Recommend best grass seed to buy for SE Wisconsin overseeding/renovation?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by sethhobrin, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. sethhobrin

    sethhobrin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 85

    I just moved in to this home last fall. My lawn is pretty wrecked after this summer. I didn't water it much either which didn't help. I now have a great sprinkler system set up with timers for the front yard and I am ready to renovate. My plan is to aerate and then use an overseeding machine with vertical blades and a seed hopper. I will then topdress with topsoil/compost.

    My only question is whats the best grass seed I should be using. Right now my lawn is mostly some poor quality tall fescue with some clumps of grass that shouldn't really be there. I plan to pull that out.

    Whatever I buy I plan to buy enough to do 3 seasons of overseeding/aerating this fall/spring/next fall.

    Advice and suggestions?



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  2. wyoming lawn service

    wyoming lawn service LawnSite Member
    Posts: 108

    I am doing the same thing. Spray undesirable grass/weeds with round up. Hand pulling them wont do anything.
     
  3. sethhobrin

    sethhobrin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 85

    Anyone have suggestions on the best seed to buy and where to buy it for my location and purposes? Thanks for the suggestion on the unwanted grass clumps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  4. wyoming lawn service

    wyoming lawn service LawnSite Member
    Posts: 108

    Not sure about your area. Contact your local university extension office that does turf grass. They will recommend what is best for your area. In my area Ohio state recommends turf type tall fescue. Go to seedland.com and use seed express it will give grass type recommendations based on zip code. Also ntep.org will tell you what are the best cultivers. I bought a tall fescue blend of inferno, avenger, and sidewinder from a local nursery. Feed stores usually have great grass seeds as well.
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  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,779

    Seth,
    Don't buy anything marked "Contractor's Mix" or anything like that. Its mostly "Gulf" an annual rye--yellow and stringy. Dies in one year. Don't buy anything with "Boreal" fine fescue--a very cheap old-fashioned disease-prone type. Don't buy anything with "unbranded" seed (that is Kentucky bluegrass with no variety name; that means cheapest possible).
    Homeowners have had great results with Scotts "High Traffic". It contains some "Abbey" and "Thermal Blue" Kentucky bluegrass, but it is mostly perennial rye. It has a very vigorous seedling. About a half-inch high in 72 hours under ideal conditions. Its a good bet if you are not rototilling, but slit seeding in old turf, (not an ideal seedbed).
    Kentucky bluegrass is very slow to germinate, and you may not get more than 20 percent take due to poor seed-to-soil contact or competition with your present grass.

    My second choice is Scotts Turfbuilder Sun and Shade. Countains a percentage of "Courtyard", Scotts Midnight clone, a premium dark green KBG. Be sure whatever you buy claims to have disease resistance. It should have .01 percent weed seed or less, and zero noxious weeds, and less than .05 percent "other crop" (foreign grass). Be sure it has a test date of less than 6 months ago. Minimum germination allowed in most states is 85 percent. Top quality seed will test at 90 percent. But all seeds lose a few percent each month in storage.

    Don't plan to overseed in spring--crabgrass control will block the germination of new seed--and you need crabgrass control. Do it right the first time. Cut very short. Overseed. Add starter fert. Water twice per day for 30 days. Start this week.
    Just my opinion.
     
  6. sethhobrin

    sethhobrin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 85


    The scotts turfbuilder says it actually has thermal blue in it. The high traffic doesn't say what blends it has in it. Is the high traffic blend a better quality grass? It will be my front yard which is not high traffic. Should I spring for the high traffic blend or just get the turf builder blend?

    Start right now? In this heat? Its been in the 80/90s consistently! I can barely get a patch in my back yard I'm trying to repair to germinate using that patchmaster stuff. I was thinking of doing it in two parts:

    sept 4th cut extremely short with lawnmower,bag clippings, aerate heavily and topdress with 1/4" compost.

    I'll then water for a week until Sept 11th and cut extremely short again my lawn with a lawnmower and I'll use an overseeder(vertical bladedes combined with seed hopper in front) along with a lawn roller.

    I'll then water twice a day on timers.

    How does my plan sound? September 4th and the 11th are the two days I can rent equipment from home depot and do this work. I am booked until then. I think its too hot right now anyways. Any other suggestions or ideas? Need to get this lawn repaired. it looks hidious between my neighbors lawns!
     
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,779

    I just looked up your average first frost, October 16. Egad! I also looked up your weather prediction--about 80 degrees for next 7 days as a high. Start now because the soil is warm for quick germination--AND--because your first average frost is only about 7 weeks away. I think that...aeration does not prepare a good seedbed. Use the power seeder, Sept 4th. If you want it, put the compost on top of that. It would help bury some of the seed that may remain on the surface. Apply starter fertilizer. Water twice per day with timers. Price isn't much different, the Turfbuilder seed is actually better seed, but bluegrass is very slow to germinate, and start up. It may be a half-inch high by October 16. Your old grass could overshadow it. Just so you understand. Go to the back of the bag and read the fine print on the seed label carefully.

    Good luck, Seth! Get pictures, please!
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  8. sethhobrin

    sethhobrin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 85

    Alright I'l'l bump up my plans to september 4th then. I'll stick with just the power seeder and compost topdressing. I'll come back and post pictures once a week during germination.

    I just went around today and hit a few spots with round up of some nasty weeds and some thick elephant grass that I want to eliminate.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  9. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,846

    Not sure what the rush is, to overseed in this extreme heat with little rainfall predicted.
    I don't plan to start slice seeding until Labor Day-ish.
     

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