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Anyone ever used Poa Supina?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by SeedPro, May 4, 2010.

  1. SeedPro

    SeedPro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,030

    I'd like to try it on a densely shaded lawn sometime.

    It's expensive but I hear it grows like mad in shade.
  2. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    I purchased a home a few years ago and the lawn was sodded, but not cared for for at least a year before I moved in.

    The back was in poor condition, so I overseeded with rye-fescue-bluegrass mix. Now in it's 2nd year, after oveseeding in spring and again last Fall, it is almost perfect. I find that in the shady areas, a good fescue mix is perfect so I use that for the shady areas (Legacy Fescue Mix) and mix it with bluegrass now if I am overseeding or patching a sunnier area in the back.

    The front is a different story though. It is heavily shaded, a combination of trees I don't own and can't prune, and surrounding homes that create a lot of shade. I'm in Chicago where homes are very close together, for anyone reading this that wonders how a house can shade another person's lawn!

    The front was at best 50% covered last year and was sod. I was a rookie in my first home so I overseeded it twice in spring and got good germination and growth. By end of summer though I think grubs attacked, and by fall it was mostly dead -- from lack of proper sunlight I believe.

    So I was a bit bummed by the failure and wanted to come back stronger this year. I did an immense amount of research and contacted a few seed companies with questions.

    i was told:

    If your lawn gets at least a few hours of direct sunlight each day, a fescue mix will do the job well.

    if your lawn does not always get at least a few hours, use the supina

    I asked about mixing them...you could do that. but the lighter shade of supina could look bad mixed with darker fescues so I didn't want to go that route.

    I have only about 250sq feet in the front, a postage stamp so to speak. I decided I would do it 100% the right way, start to finish. That way if it fails, I know I've given it the best try possible.

    So I began tilling the front...and quickly found a gigantic tree branch buried a few inches into the soil. Hmmm, wonder who put that there????! I keep tilling and quickly come upon lots and lots of tree roots. I begin pulling them out...I eventually bag almost 15 small garbage bags full of tree roots from the lawn -- 250 sq feet. It was clear the tree roots were stealing all the nutrients and moisture and preventing the grass from rooting properly. Combined with grubs last fall I think I know why I didn't have a lawn that kept.

    So the steps I took were:

    1) Soil test last fall. Great results, a little high in phosphorus but otherwise excellent.
    2) I tilled as I mentioned above...about 5 hours to get all the roots out to about 6 inches deep. :weightlifter:
    3) I rough graded and raked it, removing any additional roots, sticks, branches, sod or stones. I rolled it then smooth graded it.
    4) Planted 100% supina at a planting rate of 3lbs/1000sq feet using a broadcast spreader.
    5) I added Scott's starter fert with crabgrass control (Step 1).
    6) I put down a **very** light mulch of high-quality topsoil. Raked it together with the grass seed.

    The moment I finished, it began to rain, for about 2 days. I wondered how it held up so I checked it out, it appeared everything stayed in place.

    This was all done on April 4th. Very early to seed in the midwest due to frosts. But because I live right by the lake, it acts as a barrier and even though there were 1-2 frosts in the surrounding area in never got that cold where I live.

    Planted on April 4th
    Picture taken on April 10th, a few early risers.
    Picture taken on April 17th, section by sidewalk and in sun coming up.
    Picture taken on April 24th, other areas begin to grow
    Picture taken on May 1st, all areas have begun to germinate

    Because of the shade and it being spring, I think germination took a little longer than it might normally. I am waiting until this weekend, the end of the 5th week since planting, to do a real assessment and decide if any overseeding is necessary or if what i have is good enough for the season.

    I can post pictures if you like. I don't know what your questions are but I did as much reading about supina and other grasses as anybody could do. Michigan State's study is the authoritative one of the subject and they make clear that supina is superior to all other types as far as shade-tolerance and wear. it will eventually overtake any other type of grass assuming the conditons are right for it (moist, not too hot for too long).
  3. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    Poa Supina was used on a local football field here. It was a complete and utter disaster. After 5-6 seasons, they paid $140 K to strip it and resod it two years ago. It was simply the wrong seed choice for that application. I think they paid somewhere around $28 per pound for seed!

    From what I have read, it is a good choice for shade where other blues might not make it. It is aggressive and will likely crowd out anything else you mix with it. It has a poor NTEP color rating.

    To this day the school beleives Michigan State told them Poa Supina is what was used in Spartan Stadium, which is not the case.

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