Late, Late Renovation.

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by White Gardens, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    A gentleman has contacted me to do a late season lawn renovation.

    Anyone in zone 5 done one this late before and what were the results?

    I told this guy there is going to be no guarantees and a follow-up will be done in the spring to fill in any bare spots.

    Project includes, soil amending, tilling of lawn with a soil cultivator, soil tests, and seeding with annual winter rye for cover and a tall fescue blend.
  2. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    Im certainly not anywhere near your zone but I would say you are in the "dormant" seeding time of the year. I would be afraid to till it and have no germination to stabilize the soil, any warm up and rain and your going to have a mess. I wouldnt do it.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,231

    Above is right. Try to convince him to go with sod. You don't want to be reseeding a couple times in the spring. With sod you have top quality grass, you don't have to worry about winter soil erosion, weeds, thinness, crabgrass--try to get it done and the check accepted before anything can go wrong.
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    The problem is that only blue-grass sod is available, and he wants a tall fescue lawn.

    I talked it over with him and he still wants to go ahead. ;) I explained to him the chance of failure too. He said he didn't care as most of his blue-grass lawn is dead already. He understood the consequences.

    It was originally sodded a couple of years ago, but nothing was done to the soil first, they just slapped it down on hard clay.

    I think my only real luck is going to be getting the annual rye to germinate for winter cover.

    Considering the fall we had this year, most seedings failed this year. It was probably the worst fall ever to try and establish grass.
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,231

    What is your soil temp? And when do you expect frost? Most blue and ryegrass does not grow at temps below 45 degrees (my estimate). I am not sure if tall fescue is able to do better at cool temps or not--I suspect not. And it is a little slow to germinate (10 days) (better plan on 30 days under your conditions). Rye a little faster.

    You might consider working with someone who has pre-germinated ryegrass seed, (indoors in 85 degree warm water with air blown through it).

    Keep shopping--someone must have TF sod or TF with blue mixture.

    Take your payment in advance.
  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    I don't know about soil temps Riggle. It's starting to drop, but isn't as low as it normally is this time of year as we had a hot dry fall.

    We just got our real first frost last night, and tonight it's going to freeze/frost again. After that though the ten day out-look looks good for temps and staying above freezing at night.

    I'll probe the soil tomorrow and let you guys know where it's at. I'll also keep this thread updated and let you know how it goes.
  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

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

    I put some Tall Fescue seed down to patch in some places in my own lawn. Did this about two weeks ago. Took about 10-12 days to come up and looks good. However, we did have some warmer days then (70's). Those days are over now for here, highs in the 50's now.

    If your forecast is some days in the upper 60's or 70's, and your soil temp looks ok, go for it. Can you slip some Per Rye in the mix to get some quicker germ. so that the homeowner is tided over?
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,063

    OK, now I have never done this myself, but I have a friend who has been in the buisness for about 30 years and what he does for late season planting is put down a thick layer of hay and let if stay there for 10 days to 2 weeks, but no longer. He does a fair amount of work doing whole lawn installs for local builders. According to him, the decomposing hay generates enough heat that he can seed into December. Again, I can't attest to the effectiveness of this method myself but just thought I'd throw it out there. I would imagine that it could be put down too thick and burn the seedings as well.
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    I was going to use annual winter rye instead of perennial. Should give me the same results.

    I have a pile of leftover, finely shredded hardwood mulch that I'm contemplating using as cover instead of straw. I'm hoping to get similar results to straw/hay. I have used it in the past for erodible areas that I've seeded with good results.

    Temps are supposed to stay above freezing for the next 15 days, with the exception of one cold night. Otherwise the daytime temps are supposed to be around 60*for all 15 days.

    My only concern is though that I probed the soil outside my house today and got a reading of 60*. The problem is that it's probably going to steadily drop.

    CHARLES CUE LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,093

    Go for it if the guy is willing to pay fr it and understands what could happen.

    From my experience. Cold places that don't get much sun will not germinate till spring. The warmer places that get more sun could germinate. Any slope that faces south have a great chance of germinating. There always spring to do some patch work. Just wait longer to put your pre down I find if you put the pre down before June you wont get to much crab. Good luck

    Charles Cue

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