How to Overseed Lawn Without Aerating? – (6 Simple Steps)

Overseeding refers to the activity of planting Grass seeds without removing the existing grass. 

It’s one of the most common activities carried out on lawns.  Its main purpose is to make your lawn grow thick, lush and also choke out weeds. Overseeding ensures that all bare patches caused by pests are completely renovated.

On the other hand, aerating soil helps bring water and air closer thus eradicating any unwanted gases therein, such as carbon (IV) oxide especially in clay soil. In a nut shell, its main purpose is to loosen soil thus improving air, water and other nutrients’ circulation. This fastens growth rates by helping roots grow deeper thus better access to soil nutrients.

Many of us think that when overseeding our lawns, aeration is unavoidable. As they say ‘there are more many ways to skin a cat.’ As you therefore expect from this, there also exists ways of overseeding your lawn without aerating. In this read, you’ll learn how to do that. 

How to Overseed Lawn Without Aerating?


  • Lawn mower
  • Power rake
  • Metal rake
  • Seeds spreader
  • Grass seeds
  • Dethatcher
  • Sand
  • Broom
  • 10-10-10 starter fertilizer
  • Lawn sprinkler

Being a DIY enthusiast, this process has been pretty easy over the years. It has also helped me save a great deal. I no longer need the services of a professional to help me overseed my lawn. You can be like me, simply follow this process and within not time you will have overseeded your lawn without aerating it.

Step 1: Mow the lawn

To overseed lawn without aerating, you start by mowing the lawn to a height lower than 2 inches, preferably 1-1/2 inches. You simply achieve this by adjusting your lawn mower appropriately. For optimal results, use a grass catcher to put in the clippings. This is important for this exercise, even though you normally haven’t been using one.

Mow the lawn to overseed

Also, ensure there is no mulch on the lawn during and after this exercise. The mulch might prevent proper contact between the seeds and the soil thus inhibiting germination. 

Why mow?

  • It inhibits the germination of weeds and the existing grass in the lawn thus reducing competition for nutrients. This gives the new grass seeds an ample time to establish themselves.
  • It allows sunlight, which is a necessary condition for germination of seeds, to reach the soil thus providing the required warmth for germination.
  • It prevents wastage of grass seeds. The collection of clippings reduces the probability of seeds lodging in tall grass thus improving the growth percentage. 

Note: The mowing height may depend on the lawn grass you have. For dense and tall grasses, you may need to even mow lower then advised above. However, always be keen not to scalp the lawn.

Step 2: Rake the lawn

This helps to remove debris, sticks, rocks, stems, rhizomes on the lawn surface, and thick layers of thatches. Germination can be poor with some dead grass on top of the ground, this makes it very important to rake in place of aerating before overseeding.

Rake the lawn

Power raking providing a good seed germination environment by enhancing contact between the grass seeds and the soil. It also helps loosen the soil thus improving water infiltration to keep the seeds moist as required for optimal germination.

Secret sauce: A thin layer of thatch may be helpful. However, if it exceeds three-quarters of an inch, you better rake it off. 

To allow your grass enough time to recover, ensure you power rake early in the season.

Step 3: Seeding

Use a seed spreader to seed the lawn. The amount of seeds you use will depend on how depleted your lawn is. If it’s too thin, you use more seeds and vice versa. If you want your lawn to be thick as soon as possible, spread much more seeds. However, in all you do, ensure you are following the manufacturer’s recommendation for overseeding. Seeding rates varies with the type of grass seeds being used. 

Seeding the lawn with seed spreader

  • Seed at the recommended seed rate. This helps reduce competition for nutrients during germination.
  • Ensure there is contact between the soil and the seeds. This reduces the chances of the seeds being eaten by birds or being blown away by wind thus optimal germination.
  • Broadcast seeds in opposite directions. This helps you achieve best coverage.

Broadcast seeds in opposite directions

  • For small lawns, use your hands to spread the seeds. Mix them with a little sand to increase contact chances before doing the spreading.
  • Avoid topdressing the lawn with top soil after overseeding. Extra sand or soil could bury the seeds deep into the soil thus poor germination.  

Secret sauce: While overseeding, use the same grass seeds that were in your lawn. Mixing seed varieties may cause incompatibility issues.

Step 4: Rake the overseeded area

After seeding and ensuring there is a good contact between the seed and the soil, rake gently over the soil to help them settle in. This helps them from being scattered or washed away once you start watering the lawn. Additionally, this step hides them deep into the soil thus reducing their chances of being eaten by birds.

Rake the overseeded area

Do this raking moderately to prevent the crowding of the grass seeds in one location. Try to rake towards all directions and ensure all parts of the lawn have seeds.

Step 5: Feeding the lawn

Essentially, this entails fertilizing the lawn. At the beginning, use fertilizers with high potassium. This helps in enhancing roots development as the seeds germinate. Be sure to check the fertilizer labels adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Feeding the lawn

Secret Sauce: Weed and feed fertilizers normally contain pre-emergent herbicides. Avoid them as they could inhibit root development of the new grass seeds.

Step 6: Water the lawn

Use a lawn sprinkler connected to a garden hose to lightly water the overseeded lawn. Do the watering 2-3 times per day and ensure it doesn’t penetrate more than an inch. Frequent watering is preferred to a single session of heavy watering which can erode the seeds.

Water the lawn

Don’t overwater, doing so could cause water puddles or even drown the seeds. The key thing is to always ensure the lawn is moist, avoid extremes.

Generally, it will take approximately 1-3 weeks for all grass seeds to germinate. Undoubtedly, this depends on the grass seeds variety used. After the plants establish themselves on the soil, you can reduce the watering frequency but always ensure the water soaks into the soil to prevent the grass from wilting.

Common mistakes you must avoid while overseeding lawn without aerating

  • Overseeding and aerating at the wrong time. For cool-season grass, aerate early in spring while for the warm-season grasses, early summers is the best period.
  • Failure to choose the right tools and equipment.
  • Insufficient or excessive watering. Either can harm the new grass, be moderate.
  • Mowing too soon after sprouting or new grass. You need to give it time to develop best environmental protection.
  • Controlling weeds too soon. This can cause stress to the young grass, wait until it’s strong enough, probably after you’ve mowed the new grass for four times.
  • Doing it during dry seasons. This makes it hard for the machines to penetrate the soil thus necessitating manual efforts.

Overseed the lawn during dry seasons

In conclusion…

We all wish our lawns to be healthy throughout, unfortunately, that’s impractical. That’s why we ought to overseed them time to time in order to improve their health. Aerating is time consuming and at times it may cause an ugly look of your lawn for weeks to come. Fortunately, you can carry out lawn overseeding without aeration. We hope this guide will help you to effectively overseed your lawn without aerating. All the best in your project.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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