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How to Seed a Dormant Lawn in Winter

Winter overseeding can help Southwestern lawns stay green in winter.

Get a Green Winter Lawn

Follow These Easy Steps for a Green Winter Lawn:

The calendar says you're getting close to winter, but if you live in the Southwest, this is your spring. Trouble is, your lawn doesn't agree with you. It goes dormant right when you're ready for cookouts and get-togethers. Overseeding with ryegrass is a good solution for a green winter lawn. Here's how.

Scalp and Rake

You have to prepare your dormant grass for overseeding. This means scalping your lawn. Cut it as low as possible 2 or 3 times. Either bag the clippings as you mow, or rake away the dead grass between each mowing. This will loosen and expose the surface soil and keep the dormant grass from shading the seedlings.

Spreading Your Ryegrass Seed

Select a high-quality ryegrass seed, like Scotts® Turf Builder® Perennial Ryegrass Mix or Scotts® Turf Builder® Quick Fix® Mix. Set your spreader according to the package directions. Spread the grass seed. Get your seedlings off to a good start by following up with an application of Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter® Food for New Lawns.

Your Key to Success: Watering

Give your ryegrass a good start by watering. The goal is to keep the top 1 inch of soil and the grass seed moist, but not soggy wet, at all times until it sprouts and becomes established. This means misting your lawn once or twice a day for several weeks.

If you over-water, you may create puddles that can wash away the seed. You can change to a regular watering schedule after the seedlings mature.

Maintaining Your New Lawn

Start to mow your new winter lawn when the grass reaches normal mowing height. Six to eight weeks after seeding, keep your winter lawn looking its best by feeding it withScotts® Turf Builder® Southern Lawn Food. Continue to feed it every 6-8 weeks for the rest of the season.