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View Full Version : Rookie Mistake & seeding Q


vencops
10-05-2011, 06:06 PM
I had a customer ask me to aerate/lime/fert. & over-seed. The back of his lawn was in pretty good shape. The front lawn was almost 100% crabgrass and lespedeza. I sprayed out the crabgrass and lespedeza 2wks. before my work, above.

Rookie mistake = I seeded the front at the rate of a typical over-seed (4-5#/MSF). I now think I should have seeded this portion of the lawn @ a much higher rate. Agree? The back lawn looks great. The front......not so much.

Now my Q.....how much (if it's possible) is too much seed (for an over-seed)? I'm planning on going back over there tomorrow or Friday and scarifying (he did get some wash-out, during a storm) the trouble areas.....and putting down more seed.

I did set expectations at what I thought was a "reasonable" level. I told him his lawn didn't get in the shape it was in overnight. It wasn't going to get in the shape he wants it in in one app.. But, I think it should be "better".

He does have irrigation. He's kept it moist 2X/day, since I seeded.

Thanks, in advance, for you input.

rob640
10-05-2011, 09:09 PM
Are the weeds dead? crabgrass can be difficult to get rid of... if the front is all weeds why not total kill and redo? vs. spray and overseed

vencops
10-05-2011, 09:34 PM
Define "total kill and redo".

My efficacy (spray) was good.

agrostis
10-05-2011, 10:11 PM
I think that 4-5 Lbs. per K is too much for overseeding. Plant density is important. For fescue - for bare soil - 6 Lbs per 1000. For overseeding - 3 Lbs. per 1000. This may not look like much when you are seeding but it is right on the money. The seed companies will tell you to seed at a higher rate to sell more seed. That's just self-serving hype. You don't want too many seedlings. They will compete for water and nutrients if over-crowded. And the plant won't mature completely. Don't worry too much about the back. If it looks too crowded, use a aerifier in the spring to thin it out. I think that using a high quality seed is just as important as the rate used. It wouldn't be hard to make a big difference with this yard. You told this guy to keep his expectations low and if you can exceed those then you will look like a hero. With irrigation you can have a nice stand of grass.

vencops
10-05-2011, 10:16 PM
agrostis:

The front's just looking like it's not nearly as "full" (and downright sparse in areas) as the back.

It's been 3wks. Do I just tell him to ride this out?

agrostis
10-05-2011, 10:36 PM
You need to put down 1-2 per K more pounds in the front. Whatever you need to do to get it up to 6 Lbs. per K. What did you do to prep the seedbed ?

rob640
10-06-2011, 09:02 PM
Also what did u do after seeding? top dressing on over seeding is very important in my past experiences.. we used to throw seed and roll... germination wasn't the greatest.. now we rake in seed on full reno's and top dress on over seeding we've done away with rolling and results have been night and day

rob640
10-06-2011, 09:06 PM
Define "total kill and redo".

My efficacy (spray) was good.

Total renovation for us is killing all turf areas, removing dead grass/weeds cultivating then seeding.. vs. patching troubled spots..

vencops
10-06-2011, 09:38 PM
What do you charge for that.....for say....30KSF?

RigglePLC
10-07-2011, 11:10 AM
You have to do what the customer wants. But I am thinking you are doing this for free--that hurts--so you are losing money on this--expensive lesson. We have all been there. Since the lawn was full of crabgrass and the lespedeza, customer and you cannot expect miracles. If he wants to pay for more labor and seed, fine. You applied at the proper rate, for overseed. If there are grass plants in every sqft and they are not more than 2 inches apart--my opinion--it will be fine after a few good feedings and a few months of growth.

vencops
10-07-2011, 04:45 PM
I put some more seed down, this morning. At the advice of someone I trust, I used a leaf rake and raked the front. Honestly (and the customer agreed), it looked better today than it did even just 2 days ago.

Riggle....yeah....this entire job (sans materials) may be a "freebie". He's got me in the door at a BIG (for me) job....and he could get me more jobs (no smoke-blowing, here...he's the real deal). This was my call (only charging him labor, if the big job lands).

Only took me 1.5hrs., this morning. Well...if I don't count drive time.

I had a GREAT week, though (and month).

We'll see what happens. I took photos from when I sprayed the lawn out. I took a few more, today. Hopefully, I'll have some really good ones in a few weeks/months.

Thanks for the help (you know who you are).

vencops
10-07-2011, 05:11 PM
Riggle...

If this helps, this photo was taken when I sprayed out the crabgrass. No. That's not green grass. That's crabgrass that's been sprayed. The color is from my dye marker additive. Note the top of the hill, there's a different colored green. That's the lespedeza. There was more mixed in with the CG. But, you get the picture. There was no fescue.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m314/SBGobblers/DSC03547.jpg

rob640
10-12-2011, 11:02 PM
What do you charge for that.....for say....30KSF?

We calculate all material cost and estimate how long each step in the process would take and x by our hourly rate.. Its hard to tell from the pics whats grass and whats weeds IMO you went the right route by spraying and overseeding vs. a complete reno, lawn doesnt look to overtaken.. but it is hard to tell from the pics

Ticolawnllc
11-19-2011, 10:23 PM
What do you charge for that.....for say....30KSF?

The key is how long it takes and the guy on the job. Now you know X (time) so time X guys + matireals = cost + what ever you think you should get paid for dealing with this sh*t. Don't for get the equipment!!!

cpllawncare
11-24-2011, 08:16 PM
I think that 4-5 Lbs. per K is too much for overseeding. Plant density is important. For fescue - for bare soil - 6 Lbs per 1000. For overseeding - 3 Lbs. per 1000. This may not look like much when you are seeding but it is right on the money. The seed companies will tell you to seed at a higher rate to sell more seed. That's just self-serving hype. You don't want too many seedlings. They will compete for water and nutrients if over-crowded. And the plant won't mature completely. Don't worry too much about the back. If it looks too crowded, use a aerifier in the spring to thin it out. I think that using a high quality seed is just as important as the rate used. It wouldn't be hard to make a big difference with this yard. You told this guy to keep his expectations low and if you can exceed those then you will look like a hero. With irrigation you can have a nice stand of grass.

Holy crap! I overseed at 6lbs/1000 and 8lbs/1000 bare soil, man I hate being a rookie LOL

RigglePLC
11-30-2011, 03:07 PM
How much seed is too much? Good question! What does grass look like when it was seeded too heavy? Does anybody have pictures of grass weakened by excess seeding rate?

I had good luck sowing 47 pounds per 1000 sqft for a test. Four sqft. I did this because I expected poor germination and emergence due to the situation. Overseeding over grass that was well-infested with crabgrass, no irrigation, no soil preparation.

Where I used 8 pounds seed per thousand it was not as good. It is all relative to the cost of the seed and the amount of time you have for soil preparation, irrigation, and after care. I used Scotts "Classic" seed, (about 30 percent per rye), where the package instructs you to "Use 3 pounds per 900 sqft." ( Sept 15, 2011).

To me, thick grass results in satisfied customer--thin grass results in complaint calls and costly, time-consuming redos.

Suppose you are paying 1 dollar per pound for seed. At 6 pounds that would be $6 per thousand for seed. $60 for 10,000 sqft. And it takes an hour to aerate it. Which is better...double aerate? Or double seed? Apply seed before aeration...or...after aeration?

agrostis
11-30-2011, 03:41 PM
Yes i can get some picture's of fescue at 3 Lb's per 1000, 6 Lb's per 1000 and 9 Lb's per 1000. Give me a couple of day's.

agrostis
01-07-2012, 09:52 PM
Pic # 1 - Before

Pic # 2 - after overseeding @ 3 Lb's per K

Pic# 3 - Before

Pic # 4 - After seeding @ 6 Lb's per K

Pic # 5 - After seeding @ 6 Lb's per K

Pic # 6 - After seeding @6 Lb's per K

Pic # 7 - Overseeded @ 3Lb's into 6 Lb's per K

Pic # 8 - Above tape is 6 Lb's per K, Below tape is 9 Lb's per K

100% rebel 4 seed. 1 Lb of N in 18-24-12 at seeding. 2 x normal rate of lime at seeding. All area's were seeded during the second week of September. Irrigation 3 time's a day during the first month. Rain only after that. Raked with steel rake before seeding. Raked with fan rake after seeding.

Smallaxe
01-08-2012, 10:06 AM
Looks like those 6 pix turned out pretty good... Did you mow it shorter and overseed the dead spots?
Are you successful in keeping grass growing that thick in that much shade?

RigglePLC
01-08-2012, 11:02 AM
Amazing results, Agrostis! I can see that skill and experience are a big help. Along with a good date of seeding for your climate and good irrigation. Rebel 4 tall fescue--mostly at 6 pounds --a quality seed suited to your region, I am sure. No aeration, but raked areas that were essentially bare (due to shade), and then worked the seed into the soil with a "fan rake" (like a leaf rake). It obviously worked.

It looks like the area seeded with 9 lbs per thou is in worse shape than the area at 6 lbs.

What were the daily high temps on that date? What was soil temp?

agrostis
01-09-2012, 08:12 PM
Looks like those 6 pix turned out pretty good... Did you mow it shorter and overseed the dead spots?
Are you successful in keeping grass growing that thick in that much shade?

I don't believe in mowing shorter and then seeding. If you are not using hay to protect the seedling's then you need the little bit of shade the older grass can provide.

You can keep fescue looking good in the shade if you have a couple hour's of sunlight. If that grass is in 100% shade then you will be overseeding the following fall. This is where 3 Lb's/K help's.

agrostis
01-09-2012, 08:19 PM
Amazing results, Agrostis! I can see that skill and experience are a big help. Along with a good date of seeding for your climate and good irrigation. Rebel 4 tall fescue--mostly at 6 pounds --a quality seed suited to your region, I am sure. No aeration, but raked areas that were essentially bare (due to shade), and then worked the seed into the soil with a "fan rake" (like a leaf rake). It obviously worked.

It looks like the area seeded with 9 lbs per thou is in worse shape than the area at 6 lbs.

What were the daily high temps on that date? What was soil temp?

The soil temp. was 88* 0n the 15th. The air temp was 93* during the hottest part of the day. But during the 3rd. week of Sept. temperatures drop about 15 degree's around here. So i think the 2nd. week of Sept. is the sweet spot.