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Reseed/Overseeding Question

Posted by takkie NYC Queens (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 10, 12 at 12:04

Hello.

I screwed up my lawn earlier this summer, and i would like to make it nice for upcoming summer.

I am in NYC, little neck area, with a front lawn size of about 13 x 100, and a backyard size of about 30 x 15. They get pretty good sunshine, and some times pedestrians will walk on my front lawn when they pass by since its quite long. :manmad:

Back yard:

I plan on reseeding this becuase it was never good. I sprayed round up on some remaining grass/weeds on Sept 9 and will try to level it with some top soil next weekend (it is uneven level now). Once that is done (i want to put Scotts EZ Seed on the bare soil nx weekend as well.

Q1) If i am going to use Scotts EZ Seed (10 lbs bag from Home Depot), the advertisement says I dont need fertiizer - is that true?

Q2) And, I know some people put some hay on top of the seed - is this neccessary?

Front Yard:

The frontyard was screwed a couple of months ago , and now it has weeds all over the grass. I would say the grass to weed ratio is about 50:50. I sprayed Scotts Weed/Feed last week (The ones that attach to water hose) - but i still see some weeds around. My plan is, if i still see the weeds next weeked - i will manually take them out myself. I already bought a power dethatcher from Home Depot (Green Works dethatcher) to remove dead grass. The front lawn has 1 semi-barespots at the corner - as thats when most people "step" on my lawn :manmad: becuase I live in the corner of the street.

Q1) This is going to be my steps - please let me know if its in wrong order.

a) mow the grass to as low as possible.

b) use the power dethatcher to get rid of deadgrass with the leaf rake afterwards.

c) Use some method to aerate (manual by tool) for a size of 13 x 100 - is that consider small or medium? I am thinking of doing it manually - but never done it before, i dont know if this will take a long time or not.

d) Then put down another EZ Seed 10 lbs bag again + whatever that was remaining from backyard using hand toss method.

e) water alot after EZ Seed and for next 2 weeks.

Q2) I dont know if i still need fertizier with EZ Seed. The reason why i went with EZ Seed, is becuase of the cost. It seems to be lower priced than buying fertilizer + seed seperately.

Q3) Do i still need to put any top foil after I put the Seed? There will be

Q4) Becuase i know some one will walk/step on my lawn (at the corner, and towards the 1-2 feet adjacent to side walk) does it make sense to put High Traffic Grass Seed just for that 3 ft x 100 ft and the remaining 10 x 100 with EZ Seed? What are some High Traffic Seed Mix sold by Home Depot?

Side question) I want to buy some brown color "Rocks" to surround the small bushes that i have on teh ground - but i cannot find them in HD - where/how much am i expecting to use these brown rocks?

Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

A thin layer of top soil works better than hay. I would cover the seed with something. It seems to really help with germination.

You may want to consider putting down pavers at the high traffic corner instead of grass. If people continually walk on it, it will always be a problem area. No grass (Or any plant) can take a lot of foot traffic.

I don't know if you should add fertilizer. If the grass seed bag says it's not needed then they probably know what they're talking about.

You can typically find rocks at a local hardscape store or quarry. Any place that sells slate or gravel probably has rocks.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Scott's EZ seed is not what you want to use to overseed your yard. It's a lousy product, and consists of mostly mulch, and very little seed. The seeds they use are mainly rye grass because it germinates quickly. It isn't cost effective, as the amount of seed is so low, you will have to use a ton of it to achieve the proper overseeding rate.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Thank you.

Paver will look weird, i thnk.

In the future, i am going to plant small busges surrounding the lot, to prevent people from walking in.

To tiemco,

If ez seed is a lousy product, what would you recommend pls? I mainly want the lighter green color of grass. Not dark green. I think tall fescue is what i am looking for. What seed/fertilizer should i get then pls?

Thanks.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Thank you.

Paver will look weird, i thnk.

In the future, i am going to plant small busges surrounding the lot, to prevent people from walking in.

To tiemco,

If ez seed is a lousy product, what would you recommend pls? I mainly want the lighter green color of grass. Not dark green. I think tall fescue is what i am looking for. What seed/fertilizer should i get then pls?

Thanks.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Tall fescue would be a good choice since it germinates in about 5-8 days, and is ready for a mowing in about a month. It's not light green however, more of a medium to medium dark green. I am picky about my seeds, so I don't buy them at big box stores, but I usually take a look at what they sell. Avoid any seeds that have noxious weed seeds listed on the bag, especially annual bluegrass. Pennington's tall fescue blend usually has some good cultivars that perform well, the Rebels mix is also a good one. Home depot carries both of those. Another thing about grass seed. You need to keep the seed moist 24/7, so you want to water often and for a short durations. Most people do three times a day for 5-10 minutes each time. You want moist ground, not puddling. For your watering times, a schedule like 7, 11, and 3-4 is fine as long as you are sure the seeds aren't drying out. Once it's all germinated, you can taper back the watering, don't stop it abruptly. So after it's all germinated do twice a day for a week, then once a day for a week, then every other day, etc. When you're down to once a day, do it in the morning. Also, you will increase the duration of the watering a bit as you cut back on the number of waterings per day.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Kidhorn wrote:
A thin layer of top soil works better than hay. I would cover the seed with something. It seems to really help with germination.

I'll second what kidhorn said. Stay away from hay; it often has lots of weed seeds in it. Straw would be preferrable to hay. And I agree with his topsoil suggestion as a seed covering. Compost also works well as a mulch. I've used topsoil a couple times to cover grass seeds, and got very good results. In fact I used top soil to cover tall fescue seeds last week, and the seeds germinated in only 3 days, which kind of surprised me because when I seeded a different area a few months ago during spring, the same Rebels tall fescue seeds (from the same bag) took 7 days to germinate. 7 to 14 days is the average for tall fescue, but can take longer or shorter depending.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Forgot to add:
Takkie, Scotts "EZ Seed" and Pennington "1 Step" are extremely expensive products because, percentage-wise, you get much more mulch in the bottle than seed. Even at Walmart, "1 Step" works out to be roughly $20 per pound of seed, and the "EZ Seed" product is roughly $22 per pound of seed. The label on the bottle will show the percentage of seed contained in the bottle. If I recall correctly, you get far under a pound of seed in the 3 pound bottle of "1 Step." The same is true for the 3.75 pound bottle of "EZ Seed." You can buy tall fescue seed for 2 to 3 dollars a pound, far less than the 20 and 22 dollars EZ Seed and 1 Step charge.

Both products are loaded with mulch and, if I remember right, a little fertilizer (maybe it was 1 percent nitrogen). I guess their logic for charging extra is the so-called "convenience" of the products--all in one (Lol).

The two companies can be nasty about their advertising too. A few months ago I saw on CNBC a tv commercial for Scotts "EZ Seed" that showed a homeowner using Pennington "1 Step" on his lawn. (The words "1 Step" were clearly visible on the bottle in this Scotts TV commercial). The homeowner's friend chastized him for using the product, saying the product was mostly [quote] "ground up paper." I'm not kidding. "Ground up paper" are the actual words used in the Scotts commercial to refer to the Pennington "1 Seed" product. It surprised me that the companies would be so mean to each other on national TV.

Both these products must be high-margin products for their companies, hence the extreme competition. Good luck with your lawn renovation :-)


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Thank you for your reply.

I have a change of plan, and will be using rebellion rescue by rebel, with Scott's fertiilzer to go with. I have a few follow up questions,

1) for front lawn which is a overseed, what type of Scott's fertilizer?
2) for backyard which is a reseed, I think it is the starter fertilizer, right?
3) I bought a scotts sead spreader from home depot for 35 bucks, which is a spreader cart, and I plan to use it for spreading the seeds. How do I spread top soil over the seed? Any brand in specific and just hand toss it all over the lawn?
4) the weather dropped all of a sudden yesterday to 60s instead of 70s like it is on Sunday. What is the minimum weather temp I need to reseed?

Thanks.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

I would use starter fertilizer everywhere you put down seed. Ideally, you would get a soil test to see what your soil lacks, but Nitrogen in transigent so the soil always needs a periodic injection and all lawn fertilizers contain a lot of N.

I use a steel rake to spread the soil. You can hand toss it. Try to break up clumps.

The soil temperature is more important than the air temperature for germination. As long as the soil stays above the mid 50's, you should be OK. I wouldn't worry until October.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Takkie, it sounds counter-intuitive, but raking grass seed that has been spread onto *bare* ground will cover the seeds under a thin layer of topsoil. You don't want more than a quarter inch of soil over the seeds.

In my short year learning about grass, I've tried both methods (raking the seeds into the bare ground to cover them with soil, and not raking: In other words after spreading the seeds onto *bare* ground, I've covered the seeds by hand-tossing a little topsoil on top of them. Both methods worked well, but I can't say which is better yet--I raked last year and hand-tossed this year, actually I hand-tossed last week (the seeds that were covered with a little hand-tossed topsoil germinated in 3 short days, and they continue to grow taller each day). The seeds are tall fescue planted in the vicinity of some trees--so a partially shaded area.

One things for sure, as kidhorn said, covering your seed seems to provide better results (greater number of seeds germinating) than *overseeding* them (or not covering them). But I gotta tell ya, this third method of overseeding isn't bad either, because I would guestimate I had 25 to 50 percent the germination rate of covered seeds, so it's not too bad at all, and in some situations, it's just impractical to cover seed.

I've never used starter fertilizer. Starter fertilizer needs to have less nitrogen than regular fertilizers or you risk burning young, tender roots. Starter fertilizer employs phosphorous more than nitrogen to help the young grass. The phosphorous helps out the roots. But I've never needed to use starter fertilizer. Maybe I just have good soil, but I tend to think unless your soil is awfully bad, starter fertilizer really isn't needed. If your soil's really bad, compost might help your young grass more than starter fertilizer but I can't say for sure.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Sidenote: Today I measured the height of my new seedlings. Most average between 1.5 to 2 inches but there are some that are even 3 inches in height now, just 7 days after seeding the tall fescue, and that is without the use of any starter fertilizer. Obviously, I'm unable to measure the lengths of the underground roots but I'm guessing they're doing well. I guess I could pull out a few seedlings and measure their roots. Maybe I'll do that later.

By the way, I tossed the thin layer of topsoil over the seeds about 2 days after putting the seeds down. I didn't have time to do it on the actual day of seeding. So the seeds were watered while bare for two days before being covered by the topsoil. (Not sure if there have been any studies comparing these factors.)

I didn't buy this topsoil. I had some topsoil left over from last year's zoysia sodding that I did.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

In deference to kidhorn, the world-renowned Iowa State professor we've talked about in the past likes using starter fertilizer. The professor writes "The starter fertilizer is placed on the surface and is NOT worked into the topsoil." Maybe I'll try it one day, but it just seems like an extra thing I don't really need to buy in order to grow grass inexpensively.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Sorry, can't edit previous post, so had to start a new one. Hmm, both the Scotts bag of seed (Sun and Shade mix) and the Rebels bag of seed I have (tall fescue blend) have you mix in the starter fertilizer with the seed and soil. Scotts, for example, says "Lightly rake to move the seed and [starter] fertilizer into the soil." This contradicts what the professor says in his book Fundamentals of Turfgrass Management. He says "The starter fertilizer is placed on the surface and is NOT worked into the topsoil" [emphasis added]. I'll probably stick with the professor if I use starter fertilizer in the future. Probably would be interesting if I can find it organically.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Thank you for your response.

I went to home depot today, to return the EZ Seed that I bought previously. I also bought a 20lbs bag of starter fertilizer. I dont think i need that much fertilizer, but a 3 lbs bag is 8 bucks, 20lbs bag is 20 bucks. Fertilizer do not expire, right? I can always use it again nx spring, or following fall...etc... when overseed?

I was hoping to buy the pennington Rebel Tall fescue 7lbs bag -- but it was out of stock.

Then i was looking for Scotts Kentucky Blue grass 7lbs bag -- it is also out of stock.

Finally, i bought Scotts sun/shade mix 7lbs bag.

I was told that scotts sun/shade mix is actually "Darker green" than kentucky or pennington.

I wanted a "Green" color lawn , almost like "lime" green...

Before i seed this weekend - anyone have any other suggestion on the seed?


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

And, another question.

In the backyard, i need to level it, becuase right now it is 5" below the patio, and i would like to raise it up to same level as the patio. So it is 15x30 = 450sqft, and then raise up 5 inches. I am guessing i need 30 to 40 bags of top soil. I want to keep the cost down, and dont want to buy scotts turfbuilder lawn top soil becuase it runs about 7 dollars a bag.

Do you have any suggestion on what top soil i should use for a) leveling backyard, and b) dropping on top of seeds in both front lawn and backyard?

I have seen Sears selling these top soils for 1.50 a bag but i do not know the quality of it.

I plan on spreading fertilizer, so, does it make sense to MIX fertilizer and seed all together when i spread it?

what is the fertilizer rate?

Thanks


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Think again. Even though you have a small yard, it requires a lot more topsoil than you think to raise it 5 inches. You will need roughly 187 cubic feet of soil, which comes out to about 7 cubic yards. That would equal about 250 bags (if they are .75 cubic foot bags), but you generally buy that much topsoil from someone who will deliver it by dump truck.

Spread your seed and fertilizer separately. You don't need to work the fertilizer into the soil.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

umm.

so the fertilizer just sit on it, without raking?

I was thinking that after i spread seed, i will rake it to even out once.
then spread fertilizer, and rake to even out.
then finally, put top soil, and and just leave it at that.

is this correct?


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

You are watering three times a day, the fertilizer will dissolve and work it's way into the soil. New grass has tiny roots, the only nutrients from your starter fertilizer it will use will be up near the very top of the soil. You don't need to rake anything, in fact that can make rows of seeds instead of an even random distribution. When I seed, I put the seed down with a spreader, topdress a very thin layer no more than 1/4 inch thick as you just want to barely cover the seed, then put fertilizer down on top of that. Then of course water it three times a day to keep it continually moist.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

I'll second Tiemco's suggestion about not needing to rake in the starter fertilizer by quoting our good Iowa State professor in Fundamentals of Turfgrass Management:

"As a final step before establishment, a starter fertilizer high in phosphorous (P) and low in nitrogen (N) should be applied to the SURFACE of the soil....The most important element at the time of establishment is P. The reason for this is that P is relatively immobile in the soil. Newly developing seedlings need a lot of P for initial development, but they lack the well-developed root system to reach out and obtain the P they need. Phosphorous will not move through the soil solution in quantities large enough to meet the needs of the newly developing plants. The N level in a starter fertilizer is relatively low because N can easily burn new seedlings if applied in excessive amounts."

"The starter fertilizer is placed on the surface and is not worked into the topsoil. [This differs from what my 2 bags of seed say, but I'll follow the professor's advice if I ever decide to use starter fertilizer.]

"The fertilizer application is recommended even if soil tests show the soil to be high in phosphorous."

Takkie, regarding your other question about how much starter fertilizer to apply, world-renowned Iowa State professor Nick Christians (the discoverer of Corn Gluten Meal as a preemergent) ends by saying:

"A good choice for this application to relatively fertile soils is a 12-25-10 or some similar analysis high in P2O5 [P205 is the phosphorous component--the middle number in 12-25-10 is phosphorous] and low in N [the first number]. A 12-25-10 should be applied at from 5 to 8 pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet. In the case of the less fertile soils, where P levels are relatively low, a material like an 18-46-0 applied at the same rates may be more appropriate."

Hope that helps my friend.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

I mix in the starter fertilizer with the topsoil and a little grass seed to boot. I put everything in a wheelbarrel and break up the dirt clumps and mix everything before spreading. The starter fertilizer is water soluble or at least partially water soluble so I don't think it really matters if it's on the surface or in the top 1/4" or so.

I don't know if the starter fertilizer makes a difference or not. It's like taking vitamins. Who knows if it really does anything?

If you need to add 5" of top soil, buy it by the cubic yard and get it delivered. It will be much easier and cheaper than buying bags. Ideally, you want to get something called loam, which is roughly equal parts sand, silt and clay.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Looking at the N-P-K numbers in the professor's fertilizers, you can tell he's not a stalwart of organic lawn care, even though he discovered 30-plus years ago that Corn Gluten Meal is an organic preemergent, and continues to advocate its use.

I do believe phosphorous in ORGANIC fertilizers would become available to the young grass plants in the same time frame as phosphorous in non-organic, synthetic fertilizers because there would appear to be no "fast-release" phosphorous like there is fast-release nitrogen, or so it seems to me.

Therefore, since the plants probably cannot uptake phosphorous directly, the plants need fungi to deliver phosphorous to them, and fungi work at their own pace, whether the phosphorous comes from an organic source or synthetic source, or so it would seem to me. Unlike Nitrogen, it seems you CANNOT feed phosphorous directly to the plants. Soil microorganisms like fungi are a necessary middle step.

Lowenfels and Lewis write in Teaming with Microbes, The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web:

"[The mineral Phosphorous] is almost always chemically locked up in soils; even when it is applied as fertilizer, phosphorous becomes unavailable to plants within seconds. Not only do fungi seek out this necessary plant nutrient, but they have the ability to free it from its chemical and physical bonds. Then they transport their quarry back to plant roots, where the phosphorous is absorbed and utilized." (P. 66)

(P. 130) - "Phosphorous-solubilizing....fungi...produce organic acids capable of converting insoluble phosphorous into a form that can be taken up by plants."

So were I to use a starter fertilizer, I suppose I would consider using something like my Bradfield Organics 3-1-5 fertilizer over anything synthetic. You're playing with fire when you use synthetic junk, especially when you're using it as a novice grass grower. And the synthetic stuff isn't nearly as friendly to the soil's beneficial microorganisms: the bacteria, fungi, archae, etc. Salty synthetic fertilizers will kill many beneficial microorganisms in the soil.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

hello.

Thank you all for your response. I did a bit more reading online today, and found that an article said to make sure i get perennial grass seed instead of annuals, or else it will not come back year after year.

Is Scott Sun/Shade Mix a perennial type of seed?

Thanks. I only want perennial type of seeds.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Yep, Scott's Sun and Shade Mix contains perennial grasses: Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass. 50 percent of the weight of the bag is mulch, which isn't as bad as "EZ Seed" or "1 Step" which is almost all mulch and little seed by weight. Each and every seed in the Scott's Sun and Shade Mix is encased in a mulch coating which is suppose to keep the seed moister longer with less water. It's not bad for your first bag of seed but I wouldn't make a habit of buying that much mulch in future.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Turgeon has an interesting perspective on phosphorus (P). When you read the quote below from Turfgrass Management, keep in mind there's a difference between available P in the soil and unavailable P in the soil (in other words, P in the soil that's available to the plant and P in the soil that's unavailable to the plant). Together they equal Total P.

I guess the "available P" in the soil is the phosphorus that the beneficial fungi got in them and trade with the plants in exchange for exudates the plant's roots give to the fungi. There's a symbiosis there between plants and fungi. Each wants something the other furnishes.

Turgeon:
"The phosphorus concentration of dried turfgrass clippings is usually less than 0.5% compared with 3% to 5% for nitrogen."

"Phosphorus deficiencies are most evident during turfgrass establishment. Generally reduced growth, dark to reddish leaf coloration, and narrow leaf blades indicate a deficiency in available phosphate in the soil. A soil concentration equivalent to 30 pounds per acre of available phosphate is considered a minimum level for turfgrass growth."

[That's roughly 0.75 pounds per 1,000 square feet--we'll round and say 1 pound per 1,000 square feet. That's the minimum needed and I'm guessing the vast majority of soils have that available. Back to Turgeon again below.]

"As phosphates are relatively immobile in soil, they do not leach readily from the turfgrass root zone. Many turf soils that have received liberal quantities of phosphorus-contaning fertilizers are, thus, high in total phosphorus. However, the plant-available phosphorus concentration in the soil solution is usually a small percentage of the total concentration due to the rapid rate at which phosphorus becomes tied up in insoluble forms. The phosphate ion (H2PO4-) combines readily with iron and aluminum cations to form insoluble compounds, especially in acid soils. In many instances the amount of available phosphate in the soil is surprisingly low compared with the amount removed by actively growing turfgrasses. This is apparently due to a dynamic equilibrium between soluble and insoluble forms of phosporus; as the available pool is reduced by plant uptake, some ot the insoluble phosphorus becomes soluble at a sufficient rate to sustain turfgrass growth requirements. On many turfgrass sites where clippings are not removed there may be no need for phosphorus fertilizer as long as the residual supply from previous fertilizations is adequate."


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Thanks.

Follow up question.

When do you use a stomper? The thing to compact the soil. After seeding? After fertilizer? Or before seeding?

I was in the yard all dayntoday and put new soil in, rake up the soil...etc...i havent spread the seed yet. The reason why is, i know that the soil should be loosen when i spread thenseeds, but as i am walking back and forth to pick uo debris, roots..etc.. I am stepping on the soil, and i notice that it is compacted again.

How do you do it? Do you loosen it and just dont step on it anymore? But when you spread using a rotary thing, you will step on it... Pls let me know.

Thx


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

Where did the stomper idea come from?


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

From a guy in lowes. He said best to get the stomper and make soil compacted after seed /fertilizer is on the ground.


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RE: Reseed/Overseeding Question

You'll better be served renting a lawn roller for seed to soil contact. That is, unless you really do want to compact the soil. A "stomper" is normally used for small areas to compact the substrate in preparation of laying pavers or for compacting small areas of blacktop pitch.


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