Every year up to a quarter of the average lawn may die. By sowing new lawn seed into an
existing lawn, a technique used by professional groundsmen and known as overseeding, it
is possible to rejuvenate your lawn and reduce weed invasion.
Lawn renovation should be done in Spring or late Summer to early Autumn depending upon
the weather conditions. Here are some handy tips and tricks to help you revive your lawn!
1) Remove any debris from the surface of the lawn and when it is dry to mow it closely
2) Rake the lawn using a spring tine rake or a leaf rake to remove and breakup layers of
dead matted grass or thatch. This process is known as scarifying and can be made easier
with a powered scarifying machine if the thatch is thick or it is a large lawn. Scarifying
in Autumn has the additional benefit of stimulating the side shoots and runners of the
grass which tend to develop at this time of year
3) Spike ground with a hollow tine fork, a normal fork can be used, up to a depth of
15cm(6in) to de compact the soil.
4) Top dress the lawn with a good quality topsoil, making sure the dressing fills the holes
created when aerating. This allows water, air and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the
soil and will result in deeper rooting, dense grass growth. Minor hollows can be levelled
out using this method too, apply the topsoil so the grass tips are just visible, allow the
grass to grow back through and repeat the process until the hollow is filled in
5) It is a good idea to apply some lawn fertiliser when reviving your lawn, Johnsons Lawn
Thickener and Johnsons Quick Fix already have fertiliser either coated on the seed or
mixed with the seed making them ideal for this task. If you are using a different mix you
can apply fertiliser the same day as sowing grass seed or up to a few days later, poultry
manure is ideal. Scatter fertiliser evenly over the lawn surface using the recommended
rate on the pack and rake in to ensure even distribution, make sure you follow the
manufacturers instructions. Ideally the fertiliser can be watered in at the same time as
watering the lawn seed.
6) Using your chosen mix of lawn seed you should aim to apply it at the oversowing rate
detailed on the pack, this is usually 25g per sq. metre (¾ oz per sq. yard) to 35g per sq.
metre (1 ¼ oz per sq. yard). If you calculate the size of your lawn in square metres and
then multiply this by the sowing rate you will have a good estimate of the quantity of
7) You can apply the seed directly from the pack or you can mix the seed in a bucket with
some topsoil to make it easier to sow. It’s a good idea to have a trial run by measuring
out, for example, 4 sq. metres, weigh out the correct amount of seed for the area, this
would be 100g at a rate of 25g sq. metre, and then scatter evenly up and down, left to
right. You can use this method over the entire area. By doing this you will use the
correct amount of seed and achieve a more even distribution.
8) After you have sown the lawn seed gently rake the area and then lightly roll or tread in
to firm the seed in. This is a very important as it gives the seed good contact with the
soil and will really help it to germinate and establish. Keep off the newly overseeded
area if possible to allow tender young shoots to gain strength and help with
9) While it is good practice for the area to be moist when you sow do not water it until you
have firmed the seed in otherwise it will stick to your roller and shoes! If dry weather
follows overseeding, water copiously with a fine spray, preferably in the evening,
keeping the seedbed constantly moist.
10) When grass is 5-8cms (2-3in) high cut for the first time. Trim lightly and very gradually
lower blades to an ideal cutting height of between 50mm (2in) to 25mm (1in) for
mixtures containing ryegrass and 25mm (1in) to 13mm (½in) for non ryegrass mixtures.
Mow regularly but try not to remove more than a third of the growth at any one time.
What may happen is that the existing grass needs a cut before the new grass. To do this
raise the cut to a height that just cuts the old grass and leaves the new intact, you can
reduce the height of the cut over the subsequent weeks