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Overseed Trends and Tips for 2021

By Andy Keeton on September 2, 2021 in BlogNo Comments

Overseed Trends and Tips for 2021 graphic

We’ve faced many challenges this year and the overseed season is no exception. Supply chain challenges stemming from a combination of weather, less acres planted, lower yields and no carry-over have resulted in a shortage of perennial ryegrass, turf type tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and creeping red fescue.

But what does that mean for overseed? Limited seed supply means you should purchase your seed earlier than usual (the sooner the better) and use these tips to make the most of your seed.

Stretch Seed with Lower Seed Rates

Homeowners want healthy and full grass, and it can be easier to seed at the higher rates to deliver that result. However, you can make your seed go further by staying on the low side of typical seeding rates.

Seed rates for new lawns:

Type of Grass lbs per 1,000 sq ft
Perennial ryegrass, annual ryegrass, intermediate ryegrass 12-20
Tall Fescue 8-10

Seed rates for established lawns:

Type of Grass lbs per 1,000 sq ft
Perennial ryegrass, annual ryegrass, intermediate ryegrass 4-6
Tall Fescue 6-8
Kentucky Bluegrass 2-3
Fine Fescue 3-5

Using less seed doesn’t mean overseed applications are less successful. You can create an environment for your seed to promote the seed to take root with fertilizer.

Boost Results with Fertilizer and Soil Conditioner

Fertilizers are scientifically constructed to boost the nutrients to the seed to increase germination. By encouraging the grass to grow deep, healthy roots, there’s less chance of disease and brown spots. Improved growth means the turf is better positioned to survive harsh temperatures in the winter, resulting in fewer return trips to the site.

Fertilizer tip courtesy of Louis McPherson, Branch Manager of Ewing Phoenix:
“Cut your application time in half by combining the seed and fertilizer in the spreader and apply both at the same time. Because fertilizer options vary from region to region, call or visit your local Ewing branch for details about your specific zone.”

After seed has been spread, applying a top layer of soil conditioner, such as mulch, will improve the soil profile and maximize overseeding germination through water retention. Wet seed is the best seed. Soil conditioners also provides a layer protection from birds ensuring your seed stays on your turf.

While lower seed rates and fertilizer can help make the most of your seed inventory there is another option to keep your customers’ lawns looking green.

Apply a Turf Colorant

Given this year’s unique circumstances, applying a coat of turf colorant may be an option that allows your customers to have a green lawn without overseeding. Your clients will save on water bills and allow them to meet the requirements for green winter grass set up by local ordinances or HOAs.

This option provides a way to generate revenue with clients who may not be interested in overseeding this year.

Alternatively, if choosing to use lower seed rates, spraying with a green turf pigment allows for a healthy appearance and keeps lawns looking green all winter without the need for multiple visits to the site.

For those proceeding with overseeding remember these simple but important practices:

  • Cover seed with a mulch or topper to help maintain a moist environment and hide seed from the birds.
  • Keep the seed moist until germination, water frequently but do not allow seed to sit in standing water.
  • Fertilize with an appropriate starter fertilizer 7-10 days after germination.
  • Maintain proper mowing height, remember only cut off 1/3 of the height of the grass.

Lean on Us for Overseed

Overseed is important for many businesses as it generates a lot of revenue across the country for many contractors. While the seed inventory isn’t what we expected, there are ways to maintain your revenue. Use these tips and lean on your local Ewing team to still have a successful overseed season.

Overseed Trends and Tips for 2021 graphic
Andy Keeton
Andy Keeton is National Turf Products Manager for Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply.
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