Homeowners, HOAs, businesses and golf courses are encouraged to skip overseeding this fall. Overseeding has been a longstanding practice in the Coachella Valley, but is unnecessary and can be wasteful. For those who still want to overseed, you can successfully do it without increasing irrigation if you follow Coachella Valley Water District’s (CVWD) Overseeding Without Wasting Guidelines listed below. Grass should take about 30-60 days to mature from the date of seeding when using this water-efficient method.

Overseeding Without Wasting Guidelines

  1. Don’t overseed too early. Planting seed between mid-October and mid-November takes much less germination water than planting in September or early October.
  2. Cut back on fertilizer. Slow Bermuda grass growth by ending fertilizing 4 to 6 weeks before laying down seed.
  3. Prepare the seedbed. Two weeks before planting, cut back your irrigation schedule by 50% and gradually lower your cutting height to half an inch by your planned planting day. Rake and remove all clippings and lawn debris so the sowed seed will contact the soil.
  4. Make sure your sprinklers are working correctly.
  5. When you plant, follow the directions on the seed package label.
  6. Seed-soil contact. Rake the seeded area lightly to enhance seed-soil contact.
  7. Cover the seed. Apply one-eighth to one quarter-inch of seed cover over the planted area by spreading with the back of a rake.
  8. Ensure that the seed cover is wet to the soil surface.
  9. Start this germination irrigation schedule. Begin watering for 3 minutes (spray heads) or 10 minutes (rotary heads) per irrigation, 5 times a day, at 2-hour intervals, starting at 8 a.m. As you don’t want the overseed cover to dry out prior to the first mowing, this schedule can vary.
  10. Watch for germination in about 7 days.
  11. Cut back on irrigation. When grass blades are one inch high, reduce irrigation to 3 times a day.
  12. Don’t mow too early or too low. Mow the new grass according to seed package label recommendations.
  13. Resume normal irrigation. After the second mowing, check out the Coachella Valley Water Districts Watering Guide for Turf Grass (CVWD’s Watering Guide for Turf Grass).

Source: Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD)