Overseeding and heavy rain - seed loss?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by justgeorge, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. justgeorge

    justgeorge LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    Overseeding my front yard which has a pretty good grade down to the street, maybe 8' drop over 40' run. Then we got 3" of rain in about 12 hours. Did I lose a lot of the seed washed away or is that basically a myth? Yard had been dethatched, cut to about 2", and aerated first.

    thanks
     
  2. Gabby

    Gabby LawnSite Member
    Posts: 140

    I was wondering the same thing. Anyone?
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    There's nothing mythical about seed washing away... how much dirt from the plugs washed away?
     
  4. justgeorge

    justgeorge LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    But I can't believe the seed doesn't get caught up in the existing grass, gets washed into the plug holes, etc.. Maybe some gets washed away but totally wiped out?
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Who said totally totally wiped out? What good is seed in the plug holes? Why not just do a slit-seeder and reduce the % that gets lost to rain in the first place. This fall do it correctly and no more problem... :)
     
  6. justgeorge

    justgeorge LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    I did a small test last night. In my back yard, still a slope although not as big as the front yard, I threw down some seed on an almost bare area knowing we had more storms coming thru overnight. Here is a picture of the seed that is left. Even though it was on bare ground I lost maybe 50%. No way to see any seed in a grass area so this was the best test I could come up with.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    There you go... If the seed doesn't float and wash into puddles or float away in a stream of water, not a lot to worry about... You may want to rake those seeds in a bit though for better germination. A garden weasel works well for that... :)
     
  8. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 386

    The bare spots are what you want to worry about, not where there is already grass. Look at your lawn that got the 3" deluge closely, even dig up a bare spot just a bit if you have to. Estimate how much you lost there. Reapply more seed over the entire area based upon what you think you lost. Unless you see none, I don't recommend adding more than 25-50% more seed as some is still there under the surface.

    Smallaxe is almost invariably right with his recommendations. As he suggests, you should rake in the seed because when you do so, it helps protect it from the rain and from drying out as quickly.

    The easiest way to prevent this is, going forward, put down the new seed based upon the weather forecast. Light rain is perfect, but no rain is better than a lot of rain. You need to be able to control the water in the first week because in that time, the seeds begin to sink into the dirt a bit and become more protected. The garden weasel tool is ideal for overseeding because it will open up the soil and not take much or any of the existing turf. As soon as you water, it begins to create the good seed-soil contact you need for germination. Even better if you can, apply a very light topdressing of peat (assuming your soil pH is good). You can even just throw the stuff down across the lawn as a topdress (do this very lightly). This will help even more with germination and will also soak up some water when it does rain. The first week though is key, once it sinks in it should be fine.
     
  9. justgeorge

    justgeorge LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    put down the new seed based upon the weather forecast

    lol - the forecasts here all suck. I actually held off putting it down Friday because they were forecasting heavy rain Friday night, which didn't come.
     
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    We keep getting high winds and/or snow here. But anything that is under this snow should do very well... 6-8" melting into the ground as pretty as you please... :)
     

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