Best Grass Seed for Overseeding

How do you choose the best grass seed for overseeding? You need to know what grass type you have and then determine whether you want to add to it or use a seed mix or hybrid mix to improve your lawn.

In this article, we’ll cover the best grass seed for overseeding your lawn and popular seed mixes and hybrid mixes for a lush, green lawn.


Grass Seed Varieties

Here are the six best grass seed varieties for overseeding:

1. Kentucky bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass grows densely and is resistant to disease. Kentucky bluegrass isn’t as drought-tolerant as other varieties, but bluegrass seed is the most popular because it produces a thick, dark green turf that stands up well to heavy traffic. This grass type is also self-spreading, making it easy to cultivate.

2. Fescue

Fescues are known for their rapid growth, providing quick results. Fescue grass is also drought-resistant and tolerates both sun and shade. Based on the texture you desire, you can choose different varieties of this cool-season grass, such as fine fescue or tall fescue.

3. Perennial ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass germinates quickly but requires a lot of water. It does best in the transition zone and works well as an overseed for warm-season grasses. This grass has fine blades and stands up to heavy traffic. Ryegrass seeds are the most popular and typically cost less than other varieties.

Pro Tip: Don’t confuse perennial ryegrass with annual ryegrass. Annual ryegrass has a lifespan of only one year. It is more prone to diseases and lawn pests than perennial ryegrass.

4. Bermudagrass

Bermudagrass is a warm-season grass that’s drought-tolerant and devoted to the sun, so it thrives in the southern parts of the country. While this grass variety will produce a low-maintenance green lawn, it has its drawbacks. Cold temperatures and shade means it’s not the best grass seed for overseeding in the North.

5. Buffalograss

A warm-season grass, buffalograss is slower to green than other grass types but requires minimal maintenance. This variety is popular across the Great Plains as well as the Midwest.

6. Zoysiagrass

Zoysiagrass is well-suited to the transition zone and southern U.S. It’s a warm-season variety that tolerates colder temperatures and heavy foot traffic. Zoysiagrass prefers the sun and does well with little water, producing a dense turf.

Mixtures and Hybrids

You’ll find all sorts of hybrid grasses and seed mixes at your local home supply store and online retailers. Seed mixtures are designed to extend the life of your lawn, providing greenery in both the warmer and cooler months. Hybrids and other modifications support germination as well as the health and growth of new grass.

Look for seeds with a coating to retain moisture. This modification helps seeds germinate quickly and effectively once they’ve made soil contact. This will speed up the process, giving you the results you’re looking for faster. 

What to Consider Before Buying Grass Seed

Before you lug out the spreader, rake, hose, and other tools to overseed your lawn, you need to decide what type of seed is best for your yard. 

  • Identify the type of grass on your existing lawn and whether it’s growing well.
  • Identify why your grass is thinning: drought, heavy foot traffic, too much shade, or lawn fungus?
  • Check the heat zone map to see whether you need warm -or cool-season grass seed.
  • Determine which grass type will grow well on your lawn.
  • Decide when to spread the new seed based on your lawn’s condition.

If your lawn is doing well, you should overseed with the same grass type. The new seed will repair damage due to heavy traffic or unusual drought.

If your lawn is struggling due to too much or not enough sun exposure, prolonged water issues, or other environmental factors, you’re better off overseeding with a different grass type. Mixing seeds with different qualities will produce a vibrant and healthy yard throughout the growing season. 

Cool vs. Warm-Season Grass Types

Warm-season grasses are best suited to hot temperatures and lots of sun, so they grow best in southern states. These grass types are green and lush when temps are around 75 to 90 degrees. In the fall and winter, when temperatures drop, warm-season grasses lie dormant and turn brown.

Cool-season grasses thrive in northern states. These varieties do well with temperature fluctuations, lying dormant in cold weather. Cool-season grasses perk up in the spring, growing best when temps are between 60 and 70 degrees.

Overseeding FAQs 

1. What happens if I use the wrong grass seed?

Your lawn may look awkward with different textured grass types, or the seed just won’t sprout. You’ll need to overseed again next year to correct the lawn’s appearance.

Different grass varieties also grow at different rates. Perennial ryegrass and fine fescues are quick to sprout. Creeping red fescue and chewing fescue are much slower, so a mixture will give you an uneven lawn. 

2. Should I fertilize the lawn right after I overseed? 

No. Hopefully, you’ve already fertilized your lawn in the spring. Fertilizing right before or right after overseeding forces the seeds to compete with the existing grass for nutrients. It may also encourage crabgrass growth which will compete with your grass seeds as well. 

3. How long do I have to wait to walk on the lawn after I overseed?

Wait at least two weeks, but longer if possible. You should limit the use of your lawn until the new seed has grown to about the same height as your existing grass, about 3-4 inches. This is when you can mow the grass for the first time and resume regular use. In total, it will take about three to four weeks.

Overwhelmed by all the grass seed choices? We can help you find a lawn care professional near you who will overseed, dethatch, aerate and mow your lawn, so you have time to relax and enjoy it.

Main Photo Credit: Brenda Ryan | LawnStarter

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!