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bassplayer7
10-01-2011, 07:24 PM
It worked out for me to seed a yard with KBG this year. I'm not very experienced with KBG as I've done more with Fescue.

Anyway, to get to the point. I seeded this yard on September 9 with Lesco's quality blue blend. I believe germ. rate on the bag is about 85%. I cut it at 1", aerated it (4x), seeded (1.5 - 2lbs per K), fertilized, and sprayed Tenacity. It has been watered well (flat lawn - no runoff).

It's been 4 weeks, and there has been very, very little that sprouted. The only apparent area that has really sprouted is an area of bare dirt below a tree, and even that is thin and coming up slowely. Is there something that I'm missing here?

The only thing I can figure out would be if I've made an pesticide application (such as Pre-M) mistake. But I've been aware of overseeding, and been watching labels. It's been a long time since I've applied Dimension, but I can pull the exact date.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Exact Rototilling
10-01-2011, 08:18 PM
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Smallaxe
10-01-2011, 10:59 PM
What did you do to cover the seed with all those chunks of plugs lying about? 4X over makes a lot of mess... was there any grass left?

bassplayer7
10-02-2011, 09:06 AM
I didn't cover the plugs with anything. There was still a nice amount of grass left. Everything was watered in (plugs and seed) within a week due to rain and irrigation to where you couldn't see the plugs or seed.
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RigglePLC
10-02-2011, 10:01 AM
So was this fescue originally? Why was it thin, if it was well-watered? Irrigated? If the new seed "took" on the bare soil under a tree, then not likely a pre-emergent was to blame.(What pre-emergent? What date? What rate?) After seeding what was soil temp? Air temps at night? No starter fert? Did you plant a sample of the seed in a coffee mug inside for comparison? Did you prepare one square foot spot outside with a rake for a "perfect" seed bed for comparison? Why spray the tenacity?

You could have used double than amount of seed. Remember Kentucky bluegrass is very slow--both in germination and early stages of growth. 99 percent of customers are dissatisfied, IMHO. Sod is better. Customers are more satisfied if you include 10 percent rye, because at least you have something coming up. True, rye does not usually make it through the next summer, if temps exceed 95.

Was the goal to convert this to bluegrass? Or to add bluegrass to the mix at about 20 percent? Was the blue compatible as to grass blade width?

I wish somebody would compare seed "take" when the seed was sown before aeration to after, in a side by side comparison.

JFGauvreau
10-02-2011, 11:28 AM
So was this fescue originally? Why was it thin, if it was well-watered? Irrigated? If the new seed "took" on the bare soil under a tree, then not likely a pre-emergent was to blame.(What pre-emergent? What date? What rate?) After seeding what was soil temp? Air temps at night? No starter fert? Did you plant a sample of the seed in a coffee mug inside for comparison? Did you prepare one square foot spot outside with a rake for a "perfect" seed bed for comparison? Why spray the tenacity?

You could have used double than amount of seed. Remember Kentucky bluegrass is very slow--both in germination and early stages of growth. 99 percent of customers are dissatisfied, IMHO. Sod is better. Customers are more satisfied if you include 10 percent rye, because at least you have something coming up. True, rye does not usually make it through the next summer, if temps exceed 95.

Was the goal to convert this to bluegrass? Or to add bluegrass to the mix at about 20 percent? Was the blue compatible as to grass blade width?

I wish somebody would compare seed "take" when the seed was sown before aeration to after, in a side by side comparison.

I think that would of been the best bet in this situation, I don't think aerating 4 times really help with the germination. KGB is just really slow to germinate, especially in cool temp. That's why I never recommend seeding with pure KGB. Like Riggle said, throw in other fast growing grass in the mix for your customers. Sod is just the best bet for a pure KGB turf.

bassplayer7
10-02-2011, 12:00 PM
The yard has been bluegrass for years and thanks to Tru-green (and lack of consistent watering through the summer), it has degraded over the years. In the past it has been important to them to stay with bluegrass, although, now I know they probably would have been fine with TTTF. I decided to try sticking with KBG for a couple more years, before overseeding with fescue.

The lawn is being thoroughly watered by above ground sprinklers now but it hasn't been in the past. Air temperatures have varied between highs in the mid 80's and mid 60's and lows in the mid 40's to low 60's.

I didn't do the soil prep as a test area (#1 mistake, I suppose). I sprayed Tenacity, because of a weed problem due to a thin grass stand. It's worked nicely so far (rate of 8oz. per acre). I applied 13-13-13 at roughly 7lb/K. The rye would have been a good idea. But as long as it sprouts that's all I care about. Actually, the folks who live there are on an extended leave so they don't care if it takes a long time to come up.

Dimension was applied in early May at the bag rate (don't remember precisely).

Thanks for taking your time. I'll answer anything else. I may have missed some questions.

RigglePLC
10-02-2011, 01:39 PM
Bass,
sounds like you are on the right track and temps are OK. Kentucky bluegrass is just slow. Sowing 6 weeks before frost is perhaps a little optimistic. Probably more weeks would be better. Certain bluegrasses are faster than others. Sod farms don't care, but for homeowners or overseed situations something with some "Bronco" would be helpful. Mixes well with tall fescue. They suggest 3-4 lbs seed per thousand--but I am not sure if you would use more or less in an overseed situation.

I hope this works out . Photos would be nice.
http://www.pickseed.com/ECanada/techSheets/pdf/bronco_ts.pdf
http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/schoolipm/node/28

bassplayer7
10-03-2011, 09:19 AM
Thanks for the encouragement, and the links. Here is a photo taken the other day (I didn't take it). The grass around the edges of the photo is established. It is hard to see the seedlings but they are there (about 1" tall) and easier to see from the side. The area next to the tree is the most obvious place that it is coming up. I'm sure it is other places, it is just harder to tell. I can get more photos if necessary.

RigglePLC
10-03-2011, 11:06 AM
Bass, good start. I wish it was thicker. It doesn't look overly wet. I suggest some more fertilizer in a couple weeks. I would want to get it growing as fast as possible to take advantage of fall rains (if any). If it gets thick--it doesn't really matter if its new grass or old grass.
And you are right, if the watering by the customer is irregular, fescue might hold up better. They need irrigation or at leat one of those battery-operated timers. TTTF with a narrow blade should blend well with the KBG. A creeping type (LS, Lateral Spread) with good drought and disease resistance like Titanium LS, would be a good bet.

bassplayer7
10-03-2011, 11:25 AM
Riggle, I appreciate the pointers. I'll fertilize again before long. I cut my losses today and put a little extra seed down (to bring the total to around 3lbs per K). I know chances are it won't establish before winter, but it was worth a try to maybe avoid spring seed seeding.

After I seeded this year, the customer bought a lot of sprinklers and timers and such so the system is automated now. I will stress the importance of irrigation next summer, so hopefully that will be better. I checked the "system" and it seems that everything is getting covered.

There is one impact sprinkler watering the entire backyard (4.5K), and it runs for a total of about 1.5 (split 3 times) hrs per day because it is slow in getting the water down. They asked me about backing it down now, and I said that was fine with me. A lot of the yard almost seems a little soggy. I think it's getting sufficient water.

Smallaxe
10-04-2011, 08:33 AM
As the ground dries out a bit, you should see germination... If the ground is too wet, seeds will not germinate... they have hormonal sensors that let them know if an environment is righ for germination... 1.5hrs/day is likely too much for any lawn particularily an overseeding...

bassplayer7
10-04-2011, 09:10 AM
Right on! That makes perfect sense. I had not thought of that before. I'll get them to back the water down.

Thanks a lot for the tips.

bassplayer7
10-12-2011, 05:07 PM
So there's still no sprouts. Obviously the new grass (that I put down additionally) hasn't had time to sprout, but with the water backed off (the soil has still been kept moist), it seems like some of the original grass would have sprouted.

I'm not sure if the seed is bad or if it still needs more time or what. The weird part is that one little area of ground that did sprout, and not much else did.

Smallaxe
10-12-2011, 08:05 PM
Could be lots of reasons...
I'm seeing that some of the bare ground has just been compacted fron too much water all summer long , that working up the surface (top 1/2), just wasn't enough to get the seed to come alive...
Some of the ground is going to have to be worked deeply and thorougly in order for the seed to have a softer base underneath as well as adequate cover overhead... In this case multiple passes with an aerator would work, if the lawn was being aerated anyways...

If not, ten a Mantis may be necessary... :)

bassplayer7
10-13-2011, 08:09 AM
I aerated the yard 4x times before seeding. The area in the picture may not reflect that if I missed it. I sometimes take trees a little wide to avoid throwing the aerator over roots.

Thanks for the help.

Smallaxe
10-13-2011, 07:46 PM
I aerated the yard 4x times before seeding. The area in the picture may not reflect that if I missed it. I sometimes take trees a little wide to avoid throwing the aerator over roots.

Thanks for the help.

So what do you think, went wrong?

bassplayer7
10-14-2011, 10:21 AM
That's what I'm trying to figure out. I thought I seeded with good quality seed according to industry standards. I'm more comfortable with TTTF then KBG, as TTTF is more popular in this area. To be honest, I haven't done much overseeding with KBG at all. It seems to be quite a different animal then fescue.

I wasn't sure if I was missing something obvious. It sure would be nice to figure out what's going on here.

Smallaxe
10-15-2011, 07:52 AM
That's what I'm trying to figure out. I thought I seeded with good quality seed according to industry standards. I'm more comfortable with TTTF then KBG, as TTTF is more popular in this area. To be honest, I haven't done much overseeding with KBG at all. It seems to be quite a different animal then fescue.

I wasn't sure if I was missing something obvious. It sure would be nice to figure out what's going on here.

Try some pictures of the areas that you were trying to germinate in...

bassplayer7
10-17-2011, 07:18 PM
Here are some pictures... Maybe this will help diagnostics.

Note that the leaves have fallen somewhat recently, and the lawn will be mowed soon.

Smallaxe
10-17-2011, 08:17 PM
Your pix didn't come through... at least on my machine...

Smallaxe
10-17-2011, 08:25 PM
The pix came through this time... It doesn't look like there is a lot of open space for new grass to come in... perhaps aerating is all that is needed...

bassplayer7
10-17-2011, 08:40 PM
OK, thanks. It's weird that some of the bare areas (not necessarily pictured) haven't come in better, though. It would also make sense if ground contact wasn't that great. Do you normally roll the yard when you overseed? It seems that with some good watering, soil contact would be established either way.

While this is my "guinea pig" yard I may experiment with dormant seeding, however, late season frosts are all too common in Kansas for some reason. It seems that every other year the apple crop is killed as a a result. I'm not sure if a late frost would impact it, even if it did freeze late.

Next week I plan to apply 1.5lbs per K of N to the yard. It's growing has slowed somewhat.

Thanks for helping me out here. It's too bad the reason isn't more apparent.

One other thing, do you normally aerate before or after seeding? I did several times before, and the lawn ended up looking a little worse for the wear, but my understanding was it was one of the best ways to overseed - as far as cutting it short, aerating, then seeding.

Smallaxe
10-18-2011, 08:40 AM
... One other thing, do you normally aerate before or after seeding? I did several times before, and the lawn ended up looking a little worse for the wear, but my understanding was it was one of the best ways to overseed - as far as cutting it short, aerating, then seeding.

If you were relying on aeration for a good seedbed and were expecting seed to germinate on mostly unworked ground, then I think you've found your reason why it didn't germinate...

Barespot are usu. caused by puddling, so the best thing to do is work those bare spots, with a garden weasel of some such device and give you seed some cover...
Aeration only makes a seedbed for trouble areas that should actually be tilled but have enough grass to save. Otherwise aerators were never meant for seeding...

bassplayer7
10-18-2011, 09:09 AM
So I should have done something like verticutting? Do you just run over the bare spots (after seeding) with a garden weasel to rough up the soil surface slightly? The more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

What is your typical procedure for overseeding?

I'm also curious about your opinion on tilling. I've heard that it like stirring up a dust pile on top of a now uneven ground, making for a bumpy lawn shortly down the road - is this true, and if it is, is there a way to avoid that?

Thanks a lot for the advice!

Smallaxe
10-18-2011, 09:27 AM
I only overseed barespots amd thin areas... once the grass reaches 'critical mass' nothing is going to germinate in its midst...

Depending on the soil I would work it at last a 1/2" down to have 'loose and level' soil... on that seedbed, I woud add the seed into the loose and level soil...
(Seedbeds for grass is anything that involves "loose and level" soil for the seed to live in)

I've gotten myself in situations, in which I believe I didn't go deep enough with the 'loose and level' soil, so you might want to keep that in mind as well... sometimes 1/2" will turn into a compacted puddle before it germinates seed... so working those spots deeper and mixing with compost or other soil ammenments may be necessary to prevent them from returning to their original problem...

bassplayer7
10-18-2011, 09:37 AM
That makes sense, though I wish I would have known that sooner, but that is my fault. Do you ever overseed to thicken a KBG yard?

Smallaxe
10-18-2011, 09:45 AM
That makes sense, though I wish I would have known that sooner, but that is my fault. Do you ever overseed to thicken a KBG yard?

It has to be pretty thin to b overseeded... KBG spreads very well by rhizomes and fills in areas to maximum capacity all on its own... like water seeks its own level...

Providing good soil is the best thing you can do for KBG... that is why I concentrate on building soil rather than throwing stuff at it...

What kind of soil do you have, BTW? How does it react with water is its most 'telling' feature... :)

bassplayer7
10-18-2011, 10:08 AM
It is clay, and it seems to handle water pretty well. It would take a lot to get it to puddle. When watered heavily, it gets soft. How should it react to water? What do you add to the soil to build it? I've heard of organic approaches such as alfalfa pellets, corn meal, or other such things. Do you topdress much?

I haven't done a soil test on that yard, but I did on the next door neighbors. I need to get one done on their yard, though, b/c their neighbors have TTTF. Their neighbors were low on organic matter.

Smallaxe
10-18-2011, 09:02 PM
It is clay, and it seems to handle water pretty well. It would take a lot to get it to puddle. When watered heavily, it gets soft. How should it react to water? What do you add to the soil to build it? I've heard of organic approaches such as alfalfa pellets, corn meal, or other such things. Do you topdress much?

I haven't done a soil test on that yard, but I did on the next door neighbors. I need to get one done on their yard, though, b/c their neighbors have TTTF. Their neighbors were low on organic matter.

Soft soil at the surface with 'lots of water' isn't really what you would want for your turf... moisture in the root zone w/out a hydrophobic surface is the desirable effect... to allow the soil to dry out and let the microbes in the soil breathe, grow and build a structure, while the root zone(rhizosphere) stays moist, is your best case scenario... :)

White Gardens
10-18-2011, 09:14 PM
As for the tree, don't expect a rug of grass in that area. Between the tree sucking up moisture, shallow soil around the root crown of the tree, and the shading, you'll be lucky to get anything to grow in that spot.

I would try a Fine or Red Fescue for the shaded areas. That would give you better results.


....

bassplayer7
10-19-2011, 09:33 AM
I was kind of expecting nothing to live under the tree through next summer, but just didn't bother to section that area off or something. Thank you for the suggestion, I may try a creeping fescue.

@Smallaxe: I wish I had some better resources to learn about soil management. Thanks for the input.

Smallaxe
10-20-2011, 08:46 AM
... @Smallaxe: I wish I had some better resources to learn about soil management. Thanks for the input.

You don't need to know a lot about soil management to raise good turf... Search "soil structure", "soil texture", "* retention", " * perculation" etc., when a question comes to mind and pick some interetting and informative articles to browse and think about..

Th biggest soil problem we have around here Used to be sand, but now most everyone brings in a heavy topsoil before installing a lawn.... Now our biggest problm is people killing the sil structure with the irrgation and end up growing living 'thatch'...