What To Do If You Put Down Too Much Grass Seed

The pristine lawn you’ve always envisioned is only a few weeks away. You’ve done all the proper steps in preparing the area for grass seed, even going as far as getting the soil tested. Now, your last step is planting and meticulously caring for the tiny blades. 

But, after all that work, you’re worried you might have run into a problem. In your haste to get the grass planted, you overseeded the lawn. Now what? Is this a bad thing? Will it affect the result of your tedious labor? What are you supposed to do?

If these questions sound familiar, you’re in the right place. We’re here to help you navigate these queries and steer you in the right direction, so continue reading to learn more!

Can You Overseed Your Lawn?

Yes, you can overseed your lawn. However, it isn’t all bad. In some scenarios, homeowners use this technique to fill in bare spots or thicken an existing lawn. If your lawn looks patchy and thin, you might need to use the overseeding method to correct the issue. 

That said, you might be starting from scratch. So, overseeding over an existing lawn doesn’t apply to your situation. The answer to the question in this scenario is yes; you can overseed your soon-to-be lawn. 

What Happens If I Put Down Too Much Grass Seed?

Using too much grass seed can be problematic for a few reasons, but primarily because the new seedlings have to compete for nutrients and water. On top of that, it’s wasteful – if the grass seeds don’t prosper due to competition for vital nutrients, you end up wasting excessive grass seed. 

The seedlings that do survive will struggle to develop a strong root structure due to the concentration of seeds in one spot. They won’t have enough nutrients, leading to poor grass quality. The blades of grass might be thinner, which makes them less likely to hold up well underneath traffic and other environmental conditions. 

The grasses will be much weaker in blistering temperatures and might die due to the conditions. 

Aside from the poor quality and condition of these seedlings, you’ll also probably deal with a reduced germination rate. In order for the grass to flourish, the seeds need contact with the soil. In areas where the grass seed is layered thickly, most of the seeds won’t have contact with the ground. 

The problem here is that the bottom layer of germinating seeds will struggle to grow. Why? The top layers of seeds covering those attempting to germinate will block the other seeds, which slows down the germination process. 

So, while overseeding a little bit isn’t a big deal (and can even be a good thing), thick layers of grass seed are problematic. 

What Should I Do If I Overseeded My Lawn?

Planting Grass Seed

Now, it’s not the end of the world if you overseed your lawn. Worst case scenario, you might end up with patchy areas on your lawn. Areas with excessive amounts of grass seed probably won’t do very well, as the seeds will be competing for air, water, and nutrients. 

Those areas might not flourish, so when all is said and done, there might be bare areas in those spots. At that point, you can reseed those areas with the appropriate amount of grass seed. While it isn’t ideal, it’s better than trying to carefully pluck grass seed from an overseeded area.

In that scenario, you might take away too many grass seeds, leaving too few behind. Then, you’re back to square one: patchy spots of grass, which would’ve been the same result if you left the extra seeds there. 

How Do I Know How Much Grass Seed To Use?

Accurately estimating the right amount of seeds to plant is a challenge in itself. Grass seeds are extraordinarily light and may float away in the breeze or be washed away by heavy rains or excessive watering. Or, some seeds might not germinate and grow for whatever reason. 

These factors complicate the process of guesstimating the correct amount of seed to use on your lawn. Even professional landscapers run into issues with seeding every now and again. 

However, although determining the correct amount to use is an art, there are a few ways to help ensure thick, lush growth. 

Use A Spreader

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Consider using a broadcast spreader if you have a tough time evenly sprinkling the grass seed over your soon-to-be lawn. These handy devices use spinning blades to spread the seeds to the sides and front of the spreader. 

Not only do they help you spread the seed in a more even layer, but they also speed up the process. They cover a larger surface area with each pass, saving you time in the long run. A broadcast spreader might be your best bet if you have a massive lawn.

They come as push spreaders or tow behind and are super easy to use. You might be able to find these available for rent at local home improvement stores, but they’re not super expensive. You can buy one for around $40 to $50 from almost any home improvement store. If you’re set against buying one, ask a neighbor or a family member if they have one you can borrow.   

Read The Label

Most of us are guilty of skipping the instructions altogether, saying, “Phfff, who needs instructions?” Well, in some cases, we need instructions. It’s like when you try to piece together some complicated piece of furniture from Ikea without the instructions, only to find out the pieces are upside down or installed backward.

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While this example is out there and not related to planting grass, you get the point: instructions are actually helpful from time to time. The label on your grass seed should contain information and instructions for seeding, including how much seed you should use.

They’ll usually give specific amounts of seed to use for certain areas, which will provide you with an idea of how much you need to use for your lawn. 

On top of that, the label contains helpful information, such as the seed type, the quality, percent purity, etc. For example, if the label says “variety not stated,” you have a lower-quality seed. These valuable bits of information will help you determine everything you need to know about your new grass seed. 

Calculate The Area Of Your Lawn

Generally, the label on the bag will tell you how much seed you need to use for specific square footage. So, you need to determine how large your lawn is in square feet. If you have a rectangular yard, this part is easy. Multiply the length by the width to find the square footage.

If you have a circular lawn, measure it at the widest part of the circle. Once you find the width across, divide the number by two for the radius. Then, once you determine the radius, multiply it by pi (3.14) to get the area of the circle. 

Once you have your area in square feet, consult the label on the bag to determine how much grass seed you need for your lawn.