A few years ago, my lawn was a hot mess with damaged sections of turf and certain areas that could use a complete turf replacement.
The good news was that my lawn care company presented me with several options to fix the issue like aeration and overseeding, slice seeding, sodding, grading, and hydroseeding.
While I was familiar with some of these processes like aeration and overseeding (spreading seed by hand or with a spreader) and sodding (unrolling grass on the ground), the others were news to me!
If you have a bare patch or an entire lawn that’s underperforming, it’s easy to get confused about which repair option to choose. But read on to find out the differences between each process to ease your decision.
What is Slice Seeding?
Sometimes referred to as slit seeding, slice seeding is billed as one of the best renovation techniques for repairing damaged areas of your lawn or areas that need complete lawn replacement.
This repair process is performed with a machine – a slice seeder that basically slices into the ground with its vertical blades and deposits seeds directly into the soil as opposed to spreading grass seed across your lawn by overseeding.
This seed-planting tool puts the seeds in direct and secure contact with the soil, increasing the chances of seed germination.
Advantages of Slice Seeding
A slicer seeder or slit seeder is a great option if you’re looking for faster, more dramatic lawn improvements, given that the process offers better seed contact and allows moisture and fertilizers to easily and quickly mix with and enter the soil.
1. Fast germination rate
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a slit seeder machine is the accelerated germination rate, owing to the seeds having direct soil contact. This direct contact with soil makes it easier to transfer water and nutrients from the soil to the roots of all types of grass seeds.
With regular seeding, the chance of germination is lower because the seeds aren’t in direct contact with the soil. Learn about the effects of temperature and water on grass seeds.
2. Creates the perfect seeding spot
A slice seeder machine slices into the soil to create furrows, which are deep and make it easier to deposit grass seed exactly where you want it.
3. More cost-effective
Slice seeding is more cost-effective than other grass seed planting methods such as sodding, but is more expensive than simply spreading grass seed.
4. No displacement of seeds
When spreading grass seeds by hand or with a spreader, they can be easily displaced by birds and other wildlife and can be transported to other yards far away from where you want your grass seeds to grow by rain and other weather elements.
With slice seeding, displacement isn’t an issue because the grass seeds are tucked away in the furrows and immediately touch the soil.
5. More diversity and better disease resistance
With slice seeding, you can choose from a wide range of grass seed blends instead of planting a single variety of grass seed as in the case with sod. Planting a blend of grass seeds also prevents disease and helps combat pest infestations down the line. Learn about grass seed blends to make the right choice for your lawn.
Disadvantages of Slice Seeding
As good as it sounds, slicing seeder to achieve a beautiful lawn isn’t perfect and does have its fair share of disadvantages such as
1. Time and cost
Standard overseeding of an existing lawn is pretty cheap and a quick task for novice and seasoned gardeners. Slice seeding contrarily requires machinery for the procedure and is a labor-intensive process.
2. It may cause unnecessary damage
If you have a lawn that needs some improvements in certain spots, a slice seeder may cause machine damage by tearing up some of your good grass.
3. Slice seeding doesn’t improve damaged soil
Slice seeding cannot be performed if your soil isn’t healthy and not receiving air, water, and nutrients. In fact, for the success of slit-seeding, you have to prepare your soil, starting with a soil test to determine if the soil has insufficient or excessive nutrients. Wondering how to interpret your soil test report?
After you receive the results of the soil test, fertilizer applications should be performed with appropriate fertilizer equipment. Next, remove rocks, sticks, leaves, and any yard debris, so that you have a smooth surface to operate the slice seeder heavy machine.
Check out this video on how to use slice seeding for lawn repair:
What is Aeration and Overseeding?
If you have some brown spots or thinning spots in your green lawn, aeration and overseeding is a viable option.
A lawn aeration project involves penetrating the soil via tiny holes and pulling soil plugs or cores to allow water, air, and nutrients from starter fertilizer or other kinds of fertilizers to reach the roots of the grass.
After aerating your lawn, the grass seeds via overseeding will fall into the holes created by the aerator machine for great seed-to-soil contact.
Which One Is Better – Slice Seeder or Aeration and Overseeding?
Both slice seeding and aeration and overseeding are two great options to spread grass seeds, but they serve different purposes:
- If your lawn has compacted soil caused mostly by heavy foot traffic, thatch (a layer of dead organic matter), clay-like soil, and/or thinning grass, aerating and overseeding your lawn to create healthier soil, and improve your lawn’s ability to absorb rainfall, reducing stormwater runoff.
- If your existing grass is patchy or you want to repair damaged sections of turf or areas that need complete turf replacement, slice seeding is the quickest way to get your grass growing.
What is Hydroseeding?
The process of hydroseeding is becoming increasingly popular among homeowners looking for a new approach to a beautiful, healthy lawn.
It is a cost-effective way to distribute grass seed on your property with the help of a sprayer.
The sprayer distributes a loose slurry, which is a mix of grass seed, water, fertilizer, mulch, and a bonding agent.
Hydroseeding is an effective solution for homes with large yards, areas that would be difficult to seed manually, playing fields, etc.
Hydroseeding vs Slice Seeding vs Aeration and Overseeding: Which Works Best?
If your soil is compacted or you have an excess layer of thatch, you can scratch hydroseeding and slice seeding off the list. If your soil is compacted, slit seeding won’t do a thing to improve the condition and the blades of the slide seeder machine will have a hard time cutting into compacted soil.
Hydroseeding is a good choice for new constructions because the level ground is already fresh and bare. Adding to this, before hydroseeding, you have to remove any grass from your property, so only bare dirt remains, hence it’s not a good option to repair thinning areas and bare spots.
See also how long it takes for hydroseed to grow.
What is Sodding?
Sodding offers instant gratification and is a great investment if you want a visually pleasing instant lawn.
Sod is pre-cut mats of already harvested grass and a soil layer that is held together by grassroots.
Advantages of Sod
Even though it is a more expensive approach for a beautiful and healthy lawn and can be tricky to install, sod has a few advantages:
Disadvantages of Sod
Although sod provides you with an instant lawn, it does have a few disadvantages, such as:
If you want and want an instant lawn and are willing to splurge, sod won’t disappoint. But if you can wait to build a lawn or fill bare and thinning areas from scratch, aerating and overseeding or slit seeding are great choices.
What is Grading of Lawn?
Whether you’re slice seeding, aerating and overseeding, or laying down sod, grading is an important lawn care task before anything else.
Grading is a form of leveling your yard and eliminating any water issues. Grading ensures your lawn is smooth and doesn’t have any major low spots, which can cause the pooling of water.
Some other problems that proper grading can solve include:
- A soggy or mushy lawn,
- Ice buildup in the winter,
- Soil erosion,
- Unsightly mower ruts or other problem areas of sinkage,
- Standing water or puddles that attract pests, including mosquitoes.
You can regrade your lawn yourself, but I’d suggest commissioning a professional to get the job done right.
The steps involved to regrade your lawn include:
- Measuring the existing grade with two stakes, 10 feet of string, a hanging string level, and measuring tape,
- Rebuilding the slope,
- Checking for obstacles such as basic rocks and acid rocks,
- Distributing the soil,
- Measuring the new grade
- Putting the finishing touches.
Check out this video on how to grade your yard:
Which Seeding Method is Right for You?
Slice seeding, aeration and overseeding, hydroseeding, and sodding are all options to grow a rich, green, healthier lawn.
If your lawn is already in top-notch shape, meaning that it has no underlying issues with weeds, or thatch and is appropriately fertilized, slit seeding is a great choice.
Slice seeding uses a special machine to slice into the ground and drop seeds in the cracks (furrows) for better seed-to-soil contact.
Most existing lawns have a layer of thatch sitting on top of the soil. This layer consists of dead plants, leaves, and other organic matter.
This layer must be removed with a thatch rake or a shovel before planting grass seeds because even though the grass seeds will germinate, they will be weak.
Before using a slit seeder machine:
- Remove any trash, weeds, rocks, and debris in the way,
- Measure the area of land you’ll be seeding, and then
- Calculate the amount of grass seed you’ll need.
Load the slit seeder and walk the machine in a straight line from one end of the lawn to the other, and then reseed the lawn walking crossways.
If you’re experiencing drainage or other issues with your soil, you can’t use a slice seeder to simply sow seeds in the soil but have to aerate the soil using an aerator tool, after which spread seed across the soil.
You should seed, fertilize and water your lawn within 48 hours after you aerate. This timeframe gives your seed, fertilizer, and water the best chance to get down into the holes created by the aerator.
Aeration offers benefits, such as:
- Loosens the soil,
- Improves drainage, and
- Prevents thatch buildup.
The best time to aerate your soil is during your region’s growing season so that the seeds can germinate quickly.
After you aerate your lawn, you can proceed to the task of overseeding, which means adding more grass seeds to your lawn without turning the topsoil.
The steps to overseeding are:
- Mowing the lawn shorter than usual so that the grass seed can get a better chance of making soil contact.
- After mowing, remove the dead grass, rocks, and any other debris so that there are no barriers between the grass seed and soil.
- Next, make the necessary soil amendments after doing a soil test if your lawn hasn’t been growing and greening as it should.
- Lastly, load your seed spreader and spread the grass seed.
Sodding is readymade grass that arrives complete with soil and roots. It is more expensive than other growing options but if you want a full, green lawn as soon as possible, there’s no better option.
To achieve a thick, lush green lawn, and repair bare patches, you’ve got several options including slice seeders that use vertical blades, aeration, and overseeding and sodding. The option that’s right for you depends on your needs.
If you have a new lawn or an existing lawn with healthy soil, silt seeding is an option worth considering, but if your soil is unhealthy and has drainage issues, you should aerate and overseed your lawn.
Sodding is an expensive approach to an instant rich, green lawn and arrives in mats that you unfurl on your lawn. However, before exploring any of these options, it’s a good idea to regrade your lawn to ensure that you don’t have any issues after planting grass seeds or laying sod.
Hi, Alex Kuritz here. Growing up I remember that my family had one of the best lawns in the neighborhood. Richly green and lush. I did a lot as I grew up in terms of caring and tending for not only my family’s lawn but also my neighbors. I can say I have years of experience, and I am here to share it with you.