Changing seed type on an established lawn

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by dae06, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,747

    Read through the LaCrosse seed website. Or talk with the salesman.
    Be sure you are aware--many modern grasses contain fungi called endophytes. Common in perennial rye and tall fescue. These fungi make the grass toxic to most insects. Such grasses are also toxic to livestock. Make sure you don't put your horses on the new grass.

    Kentucky bluegrass is excellent--but it is slow to take hold. It may not germinate much in an overseed situation--especially if not irrigated.

    Sounds like the area is too big to aerate in a practical sense.

    Do not forget the starter fertilizer.

    I think your plan: Kill, scalp, drag, seed, drag again--is best.

    August Minneapolis with an average high temp of 81, and average rainfall of just over 4 inches sounds about right. January sounds brutal.

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  2. KerbDMK

    KerbDMK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,449

    Oh, sorry. I thought maybe you had mentioned it, but when I went back to look at your initial post, it wasn't there. I should have checked further.

    I wonder if La Crosse Seed has a similar mixture without the red fescue? I would use that instead unless your lawn is mostly shade covered.

    It's a good idea to water as much as you can. I recommended seeding the first week of September because you said you didn't have irrigation. As you know, it can still be very hot and dry in August with the possibility of a strong summer storm that can wash a lot of seed away. September brings a little cooler weather, more regular gentle rains, and you still have enough time to establish your lawn. Just don't wait any longer than that. You can start earlier if you irrigate. If a strong storm hits in August you will still have time to reseed washed out areas.
  3. Garrett1234

    Garrett1234 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    How about just renting a skiddy and a power rake. Might take a few passes more than normal, but if anything like me tractor time is a fun time.
    That’ll give ya a real nice seedbed with those few extra passes without even having to gly it first.
    Spread the seed NICE AND HEAVY. Shoot for like 12lbs per 1k. I’m sure bag will tell ya 1/2 that rate, but i found if you like thick dense turf just do it. It’s not going to crowd it out.
    Then, behind a tractor, ztr, utv, (something) drag a chain link or drag to get the seed to soil contact.
    Roll it if ya want (I’m a fan), but forget about rolling two acres of you can’t mechanically make that happen!
    Boom, perfect turf.
    Oops. EDIT: STARTER FERT BEFORE the drag
  4. That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,503

    Fine fescue is pretty drought tolerant but quick to go dormant. It's hard enough to keep green with irrigation when Temps start hitting 90, without it you'll see a lot of straw.

    Without irrigation I'd overseed with newer cultivars of tttf whenever you can until you're satisfied.

    And then still do it occasionally to maintain plant density.
    hort101 likes this.
  5. OP

    dae06 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    A couple of comments: a lawn company did a 3/4 acre section of lawn at my old house after my whole town was flooded. They used Madison Parks back then and the only issue I had was that I had to mow it twice a week. :). People would tell me I had the best lawn in town. I also put down Madison Parks last fall at my new/current building site and it is looking great. Plus I have 100# sitting in my garage ready to go. It’s what many of the landscapers around here use.
  6. OP

    dae06 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    upload_2019-6-13_5-42-59.jpeg Here is a picture of my old lawn
    hort101 likes this.
  7. KerbDMK

    KerbDMK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,449

    Your lawn looks great, and very nice stripes. Landscapers use it because most lawns have a mixture of sun and shade and most homeowners don't notice the small percentage of fine fescue going dormant in the summer heat, they just think the lawn needs a little water.

    If you like the seed, use it up in the shadier areas first, then if you need more seed for the sunny areas use a similar mix without the fine fescue.
    hort101 and dae06 like this.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,747

    The big questions remain, dae: What percent of a seed mix with perennial rye, fine fescue and blue result after a year or two. Is this mainly a ryegrass lawn? Is the fine fescue gone or doing well? What percent of Kentucky bluegrass has taken hold?
    Have you noticed any clumpiness resulting from heat kill of fine fescue? Any thinness due to winter-kill of perennial rye?
    It is a difficult thing to determine the final ratios relative to which seed types survived.
    True, you can look carefully: if the grass has pointed tips--it is rye. If boat-shaped--it is blue (check for rhizomes). And if very thin and narrow--it is probably fine fescue. Simple, just count the types in one square foot. If you have red thread fungus--it is probably rye or fine fescue. In theory--fine fescue will persist in the shade.

    Turf type tall fescue--can you feel the rough leaf-blade edges? Is Minneapolis it too far north for tall fescue?
  9. KerbDMK

    KerbDMK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,449

    Tall Fescue grows very well here in Minneapolis Minnesota. It can be killed in the winter when meltwater pools and refreezes. I had always read about that but wondered if it was really true because it never seemed to kill the k31, but this winter some turf-type tall fescue in my lawn was killed by ice. That was okay by me because that part of my lawn is slated for future renovation anyway. It was fun to witness the phenomenon!
    dae06 and hort101 like this.

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