Complete Kill and Seed in Nebraska

dalcompanionJuly 28, 2013

I am new here, but I've done lots of searches and reading. I have a lawn that four years ago was all clover and weeds. I had it sprayed for weeds the first year, and sprayed again the second, and we watered and we mowed high and they sprayed again. Last year it finally looked nice in the spring. It was a thin bladed grass, not real dark green but it looked nice. My father said he thought it was bluegrass. We have kids though (five) and it didn't take them playing on it very well. Plus - we had a severe drought last year. Everyone in town tried watering, but three months of almost no rain and high temps was just too much. Then in August the town had problems with its wells and said no more. Everything died. At first we thought just dormant, but eventually people said it had crossed the line and one lawn care guy said it was too much for it to even come back.

This year it all came back as weeds. Some people in town have okay lawns, but they watered more than we did (even when they weren't supposed to). Many peoples started good and is now dormant because they refuse to water again if it's going to be like last year. Our grass didn't really even try. I mean there is literally almost no grass that I can see. Crab grass and clover and everything else seems to be growing but that's it. I think I'm going to kill it with round up, rake it, and reseed it all.

I've searched on here a lot and I think I have a plan but I want to make sure it's okay and fine tune it a bit.

I plan on spraying with round up next weekend (Aug. 2 - 4th). Then I'll water it for two weeks about 30 minutes a day as someone said roundup only kills living things and the watering will cause the dormant seeds to grow. Then Aug. 16 - 18th I'll roundup again and let it all go for two weeks. I am NOT going to till, even though everyone here - including the extension office, says to. All I have read on this site says tilling is bad and I believe it after the reasons that have been given.

That leads me to my first question. I have a de-thatcher that I use once in a while that has metal prongs that dig in the ground a bit. They are about 5 inches apart and there's a bag that sits behind it with a brush that throws the dead stuff into it. I'm hoping this will work to rough up the ground? I don't have much money and buying the seed and roundup will probably be about as much as I can afford. If I run over it a lot it seems to really do a number on the surface. Will this work? My daughter and I can also rake by hand pretty well. This is a small part of the yard - about 65' by 40' that I want to try this on and I think we can do it. If it works, I'll do the rest of the yard in a year. I really want to avoid renting something.

Assuming that'll work, I will seed. I want to use a product from Todd Valley Farms called RTF Fescue. (I hope I can put that - I'm not endorsing it - it's just what I'm thinking I should use). I've got people at work who said their builders used it and it seems to handle the weather here pretty good and takes the wear from the kids playing on it pretty well too. I think my soil is pretty good. This is farming country and while I'm not a farmer, I've dug in this stuff enough to know the top soil is nice and dark about 8-12 inches down at least. It might be compacted if anything. If anything I'll buy some compost like stuff or seed starter that I can throw on without having to buy too much.

I'll then role it and water everyday once a day? for about 30 mins. I'm not real sure how often or much to do that (or when in the day). I can set up sprinklers to hit most of it so my wife (who is home all day but has kids to watch) can turn the water on and off.

Is what I'm doing sound okay? Is WHEN I'm doing it sound okay. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Save yourself some money and avoid the "miracle" seeds.
All they are selling is a blend of existing cultivars and hype."
Why did you want your children to avoid the KBG lawn you had?

Here is a link that might be useful: So called rhizotom fescue water savers

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 2:02PM
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I didn't want my kids to avoid the lawn, it's that when they played on it too much it would get really packed down and look horrible. Five pairs of feet and toys is a lot. It didn't bounce back very well and in some spots after playing on it too much some of it would just die off. I want a lawn they can play on. I'll read your link on the seed, but besides that could you tell me if my plan of attack seems okay (timing, method, etc...)?

This post was edited by dalcompanion on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 20:58

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:33PM
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KBG= Kentucky BlueGrass.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:55PM
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I just updated my post (I can't believe I didn't realize KBG was Blue Grass)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:59PM
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The dethatcher will work fine for removing debree and clearing to soil surface for better seed to soil contact, but don't expect to use it to slit seed, it will tear the seed up and if you try to drop it low enough to till the soil, you'll break the rines which gets very expensive.
Best route after RoundUp proceedure you discribed:
1. Scalp the lawn (as low as you can set your mower without hitting dirt)
2. Rake or power rake to remove debree and expose the soil for seed/soil contact.
4. Spred a starter fertilizer at a rate of 1# phosphorous per 1000 sq ft. ( or per starter fertilizer bag recommended spreader setting.
5. Topdress (no more than 1/4" thick. (recommend you use peat moss--one 3-4 cu ft bag will cover about 500 sq ft or more--make sure peat moss is dry when you buy it or let it dry on a tarp in the garage--use a dust pan to slowly sprinkle it on turf, you get the hang of it quickly so that you are spreading 1/4" consistently)
6.MOST IMPORTANT; Water the peat moss untill it breaks hydrophobia and accepts water, thenkeep soil moist, not wet--water 3-4 times a day for about 5 - ten minutes each time--do not water until it pools.
7. Once seed germinates (good germination), water 2 times a day for half and hour. About a week later you can drop to watering about 3 times a week (depending on weather) and after the first mow, go to once a week for an inch of water.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:34PM
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thanks for the reply. What does "Slit Seed" mean? when you said:

"The dethatcher will work fine for removing debree and clearing to soil surface for better seed to soil contact, but don't expect to use it to slit seed"

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:56PM
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A slit seeder is like your de-thatcher, but instead of tines, has fixed blades like circular saw blades which will cut grooves (slits) into the soil up to an inch deep. One way to slit seed is to spread the seed and use the slit seeder to bury them- thos works best with small seeds like KBG but can injure larger seeds like fescue. The other mesthod is to cut the slits first, then spread seed which falls into the slit and cover the slit by raking or rolling.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 10:32PM
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should I roll the area after I put the seed on? or after I put the starter fertilizer on? But before I topdress it? Or should I not roll at all? Just curious?

Or is there another way (I don't have a roller except for a concrete roller (2 tons) that's pulled with a small tractor. I'm assuming I should NOT use that.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:00PM
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Rolling is up to you and can be done at any stage. Just make sure the area is not damp so material doesn't end up sticking to the roller.

Edit: No, I wouldn't use a 2-ton roller. I've never seen a 2-ton that wasn't a pavement roller.

This post was edited by grass1950 on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 11:22

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:18AM
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its for the farm. Its heavy enough to flatten the marks a tractor tire leaves when you drive it through some place you didn't mean to! It's also really handy to pack gravel down when you are redoing a road or driveway. No, I won't use it.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:00PM
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