Yard graded. Should i aerate next???

iriasj2009April 25, 2013

Planning on seeding Yukon bermuda grass.
What i have done so far:
1.Removed sod (St Augustine). Raked all debris.
2. Graded the yard.
3. Filled some spots with sand to smooth out.

I previously had St. Augustine grass but I wanted Bermuda grass. I moved in on Sept. 2012 and i have been researching on how to prepare the yard since.

PROBLEM... The ground was so HARD that the st augustine that was there had very shollow roots and you had to water it to keep it green.

After grading the yard (boxblade) i was hoping for the soil to loosen up a bit, which it did, but just the top 1.5 inches or so and in some places none. Will the seed germinate and stay alive long enough to establish and then aerate next Spring????

**Screwdriver test- goes in but with some force when dry and its a bit easier when wet.

**I am planning on spreading compost with the seed, just a thin layer.

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Not sure how to tell you this, but it is way too early to seed Bermuda grass. If you seed now the seed will just there and rot in the ground.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Thank you for the follow up.

(Houston area by the way)

I was timing for the first week of may, considering avg temps being 80s high and 60s lows the past 2 weeks (and seeing others north from here having success around this time.. BUT, I dont mind waiting (you are the expert).

About aerating, what do you recommend?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:08PM
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(Houston area by the way)

OK that changes things a bit, first week of May will work. No need to aerate, that was done when you graded.

Only real problem I see is your timing could use improvement. The ideal time to seed is immediately after you have the area graded while the soil is still loose. You pulled the trigger too early.

OK enough of that let's move on as it is no real big deal, just more work on your part. When seeding time comes use a rake or something to loosen up the top 1/4-inch of soil. Then seed and apply a Starter Fertilizer like 10-20-10. Then Roll with a water roller and start your watering regime until you get germination.

One thing I will warn you about is this season you will have a lot of weeds.Not squat you can do about it, except hand pull, until later in the season (after summer heat breaks) after the grass is established.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:28PM
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Will do!!! Thanks Texasweed!!! (I can handle weeds)

So we're talking about 2k sq ft area. I've heard NOT to overseed the yard in fall, ESPECIALLY on a newly lawn. BUT.... I really want to try to have a yard year long and DO NOT mind all the extra work involved. But coming from you and the area i am from, would my Yukon be in Terrible shock, say, come next spring???? Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

By the way i want to keep you guys out there updated on progress/results. Should i start a new thread or keep this on going???? i will provide pictures ;)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:18AM
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I know what TW will say regarding over seeding: DONT DO IT. It will compromise the Bermuda for various reasons.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 9:00AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Where in Houston? If you're in the city or to the south, growing season is pretty long.

Your house looks like the kind I grew up in Houston. Must be close to each other.

You're brave not to have any trees for shade. My dad planted trees everywhere for shade... and we planted even more trees to replace dead trees (lightening strikes and hurricanes). Just too hot and humid in the summers.

Better hope that you don't get very heavy downpour rain at the wrong time. That would wash all the dirt and seeds out!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 9:46AM
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rager - From reading several post online, i knew what the answer on overseeding was especially from texasweed lol, but i guess i just wanted input from others, perhaps from some who have actually attempted it. Most likely i will not overseed this first year.

lou - Baytown to be exact, born and raised. Growing season here is longer than others, thats why i looked into overseeding. Where in Houston did you grow up?

i have 3 trees in the back yard. As for the front I do have a large pecan tree between my neighbors house and mine and closer to the house. BUT I should get close to 7 hours of sun around the tree ( i made a flower bed big enough under the canopy). Reason being why i chose Bermuda is because im a big soccer player and i have always admired the turf, and im also going for a more tropical look :).

Talking about downpours, Just received 2-3 inches of rain. Good thing im holding off on seeding!!! The weather is just very unpredictable right now so we'll see what happens.

Again should i keep updates on this thread or should i start a new one?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 2:12AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Grew up by 290 and 610, just outside of the loop.

Good luck with seeding the front yard. I wouldn't know how to deal with it knowing that May tend to be very wet month. Perfect time yet can be very disastrous.

It should be interesting to see if Yukon would stay green longer into the winter considering that it's known for its cold tolerance.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Well you are right, IMO DO NOT OVER SEED BERMUDA It is just not worth it to have a green yard year round.

In Houston Bermuda rarely ever goes fully dormant and is green 9 months out of the year. To over seed Bermuda regardless where you live to be done right requires you to use a herbicide in late winter or spring to kill off the Rye grass. In areas where Bermuda does go fully dormant the most cost effective way is to use Round Up just before the weather warms up while the Bermuda is still fully dormant. Of course that means a dead looking yard for a month in between the time the Rye is killed off and the Bermuda greens up. The other way professionals (golf course management and commercial landscapers) is to use a Transitional Herbicide after the Bermuda starts to green up and those take a few weeks to work and usually requires more than one application of VERY EXPENSIVE herbicides that are not usually sold in small quantities for home owners because they are professional products sold in volume to cover acres, not square feet.

See where I am going with this?

Your winter if you want to cal it that is so short, it is just not worth it IMO. By the time you get Rye planted, it germinates and gets established, it is time to kill it off.

I just recently retired and move to Prescott AZ and started my third career as a golf course superintendent where we do over seed. But this is the last year we will do it. There is a new trend taking over in the USGA course management based on conservation and cost management. Golf participation is falling off and revenue is way down from previous years, plus pressure from water conservationist. The new trend is to NOT OVER SEED in September/October and just let the greens and fairways go dormant. It saves a lot of money, and to everyone surprise players like the firmer, smoother, and faster fairways and greens it gives them in winter months. It cost a golf course depending on variety of the seed blend and size of course some $200,000 dollars to over seed a course, plus all the water and maintenance cost during winter months. Do away with it and a course saves some $300,000 to $400,000 per year in operating cost. The other two benefits are huge. Most of the players/members like the dormant playing conditions, plus the course greens up faster in the spring and is much healthier. So it is pretty much a Win-Win scenario once the players/ members get over the initial shock of seeing the course go dormant in the fall.

In my case I was able to get the membership to go for it with one exception of the greens. So this year we are putting in Temporary Greens, and wrecking out the Bermuda greens and going back to Bent Grass. Up here in Prescott we can get away with Bent because it is so much cooler than down in the Valley. In fact if the membership would accept closing the course for a year, we could replace the fairways with KBG and be green all year.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 12:22PM
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lou- I used to go up there and play cards with some friends. and thanks i need it. Its looking dry for the next 10 days so i was really tempted on planting the seed but a cold front is coming in and its going to dip down to 47F for 2 nights and mid 60s for highs. Weird for this time of year. it will however warm up right away and we're looking at 80s high and above 60 for lows after that. So Im going to hold off until then and just hope we don't get any downpours until i see plenty of germination. I will keep everyone posted on my progress. i started a new thread on a reno.

Texasweed - Ok i think i am 90% convinced NOT to overseed lol. Only reason i really would love to is because i have had soccer matches on perennial rye and it is a beautiful turf, and i would love to show it off haha. But any who, like you said the winter season is so short, its to much of a hassle to do it. i rather keep my Bermuda healthy. I think my dream job would be to do what you do now and work at a golf course maintaing them. Very interesting all of what you said.

Again thanks all you guys for all your input!!!!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 10:09PM
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Well if for some reason you do decide to over seed, ask and I will give you some directions. You can also look on this forum as I think I started a Thread not to long ago about how to getter done the right way.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 10:43PM
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Sure will!!!! Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:43PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I'm a little south of you in San Antonio and also in George West. You should be able to have a green and growing bermuda lawn all year if you continue to water, mow, and fertilize. This past winter was one of the best with many of the St Aug lawns continuing to be green all winter (mine included). Funny but my lawn in George West (100 miles south of SA) did go dormant while the San Antonio lawn remained green.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:11AM
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hello dchall - I did noticed that most bermudas out here stayed green all winter (especially with the mild winter that we had), and i wonder if yukon will have a better chance at it. So like i said I'm opting out on overseeding lol. I might try it one year but just to experiment.

That brings up a question tho.... If a mild winter is expected, i can keep fertilizing all winter?? i shouldnt give the bermuda a rest? Please comment on this.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:44AM
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