Seeding on a hill

jbreits(Iowa)April 29, 2008

I have a hill that needs seeding. I don't know the grade, but it's not so steep that it'll be a problem to mow, but it is steep enough that you could sled down it in the winter.

My plan has been to broadcast seed, rake seed in, lightly roll to press seed into soil, spread straw, and possibly roll again to press the straw down. I was hoping that this would be enough erosion control to get the hill seeded. However, the excavator that did the grading recommends erosion mats/blankets, but these are pretty darn expensive for such a large area. I guess I figured that I'd be OK with straw and if I developed a rut or two, I'd fill them and reseed them later.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Josh

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formicburn

Straw should be ok as long as it's oat straw (weed free). Many tests have been done using straw, pennmulch, peat moss, and other mulching materials. Straw has always outperformed the others and it works great at holding the soil in place until the grass comes up. I used straw last fall with no problems.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 11:18PM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

[quote] Many tests have been done using straw, pennmulch, peat moss, and other mulching materials.Straw has always outperformed [/quote]

References?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 12:07AM
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morpheuspa

I have a personal preference for peat moss as it did well on my grade in the back (also steep enough to sled, not a problem to mow). I suspect any mulch, or a good slit-seeding, would do as well.

I tend to hate straw because it's ugly and it doesn't get any less ugly for a long time. Peat moss at least has a nice, brown, earthy look to it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 7:24AM
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bshudson(SE Texas)

Have you considered hydroseeding?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:43AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

The erosion mats are cheaper than re-seeding.

Hydro seed is a good suggestion, but they often require large areas to be economical.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:12AM
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jeannie7

The hill you can slide down in winter because there is less adhesion of the body on the snow .
You admit you can mow the grass on the hill, so why think it wont hold grass seed properly. Are you expecting a flood.
Forget the straw.....you want grass ...not a barnyard.
Just wetting it and rolling it if necessary for good contact is enough. If you prefer, sprinkle some topsoil...1/4" over it will keep the birds from it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:20AM
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jbreits(Iowa)

OK. I wonder if I've painted a good enough picture of the grade. I'll try to measure the grade tonight. Perhaps that will help. We've had heavy rains here over the past month and we ended April several inches above normal. It was enough rain to create ruts going down the hill (they've since been filled in by the grading). I'm concerned that a good rain will wash away all the seed. Another part of me thinks that even if it did wear a rut in the ground, it'd be cheaper to get some grass bestablished now and come back and fix/reseed the ruts. That's why I've been looking for something to control the erosion.

However, as the hillside is a rather large area, I'm going for economical as well as practical. To cover the entire area, the cheapest solution so far (aside from doing nothing) has been the straw. I can't seem to find erosion mats anywhere at a cheap price.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 1:07PM
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turf_junkie

1) Starter fertilzer
2) Cut the seed into the hill with a slit-seeder (or rake/seed/rake).
3) Roll.
4) Light straw (so you can still see some soil)
5) Water carefully/daily

* Find out how much it would cost for sod! (Check this cost against your time/fertilizer/renting seeder/grass seed/straw)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 2:23PM
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bshudson(SE Texas)

However, as the hillside is a rather large area, I'm going for economical as well as practical

Since it's a large area, then hydroseeding may be a reasonable option. You might try calling some in your area just to check it out before making up your mind. Here's a link to some in Iowa:

Iowa Hydroseeders

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 2:43PM
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doitmyselfr

Depending on the size of the hill, I vote for sod. If it's an area, say 20x30 it'll cost about $250 for 60 rolls (2x5) of sod.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 4:07PM
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jbreits(Iowa)

A little more details on the hill. The grading completed yesterday so I attempted to measure the grade of the hill using non-precise methods. I came up with about a 10-12 degree slope. The size of the hill is roughly 100ft long (walking top to bottom) and 140+ ft wide (depending on where you stop measuring).

A picture of the hill can be seen at:
http://josh.breittechnologies.com/blog/2008_05_01_Planting_A_New_Lawn_Rough_Grade_Done

The size of the area to cover is the primary reason why I am looking for something economical.

My grass mix is about 20% perennial rye which should sprout quickly and about 80% KBG which will take quite a while. I've already purchased 60 bales of straw for the whole yard based on 1000+ sq ft per bale and somewhere between 60,000-80,000 sq ft.

Any more opinions on whether I can get by with the straw? If I get a rut or two, it wouldn't be a huge deal to come back and fix and reseed. I figured that way I could spend more time nursing those ruts.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 11:08AM
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bob64(6)

Your hill does not look too steep from the pictures. You might be able to get away with just broadcasting seed followed by straw mulch. Of course, if I am wrong you are still the one who has to deal with the outcome so you might want to try the more aggressive measures suggested above.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 3:16PM
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morpheuspa

No steeper than mine and I used peat moss. There were some washout bits, but not many, that needed a bit of soil and reseeding. Those are coming in now.

Choosing a more aggressive method just on that hill would cut down on those a lot if you don't want to have to do much correcting later.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 8:50PM
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jbreits(Iowa)

I'd rather fix a few things later than pay for enough erosion mat to cover the whole hill.

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm going with the straw. Will let you know how it goes.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 3:27PM
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zhotster

jbreits, good luck!! I'm a state north of you (25 miles from NE Iowa) and I seeded a small area on a side of a hill with similar or a little more incline. I seeded it twice, the first time a torrential rain washed the seed off. The second time I raked, seeded, and then raked again. We haven't had many sunny days at all yet, so I'm just starting to see germination in 3+ weeks, but it's coming in well on the side hill. The raking method definitely works.

You are pushing into a warmer period than I seeded in, so putting down some straw will definitely help keep things stable. It will also shade a bit, which will help!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 3:38PM
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