Can someone explain "overseeding"?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by aVOLanche, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. aVOLanche

    aVOLanche LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    Background:I have a smallish yard that is 6 years old.It was sod from the start(tall fescue) and there are now large areas of clover,some chickweed, crabgras,etc.I'd like to improve the weed situation,but am not anal about a perfect yard.There are no bare spots.

    Question:Is overseeding going to be of much benefit?And exactly what is "overseeding"?It seems to vary from just broadcasting seed to dethatching ,aeration,adding topsoil,fertilizer,etc.

    So,will just broadcasting seed this fall help the situation?Most of my weeds are broadleaf.If I kill them in the spring or early summer will I be left with bare areas?When should I do the seeding?

    I am really new at lawn-care(grass!) because I spent the last 30 years with a lake lot and no grass....just heavily landscaped and wooded.

    Thanks for any help!! Fred
  2. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    just tossing seed down will have some success. if you combine and aeration with that you get better results. if you ad fert to the mix, even better results, topdress and dethatch, could get even better results.

    but if you get crappy weather, hot and dry and you don't water it...its all for naught...

    here on campus the heavily trafficked areas I aerate, over seed, and then do 4 fert apps from September-april.

    in the less traveled areas. I won't aerate as often once every few years, but still overseed and do 4 fert apps...
  3. aVOLanche

    aVOLanche LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    Sounds like just broadcsting the seed won't get very good results.I have an irrigation system,but our weather this year has been great(lots more rain here than usual-yards are all well hydrated) and I never even turned it it's still winterized.If I turn it on I'll be out $60-75 to have someone blow it out.Guess I need to figure that into the cost of whatever is done.

    A local garden store rents the Lawn Solutions Revitalizer.Is something like that a good way to go?I'm familiar with how to use a hydro(have a 48 Exmark for home use) so that machine looks like a piece of cake to run.....if it works as advertised.....would seem to be a good compromise.

  4. jnrogers

    jnrogers LawnSite Member
    from East TN
    Messages: 221

    You must be talking about Mayo's in Knoxville. I rented it last year. It does a real good job but if you have a large yard prepare to take a while. If you need it aerated or seeded or anything let me know, I have a 3 pt hitch aerator that really does a good job. Those small aerators you pull behind a mower just dont weigh enough to penetrate our red clay soil. I live near Morristown but have some yards in Knoxville. Like I said PM me if you need me to aerate with my tractor. That is if you live in Knox or somewhere near me.
  5. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,052

    Let's not overlook that. Spray to get rid of your broadleaf weeds now while you are organizing your overseeding work. This is a great time of year to go after those weeds and to grow new grass. The fertilizer you will undoubtedly be putting down will help your existing grass to fill in this fall. Next spring you could have a greatly reduced weed population, no holes, a healthier existing lawn with your overseeding coming on strong too. There really is no reason to wait until spring to go after those weeds unless you are ready to start overseeding in the morning.
  6. aVOLanche

    aVOLanche LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    Yes,Mayos in Knoxville.I'm west of Lenoit City,so pretty far from Morristown,Thanks.

    foreplease.........Thanks for that advice.I'll spray some Trimec this week and then reseed.I assume I don't need to wait long after the Trimec to reseed?
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Spot spray the broadleaf weeds and you should be able to drop the seed, in a few days - using their dead bodies for cover.

    Without irrigation you may not get instant results. That is a far cry from poor results. I seldom fail to have germination in the fall. With our beautiful sunny warm weather for the past 2-3 weeks I am not expecting germination, but it will come, and will not require the huge effort everyone is talking about.

    The best possible seed bed is already there. Seed and cover with enough compost to blacken the ground without suffocating the current grass blades. That little strategy right there is optimum. You can't improve on that.
    Renting machines is fun for many people, but growing grass is simple enough w/out all the messing around. :)
  8. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,245

    Fred: I'm up here in Kingsport. Do you know what a "harrow" is? If not--it a bed of spikes with somewhat of a spring tooth action. These things act like a disc, rototiller, cultivator, aerator all in one. You can pull it with your garden tractor many times over the yard to break up the sod. Then sow your tall fescue with "annual rye" and run over the yard with the thing set at a shallow depth. This will cover the seed. Rye will be up in a week or so. This will let you know where your seed have been sown. If you've missed any spot--reseed that area. Don't worry too much about the weeds--you can apply some post-em next summer. The whole idea is to get your grass established and healthy. You can throw down a little starter fertilizer for the winter. If you get bored during the winter, add a little compost/spaugnum peat moss over the yard. Water it every couple of days. With the cooler weather starting, fescue will not germinate until spring anyway. Use no weed killers now--frost will take care of them. Next summer when things are grow, start a weed program without pre-em--it will kill that young and tender grass roots. After three mowings you can start with a mild post-em and then a pre-em later in the summer, then on to full fertilizer program. You didn't get where you are in a few weeks and it will take more than that to recover. Most of this is highly unconventional but for tall fescue and vols--it works. Weeds with fescue is the easiest of all applications.
  9. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,052

    There are not too many things that cannot be improved upon, IMO. If the native soil in your area is as jnrogers described, mechanically disturbing it will improve your lawn whether you actually put down seed or not. If you want to add compost, opening the surface up beforehand will make that more effective.

    Since the lawn was originally sodded, my guess is that you do have irrigation. If so, you should have no trouble bringing this in very nicely. If you are at the mercy of the weather, this is a pretty forgiving time of year. Dropping seed is the easy part here. Any effort you put forth to assure better germination will be time and money well spent (it's not going to take that much).
  10. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,052

    I'm afraid I agree with you there. As a local, your local knowledge cannot be discounted entirely, but I can't understand tearing into a pretty good yard so thoroughly only to plant annual ryegrass. If his was a warm season grass and this was going to be an every year practice then I would understand, but I thought he was simply trying to improve a fescue lawn.

    I don't beleive the frost is going to have much affect on his broadleaf weeds. Fall is the best time of year to go after those.

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