasses to your sparse land.

On the other hand, a broadcast spreader uses a set of spinning blades to toss or broadly cast the contents of the trough to the front and sides of the spreader.  

Broadcast spreaders also inhibit germination and reduce overall seed viability. They can also spill more speeds than overseeders. 

Broadcast spreaders are simpler to use while overseeders are a bit complicated to use. 

Cost

The cost of an overseeder ranges from $2500 to over $4500 while that of a broadcast spreader is from around $17.40 to over $682.99.

Should I Overseed or Fertilize First?

You can fertilize the lawn before or after overseeding. Both techniques can work for your new grass seed. 

 Is An Overseeder the Same As a Slice Seeder?

No, the two lawn care tools are not the same. 

Here are the main differences between an overseeder and a slice seeder:

  • An overseeder uses more seeds because not all sprayed seeds fall on an optimal growth spot while a slice seeder ensures that all seeds are planted evenly which limits wastage.
  • An overseeder drills a shallow furrow and distributes seed into the surface of the seedbed while a slice seeder uses its blades to create furrows for precision seed dropping.
  • An overseeder requires the soil to be aerated to improve the chance of seed germination while a slice seeder enables the ground to be aerated while planting.
  • An overseeder comes with a seed spreader that sprays seed on your lawn while a slider seed is capable of hammering seeds into the ground for better seed and soil contact.
  • An overseeder drops seeds on your lawn as it is while a slice seeder can create a uniform lawn bed for planting.