Overseeding New Lawn

mikewarnerFebruary 11, 2013

I just recently built a new house. The landscaper sowed the lawn back in November 2012. He used a starter fertilizer, fescue and then covered the lawn with a thick layer of straw. I am starting to see grass poking up through the straw.

Yesterday (2/10/13) I overseeded a Scotts Fescue mix over the lawn. My hope is that the rain we had last night will wash the seed thru the staw onto the ground and give me a nice thick lawn this summer. But, I'm worried now that I wasted my time and money or that I should have done more.

Your thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated.

I live in Northeast Tennessee (Zone 7).

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The concern that immediately popped into my head when I read your post is that of over-crowding. For a completely new lawn, you want approximately 8#'s of seed per 1,000 sqft.; going over that creates a few challenges. The biggest challenge is for the root system, which will struggle to develop as it competes with the surrounding new growth, if it is over-crowded. The second issue is the susceptibility to disease, such as pythium blight, which usually shows up in dense new growth, before the turf has a chance to mature. You may look at your lawn and think I'm crazy to mention overcrowding, but keep in mind that germination is triggered by two things (neither of which are fertilizer, that has to do with post-germination results). When the soil temperature is around 65 to 70 degrees and the seed gets wet, an enzyme is triggered in the seed, and off it goes. So, November was a little late for seeding Fescue in Tennessee, so I would expect most of it to germinate this Spring.

At this point, focus on keeping potassium levels up to alleviate the problems I just noted. Nurseries and other vendors should have a granular 0-0-20 with micro-nutrients for right now, which will help your cause. Do not use a high-nitrogen fertilizer until next Fall. In March, a slow-release 16-0-8 (2-1 N to K ratio) will work fine with Micro-nutrients, humic-acid, and more Potassium through the Summer applications. You are welcome to visit the link provided, which has an album titled Fixing Problem areas, with photos of a late Fall project I did for an Atlanta customer. Just click on the pictures for specific notes on the process.

Good Luck

Here is a link that might be useful: Serenity Lawn Service Facebook tips

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:59PM
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Thanks Serenity. Just spoke with a local nursery and they have a 0-0-60. I will be spreading that as soon as it dries up a bit.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:59PM
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