Here’s the Best Time to Reseed Your Lawn

Amber Guetebier
Written by Amber Guetebier
Updated August 12, 2022
Two young women sitting at the front porch of a house
Photo: The Good Brigade / DigitalVision / Getty Images

You don’t have to settle for a patchy lawn

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An emerald green lawn is the envy of the neighborhood, but what if your grass is brown, dry, or mostly dead? If you’ve gotten to the point where your lawn has become an eyesore, it may be time to reseed your entire lawn. 

While this can be a time commitment, the results will last for years to come. 

What Time of Year Is Best for Reseeding a Lawn?

In general, the best time to reseed a new lawn is late summer to early fall. Reseeding during this time is ideal because:

  • The soil will be warm enough to support seed germination

  • Weeds won’t be growing as rampant, so your new seeds won’t have to compete

  • There will be enough time for the grass to grow before the first frost

Depending on your climate and growing season, it is also possible to reseed your lawn in early spring. Spring offers more moisture and warmer air than fall, which is great for both grass and weed germination. That means your lawn will have to compete with those weeds for nutrients—competition you can avoid by reseeding in late summer or early fall. 

When Should You Reseed Your Lawn?

Whether you have warm- or cool-season grass, try to reseed in the morning and whenever the ground is dry. Be sure not to reseed right before heavy rains; pooling or moving water will wipe away your soil (and your efforts) by disrupting germination. You can reseed after a storm, but you’ll have an easier time if you wait until the ground has dried. Avoid reseeding on windy days, too, as gusts could unevenly distribute the seeds.

Reseeding Tips

Reseeding a lawn is a multi-step process. Follow the reseeding tips below to make it easier and to ensure you get the job done right. 

  • Remove dead grass: Dead grass makes it harder for seeds to grow

  • Level compost: smooth out any bumps with your rake to ensure an even surface

  • Mix it up: Create and dampen your sand-and-seed mixture one day before sowing

  • Cover and water: Lightly water the compost; overwatering will wash away your seeds

  • Maintain moisture: Lightly water a couple of times per day until your seeds germinate

How to Reseed a Lawn

To successfully reseed your lawn, you will want these tools on hand:

  • Landscape rake

  • Thatch or turf rake

  • Seed spreader

  • Grass seed

  • Sprinkler or a hose

  • Sod roller

  • Tiller

Preparing for Reseeding 

  • You’ll first want to determine how much of your lawn needs reseeding and whether you can patch the lawn by simply overseeding instead. 

  • If you determine that most of your lawn needs to be completely reseeding—for example, due to soil fungus or other diseases—you’ll need to remove all the existing grass and start with fresh soil. 

  • You’ll also want to even out any depressions on your lawn. It is also important to make sure you reseed with the right kind of seeds for your growing conditions.

  • Choose the right grass for your region. Some grasses can’t thrive in areas that are too hot, too cool, or too dry. 

After Reseeding

After you finish reseeding your lawn, you still have a few tasks to follow to make sure it grows well. 

  • Water: Be sure to maintain a regular watering schedule. After initially watering two to three times per day, stick to your regular watering schedule once you see growth.

  • Fertilize: Be sure to find out which fertilizer for grass is best for your lawn. In most cases, you’ll likely want a fertilizer with a high nitrogen and potassium percentage with a bit of phosphorus. Quick-release fertilizers are the best choice.

  • Wait to mow: Don’t mow until you see considerable growth.

Reseeding Mistakes to Avoid

For the best results, avoid these common reseeding mistakes.

  • Planting the wrong type of seed for your region

  • Skipping a soil test

  • Planting an improper amount of seeds; overdoing it is the most common mistake.

  • Planting during the wrong season

  • Using fertilizer too soon after reseeding 

  • Overwatering

  • Mowing too soon 

  • Applying weed treatments with seed

How Much Does It Cost to Reseed a Lawn?

A guy reseeding the lawn using a reseeder
Photo: macniak / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

When it comes to dead and mostly brown or patchy lawn, reseeding is often the only way to restore your grass to its former glory. Reseeding a lawn costs an average of $0.10 to $0.20 per square foot to reseed a lawn, excluding labor costs. Labor costs can factor in significantly for reseeding and average between $250 to $350. This amount does not include the cost of removing the dead grass. 

Not sure what to do about your lawn? Find a local lawn care professional near you to get an experienced opinion.

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