PDA

View Full Version : Topdressing with compost prior to aeration?


David W
08-13-2008, 10:31 PM
Any of you ever put down compost a few weeks prior to aeration and over-seeding?

I wondered if there would be any benefit to doing this a 2-3 weeks before aerating, slice seeding and then topdressing again. Mainly for yards that have poor soil (i.e. clay or soil with little OM) and need some amending.

Just curious.

NattyLawn
08-13-2008, 11:05 PM
Does that make sense? Pull the cores, then fill the holes with compost or soil amendments.

Are you going to aerate, then slice seed?

treegal1
08-14-2008, 12:32 AM
here its air/ compost. and thats really it ...............sorry our turf is your weed...............

Smallaxe
08-14-2008, 09:22 AM
Can't have too much compost.

Letting a layer of compost work on the soil for a few weeks may make plugging easier, especially on a low OM clay.
Then putting more into the holes afterwards will get the action deeper in the soil.

jeffinsgf
08-14-2008, 09:57 AM
Depending on the size of the lawn, topdressing twice in one season could take some deep pockets. That's a good thing if it is a customer who wants the best looking yard on the block and doesn't care what it costs. What you're proposing would work, and my intuition tells me it would be more effective than one application that would be equal in quantity to the two.

treegal1
08-14-2008, 10:07 AM
feed more compost!!!!

Kiril
08-14-2008, 10:24 AM
Compost does a soil good! :clapping:

David W
08-14-2008, 01:15 PM
Great. Thanks for all the feedback.

I have about 3 sites like this that were renovated last fall and seeded but never did come up strong. And yes I failed to add any OM to them last fall. I did bring in good quality sifted topsoil but after the roots got past the new topsoil and hit the poor subsoil the fescue faded pretty quickly in early summer.

I'll give this a try and see what how it works. I'll also try to post some pics of these yards before and after.

ICT Bill
08-14-2008, 01:45 PM
If you can spray compost tea while the cores are still open and after you have overseeded it great. It is rare that we are able to get compost tea literally down into the soil. It will coat the seed as well and make a healthy stand of turf.

What you should try on one yard is pre germinated seed in compost tea. Stick the seed in a bucket with compost tea and an air bubbler for 12 hours, then take it out and let it dry, then go spread it. Throw the leftover tea on your garden

BANG instant lawn, you will be amazed, it works REALLY well especially for KBG that can take a month to germinate, do 2 or 3 rounds of soak and dry, apply to lawn and water BANG instant KBG lawn. Fescues and ryes you can usually only do it once because they germinate so quickly

The issue with KBG taking so long to germinate is that it usually gets washed away by a couple big thunderstorms or all ends up in one corner of the yard

NattyLawn
08-14-2008, 02:16 PM
The issue with KBG taking so long to germinate is that it usually gets washed away by a couple big thunderstorms or all ends up in one corner of the yard


That is why you slice seed.

DeepGreenLawn
08-14-2008, 02:50 PM
sorry our turf is your weed...............

I must say though, I just got back from florida and that is one good looking weed when it makes a turf. It seems like even the plots that didn't look like they had any treatments done that they looked just as green, is this the case of St. Aug or is it just me? Then again, the "weed" that we have here stays green no matter what... maybe that is one of the benefits of having turf made of weeds?

Dooger54
08-14-2008, 03:14 PM
BANG instant lawn, you will be amazed, it works REALLY well especially for KBG that can take a month to germinate, do 2 or 3 rounds of soak and dry, apply to lawn and water BANG instant KBG lawn. Fescues and ryes you can usually only do it once because they germinate so quickly

The issue with KBG taking so long to germinate is that it usually gets washed away by a couple big thunderstorms or all ends up in one corner of the yard

Bill-

Can you elaborate on this procedure? I will be overseeding/composting this fall, and we use a KBG/Fescue blend. I will be doing about 1 1/2 to 2 acres so I'd love any procedure that will cut down the KBG germination time.

Everybody on these forums talks about the importance of water,water,water after seeding or overseeding. That's great if you are doing a small area or have irrigation. For those of use who are seeding large areas without irrigation, watering is impossible. We are totally reliant on Mother Nature!

wallzwallz
08-14-2008, 09:27 PM
Dooger there is no water source on the property? Germination relys on consistant water. If you had water, you could rig hose sprinkler system to get established and then rely on M.N. for water. I wouldn't seed unless I had a way to water it.

americanlawn
08-14-2008, 10:14 PM
Unless you get the product where it needs to be (root system), you're pissing in the wind. Mechanical aeration/slit seeding, etc is the only logical way to go. Keep in mind --there are NO "miracle" prducts -- especially if you just lay 'em on top of some guy's lawn...then hoping the Good Fairy will visit you.

cudaclan
08-14-2008, 10:36 PM
“Plugging” or core aeration is intended to alleviate compaction. It is an ideal time to add amendments after this process. The theory is the amendments (compost) have a direct path to the root zone of grass. I am not certain to the claims of beneficial microorganisms being released to the surface from the plugs. Is the survival rate that high from ultraviolet exposure? “Slitting” is intended for over-seeding. The flails/blades do not penetrate the surface as the plugger allowing the seeds to remain in place and germinate.

Dooger54
08-14-2008, 11:48 PM
BANG instant lawn, you will be amazed, it works REALLY well especially for KBG that can take a month to germinate, do 2 or 3 rounds of soak and dry, apply to lawn and water BANG instant KBG lawn. Fescues and ryes you can usually only do it once because they germinate so quickly

The issue with KBG taking so long to germinate is that it usually gets washed away by a couple big thunderstorms or all ends up in one corner of the yard

Bill-

Can you elaborate on this procedure? I will be overseeding/composting this fall, and we use a KBG/Fescue blend. I will be doing about 1 1/2 to 2 acres so I'd love any procedure that will cut down the KBG germination time.

Everybody on these forums talks about the importance of water,water,water after seeding or overseeding. That's great if you are doing a small area or have irrigation. For those of use who are seeding large areas without irrigation, watering is impossible. We are totally reliant on Mother Nature!

Barefoot James
08-14-2008, 11:54 PM
I would never seed a yard without water - 4 x a day 11am, 2 PM, 4 pm and 6 pm - 10 min cycles (heat of the day - this is when the seed dries out) - keep the seed moist not wet. For large properties make sure the homeowner knows that without water (irregation or rain) it will not come up to meet anyones standards. You can straw it (helps - but I would not do it), but really I would walk away from this business. I actually have a print out with the hoses, timers and sprinkler that I REQUIRE the homeowner buy if they do not have an irregation system - that's right I require it or I walk away - I have a reputation to uphold! I get results because I know what it takes - not because of luck or IF it rains. Rain or no rain I get full lush yards of grass.

Compost top dressing works GREAT (REALLY GREAT - LIKE THE ULTIMATE) in our area. Just a dusting of compost over a slice seed job works - unbelievably well. We are talking even a 1/3 to 1/2 yard per 1000 sf. Many other soil ammendments need to be added - like mycorrhizae (ICT Hydroseed has it) to insure you get proper root development over the winter. Top dressing is tough if you don't have a tool (hydroseeder or topdressing machine) to do it you need to use a wheel barrel (that tilts), lawn rake and blower.

E & J Pro Turf
08-14-2008, 11:54 PM
Can't have too much compost.

Letting a layer of compost work on the soil for a few weeks may make plugging easier, especially on a low OM clay.
Then putting more into the holes afterwards will get the action deeper in the soil.

I put down new sod in a lawn last fall. When we arrived at the property the soil look dead. No color almost gray in color. I said we need to bring in some top soil or compost, but the homeowner was very excited to have a instant lawn. I said ok and hoped for the best. Looked great last fall and even better this spring. Looks like s#$T now. Very light green and thin. We have been mowing and he has been doing the chems and water and it has just lost it. I wanted to put down spagham peet moss or compost now. The plug it in a few weeks. Then slit seed a week later. A lot of work yes. Does this sound like a good idea? Should I get a soil test?

Dooger54
08-15-2008, 12:02 AM
ICT Bill-

Hope you'll respond to my post about more info about soaking grass seed with CT. We've all been taught to keep planted grass seed constantly moist until germination, never let it dry out. How does your procedure work if we're letting the KBG dry out 2-3 times?? Won't that effectively kill the seed?

treegal1
08-15-2008, 12:24 AM
54 basically you just wet it and let it set for a while some folks use a tea or some roundup to help pre germinate there seeds, some do it in the bags and others have a elaborate system of tanks and cooling systems with aeration. long and short you will need to get the enzyme off the out side of the seed and get it wet and keep it wet for a while to get a head start. the way i have seen it done was a large tank with air stones and they just poked holes in the bags and let them sit in the water with some special additives. bills tea will work great as a pre treat and it will also help to get the benefitals going from the start.

Kiril
08-15-2008, 01:43 AM
What you should try on one yard is pre germinated seed in compost tea. Stick the seed in a bucket with compost tea and an air bubbler for 12 hours, then take it out and let it dry, then go spread it. Throw the leftover tea on your garden

I would think allowing it to completely dry out would not be a good thing.

jeffinsgf
08-15-2008, 08:53 AM
I put down new sod in a lawn last fall. When we arrived at the property the soil look dead. No color almost gray in color. I said we need to bring in some top soil or compost, but the homeowner was very excited to have a instant lawn. I said ok and hoped for the best. Looked great last fall and even better this spring. Looks like s#$T now. Very light green and thin. We have been mowing and he has been doing the chems and water and it has just lost it. I wanted to put down spagham peet moss or compost now. The plug it in a few weeks. Then slit seed a week later. A lot of work yes. Does this sound like a good idea? Should I get a soil test?

Aerate first, then topdress, then slit seed.

Smallaxe
08-15-2008, 10:10 AM
I put down new sod in a lawn last fall. When we arrived at the property the soil look dead. No color almost gray in color. I said we need to bring in some top soil or compost, but the homeowner was very excited to have a instant lawn. I said ok and hoped for the best. Looked great last fall and even better this spring. Looks like s#$T now. Very light green and thin. We have been mowing and he has been doing the chems and water and it has just lost it. I wanted to put down spagham peet moss or compost now. The plug it in a few weeks. Then slit seed a week later. A lot of work yes. Does this sound like a good idea? Should I get a soil test?

If you are only going to topdress once - I would topdress after the plugging and seeding. The thought here is - compost goes into the holes of the plugs and mixes directly with soil.
Since you are slit seeding later your seed will be under the compost, which I believe to be a good protective layer.

Spahgnum, however, is not something I like to use as topdressing in turf. It doesn't blend into the soil well and becomes hydrophobic once dry. It is a great ammendment to garden soils for acid loving plants.

Barefoot James
08-16-2008, 07:00 PM
Pregerminating Seed

Pregerminating the seed can cut germination time on the field in half.

The process generally takes three to four days from the start until the seed is ready for application. Plan to use the pregerminated seed within 24 hours, the sooner the better. If necessary, it may be preserved for about a week if refrigerated.
A 55-gallon barrel will work. Insert a spigot at the base to drain away water. The water will be drained each day in the process.

Use the bag the seed was bought in as a container (but it must be porous so water goes through it). Do the process in a heated area of at least 70 degrees. The water can be cooler but must heat up to room temp quickly. Add liquid organic fertilizer, gibberellic acid or a biostimulant to the water (like ICT), with the amount based on the formula for that product and the amount of water in the barrel. A 55-gallon barrel can hold several 50-pound bags of seed so you may only need 20 to 25 gallons of water. In the fall add some organic fungicide (like ICT NPP) to prevent “damping off”.

Place the bag of seed in the barrel with the water/mix and make sure the seed is covered with water. It is best to let soak for 12 hours with a diffuser from an air pump inserted in the barrel to keep the water oxygenated or you will have to lift the seed bag (s) out ever few hours to keep the water oxygenated.

Following the soaking period drain the water out of the tank and let the seed sit for 12 hours and repeat the process for day 2 and day 3 – Always use a fresh water mix before soaking. Before you start the process again in day four examine the seed. If you have light colored fuzz on the seed or you can seed the root coming out the seed is ready. If not repeat the process again for Day 4 – but keep in mind the seed is ready at Day 3 or almost ready so it would be fine to proceed to application.

If using a hydro seeder your job is easy just dump in the seed in the slurry. If broadcasting our using s slit seeder You will need to spread the seed out on a clean concrete floor and allow it to dry for a few minutes making sure to spread it out evenly to dry it better (not totally dry just to get the sogginess out) mix it with some fine textured material like - organic dry fertilizer (Louisville Green or Milogranite or a fine textured topsoil carrier – just remember it has to be able to pass through your applicator (2mm - size organic fertilizer is probably your best option). This is done to dry out the seed/carrier enough so it passes through your applicator (the seed will not be dried out enough to kill the seed but dried out enough along with your carrier to pass through the applicator) . Check a small amount of your mix to make sure is passes.

Tim Wilson
08-16-2008, 08:51 PM
Good tip James. I think I'll try that but replace fertilizer and antifungals (damping off) with fish hydrolysate (really diluted) and sphagnum peat moss ( for the damping off & maybe a good carrier, also, instead of spreading and drying prior to seeding)

Tim

MaineFert
08-16-2008, 10:14 PM
We also have had luck pre-germinating seed. We have done it in sand under a tarp. Mix sand and seed, water it well and cover with a tarp. Then we apply it using our topdresser. But I would only do this on an irrigated property, because the seed can dry out, especially when it has fine roots emerging.

We use an aera-vator especially on the athletic fields rather than a tradition plugger. They like to keep the field playable considering its a lacrosse field.

Normally,we will aera-vate and then topdress with compost, but i think in the case of an aera-vator you can topdress first and the tines will actually work the compost down into the soil.


Jim

Dooger54
08-18-2008, 12:09 AM
Found these instructions on how to pre-germinate on another site:

You will need:

A new plastic trash can.

Your seed.

An air pump from an aquarium.

Water.

A cloth strainer of some type.

Pelleted dolomitic limestone.

This is how it's done:

1. First, rinse out the trash can, to make sure that it is free of any chemical residue.

2. Add fresh clean water, to the halfway point.

3. Put the air pump air outlet inside the can, so the pump will circulate the air evenly. You may need to weight it with a clean heavy object. It should be circulating the water a little, and have a lot of air bubbles when plugged in and turned on. This air and circulation is very important. If you don't do this part, your seed will rot, and you will have a stinky rotten mess!

4. Slowly pour in the seed, and stir with a clean utensil, until all the seed are wet. The amount of seed that you can process this way at one time, depends on the strength of the air pump. Put only as many seed in the tank, as the air pump you use can easily agitate.

5. The waiting is the hardest part. It will take several days. Use this time to prepare your planting area. Till, rake, add amendments, do whatever it takes to get it into shape. for planting the seed.

6. Check this concoction every day, to make sure that it is well agitated, you may need to stir it occasionally, and make sure it smells clean.

7. When the seed coats start to swell and crack, you are about ready to apply them.

8. Strain the water through a cloth strainer of some type. A new paint strainer is what I like to use, cheese cloth will work, so will many other types of cloth. Just drain the water and save the seed.

9. Carefully mix the seed with the dolomitic limestone, continue to add limestone until the mixture is dry enough to work in your spreader. Your planting area should have been prepared ahead of time.

10. Now spread the seed out over the area. A light dusting of sand and organic matter will help. In a very short time, you will see the seed begin to grow. Water them lightly as needed, do not let the seed dry out!

If you have done everything right, you should have a good stand of Bermuda grass in your new lawn, or once bald spot, in only a few days. Then just kick back and watch the neighbors scratch their heads!

Anyone ever try the dolomitic limestone pellets?

Smallaxe
08-18-2008, 08:14 AM
Another system is just fill a barrel full of either spagnum or peat moss saturated in water. Stir in a bunch of seed and cover.

Stirring once every few days is probably better, but may be unnecessary. After sitting for about a week. You can put the slurry in a wheelbarrow and patch bald spots or what not. It usually germinates to green by the next morning.