How and When to Overseed a Sports Pitch is a blog that looks at the When, How and Timing of overseeding operations and some key tips of seed success.
Overall aim of Overseeding?
The overall aim of overseeding is to restore grass cover, with a desirable grass seed rather than allowing space for invasive weeds, weed grasses etc.
Timing in crucial, seed needs three things to flourish
- Moisture either by rain or irrigation
- Temperature, less of an issue from April- September. 9-12 c said to be the ideal.
- Seed/Soil contact, the seed needs to know its anchored and in contact with a growing medium to survive long term.
How to Overseed?
Seed just scattered on the grass canopy, will struggle to survive, it needs soil to get its roots down into. Prior to seeding, the grass may need cutting down if around the renovations period scarification to remove thatch. The scarification lines can be used for seed placement, possibly adding some addition holes, that then can be overseeded into.
Any deep scarification during the cricket season, is to be avoided and this is usually done during end of season renovations in and around September.
If your just overseeding a few bare areas in season, then the creation of holes is all you need to do prior to overseeding, followed possibly by a small amount of topdressing to fill in the holes or and to restore any low areas.
The area should then be kept moist and if a larger area, germination sheets can be used to do two things. There is also the option to apply a pre seed fertiliser, if overseeding a large area.
- Help keep moisture in and around the seed
- The sheet will keep birds from feeding on the seed, giving it time to germinate.
When to Overseed?
As pointed out above, seed needs moisture and consistent temperatures of over 5c, as long as you can meet these conditions seed will grow. Spring/Summer/Autumn are the best periods to overseed, but I would avoid July/august unless you have the resources to water. These are challenging months to grow seed due to the hot, dry conditions.
Overseeding equipment options?
- Football stud holes, yes this is done by a leading premier league groundsman just as a top up, rather than a full outright overseed, when machinery would be used. Player actively would ensure seed/soil contact.
- Hand forks,
- Sarel roller or other hand tools that create, holes or grooves in the soil.
- A dimple seeder, also known as a star seeder (image above)
- A disc seeder (image above)
- Disc seeders are ideal for winter sports pitches, as seed is sown directly into the soil. Disc seeders creates a series of continuous seed filled line.
- Disc seeders ensuring good seed/soil contact and some protection from birds and can happily sit there till moist growing conditions. Drill in a minimum of three directions ideally with typical seed rates of 35-50 grams a square metre
- Dimple seeders are more common on cricket squares, where a more even and uniformed pattern is required typical seed rates of 35-70 grams a square metre.
- Different size seed requires different sowing depths, as an example perennial ryegrass likes to be sown at 10-15mm deep.
Hard to specify as a multi sports blog, but cut once the new seed is at the one leaf stage and the seed, snaps rather than pulls out by the root upon lifting. More of an issue on larger sown areas, rather than small areas.
Whatever you cut the new seed with ensure the blade or cylinder is cutting well and try to avoid taking off more than a third of the leaf in anyone cut.
Top Tip- The first two weeks after sowing new seed is key to good establishment.
Summary Key points
- When to overseed, when you can meet seed requirements of moisture and temperatures.
- How, by creating a network of holes for seed to anchor into.
- Creating seed/soil contact is key
Take a look at this YouTube video on overseeding, specifically cricket related –
For more details on Dimple seeder vs Drill seeder take a look here –https://turfcareblog.com/dimple-seeder-vs-disc-seeder/