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Overseeded Lawn Not Growing: Causes & How to Fix Them

Hobbyist gardeners are often tempted to do the difficult work of overseeding only to find that their lawn doesn’t seem to be growing, or it’s growing in clumps.

Their overseeded lawn is not growing!

Is there something they did wrong? Why is your overseeded lawn not growing?

The most common reason that your garden or lawn has no growth is that soil is too compact and the seed has no chance to get air, light, and water.

Your current grass is most likely dying a slow death or a quick one depending on how old it is and your soil type.

Some people would believe that overseeding means removing all of the old grass first, but this isn’t necessarily true.

In my experience, I’ve found that multiple different methods work for overseeding like cutting the turf with a weed whacker, mowing over the grass as if you were cutting it as usual, and allowing some of the blades to fall to the ground, and then watering.

These three methods work pretty well, however, I’ve found that the method where you cut it down to its base level and then water is the most successful.

One of the most common types of grass for overseeding is Kentucky bluegrass or bentgrass. Some gardeners are fortunate enough to have these types of grass even without overseeding!

After reading this blog post you will understand the most common reason why your overseeded lawn is not growing and how to fix it!

How long the grass takes to grow after overseeding

Caring for your lawn also means making time for overseeding.

Gardens that have clumpy grass or bare patches are an eyesore.

When I say bare patches, I mean, places where the grass died, are now small barren patches of dirt.

It is ok if you aren’t able to do it monthly but you should at least overseed once per year

How long does it take for grass to grow after overseeding?

Depending on the weather conditions, grass can take 3-8 weeks to fully cover.

It is important to note that the time it takes for grass to grow after overseeding can vary greatly depending on multiple factors.  

Drought, weed competition, and proper fertilization are all factors that can affect this time.

Gardens that experience drought will not grow as fast since the grass needs water to grow properly.

Weed competition is something that will cause your grass to grow slowly since it needs all of the nutrients in the soil to grow.

If you add fertilizer it will add nutrients, but add too much and your grass will be burnt from over-fertilization.

Why is the overseeded lawn not growing?

Bare patches in your yard are one of the worst things.

It can bring down the value of your home according to Chris Peterson’s book, “The Complete Guide to a Better Lawn.” 

My guess is that you have a garden and not a farm, especially if your yard is 100% lawn.

Your yard may have seen the worst in winter when the snow melted to reveal brown patches.

Or it might even be that your overseeded lawn is not growing at all.

There are several reasons for this to happen and here are the likely causes:

1. Your grass needs water

2. Your lawn is compacted and needs aeration

3. Your grass seed has been buried too deep

Ensuring that your lawn is watered properly will help it to grow.

Water can also help with the compacted soil if you have a lot of heavy foot traffic.

Additionally, breaking up the soil and allowing water to penetrate will allow your grass to grow evenly.

For grass that is not growing, it may be that your seed was placed too deep. Usually, it is 1/4 of an inch to 3/8 of an inch under the soil, about the depth of a dime.

If this is the case, you can manually plant your seed and water it to ensure success and growth!

How to fix overseeded grass

Routine lawn maintenance can include overseeding, which introduces new grass seed into your existing turfgrass.  

According to a new study, overseeding improves coverage in thin areas of lawns, slows weed invasion, and prolongs the lawn’s life. 

I’ve heard of some people who overseed their lawn but they maintain it as if they never did.

However, as an overseeder, you need to know how to fix overseeded grass so that your lawn is healthy for years to come.

If the new seed fails to germinate or doesn’t establish, it can result in bald spots in your lawn.

Overseeding is a good way to maintain your lawn, but only if the new seed takes root and grows!

The primary reason for overseeding is to thicken the turfgrass canopy by adding more grass plants.

That’s why overseeding is typically done in early fall when the soil is still fairly warm, giving the new seedlings a head start.

The exception to that rule is when you are overseeding after reseeding bare patches or repairing damaged turfgrass. In those cases, you want to throw the seed as soon as possible because the ground will be drier and warmer in the spring.

The germination rate for overseeding is typically lower than the seeding rate—as much as 2%.

Once you determine which seeds sprouted and then died, correct the problem and overseed again as needed by:

  • raking to remove leaves and debris
  • water the seeds every morning until they germinate

Do not walk on grass seed

Kicking off the beginning of a new lawn is one of the most satisfying parts of landscaping.

There’s nothing quite like seeing that seed you’ve paid so much money for sprout and grow into a beautiful lawn.

However, while you’re waiting for that seed to grow into a lush green carpet, it’s important to make sure you don’t do anything that might harm the young grass.

Filling in those bare spots on your lawn is a big job.

When planting grass seed you should avoid walking on the seed as much as possible, at least 4 weeks after planting.

If you accidentally step on the seed, you’re going to need to re-seed as it may end up being killed or damaged.