Slit Seeder: The Ultimate Guide to Lawn Overseeding

Slit seeding is a popular technique used to establish and maintain lawns. It involves creating small furrows in the soil and depositing grass seeds into them. This method is particularly useful for repairing damaged lawns, improving thinning grass, and introducing new grass varieties.

A slit seeder is a machine used for this process. It consists of a drum with sharp blades or tines that cut through the soil, creating the furrows. The seed is then deposited into the furrows, ensuring that it is in close contact with the soil for optimal germination.

When choosing a slit seeder, it is important to consider factors such as the size of the lawn, the type of grass seed, and the desired results.

 Understanding the components of a slit seeder, as well as the slit seeding process itself, can help ensure that the job is done correctly and efficiently. Additionally, dealing with challenges such as soil compaction, weeds, and weather conditions can help ensure a successful outcome.

lawn aeration

Table of Contents

Slit seeder

A slice seeder, also known as a slit seeder or overseeder, is a useful tool for establishing a new lawn or adding new seeds to an existing one. This equipment works by using steel blades to create furrows underneath the body, slicing into the existing grass and dropping seeds into the furrows before covering them back over again. It is a great way to improve germination rates and turf root quality, particularly during the fall season when environmental conditions are ideal.

Understanding Slit Seeding

Slit seeding is a technique used to improve the quality of existing turf by introducing new grass seed into the soil. This process is also known as slice seeding, and it involves cutting narrow slits into the soil and depositing grass seed directly into those slits. 

Slit seeding is an effective way to improve the health and appearance of a lawn, and it can be done in the spring or early fall.

Benefits of Slit Seeding

Slit seeding is an excellent way to improve the quality and appearance of an existing lawn. The technique helps to create seed-to-soil contact, which is essential for germination. 

This method also ensures that the new grass seed is protected from birds and other wildlife that might eat it before it has a chance to germinate.

Slit seeding is also an effective way to introduce new grass varieties into an existing lawn. This can help to improve the overall health and resilience of the turf, making it more resistant to disease and pests

Additionally, slit seeding can help to fill in bare spots and thin areas, creating a more uniform and attractive lawn.

Ideal Time for Slit Seeding

The best time to perform slit seeding is in the spring or fall when cool-season grasses are actively growing. The cool temperatures and consistent moisture during these seasons provide ideal conditions for seed germination. 

Spring is an excellent time for slit seeding because it allows the new, cool season grass, to establish before the hot summer months. Fall is also a good time for slit seeding because the cooler temperatures and increased rainfall provide optimal growing conditions.

slit seeder grass after

Components of a Slit Seeder

A slit seeder is a machine used to renovate lawns by creating slits or grooves in the soil to deposit seeds. It comprises several components that work together to achieve the desired results.

Cutting Blades

The cutting blades are the most critical component of a slit seeder. They are responsible for creating the slits in the soil and opening the ground to deposit the seeds. Typically, a slit seeder has ten verticutting blades that cut through the soil to create the slits. These blades are made of high-carbon, heat-treated spring steel, which can withstand abuse without chipping or bending.

Seed Hopper

The seed hopper is another important component of a slit seeder. It is a compartment that stores grass seeds and drops them into the slits created by the cutting blades. A slit seeder has a 40 lb. capacity seed mixer that regulates seed delivery based on ground speed for even application.

Working Width

The working width of a slit seeder is the width of the area it can cover in one pass. Typically, a slit seeder has a working width of 20 inches, which is ideal for residential lawns. However, some slit seeders can cover larger areas, depending on the model.


A slit seeder is a heavy-duty machine that requires durability to withstand the rigors of lawn renovation. A slit seeder is constructed of solid 11-gauge steel for maximum durability. The high-carbon, heat-treated spring steel blades can handle constant contact without chipping or bending, ensuring long-lasting use.

new grass seeds slit seeder

Choosing the Right Slit Seeder

When it comes to choosing the right slit seeder, there are a few factors to consider. This section will cover the decision between renting or buying, as well as some popular brands of hydraulic slit seeders, Toro slit seeders, and John Deere slit seeders.

Rent Vs Buy

Before deciding whether to rent or buy a slit seeder, it is important to consider how often it will be used. If the seeder will only be used once or twice a year, renting may be the more cost-effective option. However, if it will be used frequently, buying may be the better choice in the long run.

Hydraulic Slit Seeder

Hydraulic slit seeders are a popular choice for professionals due to their power and precision. They use hydraulic pressure to create deep slits in the soil, which allows for better seed-to-soil contact and improves germination rates. 

These same slit seed-ers are also typically more durable and have a longer lifespan than other types of seeders.

Toro Slit Seeders

Toro is a well-known brand in the landscaping industry, and their slit seeders are no exception. Toro slit seeders are known for their ease of use and durability. They are available in both walk-behind and ride-on models, making them a versatile choice for any job.

John Deere Slit Seeders

John Deere is another popular brand in the landscaping industry, and their slit seeders are known for their reliability and precision. They offer a range of models to choose from, including walk-behind and tow-behind options.

 Additionally, John Deere offers a warranty on their slit seeders, giving customers peace of mind knowing they are investing in a quality product.

When choosing a slit seeder, it is important to consider factors such as the type of job, frequency of use, and budget. Consulting with a slit dealer can also be helpful in determining the best option for your specific needs.

Hydraulic Slit Seeder

Slit Seeding Process

As mentioned above, slit seeding is a process of planting grass seed that involves using a machine to create slits or grooves in the soil and then dropping grass seed into those slits. This process is commonly used for establishing a new lawn or overseeding an existing one. Here is an overview of the slit seeding process:


Before slit seeding, it is important to prepare the lawn properly. This involves mowing the grass to a height of 1-2 inches and removing any debris or thatch from the lawn. It is also recommended to aerate the soil to improve seed-to-soil contact and promote better seed germination.


Once the lawn is prepared, it is time to start the seeding process. The slit seeder should be filled with the appropriate amount of seed for the lawn size and the seed flow setting adjusted accordingly. The most common setting for the slit seeder is to lay about 5 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.

The slit seeder should then be walked across the lawn in a back-and-forth pattern, ensuring that the seed is evenly distributed. The machine will create slits in the soil and drop the seed into those slits.

Post-Seeding Care

After seeding, it is important to water the lawn thoroughly to ensure that the seed is properly hydrated. It is recommended to water the lawn daily for the first two weeks to help the seed germinate. Once the grass starts to grow, it is important to gradually reduce the frequency of watering.

Fertilizer can also be applied to the lawn after seeding to promote healthy growth. However, it is important to wait at least 4-6 weeks before applying fertilizer to entire lawn to avoid burning the new grass.

cutting lawn to right height

Dealing with Challenges

Slit seeding is a highly effective method for establishing a new lawn or adding new seeds to an existing one. However, there are several challenges that can arise during the process. This section will discuss some common challenges and how to deal with them.

Soil and Thatch

One of the main challenges of slit seeding is dealing with soil and thatch buildup. Soil compaction and thatch accumulation can prevent seeds from reaching the soil, reducing germination rates and hindering the growth of new grass.

To address this challenge, it is recommended to aerate the soil before slit seeding. This aeration will help loosen compacted soil and reduce thatch buildup, allowing seeds to penetrate the soil more easily. 

Additionally, it is important to perform a soil test to determine if the soil is lacking in any essential nutrients. This will help ensure that the new grass has the nutrients it needs to grow strong and healthy.

Rocks and Leaves

Another challenge of slit seeding is dealing with rocks and leaves. Rocks can damage the slit seeder and prevent seeds from reaching the soil, while leaves can clog the machine and reduce its effectiveness.

To address this, you need to clear the lawn of any rocks and yard debris before slit seeding. This will help prevent damage to the machine and ensure that seeds can reach the soil. 

Additionally, it is important to rake up any leaves or other debris after slit seeding to prevent them from clogging the machine and reducing its effectiveness.

Birds and Other Pests

Finally, birds and other pests can pose a challenge to slit seeding. Birds are notorious for eating grass seed, while other pests like squirrels and rabbits can dig up newly planted seeds.

To address this challenge, it is recommended to cover the newly seeded area with a light layer of straw or other covering material. This will help deter birds and other pests from eating the seeds. Additionally, it is important to keep pets and other animals off of the newly seeded area to prevent damage to the seeds and young grass.

thatch on lawn

Slit Seeding for Professionals

Slit seeding is a popular method of lawn renovation among professional landscapers. It involves using a slit seeder machine to cut slits in the soil and deposit seeds in those cracks. 

This technique is particularly useful for improving warm-season lawns by adding cool-season variety grass seeds, which can help keep these lawns green over the winter months.


One of the main benefits of slit seeding for professionals is the ability to cover a large area quickly and efficiently. Many modern slit seeders have a 20-inch cutting width, which allows landscapers to cover a significant amount of ground in a short amount of time. This makes it an ideal choice for large commercial properties or sports fields.

Level of Difficulty

While slit seeding may seem like a daunting task to some, it is actually relatively easy to do with the right equipment and knowledge. Many professional landscapers are trained in the use of slit seeders and can complete the job quickly and efficiently. 

However, it is important to note that homeowners may find the process more challenging, as they may not have access to the same level of equipment or expertise.

Benefits for Landscapers

Slit seeding can be a profitable service for professional landscapers. By offering this service, they can help their clients achieve a lush, healthy lawn without the need for expensive sod installation. Additionally, this service can be offered as part of a larger package of lawn care services, which can help increase revenue for the business.

In conclusion, slit seeding is a popular and effective method of lawn renovation for professional landscapers. With its ability to cover a large area quickly and efficiently, relatively easy level of difficulty, and potential profitability, it is a valuable service to offer for those in the lawn care industry.

lawn after slit seeder

People also ask

What is a slice seeder and how does it work?

A slice seeder, also known as a slit seeder or overseeder, is a machine that is used to plant grass seeds into the soil. The machine works by slicing through the soil and creating a small furrow or slit into which the grass seed is placed. The seed is then covered with soil, which helps to protect it and keep it moist until it germinates.

What are the benefits of using a slice seeder for lawn seeding?

One of the main benefits of using a slice seeder is that it allows you to plant grass seeds directly into the soil, rather than just spreading them on the surface. 

This can help to increase the germination rate and improve the overall health and appearance of your lawn. Additionally, slice seeders are often more efficient than other seeding methods, such as hand-seeding or using a broadcast spreader.

How does a slice seeder compare to a dethatcher or overseeder?

While dethatchers and overseeders can also be used to plant grass seeds, they work in slightly different ways. Dethatchers are designed to remove dead grass and other debris from the surface of the lawn, which can help to improve the soil and create a better environment for new grass to grow.

Overseeders, on the other hand, are designed to spread grass seeds evenly over the surface of the lawn. While both of these tools can be useful for lawn care, slice seeders are generally considered to be more effective when it comes to planting new grass.

What are some popular brands of slice seeders?

There are many different brands of slice seeders available on the market, including Brinly, Earthway, and Agri-Fab. Each of these brands offers a range of different models with varying features and capabilities, so it’s important to do your research and choose the one that best meets your needs.

Can a slice seeder be rented from Home Depot?

Yes, Home Depot offers a variety of rental options for slice seeders and other lawn care equipment. Rental rates may vary depending on the specific model and the length of time that you need it.

Is a slice seeder suitable for use with a tractor?

Yes, many slice seeders are designed to be attached to a tractor and pulled behind it. This can be a great option for larger lawns or commercial properties where a lot of seeding needs to be done quickly and efficiently. 

However, it’s important to choose a slice seeder that is compatible with your tractor and to follow all safety guidelines when using it.

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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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