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Lawn renovation: Too late in the fall?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by bperl, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    2" of compost is a better sed bed than any soil... If you are really putting down 2" of compost you don't even need to aerate... In fact your sprinkler heads will be under ground right away...

    How are you going to pread 2" od compost? Bringing in a skidster over your irrigation is not a good idea either...
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,219

    Your plan should work. A light raking or dragging should be enough to bury most of the seed lightly. Half-inch deep, 1/4 inch deep, or on top of the soil--all those will germinate, provided soil remains moist. True, compost and cores might not be fully mixed.
  3. bperl

    bperl LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    I've recently bought Bannerman Mini Topper Compost Spreader. I'm planning to hire some local help to spread the compost.
    1) I'm confused whether to get the aeration done and compost spreaded before the Sprinklers/irrigation system get installed
    Pros: Irrigation won't get effected by aeration
    Cons: The guys and machines used during the sprinkler installation might(will) compact the aerated soil again.

    2) should I get the Sprinklers installed before the aeration is done.
    Pros: I can spread the seed right after the aeration and the soil won't be compacted.

    Cons: Risk to the irrigation / sprinkler system while doing the aeration.
  4. n-green

    n-green LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 362

    I have seeded until Nov before. If you can get it watered, you have plenty of time. I wouldn't bother with a repeat RU either.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    The irrigation system should be put in and tell them of your intention of covering the ground with 2 inches of compost so that they can leave the sprinkler hads a little high... Remember that compost wil eventually break down and won't be 2" any more, but then the grass will also raise the soil's baseline...
    We aerate over irrigation systems all the time, just 'flag' the heads and valve covers and avoid them...
    I would first install irrigation, aerate with several to many passes, bring in the compost and settle it in around the irrigation heads, broadcast the seed , lightly rake it in while making as few footprints as possible and soak it down, until you're sure that the top 4" inches is saturated...
    I never roll seed , but because you have so much compost, once the seed has germinated and grows large enough to dry out some, you might want to fix your footprints and other depressions with a roller then... never roll 'wet' soil/compost...
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    If you are concerned about damaging your irrigation system when you aerate, then you need to find a new irrigation company to do the install. No properly installed irrigation system for turf should be at risk of damage from aeration, and in most cases tilling as well. Laterals should be a minimum of a till depth + 2" deep. Flag the sprinklers before aerating.

    In an ideal world, proper soil prep means tilling. Apply your amendments, till them in making sure they are well mixed with the native soil.
  7. bperl

    bperl LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    I've overseeded my lawn around 9/27. The temperatures in Northern Virginia have fallen suddenly to around 50 F. Its been raining heavily since I've overseeded.
    I still don't see any new grass coming up.
    Weather forecast is showing higher temperatures from tomorrow, around 70 here.
    Normally how long does it take for the new grass to come up?
    Do these low temperatures effect the germination of the seed?
  8. dboyd351

    dboyd351 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,101

    I think you'll see the seed sprouting in the next few days. I live in Cape Charles, VA and seeded some bare spots in my lawn about the same time you overseeded. I spread straw over the spots and have watered every day, at least a little, despite pretty steady rain and cool weather since last Thursday (50s and rain). I can just see a few sprouts coming up thru the straw.
    The warmer weather the next few days should help and I think you'll start to see results.
    If we get our usual Indian Summer your grass should have a good start on next year.
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,219

    Cold temperatures really slow down the germination and sprouting of new grass; you mean TTTF, right? Hopefully your soil temperatures are still warm. Warm weather has returned here and maybe it is headed your way. Keep it wet. You should see some sprouts in 10 days--if cold--maybe 14 days. You might want to bring a of those few seeds inside planted in a coffee mug. You can see it sprout under ideal controlled conditions if you can keep it at 75 or 80. And outdoors it looks like 80 degrees Sunday and Monday. Should work fine. It takes a few days to begin.
  10. dboyd351

    dboyd351 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,101

    Any luck on germination yet? I seeded my lawn (patches) in two rounds close to when you did it. The areas I did first have had sprouts for several days, but the ones I did a few days later haven't come up yet. We have had the same cold weather you mentioned until a day or two ago.
    I'm hoping this warmer weather will jumpstart the areas that got planted a couple of days later.

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