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Kurto_15
02-19-2010, 06:03 PM
I am going to install a few lawns this spring and am going to be using a slit seeder to do so. I was wondering when in the spring is the best time to do this, what would be the best types of seed to use for a mostly sunny area and what would be a good starter fertilizer and rate to use? Any other advice is more than welcome as I am just starting out.
Thanks in advance

grassman177
02-20-2010, 03:55 AM
use a fescue and blugrass blend. up there i would guess to seed about the first to middle of april, and use about 8-10 lbs seed per K. any starter fert is good , but mostly look for balanced or higher P and K then N in your fert choice. make sure you dont put the fert down too heavy, depending on the fert ratios, you are looking at around 3-4.5 lbs per K for fert.

EcoGreen Services
02-20-2010, 07:06 AM
Take a look at http://www.ntep.org/ for varieties tested in your area as well as which specific brands were best.

As Grassman said, Fescue / Bluegass blends work well.

If Michigan is about the same as southern Ontario temperature wise. It's normally the second or third week of April before the ground temperature gets up to 65F Degrees. Sometimes it's been as late as mid May here. Just depends on the weather and when the frost comes out. I imagine it will be early this year with the winter we're having. My rule of thumb is always be ready to go April 1st

RigglePLC
02-20-2010, 09:24 AM
kurto,
You are almost in my back yard. By new lawns do you mean on bare soil? I am not sure if a slit seeder is the weapon of choice.
Anyway, around here a mixture of bluegrass and perennial rye is most often used. Try to find a mix of 80 percent blue and 20 percent rye. The rye is more aggressive as a seedling and will tend to crowd out the blue--so you end up with about a 50 50 mixture. One of my favorites is Lesco's "Athletic Blend". (not the ratio I would like.)

Begin when the grass greens up in your neighborhood--about April 15.

Be sure to not guarantee anything as you cannot control weather or customer watering.

Be sure to use starter fertilizer. And follow up at 3 weeks and 6 weeks with a high nitrogen booster feeding like 24-0-11 to stimulate maximum growth and rapid fill-in.
You will need plenty of weed control for most spring seedings...send me a private message and I can set you up with a weed control and or fert program.

Kurto_15
02-20-2010, 10:05 AM
Alright, thanks guys this really helps and RigglePLC I sent you a PM, thanks for the help it is much appreciated.

betmr
02-21-2010, 08:42 AM
I have a few questions. Not about seed choice, but seed bed prep. Are these new lawns total new lawn or over seeding old lawn? If new, is everything leveled and smoothed out? Low spots filled in and high spots cut down?

I find that for a completely new lawn, a slit seeder is not the best way to go. You will end up with rows of grass that will take time to fill in, look unsightly, and wide bare spaces, open to weed infestation. The best method, in my opinion, would be to run over the soil North to south-East to west with a Vertical Mower. then broadcast seed and roll it over. This method will give you complete coverage, & an even lawn, with less room for weeds.

Slit seeders are nice for over-seeding an existing lawn.

EcoGreen Services
02-21-2010, 10:17 AM
I have a few questions. Not about seed choice, but seed bed prep. Are these new lawns total new lawn or over seeding old lawn? If new, is everything leveled and smoothed out? Low spots filled in and high spots cut down?

I find that for a completely new lawn, a slit seeder is not the best way to go. You will end up with rows of grass that will take time to fill in, look unsightly, and wide bare spaces, open to weed infestation. The best method, in my opinion, would be to run over the soil North to south-East to west with a Vertical Mower. then broadcast seed and roll it over. This method will give you complete coverage, & an even lawn, with less room for weeds.

Slit seeders are nice for over-seeding an existing lawn.

You're right IMO
Slit seeders are for overseeding.

Because we do larger properties, for new lawns we use the tractor with a land leveler or a landscaping box depending on how bad the construction equipment left it, then a harrow. If the soil is very sandy like it is here a lot, we might till in Peat and Compost.
Seed / Fertilizer is spread with broadcast spreaders then cover the seed with the land leveler on the lowest setting then rolled with the roller 1/2 full.

Kurto_15
02-21-2010, 10:26 AM
Well 3 of them are lawns that just have bare spots and will be overseeded, but 1 is a new construction that will be a fresh install. I haven't really decided on how to install that one yet weather it be the way you guys suggested or hydroseeder.

betmr
02-21-2010, 10:40 AM
Well 3 of them are lawns that just have bare spots and will be overseeded, but 1 is a new construction that will be a fresh install. I haven't really decided on how to install that one yet weather it be the way you guys suggested or hydroseeder.

Just a suggestion. On the new one, broadcast or hydro-seed which ever you choose. Bed prep is most important. Smooth out high and low spots, and scratch up the soil, for good seed/soil contact. And be sure customer understands the need for proper watering, until good germination is estasblished.

EcoGreen Services
02-21-2010, 10:46 AM
And be sure customer understands the need for proper watering, until good germination is estasblished.

On smaller lawns we will loan the customer a inexpensive timer and set it up for them. Eliminates them forgetting to water and the ensuing hassles if the lawn doesn't establish properly due to improper watering.

Most of the larger places have irrigation systems.

RigglePLC
02-21-2010, 09:18 PM
Ecogreen's water timer is an excellent idea, Kurto. I can talk about seeding. Sorry, I cannot give you direct advice on weed control because of contractual obligations with the company to whom I sold my business. They woud be happy to talk with you and control the weeds for you when the time arises. Licensed and insured. Their weed control is one of the best in town. Send me a note and I will have them call you.

CHARLES CUE
02-21-2010, 09:35 PM
I use my slit seeder on bare ground after tilled and raked works great just seed in one direction. I find that bare spots in lawns are lower than the rest of the yard because there is no root mass i find that a little top soil in these spot works wonders before slit seeding. as far as weed control i find that that if you spot spray with a low rate of 3 way wont hurt new grass after its a couple inches tall. you know you will have to water all summer or some of the grass will die.
Charles Cue

DoetschOutdoor
02-22-2010, 12:06 AM
I have had great results putting in lawns with the slit seeder. Having a good seed bed is the key and if ground is rock hard or too wet your not getting that. Seed in multiple directions and you are good to go. All we seed with is 5 way fescue and shade mix fescue, both great results using slit seeder.

americanlawn
02-22-2010, 05:31 PM
IMO....

Best time to seed sunny areas in the upper Midwest = mid August thru early Sept.

Best grass type = Kentucky bluegrass (unless you go with Tall fescue). We do not like most ryegrasses cuz they do not spread (fill in), so one often gets "rows" instead of a thick stand of turf. Also, many ryegrasses tend to get "rust" compared to most cultivars of KBG.

Slit seeding in compacted soils may not give expected results (especially if the customer doesn't water).

Kurto_15
02-23-2010, 10:32 AM
What would you guys suggest for a starter fertilizer? Also would you suggest one with a crabgrass preventer or apply something as needed?
Thanks

Turboguy
02-24-2010, 06:55 AM
I would be surprised if you find a starter fertilizer with a crab grass preventer built in. Crab Grass Preventer is a preemergent herbicide that will prevent the grass seed from germinating so it is a definate no-no. Deal with any crabgrass on a spot basis and the following year after you seed you can apply a crab grass preventer.

A starter fertilizer is usually high phosphorus to stimulate healthy root growth. Most any fertilizer listed as a starter or fall fertilizer will work fine. As someone else mentioned a follow up in 5-6 weeks with a high nitrogen fertizler is a good idea but not too heavy.

Any Rye, fescue, bluegrass seed should work fine or any fescue, bluegrass should also be fine. Rye in a mix will eventually disappear since it can only reestablish itself through reseeding and few allow their lawns to reach a height that they have seeds. One way or the other you will end up with a bluegrass/fescue lawn. The rye comes up fast which makes your customer happy and does help hold things into place until the other seeds germinate. Personally I use a blend that is about 50% rye, 20% blue and 30% fescue.

americanlawn
02-24-2010, 07:53 PM
Never saw ryegrass "disappear". Conversely, it tends to stick out like a sore thumb and never dies out. Rye is cheap, and it germinates fast. Good deal for home builders, but homeowners suffer in the long term. (we've killed out many rye lawns cuz the customers' hated it). Our 2 cents worth.

I would be surprised if you find a starter fertilizer with a crab grass preventer built in. Crab Grass Preventer is a preemergent herbicide that will prevent the grass seed from germinating so it is a definate no-no. Deal with any crabgrass on a spot basis and the following year after you seed you can apply a crab grass preventer.

A starter fertilizer is usually high phosphorus to stimulate healthy root growth. Most any fertilizer listed as a starter or fall fertilizer will work fine. As someone else mentioned a follow up in 5-6 weeks with a high nitrogen fertizler is a good idea but not too heavy.

Any Rye, fescue, bluegrass seed should work fine or any fescue, bluegrass should also be fine. Rye in a mix will eventually disappear since it can only reestablish itself through reseeding and few allow their lawns to reach a height that they have seeds. One way or the other you will end up with a bluegrass/fescue lawn. The rye comes up fast which makes your customer happy and does help hold things into place until the other seeds germinate. Personally I use a blend that is about 50% rye, 20% blue and 30% fescue.