shade grass seed mix

ranger481vsNovember 15, 2011

Hello. I am planning to do dormant grass overseeding soon on my residential lawn. I've lived here about a year, and the turf is in decent condition, but not very thick at all. I don't think the original owner ever reseeded in the last 36yrs. I have a few areas where the grass isn't growing very well because of shade. Overall, I would say I have a shady lawn because of the mature trees surrounding it. I cut back many of the trees a bit this fall to allow more sunlight.

I've found a local turf/landscaping supply company here in Madison, WI that has their own seed mix for shade grass as follows:

30% Winward Chewings Fescue

30% Jasper II Creeping Red Fescue

20% America Kentucky Bluegrass

10% Dark Horse Poa Trivialis

10% Fiesta III Perennial Ryegrass

I'm not familiar with grass seed at all, so I was hoping to get an opinion or two on this particular mixture. Thanks, Matt

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I wouldn't use it. The perennial ryegrass will last one season in shade, then it will thin out due to its low shade tolerance. It is only 10 percent of the mix however, and I suspect it is only in there for it's quick germination time, and it will help stabilize bare soil while the other grasses establish. America KBG will do ok as long as it gets at least 4-5 hours of direct sun, but it will struggle with less. The Fescues are a great choice of shade grass and can do with little direct sun. The main issue I have is with the poa trivialis. I planted poa trivialis (some of it was darkhorse) in my backyard due to shade issues. It is a nice looking grass when it is by itself, but in a mixed stand it will stand out due to its light green color and it's fast growth rate. It is also sensitive to 2,4 D based weed killers. There are plenty of better shade mixes out there, Bonny Dunes fine fescue mix is one that I have heard good things about.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 10:38AM
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Thanks for the quick response Tiemco. I will look into Bonny Dunes mix. I may end up having to wait until spring to spread the seed, as there's potential for snowfall at any time these days. Is there much of a difference in benefits between dormant seeding vs just dropping the seeds in spring? In both cases, the seed germinates at the same time it seems.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 1:50PM
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Dormant seeding is a bit better because the seed gets worked into the soil which is better for germination, you will use less water, and the seed will germinate at the absolute earliest possible time in the spring, giving it the most time to get established before the summer. The only thing to remember is that if it is a very dry spring you will need to irrigate.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Got it, that makes sense. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 4:41PM
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I've been looking for Bonny Dune or Bonnie Dune grass everywhere...but to no avail :( Anywhere I can buy this online? Preferably the Dormant Seed version...
Clearly I'm a newbie :)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:05PM
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