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Planning My Fall Seeding

Posted by rokal LongIsland/z6b (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 7, 14 at 20:23

I am looking to formulate a plan of attack for fall seeding.

I had my yard graded in November last year. This included bringing in approx. 140 yards of fill and 60 yards of topsoil. This spring, I had sprinklers installed and attempted to sow grass seed since I didn't want to look at bare ground all summer. Epic fail!

On May 23rd, my landscaper put down starter fertilizer and a pure kbg mix blended by a local sod company consisting of the following:

45% Wild Horse Kentucky Bluegrass
35% Zinger Kentucky Bluegrass
20% Armada Kentucky Bluegrass

The seed was sown over bare soil and he did not loosen the soil beforehand. I watered the seeds 3 times per day for 12 minutes each zone.

Although my site is relatively flat, most of the seed was either washed away by rain into my flower beds or eaten by ants (no joke, they were hoarding this seed). Three weeks later on June 12th, he came back and reseeded (didn't loosen soil again) and applied Tenacity to control the now increasing weed population. Same results... Seed washed away and eaten by ants

It is now almost 4 weeks since the last seeding and the grass (dare I call it that) still looks awful (see pic). Weeds are starting to take over again. At this point, I am saying goodbye to my landscaper and taking over.

Here are the specs for my site:

Lawn size: 7000 sq. feet
Sprinkler System: Yes
Desired Lawn Type: KBG
Amount of Sun: Full Sun
Soil Type: Sandy
pH: Acidic but actual pH is unknown

I'm trying to decide if I should nuke my entire site with roundup and start over or try and salvage the existing grass that germinated and just overseed in the fall.

Please comment on my plan below...

Do Now:

  • get a soil test

Starting August 1st:

  • If Nuking Lawn: Two Round Up treatments to kill existing lawn and weeds (4 weeks before seeding and again 2 weeks before seeding)
    or If Keeping Existing Lawn:
    spray existing lawn with weed-b-gone (4 weeks before seeding and again 2 weeks before seeding)

  • add lime per soil test

  • apply insect control for ants

Starting September 1st:

  • cut existing grass short (approx 2 inches) or if nuking lawn, cut at 1 inch to remove dead grass

  • run verticutter in two directions with no seed in hopper over area

  • rake away dead grass removed by verticutter

  • spread 1/4" to 1/2" of compost over area

  • seed with broadcast spreader in two directions

  • lightly rake seed into soil/compost

Post Seeding:

  • water 3x daily until germination

  • apply starter fertilizer

  • treat weeds as needed with Tenacity

  • re-seed as needed based on germination results

Please let me know any suggestions for improving this plan and whether I should try and salvage this current mess. Thanks!

This post was edited by rokal on Mon, Jul 7, 14 at 20:35

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Planning My Fall Seeding

Sounds like you're in the ballpark. For your area mid August might be the better time to seed but you will need to verify that as I'm not positive. With a 3 week germination for KBG early September seeding would put you almost into October before you have germination leaving little time to seed any thin spots. Again, I would verify this.

If you do decide to nuke the whole thing (which probably is the best option judging by your photo) you need to water 3 times per day after the initial kill to help germinate any remaining weeds and spot spray anything that comes up. This should eliminate nearly all weeds. You might already know this but since it wasn't listed on your game plan I figured it was best to mention it.

Watering 3 times per day should be fine but might need to be adjusted depending on temps. Hotter days might need an extra watering to keep the seed moist as it sounds like you already know how important this is. If you get this right there's a good chance you will start to see germination in 2 weeks.

I would wait until the second mowing to apply the starter fertilizer. This way, if a few weeds do make it you won't be giving them as much of a head start.

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