Dormant Seeding and Alfalfa

lawnladyDecember 10, 2012

I did some extensive repairs in the fall with good results. Killed off large areas of creeping bentgrass and planted KBG and perennial rye. We're having a very mild winter so far in Western NY- 40's- 50's during the day and 30's at night. I have a few small bare spots to seed and also want to overseed the entire lawn to help make it as dense as possible this spring. Since there's no snow cover, will the birds pick it clean if I just spread seed by hand with an "arc toss" and don't top dress with anything? The grass is cut short, and I've vaccumed every stinking leaf and seed pod off it more times than I can count because of stupid high winds...can't believe I'm rooting for snow to keep the neighbors' debris in their yards, but I am. Should I wait for a forecast of heavy wet snow to seed? I really want to try the alfalfa pellets as fertilizer- can that be done now and still be effective? I've never seen the pellets...are they small enough to go through a spreader and would it be totally absurd to pulverize them so I don't have a layer of (little brown?) pellets on the lawn? Thanks for answering a mixed bag of questions and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to you and yours.

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Ideally you want to dormant seed right before a good snow, it's not entirely necessary, but being in western NY I would think you will get at least one big snow soon. Birds really aren't a factor with seed loss, in most cases they will eat a neglible amount unless the seed is resting on bare soil. Save the alfalfa pellets for next spring. Organic fertilizers are pretty ineffective this time of the year as microbial activity is very low.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 11:58PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Rabbit sized alfalfa pellets are small enough to go through a broadcast spreader but not a drop type spreader. They look like this.

I call them rabbit chow just so people don't get the horse cubes. Rabbit sized pellets are slightly larger than the stem of a Q-Tip.

Horse cubes look like this.

These things are about the size of your thumb.

Once you scatter the pellets, moisten them. They will soak up the water and start to swell up. They will swell to about twice their size and then disintegrate into small, flaky, particles. This keeps the birds from taking them away.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 11:25PM
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