How to overseed a lawn

Will grass seed grow if you just throw it on the ground?

Yes, if it rains but dressing it, watering it and fertilizing it will improve yield.

Can you put down too much grass seed?

Yes, but it's more important to consider how much money you're willing to spend.

Do I need to remove dead grass before seeding?

It will help yes.

Can you just sprinkle grass seed on a lawn?

Yes, but if you have a thick lawn, it may die soon after germinating or lie dormant

How long does grass seed last?

Stored under cool, dry conditions grass seed should last about 1 year. After this time has elapsed, your seed may still be viable but produce less yield.

In this article, we’ll be discussing how to overseed or reseed your lawn to keep it looking green and vibrant all season long. As a resident of Ontario, you’ll need to know about the best grass seed for your area and the ideal time to plant it. Let’s explore how to achieve your perfect lawn this year!

What is overseeding?

Overseeding is the process of adding grass seed over an existing lawn. This is done to improve the overall health and appearance of the lawn, fill in bare patches, prevent disease, and increase the density of the grass.

How important is overseeding?

Overseeding is an essential part of lawn maintenance, especially in areas with high traffic, shade, or where higher turf quality is desired. By introducing new seed into your lawn, you can ensure that it remains healthy and green, while also preventing weeds from taking over.

grass seed

When to plant grass seed in Ontario:

The best time to plant grass seed in Ontario is in the late summer or early fall, typically between late August and mid-September. This is because the soil is still warm from the summer sun, and there is usually plenty of rain to allow the grass seed to germinate. With the exception of ryegrass, cool season grasses take a while to establish, and summer drought can easily kill new seedlings if planted in the spring.

Spring overseeding

If you can’t wait until next year for a better lawn, you can overseed in the spring. The best type of seed for spring overseeding is perennial ryegrass. Ensure that you properly water your lawn in the summer if you plan to seed this spring.

Best grass seed for Ontario:

The best grass seed for Ontario will depend on a variety of factors, such as the type of soil in your area, the amount of sunlight your lawn receives, and the specific climate conditions. A diverse mix for home lawns is always best. To find the best mix for your lawn, you will have to venture out of the department stores and find a local professional seed supplier or garden center.

Characteristics Kentucky Bluegrass Perennial Ryegrass Fine Fescues Turf Type Tall Fescues
Fertility Requirements High High Low Medium to High
Drought Resistance Low Low to Medium Medium-High High
Shade Tolerance Low Low High Medium to High
Traffic Tolerance Low to Medium Medium to High Low High
Turf Density Medium-High Medium-High High Low-Medium
Shade of Green Dark Blue-Green Dark Green Light Green Medium to Dark Green
Disease Resistance (Dollar Spot) Low Moderate High High
Disease Resistance (Brown Patch) Moderate Moderate High Low
Disease Resistance (Leaf Spot) Low Moderate High High
Chinch Resistance Low High Moderate High
Germination Time (days) 14-30 5-10 7-14 7-14
Minimum Germination Temperature (°F) 50-60 50-65 45-55 50-60
Pounds to Overseed (per 1000 sq. ft) 2-3 4-6 5-7 7-10
Lifespan 10-15+ years 2-5 years 5-7 years 5-7 years

How to overseed your lawn

There are two primary methods for overseeding your lawn:

a) Aerate and overseed – This involves using a machine to pull up cores from your soil to help the new grass seed take root. You can then spread the seed evenly over the lawn. This method is the most economical way to overseed a lawn.

b) Topdress and overseed – This method involves adding a thin layer of topsoil or peat moss to the top of the lawn, followed by spreading the grass seed evenly over the top. Vice versa works equally well. This method will provide the best results.

Try a lawn overseeder

A lawn overseeder is a machine designed to improve the overseeding process. It typically uses a series of rotating discs to plant the grass seed evenly across the lawn, while also creating small slits in the soil to help the seed take root and provide protection. Some machines are better than others, the Ryan Mataway is the best in its class.

Should I overseed every spring?

While overseeding can help keep your lawn healthy, it is not necessary to do it every spring. As a general rule, it is best to overseed once every few years, or as needed to fill in bare patches and thicken up the lawn.

Shady lawns may need to be overseeded every spring. This is because tree canopies can thin out your lawn every year as a result of shade. While trimming your tree is the best way to manage shade, spring overseeding can improve the appearance of your lawn temporarily.

How to water grass seed:

When you first overseed your lawn, it is important to water the seed regularly to help it germinate. This typically involves watering lightly several times a day, for 10-15 minutes each time, until the new grass is established. After that, you can reduce watering to once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions.  See our proper lawn watering tips for more.


Week 1:

  • Water frequently to keep the soil evenly moist, but not soaking wet.
  • Water for short durations (10-15 minutes) 2-3 times a day. Try to avoid runoff and pooling.

Week 2-3:

  • Reduce the frequency of watering to once every day, or as needed to maintain even moisture in the soil.
  • Increase the duration of watering to 15-20 minutes per session.

Week 4-5:

  • Water every 2-3 days, or as needed to keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Increase the duration of watering to 20-30 minutes per session.

Week 6-8:

  • Water deeply once a week or as needed to keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Increase the duration of watering to 30-45 minutes per session.

How is commercial grass seed made?

Commercial grass seed is typically produced by growing and harvesting large fields of grass, then processing the seed to remove any debris and unwanted plant matter. The seed is then cleaned, tested for quality, and packaged for sale to consumers. Herbicides are integral to this process to ensure your lawn seed is not contaminated with weeds.

How long does it take to grow a lawn from seed?

The length of time it takes to grow a lawn from seed will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of grass seed used, the climate conditions, and how well the lawn is cared for. In general, it can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks for the grass to start growing, and several months for it to become fully established.


Overseeding is an important part of lawn maintenance and can help improve the health and appearance of your lawn. To overseed your lawn, you can use a variety of methods, such as aeration or topdressing, and be sure to choose the best grass seed for your specific area. It is important to water the seed for the best results.

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