Best mulch for grass seed?

diggity_ma(5 MA)May 17, 2012

Is straw still the recommended mulch for new seed? (I've got another thread about fixing the grass next to our new pool, but regardless of what we do there, I've still got another area that is going to be replanted from scratch this year.) It's about 2000 sqft. It has been quite a while since I've planted such a large area. I seem to remember in the past that straw blew all around and made a mess. I can get bales of chopped straw (Mainely Mulch brand), but it's kind of expensive and I wouldn't know how many bales to buy. What do you recommend that would be effective and economical?

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I use sphagnum peat moss with good results. When dry, it is easy to spread uniformly to 1/8 -1/4" over the area with a dustpan (very dirty job tho--especially if any wind). When wet and kept wet, it makes an excellent cover (when you first wet it, it kind of binds to itself) for the seed by holding moisture in and the seed in place.

It can be a double edged sword, if you allow it to dry out it will pull moisture out of the soil and seed (bad) on the other hand when it starts to dry out, it changes color and is a great indicator that it's time to wet the area again.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 1:43PM
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diggity_ma(5 MA)

grass1950, do you have trouble with the peat moss blowing around after it is applied? I'm worried about it blowing into the pool (that said, I'm also worried about straw blowing into the pool too).


    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 9:23AM
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No problem with it blowing around after it is applied and wetted. It does seem to bind together forming a "crust". However during the time you are spreading it, as it is very powdery, it is suceptable to being blown by the windas it drops to the ground. Maybe using your pool cover might help or maybe pick a day without a breeze or when the area to be covered is downwind of the pool. I use a brand called Lambert and my supplier stores it inside so it is powder dry which makes it very easy to spread thinly. Depending on the market it is $13-15 a bag. and a bag should cover about 2000 sq ft (at least it does for me). If your willing to gamble $15 you could buy a bag and run a small test and judge for yourself if it is workable in your situation.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 10:13AM
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diggity_ma(5 MA)

OK, thanks!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 10:54AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Yeah, Dr Blade is trolling for customers.

You don't need anything to cover grass seed. When Mother Nature sends her herbivores out to plant new grass, all they have is their hooves. When they leave a field the remaining seeds are pressed into the ground by their movement walking on it. What you need is good contact between the seed and soil. Rolling it down with a water fillable roller does that.

Are you talking about seeding into old grass or is this a new project? Must be new because straw on old grass wouldn't do anything.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 1:17AM
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diggity_ma(5 MA)

Yes dchall, it is a new area. The installation of a pool has spawned so many projects in our back yard. One of them is moving the entire vegetable garden! Right in the middle of the growing season. Yesterday I just rototilled the old veggie garden, which will now be planted with grass and a mini-orchard of a few fruit trees. The soil is wonderful loam, as I've been amending it with OM for years. I practically cried to see it turned under, but once all our projects are done, Back Yard 2.0 will be a significant upgrade from Back Yard 1.0.

After tilling, the soil is fluffy. I know it needs to be packed down. I don't have access to a roller, so I think I'm going to let it get rained on once or twice (heavy rain expected off and on this week) and maybe run over it with the lawn tractor for a while, then lightly re-rake it prior to lime, starter fert, and seed. Sound like a plan?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 9:53AM
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Home Depot rents water filled rollers for like $15 dollars. This will do a much better job than rain and your tractor. I also like to topdress. I think you get faster and better germination with a very thin dressing and your seeds will stay moister longer, so missing a watering won't be a huge deal. I generally use screened topsoil for small areas, and a peat/compost or topsoil mix for large areas.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 1:32PM
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diggity_ma(5 MA)

Hmmmm, tempting, tiemco. I'll think about renting a roller. Not sure if I could fit it in my Prius though, LOL!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 2:04PM
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