Is it too late to aerate/overseed in NJ?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by kodiak1120, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. kodiak1120

    kodiak1120 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    Hi everyone,

    I live in Southern New Jersey and I was planning on aerating/overseeding my lawn this weekend, but I'm worried that I've waited too long and that it may be too late. As far as the weather, the temps for the next 10 days are projected to be in the mid- to upper-60's, and the lows in the mid- to upper-40's. Let me know what you guys think. Thanks,

  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,233

    I think it is too late. However...can't hurt. Aeration should work fine. Are you still mowing? Seed will be very slow due to low temperatures. The first frost date is about October 20 in New Brunswick, but about 3 weeks later in Atlantic City.

    It will grow slowly during the day and probably not grow during the night at all. Hopefully your soil temperature is still above 50. Frost will not kill the new grass, but will slow it down a lot. Be sure to use only top-quality seed--make sure it at least claims to be disease resistant. With luck I suspect your new grass (the perennial ryegrass portion of same) will be about an inch tall before snow ends the season. It does snow where you are, correct?
  3. kodiak1120

    kodiak1120 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    Thanks for the response... I am still mowing, and the grass seems to be growing pretty good right now. And yes, we can get a pretty good amount of snow in the winter. I'm closer to Philly than the shore.

    According to your link, the first frost is November 11th, which will be about 4 weeks after I seed if I do it this weekend. The other problem is my irrigation system. I would need that on for the germination period, but I don't want to leave it on too long before blowing the lines out with the temps dropping.

    I guess my alternative would be to simply aerate and fetilze this weekend. The lawn looks good for the most part, but it took a beating this summer due to the heat and the fact that I neglected it in the spring by not really fertizliing and not putting down enough pre-emergent crabgrass preventer. Right now it looks pretty good, but its definetely thin in spots and the very back, which was overrun by crabgrass, really needs some work.

  4. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,064

    I'm a little north of you on the CT shore and my usual cutoff date for seeding is Oct 15th. That's the absoulute latest....not claiming it's ideal by any means. But I have planted this late before and had good germination. It really doesn't give the grass much chance to grow and get established, but it should be ok. If it's your own lawn, I say go for it. Be sure to put down your starter fertilizer. I would also put shredded straw on top...that will help to keep the soil warm and moist.
  5. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,966

    I think there is a small risk but think you should be fine. I am out in Western PA and you should be just a few degrees warmer than we are. I will be seeding for a couple of weeks yet. Usually I seed until the end of October but last year did have a couple of lawns I seeded in late Oct that didn't come in till spring.
  6. gqnine44

    gqnine44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 501

    I take it that in those cases you delay your pre-emergent application in the spring? Do you do another round of starter as round one?
  7. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,966

    Good point. If I am expecting to get germination this year then I add the starter fertilizer to my mix but If I am doing a job where I am fairly certain will be dormant seeding then I don't use fertilzer and suggest to my customer that he either apply fertilizer in the spring or find someone to. (all I do is hydroseeding, no prep, no fertilizing ect)
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    An interesting test with compost and seeding area a couple weeks ago in dry compost and no rain or other water... it rained all day yesterday so we'll set the clock ticking from Oct. 9th for its first chance at germinating this year...

    Frost again this morning and it will be like that for the next 10 days with brief warmups here and there... will it grow or is it too late??? I'll keep you posted , but I'll bet southern NJ is fine to go... :)
  9. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,899

    OP = I would say seed it now. Don't wait.
    Use a good dose of Perennial Rye in your mix is it will come up much quicker than KBG.
    Perhaps put some TTTF in the mix.
  10. kodiak1120

    kodiak1120 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    Thanks again for the replies... What are the risks of seeding too late in the season? I mean, suppose I seed this weekend, and then we get our first frost three days later or a week later or two weeks later?

    Will the frost kill the new grass? Will it kill the seed? Or, will the seed just remain dormant until the spring?

    I need to put down pre-emergent crabgrass-preventer in the spring, so if the seed is dormant over the winter, and I put down a pre-emergent, it won't germinate in the spring either, right?

    Basically, if I seed now, do I just need to pray for mild temps for the next three to four weeks, or do I still stand a chance even if the temps drop?



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