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View Full Version : Slit seeded 4 weeks ago, very little grass showing


dae06
09-25-2012, 11:16 AM
4 weeks ago I aerated, dethatched, mowed very short and sweeped all of the grass and sent to compost pile. Even after doing this, there was a bit of dead grass left behind. I figure this will work good seed to keep things moist, kind of like a natural mulch. The next day I rented a Billy Goat slit seeding machine (set it to the #5 setting which is more than the suggested overseeding setting). I bought 50 lbs of commercial seed (supposed to overseed an acre), the same seed I had seeded professionally 5 years ago. It came in great back then. I have ~7/8 of an acre minus house, deck shed, etc. I of couse ran out of seed before I was able to do it all, but the lawn that I didn't't get to didn't't really need any help.

I went over the yard twice, 90 degrees of each other. With the dought this year, had a large area of bare dirt where the grass never came back. After 4 weeks I am seeing just a few new sprouts coming up. I've watered 3 times a day to keep the seed moist and I am disappointed with the results.

A couple of areas that I broad-casted the seed and raked over are filled in great, but the areas I slit seeded are no so good.

Any ideas of what I did wrong?

Puttinggreens
09-25-2012, 12:07 PM
You don't say what part of the country you are in or what seed you are trying to establish. Both of these items are important to the discussion.

Assuming you are using cool season grass, 1 to 2 pounds per 1000 square feet is far to low to get decent results.

Need more info.

dae06
09-25-2012, 12:14 PM
You don't say what part of the country you are in or what seed you are trying to establish. Both of these items are important to the discussion.

Assuming you are using cool season grass, 1 to 2 pounds per 1000 square feet is far to low to get decent results.

Need more info.

Sorry, Northern climate (S.E. Minnesota). 20% Fescue, 20% Rye and 60% KB

DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-25-2012, 03:23 PM
dae you must be from my neck of the woods.

Did you put Barricade down on that lawn this spring? Make sure no pre is causing problems - shouldn't by now.

I also tell you what, I have had a few issues getting some areas to take in my lawn with a mix similar to yours. If this is possible, I think the soil temps back in late August were too high for good results. I noticed when I did those areas again just one to two weeks ago (after the cool down), they came in much better.

my 2 cents

dae06
09-25-2012, 03:50 PM
dae you must be from my neck of the woods.

I have had a few issues getting some areas to take in my lawn with a mix similar to yours. If this is possible, I think the soil temps back in late August were too high for good results.
my 2 cents

Excellent point!!! The week after I seeded it was very hot. I did water 3 times a day though, but maybe wasn't enough. I did try another seeding yesterday over the worst part of my lawn. Now I have to worry about it getting to cold ;).

I used pre-emergent crabgrass preventer, but I put that down in April or May. That shouldn't be active anymore.

Thanks

agrostis
09-25-2012, 04:35 PM
So you seeded 38,990 sq. ft. with 50 Lbs. of seed. That's not nearly enough. Fescue should be seeded on bare ground at 6 Lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. That come's out to 223 Lbs. according to my calculator. You overseed at 3 Lbs. per 1000. And overseeding at that rate mean's you already have 50% grass coverage.

I don't know how deep #5 is on that seeder you used, but fescue only need's to be 1/4 inch deep, and no deeper.

Saying you used "commercial" seed is vague, grass seed is not generic. Using a good quality seed will produce better result's.

It sound's like you watered enough. You just didn't use enough seed. Do it again before the soil get's too cold. Frost won't hurt cool season (fescue) grass, it just slow's it down. Good luck.

RigglePLC
09-25-2012, 09:27 PM
I think high soil temp would not be a problem--in Minnesota, but it has been very hot and dry...on the average most seed failures are a result of not moist enough. And true, a lot more seed would have been better. How deep did you place the seed?

Are there a lot of weeds? If not, perhaps it was not wet enough. How many minutes did you water per day? How many inches of water per week? Loss of water due to evaporation is rapid when it is hot and windy. Is it irrigated? What type of sprinkler? Watering with a hose and sprinkler on 3/4th acre is a big job.

Sprinkle the seed on the soil. Then throw a quarter on the soil. It should cover 20 seeds--or at a minimum ten seeds. That would give you 1.4 million seeds per 1000 sqft...but...only if every one germinated. Thant would be 7 tenths of a pound of bluegrass since bluegrass contains about 2 million seeds per pound.
And since bluegrass is usually seeded at 2 pounds per thousand sqft, 10 seeds per square inch is 35 percent of what is needed.
Perennial rye is different, bigger seeds.

Smallaxe
09-26-2012, 08:05 AM
There is a problem with watering 3X/da.,,, in that you may very well have hardpacked the surface of the soil... you have existing turf that can function as a cover crop for the new seed,,, so count on that a bit as well... as one may guess, I'm going to say the biggest mistake was stripping the grassy mulch off the soil to begin with...

Impatience with seed and expecting it to 'pop' when we want it too,,, is where we loose it... "Must need more Water!!!" is the common refrain,,, but it is advice given w/out warning... there is always a problem with "Excess" and excessive watering is no different... :)

p.s.,
aerating has proven useless in that seed doesn't need 3" holes to grow in,,, but do you have any germination in the aeration holes???

White Gardens
09-26-2012, 08:17 AM
We've had some slow germination around here also this year.

Patience is a virtue. It's been 3.5 weeks since I did a grading job. Homeowner has watered once a day and it's now starting to finally come up.

...

Smallaxe
09-26-2012, 08:58 AM
We've had some slow germination around here also this year.

Patience is a virtue. It's been 3.5 weeks since I did a grading job. Homeowner has watered once a day and it's now starting to finally come up.

...

A grading job??? does that mean that the client has been watering once a day on bare soil???

dae06
09-26-2012, 10:29 AM
1). The #5 setting on the Billy Goat is the amount of seed dropping, not the depth. My depth was between 1/8" and 1/4" depending on the uneven terrain.

2). I have an in ground irrigation system. Normally I water for 35 minutes on each zone 3 times a week to get ~ 1" of water (deep watering, fewer times). My system puts out 15 ga/min. For keeping the seed moist I set it for 10 minutes per zone, 3 times a day/ 7 days a week at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm. This is roughly 50% more water/week but way more often to keep the seed moist.

3). 85% of my lawn has very well established grass. It was 100% before the drought. In the areas (15% of lawn) that we bad I increased the seeding rate. Thus the reason I ran out finishing the rest of the lawn.

4). I believe there is plenty of cover (dead grass) to help protect the seed. The slit seeder made the rows to drop the seed in and after a few waterings that laid back down. So it is nor "bare" dirt, but rather daed grass covered area.

Keep suggestions coming

BTW, It does get real hot in Minnesota. :laugh:

Darryl G
09-26-2012, 10:42 AM
I can't help but think it was a problem with the depth setting on the tines, since you said the areas that you broadcast seeded came in well.

dae06
09-26-2012, 12:06 PM
It could be a combination of everything. I know it got extremely hot the week after I seeded.

All I know is that the water cost me more than $10.00 a day to try to keep the seed moist. To do normal (deep) watering, it would cost me over $25.00 a day (only 3 days a week though).

I just broad casted and raked the bad area and will concentrate the watering to that area only.

Either way, I couldn't afford to keep watering this Summer. Mother nature didn't help much for watering.:p I guess I should have expected this to happen when you don't get the water to the lawn.

RigglePLC
09-26-2012, 12:17 PM
This is mysterious. Moisture in soil sounds adequate.Temps sound OK unless you were getting frost at night. Planting depth OK. Why should broadcast seed germinate OK? Did seeder damage seed somehow?

What kind of seed? What was in the mix? How old since last test date? Bluegrass germinates very slowly--perhaps not very successful in an overseed situation.
On the other hand--ryegrass establishes easier--but may not survive a hot spell--and it is not a spreading type of grass --so it does not self repair (not much).

dae06
09-26-2012, 12:31 PM
This is mysterious. Moisture in soil sounds adequate.Temps sound OK unless you were getting frost at night. Planting depth OK. Why should broadcast seed germinate OK? Did seeder damage seed somehow?

What kind of seed? What was in the mix? How old since last test date? Bluegrass germinates very slowly--perhaps not very successful in an overseed situation.
On the other hand--ryegrass establishes easier--but may not survive a hot spell--and it is not a spreading type of grass --so it does not self repair (not much).

It comes from a company that sells to lawn care professionals. 20% rye, 20% fescue and 60% Bluegrass.

I broadcasted by hand on areas that were completely bare due to me digging and raising the sprinkler heads up a couple of inches and areas I added soil to level some low spots. They were very small areas and I dropped a lot of seed.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-26-2012, 01:11 PM
It could be a combination of everything. I know it got extremely hot the week after I seeded.

All I know is that the water cost me more than $10.00 a day to try to keep the seed moist. To do normal (deep) watering, it would cost me over $25.00 a day (only 3 days a week though).

I just broad casted and raked the bad area and will concentrate the watering to that area only.

Either way, I couldn't afford to keep watering this Summer. Mother nature didn't help much for watering.:p I guess I should have expected this to happen when you don't get the water to the lawn.

Tell you what, re-do the thin areas now. The 10 day forecast is above normal temps and non-freezing temps at night. Stuff ought to shoot up. Soil temps would still be plenty above 50 degrees.


DA

Darryl G
09-26-2012, 01:31 PM
Tell you what, re-do the thin areas now. The 10 day forecast is above normal temps and non-freezing temps at night. Stuff ought to shoot up. Soil temps would still be plenty above 50 degrees.


DA

I'll second that, and emphasize the NOW part.

dae06
09-26-2012, 01:45 PM
I already did this Monday. Wish me luck.

cgaengineer
09-26-2012, 03:10 PM
50lbs of seed will not cover an acre...

50lbs of fescue will cover 5k new and 10k overseeded (roughly)
Posted via Mobile Device

dae06
09-26-2012, 03:36 PM
50lbs of seed will not cover an acre...

50lbs of fescue will cover 5k new and 10k overseeded (roughly)
Posted via Mobile Device

I agree. After subtracting my house, drive, shed and garage, I have 33,000 Sq ft left.

For overseeding Kentucky Blue grass (from what I've read) would require 2-3 lbs./1000 Sq ft.

In my case this would be 66 to 99 lbs. of seed for the entire lawn.

I dropped 2-3 times the recommended settings on the Billy Goat seeder over the bad area. I used a much lower setting for the remainder of the lawn, which I ran out of seed for the side and front of the yard (~8000 sq ft) that didn't really need overseeding. So I used that 50 lbs. over ~25,000 sq ft.

I was trying to use at least 3 lbs./1000 over the bad area. and just do the rest off the lawn untill I ran out.

Does that make sense?

Darryl G
09-26-2012, 08:45 PM
Just a side note: You can't rely on those settings on the seeders...they're all different. It kind of drives me nuts that ever time I rent one I have to calibrate it, making wish I owned one so that I could "get to know it." What I do is put 5 pounds or so in to start with and see what kind of coverage I get and then tweak the setting. Also, make sure that the inside of the hopper is clean with no pieces of bag in them...people tend to get pieces and parts of woven seed bags in the hoppers that get wrapped up in the little paddle and can restrict the flow. It also drives me nuts that just because you close the gate doesn't mean it stops dropping seed.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-26-2012, 10:50 PM
Darryl very true what I find with seeders is they drop WAAAY too much seed down for the setting as indicated on the chart on the machine. I.E. you start out running a setting 7, and run 10 lbs of seed out after 10 feet:) End up at a setting 2.

Darryl G
09-26-2012, 11:57 PM
I fill the hopper from a can that we got with cookies or popcorn or something in it as a holiday gift. I use it to scoop out of the 50 pound seed bags. It happens to hold right around 5 pounds of seed and has a cover too. I can put seed in it in the spring and toss it in my truck for fixing plow damage or whatever...keeps it dry and keeps the mice out too.

PT777
09-27-2012, 01:44 PM
I just had my front yard put in with new screened soil (10,400 sq ft) and they applied 75lbs of seed. Does that sound right?

DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-27-2012, 04:34 PM
I just had my front yard put in with new screened soil (10,400 sq ft) and they applied 75lbs of seed. Does that sound right?

7 lbs per K sounds pretty good. Hope it was a high quality seed blend and not annual rye or K31.

PT777
09-27-2012, 04:46 PM
7 lbs per K sounds pretty good. Hope it was a high quality seed blend and not annual rye or K31.

Tag off of bags read:

Elite Mixture

20% Patriot 4 Rye
20% Stellar Rye
20% Wild Horse KBG
20% Homegrown Rye
20% Gaelic KBG

All from Oregon and it says all rye is perennial.
Purchased from local farm and seed supplier.

gqnine44
09-29-2012, 05:48 PM
That mix will germinate fast and look great this fall but then struggle next summer when things get hot and dry. Rye is commonly used by construction guys and lazy landscapers who just want germination and don't want to take the time to establish a turf type tall fescue lawn.

Tag off of bags read:

Elite Mixture

20% Patriot 4 Rye
20% Stellar Rye
20% Wild Horse KBG
20% Homegrown Rye
20% Gaelic KBG

All from Oregon and it says all rye is perennial.
Purchased from local farm and seed supplier.

Darryl G
09-29-2012, 06:03 PM
That mix will germinate fast and look great this fall but then struggle next summer when things get hot and dry. Rye is commonly used by construction guys and lazy landscapers who just want germination and don't want to take the time to establish a turf type tall fescue lawn.

Woah, woah, woah! So TTTF is the only type of grass that should be grown? I'm a big fan of TTTF for low maintenance areas, poor soil in full sun, etc...basically places where it's about the only thing that has a chance of surviving the summer, but there are more desirable grasses out there, IMO. TTTF is a fairly coarse grass that grows fairly rapidly and tends to fall over by the time you show up to cut it the following week, doesn't handle shade very well, doesn't repair itself or spread well. I much prefer the fine fescues in most cases mixed with a little PR and KBG in my area.

maynardGkeynes
09-29-2012, 06:18 PM
Tag off of bags read:

Elite Mixture

20% Patriot 4 Rye
20% Stellar Rye
20% Wild Horse KBG
20% Homegrown Rye
20% Gaelic KBG

All from Oregon and it says all rye is perennial.
Purchased from local farm and seed supplier.

That mix will germinate fast and look great this fall but then struggle next summer when things get hot and dry. Rye is commonly used by construction guys and lazy landscapers who just want germination and don't want to take the time to establish a turf type tall fescue lawn.

Can't say as I agree -- I think that is a pretty good mix (60%PRG/40%KBG), and will establish a very nice KBG lawn. By seed count it's overwhelmingly KBG, which means that when it gets hot next year the KBG should start to out-compete the ryegrass. A KBG lawn is not a lazy contractors lawn IMO. However, its getting a little late to give the KBG the best chance to establish. I also agree with the above comments on TTTF. Not my favorite for a really fine lawn, although it's great for low maintenance situations in many areas.

gqnine44
09-29-2012, 11:16 PM
Woah, woah, woah! So TTTF is the only type of grass that should be grown? I'm a big fan of TTTF for low maintenance areas, poor soil in full sun, etc...basically places where it's about the only thing that has a chance of surviving the summer, but there are more desirable grasses out there, IMO. TTTF is a fairly coarse grass that grows fairly rapidly and tends to fall over by the time you show up to cut it the following week, doesn't handle shade very well, doesn't repair itself or spread well. I much prefer the fine fescues in most cases mixed with a little PR and KBG in my area.

The KBG wouldnt be too bad but it is no guarantee that will germinate. KBG is a harder to establish and often home owners lack the watering dilegence needed. We know the Rye will come up and will likely burn out next summer without high levels of care. In my opinion, and in my area (could be different elsewhere) TTTF is really the only choice.

suzook
09-30-2012, 09:37 AM
I don't understand the hate on this board about rye. Down south? Sure, but up north? It does just fine. Is KBG better? Absolutely! But a properly maintained rye lawn can look great.

Smallaxe
09-30-2012, 09:45 AM
I do a lot of patch work on damaged sod that is of course pure KBG hybrid... therefore I use straight KBG seed... it is not more difficult to establish or start and it doesn't need the 2-3`X a day sprinkling to germinate, it only needs the correct environment...

maynardGkeynes
09-30-2012, 05:59 PM
...it doesn't need the 2-3`X a day sprinkling to germinate...Never heard that before. Explain?

Smallaxe
10-01-2012, 09:46 AM
Never heard that before. Explain?

It is obvious that perfect moisture, temp, light and air, inside the appropriate cover would germinate grass... however, that doesn't occur in the field, so why push the issue...

What we do have is seed that will germinate when it is ready... plenty of moisture to be sure, but this time of year we don't bake the seed once it has started to soak up water...

any ways, once the ground is soaked with the seed, an properly covered, it can sometimes germinate and grow with no further irrigation... I've done this with a compost covering just again this year... neglected areas that were seeded, cover with compost, soaked and left to dry out because I couldn't get back to the with a sprinkler for a week...

even during the summer months, the dog spots get hit with a small handful of KBG and with a brief daily watering, it comes up all during the summer... seed worked onto the soil, that relies solely on rain will sit and wait for rain and many times germinate when it comes...

The main reason people started the constant watering was becuz they could,,,, and becuz they could often times get quick germination by doing so... quick isn't that necessary when over seeding in the Fall,,, especially when you consider what is happening to your existing turf during that process... :)

brown thumb
10-01-2012, 01:07 PM
I've always prefered one watering in the evening in the fall time to decrease evaporation and increase the wet stratification that helps with quicker germination. Once you get emergence, then morning watering is best...but, the dew is usually pretty heavy in the fall, that is plenty of moisture in the right environment to keep things progressing in many cases.

maynardGkeynes
10-01-2012, 01:33 PM
Axe, thanks for the response. I get your point now. The standard advice, which is to keep the seedbed moist, seems ok to me, but the problem I see is that people think that means to keep it wet all the time, which does a lot of damage. Maybe the seed companies should advise more along the lines of "keep the seedbed from drying out."

Smallaxe
10-02-2012, 08:09 AM
Riggle also did the experiment of soaking the seed for 24 - 72 hours, then dry out the seed... then plant the seed and would get a quicker than normal response... the seedbed staying moist,,, especially the material covering the seed would likely help,,, but as Riggle's experiment showed,,, seed can get soaked,,, then dry out then germinate at a later time...

When I sense that the ground has become anaerobic, because of constant high moisture levels, I let it dry out for a couple of days, then resume watering, at a lessor volume, and that usually does the trick...

maynardGkeynes
10-02-2012, 09:50 AM
Thanks Axe, that is helpful (and interesting).