Aeration/Overseed customer wants to seed Bermuda. Is this going to be effective?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by mikeylees lawn care, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. mikeylees lawn care

    mikeylees lawn care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    I have a prospective customer who's lawn was ruined by a neighborhood kid who scalped his new sod. Now, he wants to seed Bermuda grass. I'm in St. Louis MO, and we are approaching the end of the heatwave. I do not do major renovations, and told the customer that his best bet was to have the lawn re-sodded, but he doesn't want the expense. Am I going to have any chance of getting satisfactory results for him by aerating and over-seeding with Bermuda seed? What kind of Bermuda seed should I use? Do I still have enough time this season to do it?

    I usually work with Fescue and KY Bluegrass seed and this is the first time I've been asked to reseed Bermuda. Top that off with the fact that he has mostly nothing but a thick layer of dead thatch on the ground now and I'm not sure what to do. I guarantee all of my work, so I don't want to bite off a project that I can't stand behind. Help please.
  2. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    You don't have to aerate.Bermuda seed doesn't like to be planted deep.1/8" will be fine.Scrape or till the area,then level it with a landscape rake.Water the soil deep and then spread the seed.Use a roller to push the seed into the soil and tell him to keep it wet.Not puddle wet,but keep the soil moist.4-6 pounds per 1000 sq ft.With soil temps as warm as they are,the bermuda should start sprouting in 2 weeks.It won't start filling in good until next year.
    One more thing.You can spread some sand on top of the seed or mix the seed with sand.This will help warm the soil and the bermuda will easily spread into the sand.
  3. lilmarvin4064

    lilmarvin4064 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    It's really too late for you to plant bermuda, in my opinion. You should do so in May. I think slice seeding (verticutting) would be your best choice.
  4. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I have never seen Bermuda die from any scalp, even scalped sod. Only way to kill it is no water, if it was scalped and you keep it wet it will come back. Keeping it wet is the key.

    I have never seen any Bermuda variety with less than a 20 day germination, so you are looking at 3 weeks for seed to pop. It will continue to grow as long as soil temps are above 70, toss the seed and top-dress lightly with compost and keep it damp. With another application of compost or steer manure in late Sept. you could keep it growing into mid- late Oct as long as the sun is out.

    Bermuda is all I work with, great turf.

    I re sodded my front yard and scalped it to the dirt on purpose a month later to begin topdressing so I can cut it with the reel mowers. No problems.
  5. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,524

    I never put down any warm-season turf after mid-July. I'd imagine Mo. is similar to the NC area. I'm with Lilmarvin4064 on this one.:)
  6. Tadams

    Tadams LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 787

    I don't know how the sod is up there but all the sod I have ever seen and worked with was hybrid bermuda. This means that it is a much better type of grass than the common bermuda that you get at a store. Hybrid bermuda is also sterile.You can let it grow tall enough to produce a seed head but the seeds will not grow. All the sod farms grow the sod from sprigs to begin with and when it is mature and cut they leave a small row of the grass so that it will grow back. If you plant the common bermuda in the bare spots the customer will notice a difference when it is established. If they are OK with that then go right ahead.

    Just because the bermuda was scalped does not mean that it is dead. As long as it is not repeatedly scalped it will come back.
  7. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Yes, don't get common Bermuda. I just assumed you were getting one of the hybrid seeds like Sahara or Blackjack etc.
  8. TurfProSTL

    TurfProSTL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 693

    I don't think the sod that was scalped was bermuda.....

    If this customer wants seed put down soon, I would seed it with tall fescue in September. If they insist on bermuda, plan on doing it next May.

    [Recommendations are for St Louis area]
  9. mikeylees lawn care

    mikeylees lawn care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    thank you to all who responded. No the sod was not bermuda, I believe it was bluegrass.

    The customer is insistant on Bermuda, but is not willing to wait till next year. Is there an alternative? like seeding with bermuda and anual rye to establish some amount of lawn this season?
  10. TurfProSTL

    TurfProSTL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 693

    If you are leaving the dead vegetation, hold off on the rye and give it a go.

    Remember, you are letting this customer dictate the terms of your reseeding project. So when they start throwing around the G-word (guarantees), just say no.

    Good luck.

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