Dormant Overseeding

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by mano, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. mano

    mano LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Does anyone have any experience with dormant cool season grass overseeding?

    I live in Toronto and want to give it a try.

    I'm not sure what is the best time to try and if it even works.

    I'm worried that by spring time when I apply corn gluten meal the seed may have not germinated already
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    First you'll want to know when pre-m is needed for your area... the biggest problem that I see in the 'pros' having with springtime seeding is that they believe CG needs to be stopped, before the ground is even warm enough for cool season grasses...

    as long as that fear nags you, you'll never be able to make dormant seeding work...
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,796

    I would seed now. Your soil is probably warm enough for germination--especially if you use a blend containing perennial rye. Bluegrass is very slow. My experience is that it works almost as well (if not better) to seed in spring if you cannot do it in fall. In spring you have to wait until the frost is out of the ground and the soil temps warm up to about 45 or 50. That would be about two weeks before spring greenup, or about 3 weeks before your first mowing. 6 weeks before the last frost. In theory, you have about 4 weeks from the time the snow melts until it is warm enough to seed.
    Naturally, you have to plan around the potential for wet soil and mud which might prevent equipment from working the soil.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The most important advantage of dormant seeding - over preparing a seedbed in the Spring - is the fact that when your ground has warmed and dried to the point of preparing the seedbed, is that , your dormant seeding is greening up...

    I've done Spring seeding in the recent snow melt mud and got it to grow, before the threat of CG, but it was a time consuming hassle that didn't do near as well as proper seeding on the frozen tundra...

    To each his own... :)
  5. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

    You "want to give dormant seeding a try" Dormant seeding is not a optimum choice. Seed now for the best results.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    What is a better choice once the fall seeding is past?
  7. CCF16

    CCF16 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I'm in the London area, I start seeding in mid August but I do my dormant seeding at the end on Oct once we have had a good frost. You could do it now since it is too cold to germinate but I would wait until the end of the month.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,796

    I seeded some grass last February on top of snow outside (in a container) as a test. As I recall, it came up about April 8th. Ontario is not far from Michigan.

    So early seeding still has to wait for soil temperatures to rise above a certain level. My opinion is that the soil must be above 45 degrees. Corn is planted when temps are above 10 Celsius, (50 F), for instance.

    Hopefully I will get a chance to test cold soil germination in the coming months.

    Take a look at historical data for average April soil temps in your area. I could not find data for your area.
  9. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,955

    I will be seeding an existing KBG lawn in ""mid November"" (our front lawn). Several reasons:

    1) This full sun lawn always goes dormant (brown) even though I mow at 3 1/2 inches.
    2) The TTTF grass in Iowa always stays green & looks nice.
    3) I like the way the TTTF lawns look just 3 hours south of here (Missouri/Kansas). (thanks grassman)
    4) TTTF cultivars have improved regarding courseness of textture.

    I already bought the seed, so I plan to:

    1) Mow the lawn extremely short (making sure no clippings interfere)
    2) Go over the lawn 6 or 8 times with core aerators
    3) Then spread the seed
    4) Then drag it twice with a section of chain link fence (2 different directions)
    5) Postpone any pre-em app until the end of May

    Is this gunna work? Any tips? Thanks in advance. (central Iowa) :waving:
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,796

    I am thinking you should seed first. Then aerate and drag. This will put more soil on top of the seed burying the seed, ideal for best germination. Sure you might cut a few seeds in half--so what? Most of the seed will end up near the surface. If you seed on top of deep holes, some of that seed will be at the bottom of the hole.

    Guys--what do you think? If seed falls to the bottom of the aeration hole--will it successfully establish? What is your experience? Your opinion? Your evidence?

    Does dragging make a difference? What percent of the holes would be filled? Partially filled?

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