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  #1  
Old 11-05-2008, 01:39 PM
FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE is offline
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HELP! Fall Over Seeding Isnít Working

I live in Charlotte and had a great Tall Fescue lawn until last year when it was decimated by the drought and intense heat. This past April I had an irrigation well installed. In late April I over seeded with Fescue. I knew that it would probably not survive the August heat but figured that by late August I would do a fall renovation.

The fall renovation began right after Labor Day. At Lescoís recommendation I bought a Fescue / KGB blend. The lawn was aerated and the seed was put down with a slit seeder at the rate recommended for over seeding. We put down a starter fertilizer (also Lesco) and then began a 3 times/day light watering to keep the soil moist.

The growth was minimal with some areas showing no new growth. After 3-4 weeks I called Lesco and they suggested putting down more seed with a broadcast spreader so we did. In the bare areas we used a rake to make sure the seed had good soil to seed contact and then continued the watering schedule. Lesco told us not to put down additional starter fertilizer.

I still have very mixed results. Some areas show the first stages of germination (nothing over ľĒ) but other areas show nothing. Iíve never had a problem growing grass before.
Ironically, some of my best results were one year when I just aerated and then put a ton of seed down with a broadcast spreader and didnít water that much (before I had an irrigation system installed). In that instance I didnít see any results until Spring when I had an incredible stand of a healthy thick lawn. But I truly thought that starting so early in the fall this year that I would see some significant results by now.

The weather here has been warm except for a brief cold spell with nights getting to mid 30Ēs. We should have high 60ís for another few weeks but Iím thinking that the grass is beginning to go dormant and that I wonít see any more results now.

Should I just put down a fertilizer for the winter and hope for the best? And what fertilizer should I use (test results show medium levels of nitrogen, low phosphate and high potassium)?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2008, 07:30 PM
DavidR DavidR is offline
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Have you ever had a soil test done?

I did the exact same process as you without as much water an later in the year and my results have been fantastic so far. My guess is that something is not right with the your yard that a soil test might unveil.
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2008, 07:24 AM
FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE is offline
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David:

I was going to have one done but the turn around time was almost 3 weeks and thought that by the time I got the results it would be too late to start the over seeding. I used one of those home testing systems and nothing major showed up.

I will have one done this week since the turn around time is down to a week or less. The only thing that baffles me though is how could the soil conditions have changed so dramatically between spring and fall? The spring seeding had great results except that the summer heat just killed a lot of it off since the root system wasn't strong enough to withstand the extreme heat down here.

I wondering if I should have the well water tested. Maybe there is something in the water that's affecting the seed.

The only other thing I can think of is the seed. In the past I always used Scott's and Pennington. I decided to use Lesco thinking their product may be better. Does anyone have an opinion on Lesco's product?
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:26 AM
FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE is offline
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One other thought, I've always used a Tall Fescue and this time I switched to a Tall Fescue / KBG blend - could that have caused the difference in results?
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2008, 07:28 AM
DavidR DavidR is offline
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I have used Lesco in my yard for the past 3 years. Results have been pretty good. You can check the NTEP (ntep.org) in your area. It is a series of colleges that check the seed (each seed in your blend will need to be checked). Based on the results from NTEP, I plan on using something else next year. Not that Lesco is bad, there is better out there though.
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  #6  
Old 11-06-2008, 07:42 AM
FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE is offline
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David:

Actually, NC State also lists something like that. I'll take a look at both.

So let's assume that the seed is the culprit...is it too late for me to put down more seed with another brand? Is it possible that the growth that does exist -though limited - will continue to germinate over the winter?
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  #7  
Old 11-06-2008, 07:46 AM
DavidR DavidR is offline
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I doubt it is the seed. Putting more down now wouldn't work. As soon as the seed started to germinate it would be killed by the frost.

I would have the soil checked before putting anything else down.
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2008, 08:22 AM
FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE FRUSTRATED IN CHARLOTTE is offline
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I'm inclined to agree that the first step needs to be a soil test. If that doesn't reveal a problem then I'm back to square one. But if there's a problem with the soil I guess I'll just have to start this whole process over in the Spring.

I may just have to do that anyway since my lawn is now over grown with weeds. That's something that showed up since the over seeding. I've never had a weed problem before. The weeds may also be indicative of a soil problem.

When I do get the results, if there is a problem should I try to fix the soil before the winter or do I just wait until spring?
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  #9  
Old 11-06-2008, 09:10 AM
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atasteofnature atasteofnature is offline
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the one time you said you aerated and put seed down and didn't water and it came up thick in spring time. Did you slit seed that time? I thought I have been told to drill seed not slit seed because that cuts and kills all exsiting roots and doesn't help the situation any. I have been told to do an overseed project with aerating, seeding with broadcast spreader and fertilizing with broadcast spreader and then water. The seed and fertilizer will drop in the hole and the little dirt pelts will melt and cover the seed. Plus the aerating doesn't cut the soil but allows the exsisting roots to grow healthier and stronger.
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  #10  
Old 11-06-2008, 10:02 AM
DavidR DavidR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atasteofnature View Post
the one time you said you aerated and put seed down and didn't water and it came up thick in spring time. Did you slit seed that time? I thought I have been told to drill seed not slit seed because that cuts and kills all exsiting roots and doesn't help the situation any. I have been told to do an overseed project with aerating, seeding with broadcast spreader and fertilizing with broadcast spreader and then water. The seed and fertilizer will drop in the hole and the little dirt pelts will melt and cover the seed. Plus the aerating doesn't cut the soil but allows the exsisting roots to grow healthier and stronger.
I don't know how true this is. Have you ever used a slit seeder? My experience has been that you want the setting on the slit seeder to just touch the top of the turf, to break it up a bit. This does a wonderful job of dethathing as you lay the seed down. I used a Turf Revitalizer this year and have had excellent results, none of the dying off of old turf that you speak of. In fact, my established turf has thrived as the slit seeder has done a great job of dethathing my lawn. I can tell you that I will never waste my money on seed again without applying it with a slit seeder.

There was another thread not long ago that covered this as well. It was noted that aerating serves a different purpose then slit seeding.
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