To reap the benefits of overseeding, you need to take care of the lawn to ensure the seeds germinate with minimal stress. Mowing is important in maintaining a healthy lawn but only when done at the right time.
Mowing immediately after overseeding can damage the seeds, hindering them from germinating. Instead, mowing should be done before or two to four weeks after overseeding.
When mowing, you can either bag or mulch depending on the weather, the size of the overseeded area, and whether the lawn grass has diseases, weeds, or pests.
Can you Mow over Grass Seeds?
A seeded lawn needs to be left alone and allow the grass to germinate without disturbance. Even when watering, it is better to use a sprinkler to avoid stepping on the seeds.
When mowing over a seeded lawn, you will likely damage the seeds when the mower passes over them. If the seeds have already sprouted, you risk breaking their young stem or uprooting them by the suction of the mower blade. Mowing over a seeded lawn will do more harm than good. Instead, you should mow and aerate the lawn prior to seeding.
Aeration is the loosening of soil by pricking small holes and removing sections of the soil to remedy soil compaction and enable nutrients, water, and oxygen to penetrate the soil. Aeration will also hinder the growth of weeds, especially those that thrive in compacted soil, such as clover, giving the young grass enough time to sprout and grow.
Mowing prior to seeding is also very important. You should mow as low as possible, especially if the overseeded patches are small. If you mow higher, the grass lawn will shade the sprouting grass from the sun, which is essential for germination, and if the grass is not shade tolerant, it might thin or die.
Also, the lawn grass will grow higher, and you will have to mow sooner before the young grass is strong for mowing. You might damage their stem or even uproot the grass with the suction of the mower blade. Mowing low will give you more time before having to cut again, allowing the young grass to germinate and root.
How Long After Overseeding can I Mow
Mowing after overseeding is important but should be undertaken carefully not to damage the sprouting grass. The young grass is fragile, and exerting too much pressure on them hinders their growth.
If you mow before overseeding, you will have some time before you need to mow again. If you had not, or you mowed higher, you will be required to mow, but you must wait for two to four weeks to allow the young grass to take root.
When mowing an overseeded lawn, it is important to adhere to the recommended cutting height of the grass. Some grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, take a long time to germinate, and you might need to give it more time before mowing.
During the first mow after overseeding, ensure to cut higher so not to disturb the root system of the young grass because it is establishing. Also, avoid mowing a wet lawn because you risk uprooting the grass and compacting the soil. Compacted soil will slow the grass growth as the roots will struggle to pick up nutrients, air, and water.
It is also advisable to use a lightweight mower with a sharp blade. A heavyweight mower will damage the grass and likely compact the soil. A sharp blade will ensure you cut faster without tearing the grass. Avoid turning the lawn mower on the overseeded grass. Instead, you should turn it on the driveway or areas where the turf has already established.
Should I Bag or Mulch after Overseeding?
After mowing, leaving the grass clippings on the lawn is not appealing. They will dry up, forming a brown cover over the grass. Even worse, they can smother the sprouting grass by depriving it of air and sunlight. Wet grass clippings will also bring diseases and pests.
To achieve a uniform lawn, you need to either bag or mulch the grass clippings after mowing. Bagging refers to collecting the cut grass so you can remove it from the lawn. You should attach a bag to your lawn mower to collect the grass clippings instead of raking and collecting later. The grass clippings can be used to make compost for your garden or flower beds or disposed of through the waste management system.
Mulching, on the other hand, is applying a layer of shredded grass and leaves on the soil surface. Mulching is done by a special blade on a lawn mower or a mulching mower which shreds the grass into tiny pieces and drops them on the lawn. The shredding is important because it enables the grass clippings to decompose faster than when left as a whole.
The mulch benefits the lawn by feeding nutrients to the soil after decomposition. It also prevents soil erosion and shields the soil from sun and cold during winter. The mulch also suppresses the growth of weeds.
Whether to bag or mulch after overseeding will depend on the following factors.
- Weather – During the cold season, it is better to bag because wet grass clippings can clump, smothering the young grass. The grass will also take a long time to decompose, causing pests and diseases. However, during the warm season, mulching is beneficial as the grass will decompose quickly to feed the lawn. The mulch will shield the young grass from the scorching sun and help conserve moisture.
- Diseased lawn -If the lawn is diseased, it is better to bag the grass clippings and dispose of them. If you mulch, you will be contaminating the soil. The same case applies to a lawn infested with pests.
- Weeds – Most weeds spread through seeds. If you mulch mature weeds, they will drop seeds, and sooner the lawn will be infested by weeds. The weeds will compete with the young grass for nutrients. Instead, you should bag and dispose of them.
- Size of the overseeded area – For small patches, it is better to bag because mulching will lead to clumping. For larger patches, you can mulch.
Mowing an overseeded lawn is important but should be done two to four weeks after overseeding. This will allow the grass to germinate and take root.
Mowing sooner will damage the seeds or break the young grass. After mowing, you can either bag or mulch. Mulching should be done during the warm season, while you should bag if the lawn has diseases, pests, or weeds.