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New lawn seeding and overseeding

Posted by Herkster5 Zone 5, Iowa (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 14:41

Hey everyone, I'm new here and I've got a question!
I reside in northern Iowa, so, we get pretty average moisture, tough winters, and mid/late summer can get very, very hot and dry.

With that said, I had two rows of dead pine trees that I've recently cut down and proceeded to dig the stumps out as well. After that, we brought over a cultivator and ripped the ground, and next is to take the drag over it to smooth it off as much as possible.

I'm wondering what type of grass is the best to plant in late summer / early fall. The Iowa State Extension office shows that a Kentucky Blue Grass with a mixture of Ryegrass is what is recommended. I'm planning on seeding after our next warm spell, which is next week.

Will this mixture work?
I also need to overseed several spots on my lawn which I have done some renovation on. Is the same mixture okay? I do have access to water and can put a sprinkler out to help get the grass established.

I'm just looking for some guidance. Techincally, I have 3.5 acres, probably 2.5 acres to overseed and a half acre to seed to new lawn. The new lawn will get a row of bushes and two rows of trees (my wind/snow block) this fall as well.

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

I was hoping someone else would answer this. I cannot imagine trying to water 3.5 acres with one sprinkler. My advice is to limit the scope of your project to what you can realistically water. Seed needs to be kept moist until it germinates (light watering 3 times a day); after grass starts growing, watering should transition to more water less frequently. Bluegrass can take weeks to germinate.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

The only thing I could think of would be to use an Orbit system (many big box stores have them) to divide your one spigot into, effectively, four--and give you timer control on each output. Run four hoses with four sprinklers and that will cover a fair bit of area.

Reliability on the Orbit is tolerable, but nothing like a formal irrigation system. Keep an eye on things.

With an area that large, you may need to hack at it for a few years, reseeding it piece by piece, even using the Orbit.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Leave the rye out of the mix. It will sprout a full 2-3 weeks faster than the KBG and give you the impression that it is all finished sprouting.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

The main area of the lawn that we are newly seeding is probably 200' x 75' area. There are a few blank spots from us digging up other stumps that I need to seed as well, but they are smaller and I can water those off of a different spicket than the main area that we are seeding.

With overseeding, do I need to be watering the whole thing? I know that the percentage of it sprouting greatly decreases if I can't get it all watered, but will some have a chance of coming through if I can't get it watered?

We are putting off our tree and bush planting until next spring, just tackling the grass here hopefully this week or the next. I need to check the forecast and see what the highs are supposed to be and see if we have any chances of rain..


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Not watering puts you at the mercy of the weather, which tends toward the dry in late summer and early fall. I'd count on severe losses in non-irrigated areas, up to and including almost complete failure.

Somehow, some way, a few seeds always sprout. But a few isn't enough to make a lawn. Just 24 hours of dry time is enough for some seed to die, and the longer it goes the higher the percentage gets.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

That is the answer I assumed I would get. Next question, if I am overseeding into my existing lawn, can I use a pull behind sprayer, but filled with water, and water my lawn that way? This would be just for the overseeded area, not the newly seeded area, which I would water with a sprinkler or two...


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Not easily, no. Although the rule is "do not walk," it's more like "hover walk if you must, but minimize it." Repeatedly going over it with a sprayer would be a bad thing.

Also, it would depend on the capacity. If we're talking 4 gallons per thousand square feet or so, that would be far too little.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Good to know, thanks for the insight. I'm new to this whole...seeding the lawn thing, so any advice is appreciated.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Do you really want 3.5 acres of lawn to maintain? That's a lot to keep mowed, a lot to water, a lot to fertilize. Would a lower maintenance groundcover work for some of your acreage?


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

beckybeck - I live in Iowa on an acreage, 3.5 acres of lawn is small compared to the typical acreage which is around 5 acres. This consists of building sites to store machinery, grain bins to store crop, and other buildings.

So yes, I do want to maintain my 3.5 acres of lawn. I can mow and trim it in under 3 hours without a problem. While groundcover is an option, it doesn't look as nice as a well manicured lawn, which is what I am shooting for. I have access to chemicals and fertilizer as I help a few local farmers. We have a four wheel with a sprayer tank and boom on it, so that isn't an issue.

I have a feeling that we are just in two completely different types of areas - large city versus rural area. I love the space my acreage allows me to use and I wouldn't trade it for anything! :)


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

What about doing dormant seeding over the winter for the part that would not be watered? I don't have experience with it but it may be an option to consider. You could do prep work now (soil amendments like lime if needed) and weed control this fall and put the seed down later.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Winter dormant seeding might be worth a shot. At least the seed has a great chance of germination, and early spring when it starts to grow greenery is generally a wet (and cool) time of year.

Summer performance the first year might suffer a bit as it missed out on six to ten weeks of growth, but it's still passable.

Another thing to consider is white Dutch clover. It's a low growing, drought tolerant, self-feeding groundcover that co-exists well with lawns as it's not very invasive--although it'll move to fill a hole, a well cared for lawn can outcompete it.

I don't recommend it if you detest bees and counsel against it if anybody in your family is allergic to bee stings. Bees adore clover, to the point that the humming sound of their wings over the clover patches can be kind of loud!


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

I'm not a huge bee lover :), no allergies but for some reason, I have an odd fear of being stung. I think it's because, as of right now, I've made it 26 years without being stung by anything!

Winter seeding is a great idea. Do I wait until the first couple nice freezes? Would be looking at November seeding then.

I think my lawn would like 10x better if I had time to put down something to control broadleaf and crabgrass this spring, but time just wasn't with me. Between helping get crops in the ground and having our first child, I was awfully busy!

We worked again last night on the area that we need to seed. I tried to pull a thatcher (or de-thatcher) over it, but it was too soft. Ended up racking the whole area by hand to get the rest of the small sticks and loose grass. I will be dragging it again tonight and hopefully picking up my grass seed tomorrow! Now, time to find a sprinkler...


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

>>I'm not a huge bee lover :), no allergies but for some reason, I have an odd fear of being stung. I think it's because, as of right now, I've made it 26 years without being stung by anything!

I understand. 43 years without a sting here, then I made a mistake. It was my fault, I grabbed a Liatris bloom to cut it and didn't look.

Clover's a lousy idea for those who like to walk barefoot through their grass.

>>Winter seeding is a great idea. Do I wait until the first couple nice freezes? Would be looking at November seeding then.

Wait for Really Cold, whenever that is. Post my renovation, I dormant-seeded some patches in late December, which means high temperatures are in the upper thirties but, around here, no snow yet.

The reason to do it just before the first snowfall is to keep the birds off it. Even if that melts immediately, the seed settles into the soil. But you don't have to, just when it's cold and not going to warm up again until spring (probably--a short warming cycle won't hurt anything).

>>I think my lawn would like 10x better if I had time to put down something to control broadleaf and crabgrass this spring, but time just wasn't with me. Between helping get crops in the ground and having our first child, I was awfully busy!

Understood! Next year, if you can get a pre-emergent of whatever kind down when the forsythia in your area bloom, that will help. If not, it's workable.

Your lawn is so large that every application is a pretty big effort. For me, with 10,000 square feet of grass, it's an hour.

>>We worked again last night on the area that we need to seed. I tried to pull a thatcher (or de-thatcher) over it, but it was too soft. Ended up racking the whole area by hand to get the rest of the small sticks and loose grass. I will be dragging it again tonight and hopefully picking up my grass seed tomorrow! Now, time to find a sprinkler...

Just remove the nasty stuff. If there's not huge amounts of loose grass, ignore it--it actually functions as a mulch, and the grass seed will have no trouble falling through it and finding the soil.

Sprinkler--a tripod-mounted impact sprinkler might be good for you. They tend to have a large range, which you need, although they put down very little water over that range (they're limited by the 6 gallon per minute average rate of a hose). You just have to water longer to make up the difference, but don't have to move it nearly as often or as many times.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Update

I seeded early this afternoon, I have a sprinkler running, and will be rolling the seed in here in an hour or so. So, my next question, how often and how long do I water? I've got a 100% chance of rain tonight, .75-1" expected. If I get that, do I need to water tomorrow? Highs aren't going to break 80 until Sunday.

Just looking for advice. Thanks!


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Twice a day is the minimum. So if it rains tonight, you're off the hook until about 5 to 6 PM tomorrow.

Three times a day really is a bit better, but it's not necessary.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Watering isn't an issue, I have a well, so I'm not worried about seeing a large water bill!
Should I fertilize now as well? I haven't yet, but I have some time available tomorrow to do it if necessary.

Thanks again for all the help!


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Off topic but how do you get through childhood without getting stung by bees? I was stung maybe 10 times before college. Only a couple of wasp stings since then. But no scorpion stings!! Yet.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

>>Off topic but how do you get through childhood without getting stung by bees?

Professional courtesy.

:-)

>>Should I fertilize now as well? I haven't yet, but I have some time available tomorrow to do it if necessary.

Synthetically, no. By the time the new grass can use the nitrogen, it's long gone.

Organically, yes. Around the time the new grass can use the nitrogen, it's just reaching peak release into that soil zone. Or you can wait to avoid walking on the seed bed and use Milorganite in a month--it contains enough fast release nitrogen to bridge the gap until its hefty slow release component breaks down and starts to release the rest of the nitrogen in it (and the iron is good for new lawns).


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

I'm not sure how I got through childhood without being stung! I spent all my summers outside, riding bike, going to the local pool and parks. Maybe it was just luck!

They've upped projected rain totala today to 2-3". Hope it comes slow, I don't want my seed to get washed away.

Maybe I'll do a trial, fertilize half and nothing on the other half to see if there is a difference! Probably won't happen though, wedding on saturday and helping set up for it today and tomorrow.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Shoot, I didnt see your post dchall.
Scorpion stings?? I think I'll stay in Iowa!


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Yeah, I've moved to the country. I have the house in San Antonio (no scorpions), but this country living is a little different. Last country house had at least one scorpion in the house per month and several tarantulas per year outside. Haven't seen anything yet after a week in the new house.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

>>Last country house had at least one scorpion in the house per month and several tarantulas per year outside.

Ew. Ew. Ew.

The tarantulas I can deal with (I have wolf spiders that are very, very large and they don't bother me, I don't bother them, and we all get along just fine). Scorpions, no. They just creep me right the heck out.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Tarantuals and scorpions, I think I'll stay here in Iowa!
Lawn is looking nice, grass is starting to sprout pretty well! I'm glad I rolled it after it was seeded because from Wednesday night (the day that I seeded it) through Sunday night, I picked up 6" of rain! I haven't seen much, if any, wash away.

I didn't put any fertilizer down, is that something that I should be doing??


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

>>I didn't put any fertilizer down, is that something that I should be doing??

Not yet. The seed contains all the resources the plant will require for its first month of life or so.

If you go organic, feeding at seeding time is correct (it takes about a month to begin to release nitrogen and there's an extremely wide window of release).

Synthetically, feeding about a month post-sprout is correct. At that point, the baby roots have grown enough to be able to gather nitrogen from the soil.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Morpheus, thanks for the response and all your help thus far! After a busy weekend with a wedding and lots of family around, I will finally have time to be home and tend to the grass. I'm pretty thankful that I caught the rain that I did, because I couldn't be around to water and move sprinklers. Surprisingly enough, after getting 6" of rain in 4-5 days, I don't have a thick crust on top that I'm worried about.

I just hope we don't get an early frost and I can get this halfway established!


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

Morpheus, thanks for the response and all your help thus far! After a busy weekend with a wedding and lots of family around, I will finally have time to be home and tend to the grass. I'm pretty thankful that I caught the rain that I did, because I couldn't be around to water and move sprinklers. Surprisingly enough, after getting 6" of rain in 4-5 days, I don't have a thick crust on top that I'm worried about.

I just hope we don't get an early frost and I can get this halfway established!


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

>>I just hope we don't get an early frost and I can get this halfway established!

No worries there. Grass, even baby grass, and grass seed don't care about frost. If you do get an off-schedule frost, the seed will simply wait until temperatures improve and continue to sprout until ground temperatures take their final tumble under fifty.

Once sprouted, grass is frost tolerant in the extreme. It simply stops growing until temperatures improve. Freezing, now, that will send the lawn dormant for winter--but not frost.


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RE: New lawn seeding and overseeding

>>I didn't put any fertilizer down, is that something that I should be doing??
Not yet. The seed contains all the resources the plant will require for its first month of life or so.

If you go organic, feeding at seeding time is correct (it takes about a month to begin to release nitrogen and there's an extremely wide window of release).

Synthetically, feeding about a month post-sprout is correct. At that point, the baby roots have grown enough to be able to gather nitrogen from the soil.<<

What about so called "starter fertilizer"? Does it help at seeding time? I've been going milo so far this year but was thinking about dropping the Scott's starter with Mesotrione to buy me 6 weeks or so until I can put down Barricade or Dimesnsion. Figured its 2 birds with one stone...


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