Overseeding in spring

Asked March 31, 2020, 2:46 PM EDT

We have a small very shaded yard, about 400 square feet. We had then entire yard landscaped in 2018 with the small grass area sodded. This was the year of the acorns, and with two huge oak trees in our yard, this really impacted the new sod. Last year we attempted to over-seed it in the fall with not much luck. Want to try it again this spring but don't want to start too early. We live in Minneapolis. Question: What are the temperatures parameters for when it is safe to start over-seeding in the spring? Attached are two photo's of the worst part of our grass, the best part is not much better. Thank you. Kim

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for writing. The pictures are very helpful.
This site requires a complete renovation. Simply overseeding or sodding is not likely to do well as was evident by last year's experience.
I would start with a soil test. You can purchase these at garden stores or get one from the U for $17. This will tell you the composition of soil (how much organic material it needs), the acidity and nutrients. http://soiltest.cfans.umn.edu/

The soil appears to need to be decompacted and as the soil test will show you, probably needs more organic material that you can supply by amending. https://www.thespruce.com/making-good-soil-out-of-bad-1402428

I think the best approach here would be shallow rototilling which as it was done would include compost as indicated. This would aerate, decompact, and add organic content. The cost would be less than sod.

The end of the summer or fall is the best time to seed or sod. Though many people think of Bluegrass, it is not robust, uses a lot of water, handles traffic poorly. A fine fescue might be a better choice. Good luck--this will be a challenging but not impossible situation. It will turn out well.