Winter overseed & leaves

seven333November 11, 2008

I plan on overseeding my lawn over the winter with a KBG blend. I live on a wooded lot and have leaves everywhere. Can I just mulch mow the leaves prior to overseeding in a month or 2 or should I rake all the leaves up? My fear is seeding on top of mulched leaves and not having the seed contact the soil. Thanks!

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bpgreen(5UT)

I don't know the answer for sure, but I hope that your plan will work, because I'm doing much the same thing. I'm mulch mowing my leaves and will be putting some seed down soon.

I think that since the leaves are mulched, they're in small enough pieces. Also, the snow melt should carry the seeds further down, so they should get decent soil contact. I think the shredded leaves will be enough like soil that the seeds will sprout if they're in contact with the leaves, also.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 12:07PM
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skizot(5b)

I would say it depends on how finely you get the leaves mulched. It's true that the snow melt will help carry the seeds further down, but you could end up with "dead spots" where a piece of leaf gets matted down to the soil first. The snow melt can't carry the seed through the leaf, so it would end up around the leaf. I know that mulching leaves is definitely good for the soil, but if it were me, I would hold off this time around. I would remove as many of the leaves as possible and then throw the seed down.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 12:36PM
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jencub1(5)

I saw the garden man on "Ask This Old House" talk about winterizing lawns and overall lawn health for people facing snowy winters. He indicated (and I guess this makes sense, but I'm the farthest thing from an expert) that one should not only rake the leaves as much as possible to avoid the dead mush that would await you in spring otherwise, but also (before the first serious frost ) one should optimally do a really rough, rough rake through to actually pull up dead grass. This aeration, he said, is really good for the spring growth. I would assume, since aeration is necessary for growing anything, this is also true of lawn seed - raking not only the leaves, but if possible a really rough rake through to pull up dead stuff and aerate.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 3:37PM
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seven333

Any more opinions on this? We've had rain or snow over the last 3 weekends and I haven't had a chance to rake or blow the leaves...now I'm afraid it may be too tough to blow them with all the precipitation. Mulch mowing is looking more attractive every day...thanks.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 6:39PM
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jimtnc(7b Raleigh tttf)

I've done it every year and have mulch-mowed about 75% of all the leaves that have fallen so far, and will continue until the grindings start piling on top instead of meshing with the grass. With regular rain/snow fall throughout the winter period, I wouldn't hesitate to spread some seed, and probably will myself.

The seed should/will eventually work itself on down with contined winter moisture, so the true test will be when spring comes to your neighborhood and you start seeing new seedlings popping up. If you think about it, those seeds do pretty good without our help just about every where else, so why not.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 8:01AM
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pt747

Good question from OP.

I too would like to winter overseed and have some questions.
I have a fairly well kept lawn and neighbors always compliment it. But, I have an area of my front yard
that is thin. There is grass and it does grow, but just not like the rest of the yard. Its an area approx. 30x30 and the overall front yard is 180x100. This area also tends to get a fair amount of crabgrass in late summer as well. Ive thought about having a load of screened top soil delivered in spring which I can spread out and seed. Does winter overseeding really have much benefits? Opinions? Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 8:42PM
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