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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Camplawncare, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. Camplawncare

    Camplawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Guys, I am new to this website and have had my business for 3 years, going on my fourth this year. I have had numerous problems when doing seeding jobs for customers. The procedure I follow is to thatch the existing lawn, rake up the loose dirt and grass, put down about an inch of topsoil, lime and fertilize ( set on 4 1/2 on my spyker spreader ) seed on 5 on the spreader, backrake the seed to about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch under the soil, seed one more time without backraking, and lightly salt hay the entire area. Then advise the customer to water about 15 minutes a day unless it rains for about 1 month. Most times, I come back 3-4 weeks later and there are so many bare spots and I cannot explain why. I will scratch the bare areas and reseed by hand and usually by the second or third time I come back most of it has filled in and by the next season the grass is full and thick like sod. But I want to get this process right the first time so I don't have to come back and reseed areas a second and third time, because time is money. Your advice is greatly appreciated.
    Kurt Campagna
  2. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,226

    Why are you raking top soil over the seed, just buy a roller that will ensure maximum seed soil contact. Also are you putting down any starter fertilizer, phosphorus is ecential for seed germination. Also you want to check to see if your spreader is calibrated right; if you think your spreading kuntucky blue at 4lbs per 1000 but its actually 2lbs per 1000, yes it might and probably will come in sparse.
  3. Camplawncare

    Camplawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    I can't answer why to your question, Joshua. I learned by word of mouth from the person I purchased the business from. I guess it was incorrect because I never get it right the first time. So there is no need to backrake, just use the roller after seeding? Just confirm that for me. The spreader is new, but I will check the calibration anyway from where I bought it from. Thanks for the help.
  4. moneyman

    moneyman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    I agree with josh roll it.
  5. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    Make sure customers are watering with a sprinkler. I did a seeding job once and the lady was quite literally dumping buckets of water on the seeded areas. That would wash the seed away and nothing would grow. Too much heavy water will wash seed away and give you bald spots. Make sure they understand to water with a sprinkler, and to keep the soil wet every day. People are lazy and won't water unless you beat it into their heads to do so.

    I agree about raking top soil over. No need to do that, seed on top of the soil with max contact is what you need. I started using a starter fert as well, and that helps out greatly. That Scott's starter fert is great stuff, not heavy enough on N to burn but enough to get the grass growing.
  6. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    I don't think 15 minutes a day is enough to keep the soil moist enough for the seed to germinate and the young plants to grow. How many pounds of seed fer 1000 sq ft are you putting on? What is the recomended rate for the seed you are using?
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    And what's the deal with the lime? What do you put THAT down for?????????
    Everybody seems to be on this "lime" kick, when most of the time the soils probably don't even need it. In the first place, who did your soil analysis test? How many cores were taken from it? Were the cores taken in direct proportion to the amount of topsoil and the amount of existing soil that was mixed????

    I'm willing to bet.....................................no.
    In the first place, putting down lime with a new seed job, is a mistake. The reason being, is that the phosphorus in the starter fert. binds to the lime, and basically creates well....rock. It's ok, though. It eventually releases and is available to the uptake of the plants, but by then, tha's a little too late for the actyual germination and rooting process that we are trying to achieve (the main purpose behing the phos. in starter fertilizer).
    In the first place, the only time topsoil should ever be added, is when 1. you are trying to smooth the ground, 2. change the grade, 3. adjusting the soil consistency (i.e. making sandy soils more able to hold moisture).
    Other than that, all you are doing is importing weed seeds to compete with your grass seed - it's the inevetible.
    Tom was exactly right, on stating that a good starter fertilizer is ESSENTIAL to germination and taking success. (However, I must say, I don't believe Scott's starter fert to be all that great). I prefer a MUCH higher phos. content with an analysis such as 18-24-12.
    The bottom line is water, though. You can't just set a # of minutes of water on it, and let it go as that. The main thing, is to KEEP IT DAMP all the time, regardless of HOW much and often it takes. Actually, if they can water 3-4 times a day, it would be perfect, but that just isn't practicle for most people. A couple of seperate times a day is necessary, though. Otherwise, it does dry out - this defeats your purpose all together. Another thing that is SO important, is to KEEP watering it, even (actually especially) after the seeds starts to germinate. Once they have popped, and are seedlings, THAT is when they are most susceptible. A seed can lay there all summer long and be fine, but as soon as it germinates, it MUST have water to live. The fresh, tender seedlings can die out quickly if allowed to go dry. This is a common mistake that many homeowners will make. They say. "Oh looky there, I have grass growing now, I guess I can cut back on the water."
    Nothing can be farther from the truth. Once a grass plant is gone, - it's gone.
    So, bottom line, get away from the "lime" thing, unless you are doing soil analysis' and KNOW what and how much it requires. Make SURE it gets water. And use a GOOD starter fert., follwed by another ap approx. 2 weeks later.
  8. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,226

    Oh, ya something i forgot to add in, in all the seedling jobs i do i rent out hoses, sprinkler heads, and and set up a sprinkler system for them. Currently i have 10 heads that cover 8500 sq ft and about 6 that do half that, plus 10 hoses that 100 ft hoses and 2 that are 50 ft hoses. I found that most homer owners will say they watered but didn't, or go out side and water that whole lawn ( lets say 5,000 sq ft ) in 15 minutes which isn't enough water to break that seed coat over a 5 to 10 day period depending on what type of seed i would use.

    About renting out the hoses and spinkler heads, i would say 99% of the people love the idea of just going out and turning the water on and not having to worry.
  9. Four Season's

    Four Season's LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 70


    I agree with all the other landscapers about the watering of newly seeded lawns. Watering a new seed bed once a day doesn't cut it. 2 times is the minimum. Another thing I wanted to add is that once the seeds germinate, the homeowner should water less often but for longer duration to encourage the grass to root deeply
  10. Camplawncare

    Camplawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Thanks for all the replies. I've learned alot just overnight. The internet is a wonderful thing.

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