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DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-16-2008, 02:05 PM
Right before I overseed my thin lawn with a slice seeder, how long should the grass be cut? 2" do it? Or shorter? Should I bag the clippings for this cut?
Thanks

DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-17-2008, 12:45 AM
Anyone with advice here - am planning to do this work soon, thanks kindly.

Smallaxe
09-17-2008, 07:59 AM
2" should be fine and it shouldn't make much difference about the clippings. Your main concern would be whether you are sowing into thatch or into soil. :)

cpa4t9r
09-17-2008, 02:29 PM
Most say to 1.5" to 2.0" and bag the clippings, but then if you are slit seeding, then it is not usually necessary unless thatch is a problem and previous post said. I would think you want to mow low enough to reduce competition for your new seedlings.

MJS
09-17-2008, 02:34 PM
Most say to 1.5" to 2.0" and bag the clippings, but then if you are slit seeding, then it is not usually necessary unless thatch is a problem and previous post said. I would think you want to mow low enough to reduce competition for your new seedlings.

That's interesting, I have never bagged the clippings before slit seeding - and I usually end up mowing at about 1". Never had any problems, but then again I have never slit seeded anything but rye or fescue. I think how low you go would depend on the grass type you are penetrating. (e.g., zoysia or bermuda)

csmlawn
09-17-2008, 03:26 PM
I don't get this whole slit seeding if you have an established lawn. If you don't I see the benefit of slit seeding. However, I just aerate and overseed my lawn. But I've seen some posts here that power rake, aerate and then slit seed an already established lawn. Isn't that overkill? I don't bag clippings as long as they are mulched up real good. If you have excess, yeah, I can see bagging up the excess.

Scott

cpa4t9r
09-17-2008, 04:08 PM
That's interesting, I have never bagged the clippings before slit seeding - and I usually end up mowing at about 1". Never had any problems, but then again I have never slit seeded anything but rye or fescue. I think how low you go would depend on the grass type you are penetrating. (e.g., zoysia or bermuda)

I agree - you want to get the grass low but I don't think you would want to scalp it so bad to damage the existing turf. I think the rationale behind bagging if overseeding (without slit seeding) is to increase likelihood of seed to soil contact. Not a problem with slit seeding and you don't really need to use straw according to some/most.

ponyboy
09-17-2008, 06:29 PM
well seed does just die after years, adding more seed increases a healthy lawn,helps reduce weeds, will tolerate less water and more traffic. over kill no it is the proper way, we lower down to 2-2.5 before we do the renovation. make sure you leave watering instructions when done you lose about 30% of seed if not watered correctly, sounds stupid but most people do not know how to water seed

kirk1701
09-20-2008, 04:49 PM
I agree - you want to get the grass low but I don't think you would want to scalp it so bad to damage the existing turf. I think the rationale behind bagging if overseeding (without slit seeding) is to increase likelihood of seed to soil contact. Not a problem with slit seeding and you don't really need to use straw according to some/most.

Exactly,
and I myself didn't even know this just used common sense and the fact that after I slit seed my existing front with a power rake I cut about 2.5 inches and bagged the clippings because I want to walk on it as little as possible which is only watering right now. Don't want to have to mow it again for at least three weeks was my reasoning (less walking on the grass and heavy mower).

freedm2
09-22-2008, 10:40 PM
well seed does just die after years, adding more seed increases a healthy lawn,helps reduce weeds, will tolerate less water and more traffic. over kill no it is the proper way, we lower down to 2-2.5 before we do the renovation. make sure you leave watering instructions when done you lose about 30% of seed if not watered correctly, sounds stupid but most people do not know how to water seed

What's the proper why to water?

GravelyGuy
09-22-2008, 10:43 PM
What's the proper why to water?

Lightly and frequently.

Marcos
09-22-2008, 11:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by freedm2
What's the proper why to water?

Lightly and frequently.

Correct.

But as the turf grows, and you get closer and closer to "mowing height", you can then begin to gradually adjust the irrigation pattern to a more 'deep but infrequent' pattern per section(s) of turf watered.

What this practice does in the long-term, is effectively encourage your new lawn's root system to learn to "reach down" to get it's moisture needs, in lieu of being lazy roots, and simply "hanging out near the surface", where they'll be MUCH less productive to the plant's overall health!

Marcos
09-23-2008, 12:29 AM
I don't get this whole slit seeding if you have an established lawn. If you don't I see the benefit of slit seeding. However, I just aerate and overseed my lawn. But I've seen some posts here that power rake, aerate and then slit seed an already established lawn. Isn't that overkill? I don't bag clippings as long as they are mulched up real good. If you have excess, yeah, I can see bagging up the excess.

Scott

Very few folks around here "power rakes" anymore, mainly because almost everyone has fescue.

And the people who DO have bluegrass, and develop thatch problems for whatever reason, are usually taken care of with either a jug of Roundup & sod cutter, or a very intense aeration, and a two-direction slice-seeding immediately following.

Q:Why core aerate before slice-seeding?

A:To improve the % of seed-to-soil contact dramatically.

As the slice-seeder is cutting vertically through the (low cut) turf, it will also be doing double-duty, by pulverizing the soil cores left by the 1 or 2 passes with the core aerator.

This is especially important around here in SW Ohio where heavy clay :cry: seems to be the rule, rather than the exception.

I personally like to let the cores "dry down" for about 30-45 minutes, before I run the slicer over them, to reduce clumping up the underside of the reel chamber. Conversely... if you wait around TOO LONG, then you'll stand a chance of increasing the amount of dust you may have to contend with!

Q:What's wrong with just aerating and overseeding?

A:Nothing at all...if the person goes over the area multiple times before, or... (even better) 'in between' applying the seed!

But frankly, too many fly-by-night, el-cheapo, lo-ball, low-BID outfits are out there running around right now with an aerator, and are going over their customer's lawn only ONCE, then bouncing over the lawn with a seed spreader set on a conservative number or letter!

And even MORE unfortunately (here locally)...some of these goofballs are even trying to go out and poke holes into lawns that are absolutely hard as a rock :wall right now due to a late August / September mini-drought were suddenly experiencing.

csmlawn
09-25-2008, 03:08 AM
Very few folks around here "power rakes" anymore, mainly because almost everyone has fescue.

And the people who DO have bluegrass, and develop thatch problems for whatever reason, are usually taken care of with either a jug of Roundup & sod cutter, or a very intense aeration, and a two-direction slice-seeding immediately following.

Q:Why core aerate before slice-seeding?

A:To improve the % of seed-to-soil contact dramatically.

As the slice-seeder is cutting vertically through the (low cut) turf, it will also be doing double-duty, by pulverizing the soil cores left by the 1 or 2 passes with the core aerator.

This is especially important around here in SW Ohio where heavy clay :cry: seems to be the rule, rather than the exception.

I personally like to let the cores "dry down" for about 30-45 minutes, before I run the slicer over them, to reduce clumping up the underside of the reel chamber. Conversely... if you wait around TOO LONG, then you'll stand a chance of increasing the amount of dust you may have to contend with!

Q:What's wrong with just aerating and overseeding?

A:Nothing at all...if the person goes over the area multiple times before, or... (even better) 'in between' applying the seed!

But frankly, too many fly-by-night, el-cheapo, lo-ball, low-BID outfits are out there running around right now with an aerator, and are going over their customer's lawn only ONCE, then bouncing over the lawn with a seed spreader set on a conservative number or letter!

And even MORE unfortunately (here locally)...some of these goofballs are even trying to go out and poke holes into lawns that are absolutely hard as a rock :wall right now due to a late August / September mini-drought were suddenly experiencing.

How about lime and fert prior to aerating/overseeding? My soil is very sandy.

Marcos
09-25-2008, 11:24 AM
How about lime and fert prior to aerating/overseeding? My soil is very sandy.

Nothing wrong with fertilizer, assuming that you haven't done that too recently in the past.
I'd recommend a starter fert, with a relatively high phosphorus number (middle number on the bag)........ie '16-22-10' or something like that.

Or even better than that!...
After aeration & seeding...
Have a facility that provides state certified COMPOST deliver & dump a certain number of cu yards in front of your house.
I figure 1 cu yard per 1000 sq ft of turf spread out between 1/2" to 3/4" inches thick.
Of course...this operation requires a pitchfork, wheel barrel, lots 'o elbow grease, grass rakes, and 'slave children' :laugh: to help you feather out the compost over the lawn with the grass rakes so that it won't effectively "choke out" your existing turf!
But it's worth it, believe me!


Lime?!?
Have you had your soil's pH tested on some type of reputable soil test?
Having "sandy" soil, in and of itself, does not necessarily constitute a need for lime, or dictate that you have acid-based soil!

csmlawn
09-25-2008, 02:04 PM
Nothing wrong with fertilizer, assuming that you haven't done that too recently in the past.
I'd recommend a starter fert, with a relatively high phosphorus number (middle number on the bag)........ie '16-22-10' or something like that.

Or even better than that!...
After aeration & seeding...
Have a facility that provides state certified COMPOST deliver & dump a certain number of cu yards in front of your house.
I figure 1 cu yard per 1000 sq ft of turf spread out between 1/2" to 3/4" inches thick.
Of course...this operation requires a pitchfork, wheel barrel, lots 'o elbow grease, grass rakes, and 'slave children' :laugh: to help you feather out the compost over the lawn with the grass rakes so that it won't effectively "choke out" your existing turf!
But it's worth it, believe me!


Lime?!?
Have you had your soil's pH tested on some type of reputable soil test?
Having "sandy" soil, in and of itself, does not necessarily constitute a need for lime, or dictate that you have acid-based soil!

PH isn't bad on the front of my lawn, but the back is usually low (loomy). The last PH test was done 1.5 years ago. I think my current lawn contractor is going to do a test this fall.

Marcos
09-25-2008, 02:54 PM
Lime?!?
Have you had your soil's pH tested on some type of reputable soil test?
Having "sandy" soil, in and of itself, does not necessarily constitute a need for lime, or dictate that you have acid-based soil!

PH isn't bad on the front of my lawn, but the back is usually low (loomy). The last PH test was done 1.5 years ago. I think my current lawn contractor is going to do a test this fall.

I'm not sure that we're talking apples and apples here.

You say the "back is usually low (loomy)".
I think you meant to say "unusually low (loamy)", right?)

Potentially, whether a soil is "clayey", "sandy", or "loamy" has VERY LITTLE to do with its pH!
(What you're talking about with THOSE terms, is "texture".)

What you'd be looking for from a soil test is whether the soil is (generally) "acid", or "alkaline".

Soil tests that come back with a range of say, 4.5 to 6.5, are generally considered acid soils. (In extreme acid situations ONLY), lime may be needed to raise the pH to a more acceptable level, so that plant materials may be better be able to access & use nutrients from the soil.

Conversely, if your sample(s) come back in the 7.5 or higher range, you then have soil that is considered alkaline.
In cases of (extreme) alkalinity, substances such as split-pea sulfur can be used to lower the pH to a more 'neutral' position.

But getting back to compost.....
Instead of "chasing the pH" with stuff like this, applying compost every 2nd or 3rd year (in conjunction with aeration, ideally) will help to stabilize your soil's pH naturally over time!

And you can be like some of the do-it-yourself organic lawn care neighbors on my street, who drive out to the rural CO-OP every spring with their pick-ups or SUVs and get 10-15 fifty pound assorted bags of corn gluten, corn meal, soybean meal, and alfalfa meal to stack in their garages or sheds, to use as fertilizer...instead of the overpriced Scotts chemicals, (generally unreliable & unpredictable) Tru-Green...or whatever!

csmlawn
09-26-2008, 01:16 PM
You say the "back is usually low (loomy)".
I think you meant to say "unusually low (loamy)", right?)

Correct... Also, the last test for our backyard was in the 4's. The front and sides are normal. I'll see what they charge for compost this year. I'll be doing aerating and overseeding next weekend, so I wanted to see if lime would be a good call to bring up my pH along with putting down some starter fertilizer a week before seeding.

Whitey4
09-26-2008, 01:34 PM
Correct... Also, the last test for our backyard was in the 4's. The front and sides are normal. I'll see what they charge for compost this year. I'll be doing aerating and overseeding next weekend, so I wanted to see if lime would be a good call to bring up my pH along with putting down some starter fertilizer a week before seeding.

A pH in the 4's is not very friendly for turf... lime takes 6 months before it finishes changing the soil pH... but with a reading of 4. something, I'd go ahead and amend with more lime because it's doubtful that the pH has changed that much since your lat application. In fact, I'd go at a very heavy rate... as high as 35 to 40 lbs per k of turf.

I think I would wait on adding that much lime until well after overseeding. Would have been better if you added the lime a month ago. I'd wait at least until after 3 mowings on the new seedlings before putting down so much lime. Strange that your proerty has such a large diffence in alkalinty levels.

csmlawn
09-26-2008, 02:00 PM
I spent most of my time and money on the front yard and sides and very little with the back since I wasn't sure if a pool was going in, deck, patio etc. In 2005 I regraded and reseeded the back yard since it was nothing but weeds and I had poor run off when it rained (errosion issues). I'm on a little bit of a hill and the back yard goes down into a field. I find a lot of slate rock that comes to the surface in the back And when I say sandy soil, I mean really saaaannnnddddyyy soil... however, grass does grow in it to some degree. Picture of when the back yard was graded:
http://thumb13.webshots.net/t/34/34/0/67/86/343406786PzgBfg_th.jpg (http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/1343406786065895033PzgBfg)

I'm going to get the new contractor I have for grass cutting and fertilizer apps to do a soil analysis and see what comes back. Thanks for all the info.

Scott

Whitey4
09-26-2008, 02:10 PM
I spent most of my time and money on the front yard and sides and very little with the back since I wasn't sure if a pool was going in, deck, patio etc. In 2005 I regraded and reseeded the back yard since it was nothing but weeds and I had poor run off when it rained (errosion issues). I'm on a little bit of a hill and the back yard goes down into a field. I find a lot of slate rock that comes to the surface in the back And when I say sandy soil, I mean really saaaannnnddddyyy soil... however, grass does grow in it to some degree. Picture of when the back yard was graded:
http://thumb13.webshots.net/t/34/34/0/67/86/343406786PzgBfg_th.jpg (http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/1343406786065895033PzgBfg)

I'm going to get the new contractor I have for grass cutting and fertilizer apps to do a soil analysis and see what comes back. Thanks for all the info.

Scott

I fought with sandy soil for years... and no amount of soil amendments ever fixed the problem... bad soil (sand) is bad soil, period. I had a ten foot wide strip of lousy turf in my front yard from when sewers system were installed. They back filled the trench by burying the top soil under the sand they excavated. Finally, I said to heck with this... stripped off 5 inches of that sand, replaced it with compst and top soil, and now it looks like this:

csmlawn
09-26-2008, 03:16 PM
Nice!!! Oh and I get direct sun light pretty much most of the day in the backyard, so it cooks during the summer months.

Whitey4
09-26-2008, 05:40 PM
Nice!!! Oh and I get direct sun light pretty much most of the day in the backyard, so it cooks during the summer months.

Sandy soil, full sun... IMO it means bringing in at least enough soil and compost to create a 4 inch layer of healthy growing medium, and then a good irrigation program. Like I said, I did every thing I could with that sandy soil for YEARS... nothing worked, and I wasted money and time trying to get it right. Top dressing, over seeding, aeration, never got good results. I fixed the soil, and have a near perfect lawn.

I would ignore it until you are ready for a renovation like I described. Sand just doesn't support healthy turf, period, even if it's partially shaded.

With the erosion problem, when you do decide to bring in 4 yards or so of soil and compost, you may need to also use some ... can't beleive I'm gonna say this... some annual rye grass. It germinates in 3 days and will help a lot to prevent erosion while the perennial grasses get around to germinating in 2 to 3 weeks. I don't like the idea of actaully seeding with annual rye, but in a case like yours, it makes some sense.

The other option would be ... geeze, brain freeze... gonna kill my credibilty now, but too lazy to defrost the brain freeze... the pumps that spray seed with mulch often on right of ways that are in hillsides... crumbs, what is it called again? Ah... hydroseeding. It is a way to get turf started in erosion prone areas, but it costs.

Marcos
09-26-2008, 07:28 PM
Whitey's right on.

I would have that acid soil tested once a year...'in between' corrective lime apps by 3 months or so... on either side.

Rome wasn't built in a day.
And you won't fix that pH in a year!
In fact, don't be surprised if it takes 3-4 years before you'll get up the acceptable range of 6.5-7.0 !!

Remember, when you collect soil samples, go DEEP into the soil about 4"-6" if possible, and collect soil from 4 or 5 different spots in the "area", and combine them in one (clean) bag, to have a total of about 2 cups of soil max.
And DON'T break up the 'clumps' before they're sent in to be tested!

csmlawn
09-29-2008, 09:57 AM
Whitey's right on.

I would have that acid soil tested once a year...'in between' corrective lime apps by 3 months or so... on either side.

Rome wasn't built in a day.
And you won't fix that pH in a year!
In fact, don't be surprised if it takes 3-4 years before you'll get up the acceptable range of 6.5-7.0 !!

Remember, when you collect soil samples, go DEEP into the soil about 4"-6" if possible, and collect soil from 4 or 5 different spots in the "area", and combine them in one (clean) bag, to have a total of about 2 cups of soil max.
And DON'T break up the 'clumps' before they're sent in to be tested!

Thanks guys...

I'll look into the compost and topsoil. The backyard is roughly 20,000 sqft. :dizzy: