The Best Grass Seed for Overseeding of 2022
Overseeding creates a dense, lush stand of grass—and an overall healthier lawn.
By Glenda Taylor | Updated Jan 4, 2022 11:06 AM
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The best grass seed for overseeding a lawn will depend on the existing type of grass, the prevailing climate, and the soil type. After a few years, even the best-kept lawns can start to look sparse and worn out due to drought, under-watering, overwatering, or even growing a grass variety that’s not well suited to the region.
Overseeding a lawn with a superior variety of grass seed at least once every three years will keep the yard looking its best while helping it resist drought and disease. Ahead, learn what to look for when selecting a seed type, and find out why the following varieties were chosen as the best grass seed blends for overseeding lawns in different regions.
- BEST OVERALL:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed All-Purpose Mix
- RUNNER-UP:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix
- MOST DROUGHT-TOLERANT:Jonathan Green 10316 Black Beauty Grass Seed
- BEST FOR SHADE:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Dense Shade Mix
- BEST FOR BLUEGRASS LAWNS:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Kentucky Bluegrass Mix
- BEST FOR CLAY SOIL:Jonathan Green 10323 Black Beauty Ultra Mixture
- BEST FOR WARM CLIMATES:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Southern Gold Mix
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Grass Seed for Overseeding
For the best results, choose a grass seed type that will grow well in your yard. The amount of sunlight the lawn receives, the general climate, and the kind of grass desired are all up for consideration. Additionally, the size of the yard and the seed’s coverage rate will play a role in how much seed you’ll need to overseed the lawn.
Types of Grass Seed
Not all types of grass seed grow well in all areas—some varieties are better suited to cold climates, while others thrive only in subtropical environments. When choosing grass seed for overseeding, select a type based on what grows best in your area. The best grass seed is one that will thrive in the specific region where it’s planted.
For example, grass seed that grows well in the Pacific Northwest may not grow in southern climates. In general, more cool-season grasses are grown from seed than are warm-season grasses. Several warm-season grasses, such as St. Augustine, are propagated by plugs rather than seeds, so overseeding is more common in regions with cool winters.
- Fescue: Among the fastest-growing grasses, fescue features several types with various textures. It’s prized for its drought resistance, will withstand moderate traffic, and grows in both sunny and shady spots.
- Kentucky bluegrass: Dense and durable, Kentucky bluegrass is a self-spreading, disease-resistant turf option that will tolerate cold temperatures. It’s not as drought resistant as fescue but provides a lush lawn that tolerates high traffic. The best Kentucky bluegrass seed often comes with a coating that absorbs moisture to help keep the seeds damp until they germinate.
- Perennial ryegrass: Useful for overseeding moderately cool- or warm-season grasses, perennial ryegrass requires a lot of water and doesn’t grow well in frigid climates.
- Buffalograss: Prized for its low maintenance, buffalograss thrives in the Midwest and Great Plains. It’s slow to green up in the spring and goes dormant early in the fall, however.
- Bermuda: Strictly a warm-weather grass, Bermuda produces a lush lawn in sunny yards and is drought tolerant. It doesn’t like cold weather and it doesn’t tolerate deep shade.
Climate and Sun Exposure
Researchers and seed manufacturers are busy hybridizing grass seed types to thrive in specific climates, such as the warm Southeast or the rainy West Coast, and to grow in harsh sun or dense shade. Most grass seed varieties grow well with full to partial sun, but new and improved versions will tolerate shade as well.
Buyers can often find specialized seeds within the same seed family. For instance, several options are available just within the fescue grass seed type. These include hard fescue that grows in colder climates and high elevations, creeping fescue that will grow even in deep shade, and fastest-growing grasses that withstands heavy traffic but doesn’t like hot weather.
The amount of seed necessary for overseeding a lawn depends on the type, whether the seed is coated or bare, and the overall condition of the existing lawn. The best rule of thumb is to follow the manufacturer’s coverage recommendations that appear on the bag of seeds.
The coverage area for coated grass seeds is not as high as uncoated seeds because coated seeds are larger, so fewer seeds are present per pound. Spread rate varies by grass type as well, and this will appear on the package. K31 fescue, for example, has a spread rate of 5 to 10 pounds per 1,000 feet, with 10 pounds being the average for establishing new lawns and 5 pounds as the average for overseeding. For the best results, follow the spread rate suggested by the manufacturer.
Keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful requires diligence and proper attention. Achieving a maintenance-free lawn isn’t possible, but you can reduce the amount of mowing, fertilizing, dethatching, and watering by choosing to overseed with a grass variety that grows well in the specific region. Generally, a low-growing grass variety, such as buffalograss, requires fewer mowings than a tall-growing variety, such as fescue.
If watering the lawn is a particularly tedious task, a drought-tolerant variety, such as Bermuda grass, is among the best options for a low-maintenance yard in warm, sunny climates. What is considered low maintenance in one region may be high maintenance in another, so consider choosing a variety that’s well suited or native to the area.
Our Top Picks
Before choosing a grass seed for overseeding, consider the type of existing grass in the lawn. If it’s growing well, overseeding with the same type is recommended. If the lawn is struggling to survive, sparse, and full of weeds or patchy, consider overseeding with a better variety to correct the existing problems. The following seeds are meant for different regions and lawns, but each is a standout in its category.
How to control weeds in a newly seeded lawn
When your new grass starts to grow, it can be quite alarming when weeds start to grow with it. Sometimes, despite the most thorough seedbed preparation, weeds can lay dormant in soil until the conditions are made perfect for them to make an appearance – such as a reseed.
However, you can get rid of these weeds just as fast as they have appeared.
The important thing to remember when new weeds appear in your newly sown lawn is not to act hastily – do not apply a Feed, Weed and Moss Killer type product of any kind on a newly sown lawn.
Although this can be frustrating and we can appreciate that a quick solution will be desired, the good news about these types of weeds is that they are largely shallow rooting and should come out with the first mow at the 6-8 week mark after sowing. If they don’t, they should be easy to pull out of the turf.
If you find that the weeds are recurring past the 6-8-week mark, you may wish to consider using a selective herbicide to spot spray your weeds. Some weed killers such as glyphosate (Roundup) kill more than just weeds, so it is important to not apply these as if they are not done precisely, they can kill your grass. Shop bought selective weed killers will recommend when to apply their product and how often and you should read the instructions thoroughly and adhere to them.
In short, here’s what you should do if you encounter weeds in your newly seeded lawn:
- Don’t panic – don’t use a Feed, Weed and Moss Killer product on a new lawn
- These weeds will be shallow rooting, you can pull them out by hand or wait until the 6-8 week mark to mow them out
- If the weeds are persistent and reoccurring, use a selective herbicide to spot treat them
If you find that when the lawn is at least six months old and has been taken over by weeds or moss, you can use a Feed, Weed and Moss Killer product.