When and How to Overseed Your Yard’s Thinning Lawn

The lawn in front of the house is disturbed by pests and diseases causing damage to the green lawns.

It’s no secret that many Minnesota lawns aren’t looking their best this year, unless you have been one of the homeowners diligently watering your lawn or utilizing a sprinkler system this summer, you likely have a dry, brown yard–or at least patches of less-than-lush grass. The tough part is knowing how and when to seed your lawn to get the best results.

While hotter times of year are not the best for seeding, fall is a great time. seeds have a chance to take root and prepare for winter without the stress of high summer temps and dehydration. If you’re looking to fill out your yard this fall, follow these tips:

Preparing the Lawn

Before you begin, make sure to prepare your lawn. Remove any debris, such as sticks, leaves, or lawn clippings. This will help your new seeds reach the soil instead of being trapped above. Once your lawn is clean, aerate the turf to loosen the first quarter-inch to half-inch of soil. If you have bare areas, aerate a bit deeper to about 2-3 inches. Look for areas that might need to be leveled or spaces where excess water collects.

Next, you’ll want to mow your lawn. Set your blades lower than you usually would, as low as possible without scalping the grass or exposing the existing roots. The goal of this final mow is to open up your lawn’s canopy so you can add seed that will have adequate light and water. Be sure to remove the grass clippings to help the seeds reach the soil.


Before seeding, identify any low-lying or bare spots on your lawn. Add new topsoil to these spots or over visible tree roots. Then it is time to add the seeds. Either sprinkle seeds by hand or use a handheld spreader to seed your lawn. You’ll want to aim for roughly 14 seeds per square inch of soil. Any more and your seedlings will need to compete for space and nutrients. This is why overseeding can actually produce a thinner lawn. Lightly cover the seeds with 1/8 to 1/4 inch of fine mulch or seed topper to help your lawn maintain moisture and warmth and to protect the seed from birds.

After Care

Once your lawn is seeded, it’s important to be diligent about watering. The newly-formed seedbed will need to remain moist to germinate correctly. Water lightly and frequently – at least once daily–until your new grass is two inches high. Afterward, water enough to keep the roots moist.

It’s been a rough summer for lawn care. Many lawns in the Midwest are thinner because of the drought and heat over the last few months. As the weather begins to cool down, now is a great time to thicken your lawn and prepare for a lush 2022. Find all the lawn supplies you need–seeds, spreaders, fertilizer, garden hoses, sprinklers, and more– from Mimbach Fleet Supply in Sauk Rapids. You may also rent aerators, lawn rollers, seeders, and spreaders from our rental department.


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