KBG Overseeding - which brand would you recommend?

micnn(9b)August 21, 2014

Hi, I have a small lawn (700 sqft) in my backyard. Last year I planted Kentucky Bluegrass using Scott's blend and I am okay with the results. The lawn is fairly established so far with manageable weeds. However Scott's grass blend is very susceptible to rust disease and at one point the lawn was almost killed off this late spring. Other than that I think the grass is doing fine despite the summer stress and drought. I plan to overseed the lawn this fall and I have purchased the following two commercial KBG blends:

Blend one: Jonathan Green - Sod Maker KBG
=====
39.35% Madison KBG WA
29.50% Blackjack KBG WA
19.65% Wild Horse KBG WA
9.83% Corsair KBG WA

Blend two: Pennington - Smart Seed KBG
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48.80% Ridgeline KBG WA/OR
24.30% Wild Horse KBG WA
14.50% Oasis KBG WA
9.60% Mallard KBG WA

I have done some researches on the grass species including reading NTEP test results. But I want some experts' opinions.

My backyard is made up of heavy clay. But after a year of thriving grass and soil amendments the soil structure has improved greatly. The grass are rooted to an average depth of 2 - 3 inches. The lawn area gets full sun during the warm seasons.

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Mitter

Midnight, Kentucky blue grass is probably still the best blue grass. Very dark blue green and disease resistant. You can buy 5 pounds for $20 at Outside Pride just search Outside pride grass seed. This amount should do your small lawn nicely.Good luck
Mitter

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 3:53PM
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Mitter

Check the post several posts down by Sahara if you want to see how KBG looks
Mitter

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 4:00PM
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micnn(9b)

Thanks Mitter! I have been looking forward to Midnight KBG ever since I learned about it. Now is the chance. :) Just ordered one 5-lb package.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 1:05PM
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morpheuspa

First year lawns do tend to get some rust and red thread. Even my Midnight-heavy lawn did that the first spring, but it never got anywhere near fatal levels.

One thing to consider is the color difference. It's unlikely that the Midnight will sprout evenly across the lawn, it'll probably sprout where there are holes and openings.

You're likely to end up with a good bit of color patterning, at least for a while. Hopefully the Midnight will eventually dominate the lawn due to its tendency to produce copious rhizomes.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 1:33PM
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micnn(9b)

Interesting! I had no idea rust is common for 1st year KBG lawn, although I did notice young grass (2-3 month old) got rusty after a period of humid weather. All grass wilted to the point of extinction. Then,miraculously, young seedlings started to come out from almost dying grass and quickly flourish the lawn again. And as if this 2nd generation are fortified with altered gene that the grass became more resistant to rust disease. I have been quite curious about this observation.

Problem is, overseeding seems to only repeat this fiasco all over again. This late spring the rust fungus were so spooky that not even the 2nd generation could cope well, combined that with server drought and local water restrictions.

I found Scott's blend contains both lousy species and ones that also get high mark in NTEP's results in terms of rust and drought resistance. The grass color is also quite visually pleasing. But this year I think I can do something different. :) I don't mind spotty lawn for as long it's KBG all the way. This lawn is still experimental for me.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Mitter

Good for you Micnn I planted a lot of this grass and never saw any rust at all . Keep in mind there are reasons for everything and I am not saying the posters who say they had rust problems are wrong. If possible find out if your grass has the proper ph if not lime . Overseed and lets see what happens. Good luck Mitter

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 4:09PM
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morpheuspa

>>Interesting! I had no idea rust is common for 1st year KBG lawn, although I did notice young grass (2-3 month old) got rusty after a period of humid weather. All grass wilted to the point of extinction. Then,miraculously, young seedlings started to come out from almost dying grass and quickly flourish the lawn again. And as if this 2nd generation are fortified with altered gene that the grass became more resistant to rust disease. I have been quite curious about this observation.

In the right weather conditions, it's pretty common, and younger grass is more susceptible to it.

In locales where evening dew doesn't sit on the lawn all night, it's going to be an extremely rare observation. For me in Pennsylvania, capital state of humid fall weather, I've never seeded a lawn and NOT gotten some rust or red thread.

It's rare that it completely kills the crown and blade, so your grass simply recovered from it. Yes, the infection does stimulate the plant's immune system, plus the grass had gotten a little older and, hence, more resistant to the disease. So it's normal that you'd suddenly have growth that wasn't susceptible any longer (although it probably still had rust, it just couldn't get bad enough to show).

>>Problem is, overseeding seems to only repeat this fiasco all over again. This late spring the rust fungus were so spooky that not even the 2nd generation could cope well, combined that with server drought and local water restrictions.

It does. Your newest grass is wide open to infection, and once it has a good place to breed, it tries to spread.

Combine that with water restrictions and that also weakens the grasses.

>>But this year I think I can do something different. :) I don't mind spotty lawn for as long it's KBG all the way. This lawn is still experimental for me.

Rust is one of those diseases that's easy to beat. It detests a shifted pH on the grass surface (not the soil so don't fiddle with that while seeding). A very light overspray with 1 tbsp baking soda and 1 tsp liquid soap in 1 gallon water will kill rust on contact and provides about a week of protection even if you water. Nobody can figure that one out, but I just say it probably stimulates the plant's immune system and stop worrying about it.

Rust dislikes nitrogen, so good feeding of your lawn will tend to depress it out--the lawn can grow and develop faster than the rust can spread. My last full renovation was organic, and although I got rust, I didn't get very much.

Trichoderma fungus, a vampire fungus that consumes other diseases, will slow, stop, or eradicate rust depending on the conditions. Trichoderma is easy to add, simply apply 10 pounds per thousand square feet of corn meal or cracked corn. It won't harm your lawn, and actually gives it a very weak, very gentle feeding. It's best to apply the corn when you seed to give the fungus time to propagate.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 1:07PM
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micnn(9b)

Thank you morpheus! It feels good to be loaded with this knowledge and control methods so I won't be so helpless the next time. :)

Getting my spray bottle ready... Hands up in the air, Rusty!

This post was edited by micnn on Tue, Aug 26, 14 at 13:36

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 1:32PM
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