Looking for a modern-day method to plant new grass seeds? Don’t want to rely on spreading seeds with your hands? Have no control over wind, water, pets, and your children running around the lawn and displacing the seeds?
Well, you need some organized and reliable gardening equipment that helps spread seeds efficiently. Grass seeds are costly and you want to control external elements as much as you can.
Two such seed spreading techniques are slice seeding and overseeding. The former is performed by a slice seeder, whereas the latter is done by a broadcast seed spreader. Let us weigh the pros and cons of both these techniques.
What is Slice Seeding?
Slice seeding is performed with a piece of equipment known as slit seeder or slice seeder. This is considered a highly reliable method to plant seeds. The machine basically uses steel blades to slice through the soil. This creates furrows of the length of your blade. Eventually, it drops grass seed inside the furrows.
The perks of slice seeding are that seeds are sure to come into perfect contact with the soil. Based on the recommended seed planting depth, the blades can be re-positioned. Even better, gardeners can expect an even planting bed due to the machine-operated soil slicing process. Once the soil slices are done, the seeds are dropped onto the soil, and the teeth hammer the seeds into the ground.
This beats the traditional method of hand-spreading seeds across your garden, by a margin. Perfectly pressing the seeds into the soil will ensure that nothing except for human-force can displace the seeds. This comes with higher chances of successful germination.
Due to the current global situation, some states have banned the sale of seeds. You want to make sure you don’t mess with your current stock.
Pros and Cons of a Slice Seeder
A slice seeder, structure-wise, consists of a dethatcher with a seedbox. It lets you decide the depth that you want the slicing to be done till.
Although it is considered an intensive method of planting seeds. If you have a healthy lawn with several plants and other crops that you have been nurturing, a slice seeder could ruin the soil texture and internal root structure of existing plants/grass.
- Grooves into the soil for perfect seeding spots
- Grooves into the soil for perfect seeding spots
- Prevents birds, wild animals, excess wind and water from picking on and displacing seeds
- Approx. 60% faster grass seed germination rates
- Less expensive and easy to maintain as long as weekly/monthly cleaning is done
- Every slice is prepared in a manner that permits even distribution of seeds across the lawn
- Slicing depth can be set based on seed type
- Allows direct seed to soil contact – thus more likely to grow into a healthy lawn
- Ability to disrupt lawn surfaces and ruin soil texture
- Blades can rust if not stored properly. Requires weather-proof garden shed storage
- Shoots can clog and fungus formation could build
- Not getting rid of the weeds first would cause internal weed spread
- Causes more aesthetic harm than good on lawn grass that is not in need of complete revamping
- High-costs for re-doing your entire lawn surface
- Requires extra precision when pouring fertilizers; uncovered soil holes could kill the seeds
What is Overseeding?
Overseeding is the process of spreading seeds over already established lawn grass. This may be done due to unhealthy grass, brown patches, uneven growth, or creating a new lawn grass surface altogether.
Overseeding is generally performed using a broadcast spreader. Once the soil is prepared for nurturing new grass seeds, the gardener either uses a spreader or his/her hands to spread seeds throughout the lawn.
One major downside is that all seeds will not settle properly with the soil. Loose seeds will fail to germinate and you could be left with uncultivated patches of grass in your lawn once again.
However, performing 2 rounds of cross aeration before planting the seeds will increase the probability of properly sowing them.
Pros and Cons of a Broadcast Spreader (Overseeding)
Overseeding is a more over-the-top affair and doesn’t require any soil depth decisions to be made. This is because this method simply focuses on the basics of spreading seeds across the lawn. It does not have any role to play in settling the seeds into the soil.
Raking, adding topsoil, and raking again would generally ensure the seeds are well-placed and face minimal displacement.
- Does not cause any de-structuring or displacement of the soil
- Ideal for reviving damaged grass patches and brown grass growth
- Fit for the fall season when soil is warm and the air is cool; develops stronger roots
- Can be done after slice-seeding for gardeners who prefer thick grass
- An easier process with minimal chance of errors
- Maintenance requirements are much lower than that of slice seeders
- Does not force the seeds into the soil; thus no seed structural damage
- Pets, wild animals, foot traffic, excess wind, and water can easily displace the seeds
- Inaccurate seed spreading can cause visually unpleasant grass growth
- Germination rates are low because of seed displacement due to external factors
- Irrespective of the season, you will have to increase watering frequency
- Overseeding equipment can cost a bomb
- Tidiness is not maintained
- Could become a hunting ground for morning birds
Which is a Better Option: Slice Seeder or Overseeder?
There is no definite answer to this question. Being a gardener, you should analyze the precise reason you want to grow new grass and then make a decision. Factors such as cost, time involved, grass seed type, and garden size can influence this answer.
Do you have a big or small garden?
Are you looking to grow entirely new grass or simply replenish a few existing lawn surfaces?
Do you grow multiple types of plants in the area you plan to perform seeding?
Each of these questions would be involved in making the right choice.
Here are some deciding factors that can help you:
- Slice Seeders are a great option if you want to plant new grass quickly and achieve faster sure-shot germination rates. This benefits gardener who create yearly plans and goals for their lawn.
- Overseeders provide several benefits when your goal is to address deeper issues like increasing root strength and nutrient absorption. For example, if you want to leverage the attribute of fast-spreading Centipede grass, overseeding could contribute.
The key is to perform aeration prior to overseeding, such that the seeds are provided with the necessary elements to stay healthy. Aeration assures that water and surrounding air can reach the seeds. These 2 factors increase the rate of nutrient absorption and help in developing strong grassroots.
- Overseeders are a good option for lawns that already have a good amount of grass growth. Performing quarterly overseeding based on overall grass condition will prove effective in maintaining soil as well as grass health.
Even better, if your lawn faces yearly deterioration, then overseeding can be a competitive tactic to develop a constantly lush green lawn. Besides, there are almost no better ways to improve water absorption and cutting down stormwater runoff than aeration (in combination with overseeding).
- Slice seeding also benefits patchy grass growth when aeration is included in the process. The holes in the soil caused by aeration could enhance the probability of 100% seed to soil contact and lead to quicker results.
Whether you are using an Overseeder or a Slice Seeder, fall is the best time to do so. This is because of the soil and air temperature, as well as the significant amounts of moisture in the air. The environmental conditions that fall season brings are excellent to improve germination rates and turf root quality.
Taking up yearly re-seeding projects is definitely a must for gardeners who prefer to enhance their lawn aesthetics by quality grass growth.
Have you planted expensive grass and have been taking care of your lawn surface using traditional methods for several years? Equipping your gardening tools collection with the following can assure lesser efforts and rapid results:
We have curated detailed buying guides for each of these gardening tools. Check them out to reduce your lawn maintenance burdens.