HELP! I need some tips on Overseeding/Aerating/Dethatching

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by dwost, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,666

    Well, I've decided I'm going to overseed my yard this weekend. Over the past 4 years or so the rye in the original mix has taken over most of my yard. I'd really like to get it back to mostly blue and figured I'd give the Lesco Quality Blue Blend a shot. I know this is probably nuts since my yard is quite dense and looks great but I figured It would be interesting to see what kind of results I can get. I also noticed after taking a close look at the turf it does look like it could use a dethatching so I figured this would be a good time to try it out. This leads me to a couple of questions. Here is my plan of attack which I'd like comments or ideas on. To eliminate me from having to rent a dethatcher and an overseeder I'm thinking I'll just go with the overseeder and use it in a dual role.

    Here's the procedure I'm thinking of:
    - cut short
    - pick up clippings
    - run the overseeder WITHOUT seed to pull up the thatch
    - pick up the clippings
    - core aerate
    - overseed loaded with seed
    - fertilize with 18-24-12 Lesco starter

    Now, with all this abuse will this take out too much of my turf? Do I need to do the extra "dethatching" step or am I creating too much work for myself? I also have a full irrigation system so water will not be an issue for quick germination.

    Unfortunately the only units I can find around here for rent are the Blue Bird models which from what I've seen are more like a dethather with a hopper attached. I really wish I could rent one of the Lesco or MTD pro units but I'm going to have to make due. Any thoughts on this proceedure or tips? TIA

  2. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,346

    Want straight blue? Then spray the whole thing with round up, wait a week, mow it short, gather clippings. Aerate in 2 or three directions. Run the overseeder in 2 directions. LIGHTLY rake up the heavy debris. Just the heavy, clumpy stuff. The rest will decompose naturally. Apply the 18-24-12, go over again with a light shot of seed from a broadcast spreader. Give it a light dose of lime, or more if your soil test recomends it. Water for 5-15 minutes 2 or 3 times a day. The idea is to keep it moist, not soaked.
    Sounds drastic but it always worked for me. Good luck.
  3. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,666

    Thanks for the tips. I don't think I'm going to go that drastic this season and do a complete kill off but I'm thinking by heavily slit seeding what I have I'll end up establishing a mostly KB yard. Especially if I thin out the rye by dethatching first.
  4. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,925

    Personally I think you are doing way too much work. All I would do is aerate 2 ways and broadcast your seed. Rye is a clumping grass where blue grass spreads. It is odd to find that rye has crowded out your blue. Does it not get cold enough there?
  5. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,666

    No, it get's plenty cold up here. Typically its in the teens and 20's from Dec through early march with several nights in the 0 and below range. I just got back from Lesco with the seed and starter. I may just do what you suggested and see how I make out. Do you have any insight on using the Bluebird seeder as a dethatcher?
  6. DoetschOutdoor

    DoetschOutdoor LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S. IL
    Posts: 1,818

    Aeration is a form of dethatching also so why not just cut short, rake out heavy thatch and then aerate really really well? Overseed with a broadcast spreader and your good to go. If you go over the lawn with the aerator in several directions, you will pull up alot of the thatch and will get good results with the seed. I used a bluebird last weekend and it pulled up some thatch but if it is really bad then a good aeration or power raking might be the best best
  7. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,666

    That's not a bad Idea.....I checked home depot and they also rent Classen power rakes.......I'm thinking that may work better than the bluebird slitseeder which to me is more or less a dethatcher with a hopper. Any truth to this?

    I'm now thinking a good low cut, power rake and 2-3 passes with the core aerator may do the trick. Hit it with seed, fert, and water and see what happens. I'm also thinking of putting my mulch kit on for the rest of the season to keep the clippings to a minimum. Does this sound like a better approach?
  8. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,666

    Well gentleman, I'm exhausted and completely finished with my fall renovation. All my neighbors (and my wife) think I'm nuts ruining my perfectly manicured yard but what the hell, it'll grow back!!! At any rate, here is what I did.

    I went out first thing this AM and rented a Bluebird slice seeder from HD. I almost did the power rake but figured I'd be better off actually verticutting into the turf. I first cut it down to about 1" which left me with about 2 hours of cleanup with my neighbors tractor and pull behind sweeper. I then ran the seeder without seed to pull up the thatch. It did a good job of not pulling up too much turf but I noticed that my thatch problem was worse than I thought (I should have rented the power rake after all) I noticed pulling it backwards yielded much better results so I fabricated a quick bracket to attach it to the tractor and I was able to pull it around the yard which worked great. After I pulled out tons of thatch, I was off to round two of the sweeper. Once it was all cleaned up I hooked up the pull behind core aerator and plugged the hell out of my yard. I ran it three different directions. I then spread the seed and finished up with three bags of Lesco starter. My sprinklers are running as we speak and hopefully by next spring I'll be back to 100% KB :cool2: :clapping:

    One follow-up question, should I worry about putting down a final app for winter? I was thinking of hitting it with starter again in early November. Thoughts?? Thanks again guys for the tips.

    I'll have to snap some before and after shots, I'll say it's kinda sad seeing it go from lush green to scalped brown! lol


  9. bif

    bif LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 68

    I didn't think rye grass could spread?? with cool season grasses I thought only kbg and certain types of fescues spread?

  10. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,925

    Don't worry you are in the right mind set. Rye is a clumping grass. Kbg spreads and some fescues spread.

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