Last Updated on March 7, 2023 by Mattias
Overseeding is a good practice ensuring a healthy, thick, and lush lawn all year. Bermuda grass usually has dense growth on its own, but overseeding occasionally will surely show some potent benefits. However, you can’t just overseed at any time, with any species, under any conditions because there is a certain method to be followed.
Much like every other lawn maintenance practice, there also exists the best time to overseed bermuda grass. Keep reading this article to learn what it is.
Best Time To Overseed Bermuda Grass
Speaking of warm-season grasses, their peak optimum growth takes place in warm temperatures, so spring would be the best time to overseed the bermudagrass lawns with these species. The soil temperature is particularly ideal during late September and early October, but make sure that daytime temperatures are not over 70 degrees and nighttime temperatures are not above 50 degrees. This time is recommended because overseeding in cooler months, such as November, will cause the seed germination process to falter and establish an uneven lawn.
The best time to overseed Bermuda grass also differs based on the type of grass you choose. For instance, the best time to overseed bermuda with warm season grass such as zoysia would be in late spring and early summer, while the best time to overseed it with any cool season grass would be in late fall. Simply put, you need to see when the germination rates will be higher.
Now that you know the best time to overseed Bermuda grass, let’s discuss some other common queries.
Why Should You Overseed Bermuda Grass
The best time to overseed Bermuda grass will also be determined by the reason why you want to do it in the first place. Usually, there are two main reasons why lawn owners decide to go ahead with this. Some people overseed the bermuda grass so they won’t have to tolerate the unsightly brown patches in their lawn during winter months, while others do this to thicken their lawn.
If your lawn looks awfully thin and patchy, then overseeding it is a good idea. The newer grass will grow, fill up the bare spots on your lawn, and make the landscape look dense and lush green.
Overseeding the lawn in hopes of a dense turf will also stop weeds such as crabgrass from taking over. Overseeding will show the best results in establishing a thick lawn; once that’s done, it will remain healthy for a long time.
If you want to overseed bermuda with another cool-season grass to avoid brown patches, then the best time would be right before the winter season. Bermuda’s growth will be slowed down but not completely stopped, which means other grass varieties, such as ryegrass, will be able to take over and fill the lawn easily. Overseeding with another cool-season grass is beneficial because it will make your lawn remain green all year long, even as bermuda goes into dormancy.
If your lawn is established in a shaded region, then you must know that bermuda is bound to grow scarcely. You can overseed it with a shade-loving grass variety that will make up for Bermuda’s intolerance.
Remember to choose wisely because the best combination should make your lawn look dense, thick, and healthy.
How Do You Overseed A Bermuda Grass Lawn
- Stop using pre-emergent herbicides at least 3 months before overseeding to prevent the weed killer from killing the new seedlings.
- Test the soil temperature and make sure it’s below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mow the lawn closer to the ground (at least 1 inch)
- Rake the lawn to remove any compacted soil, ensuring better contact.
- Use 6-8 pounds of seeds for a 1000 square feet area.
- Sow the seeds into the soil surface and generously water them afterward.
- Use nitrogen fertilizer on the ground for faster and denser growth.
- Once the new seeds reach a height of 2-2.5 inches, you can start mowing again.
When To Mow A Bermuda Lawn After Overseeding
One of the most common questions that lawn owners ask is when they can mow a lawn after overseeding. How long is safe enough? How will we know? Are there any indications? Let’s find out.
The standard waiting period should be a month, but in some cases, the germination process is quicker, and the grass has a faster growth rate. Depending on the amount of fertilizer you apply, your new seedlings can reach their mowing height about a week or two earlier.
Once you have mowed the grass for the first time post-overseeding, you can fall into a regular schedule. We recommend waiting 3-4 days between mowing sessions.
When To Use A Fertilizer On Bermuda Lawn After Overseeding
This is a crucial matter that requires delicate attention. As you know, fertilizers contain a number of chemicals and even though it is recommended to use them after sowing the seeds, they may not always be helpful.
You should completely avoid fertilizing the lawn for a period of at least 3 weeks after sowing the new seeds. There is no way for you to apply fertilizer on the new seedlings without getting some on the pre-existing Bermuda grass as well.
Bermuda grass’s aggressive growth will speed up even more, and the grass will grow taller beyond your control. It will then shade the new grass and hinder its ability to absorb adequate oxygen and sunlight. Their root development will be severely affected, and they won’t grow in desired time.
If you wish to avoid this scenario, wait until the new seedlings have fully established their roots in the ground. As mentioned above, this will happen under a time frame of 3-4 weeks. Wait the recommended time before fertilizing your overseeded bermuda grass lawn and the best results will occur.
What Grass To Overseed With?
Choosing the right type of grass variety to mix with your bermuda grass is also important.
If you’re overseeding just for the sake of avoiding brown patches during winter, then you’ll need grass that can die before the warm season returns.
Similarly, if you’re overseeding to make up for bare patches in shady regions, then you’ll need a grass variety that actually tolerates shade.
Here are some of the most popular and well-liked grass types to pair your bermuda with.
Now that you have decided to overseed, you must have a solid reason in mind. Bermuda grass is known for its pleasing green color, thick growth, and dense turf but in some cases, the grass starts to thin out due to various factors. One such reason is the lack of full sun. Your bermudagrass turf cannot tolerate shade at all and it needs direct sunlight to grow properly. When this need isn’t fulfilled, the grass thins out almost immediately. One way to rectify that situation is by overseeding it with another grass variety.
If you wish to rectify the scarce and patchy appearance of your home lawn then zoysia is the perfect match for you. This grass is particularly the best option for you if certain parts of your lawn are in partial shade. Zoysia is also a warm-season grass but unlike bermuda, it is much more shade-tolerant. Grass seeds can be planted where bermuda has left bare spots and soon, they will grow and fill the area.
Other than being resistant to partially shaded regions, zoysia is also drought-tolerant and wear-resistant. It will bounce back quickly in events of damage and if you use zoysia, your lawn will be more likely to withstand drought conditions, weeds, and even insects.
Zoysia and bermuda grass will make a perfect combination together and they are guaranteed to form a densely established turf on your property.
Considering that zoysia is a warm-season grass, you’ll need to overseed it in spring so that the high soil temperature can encourage the germination process of zoysia’s seeds and the grass can grow quickly.
Annual and perennial ryegrass
If you’re overseeding your lawn in hopes of avoiding the unsightly dormant bermuda grass then ryegrass is most certainly the best option but when it comes to choosing this grass as your Bermuda’s companion. You have two options; annual ryegrass and perennial ryegrass. Let’s discuss both
Annual ryegrass is not only a cheap and fast option but a highly suitable one too. Since you want this grass to act as a replacement for bermuda in winter and go back in warmer months, this will be the right pick. Your bermuda will start returning to its normal state once the cold temperature passes but even as it returns, it will be in the recovery stage from environmental stress. During this time your grass tends to be weak and any other species can easily take over. Annual ryegrass is highly recommended because unlike fescue or other cool-season grasses, it will start dying out by mid-summer. This will prevent the added competition for your bermuda and they will have all their strength to recover properly.
Perennial ryegrass seeds on the other hand are relatively more expensive than the former. This grass has an aesthetically pleasing appearance and a fine lead blade that is much more desirable than annual ryegrass. It is also more heat resistant than its sister species.
It also wins over the annual ryegrass by promising a year-long green lawn. By remaining lush and healthy even in winter, perennial ryegrass can cover your lawn as long as the bermuda grass stays dormant. When early spring arrives and ryegrass’s temporary job is done, you can cut them back to avoid competition or use a selective herbicide to eliminate them properly.
We believe cheap annual ryegrass will act as a much better alternative to Bermuda grass than its sister species. You only want this cool-season grass for a short time so there is no point going through all the trouble and maintenance requirements of perennial ryegrass when your dominant grass choice is bermuda.
Lastly, fescue is another cool-season grass that can be paired with your bermuda for your winter lawn. Tall fescue is known for its drought tolerance and shade tolerance which means that much like ryegrass and zoysia, it can also help you fill up your lawn.
Fescue can survive in various climatic conditions except for intense heat, which means you can pair this grass with bermuda for dual purposes. It will keep your lawn lush and green all year long and once bermuda goes into a state of dormancy, fescue will keep your lawn green and dense in its absence. Bermuda grass will perform the same feature when fescue itself goes into dormancy. These grasses will go hand in hand and take turns in keeping your lawn vibrant.
However, fescue comes with a handful of warnings. This grass is not recommended over ryegrass because of its growth pattern. Unlike bermuda which naturally grows laterally wide, this grass grows vertically. This distinction of growth would be quite challenging and cause many problems while mowing.
Best Time To Overseed Bermuda Grass Summary
In this article, we discussed the best time to overseed bermuda grass. As we comprehensively explained above, the best time would be determined by the type of grass you have chosen. Warm-season grasses and cool-season grasses have different peak growing seasons and you need to overseed your desired grass while keeping its weather requirements in mind. It can be concluded that the best time to overseed bermudagrass is whenever the seed in question can germinate effectively.
We also discussed other queries such as why should you overseed bermuda grass in the first place, how do you do it in the first place, and most importantly how you maintain a lawn that’s just been overseeded. We hope this article helped you understand all these questions.
A healthy and beautiful lawn is a source of pride and a sight for the eye. If you want your friends to enjoy similar ecstasy then make sure to share this article with them.
Meet Mattias Jonsson, the head of content at RainSaucers. Passionate about gardening and water-related topics, he’s dedicated to providing expert information and resources to help improve your home, health, and wallet. Learn from his research and experience.