Fall Overseeding?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by NatesLawnCareLLC, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. NatesLawnCareLLC

    NatesLawnCareLLC LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 90

    I've never over seeded before this year and I want to try it out on an area of my lawn before I start offering it as a service. I'm going to be overseeding KBG in Aug or Sept. I plan to core aerate the lawn and then broadcast the seed over the area I would like to over seed. I don't plan on adding any additional phosphorus to my chemical routine. My problem is when I need to mow that area how do I keep the seed from blowing away? Or when I want to bag or rake ?

    Can someone critic my over seeding methods?
    What is Proper overseeding Technique and still being able to manage a nice turf?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It all depends.

    Aerating a sandy soil with thin grass is a waste of time - unless, you want to add some ammendments that hopefully drop down into the root zone.

    Try a slit seeder and see how you like it. I typically do it with a rake and fresh top dressing if I can. Large areas may need a machine.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    What kind of grasses are you doing in Iowa?
  4. NatesLawnCareLLC

    NatesLawnCareLLC LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 90

    The soil that I am going to be overseeding on is mainly a clay loam/ loam soil. The grass we have is Kentucky Blue/Ryegrass with an occasional areas of tall and fine fescue.

    Do you think if I just broadcast spread seed over the area that it will take if I just water in the little?
  5. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    If you aerate and then mow at the proper height (3 inches) you will be fine,the mower blade will be nowhere near the seed.

    Do it right before a forecast rain so the seed gets pounded into the soil and set properly.
  6. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    Seed / soil contact, proper watering and feeding is the secret. No secret at all.

    Thick thatch can kill a new overseeding job. Make sure you do not have a thatch problem first. Test soil to see what it needs then procede.

    1. Aerate the area thourally, 3 to 4 passes this will loosen up the soil and provide passage for food and water as well as a good place for new plants to start.

    2. Mow the lawn way short to ****** the existing growth

    3. If you do not have a slitseeder. do this
    a. Broadcast the seed
    b. stir in the seed into the top quarter inch with a dethatcher set about 3/8 inch into the dirt. Go two directions to make sure you get the seed mixed with the dirt you pull up with the dethatcher.

    4. If you can get an overseeder, use it to plant the seed and stir up the top quarter inch of dirt / soil

    5. Water to keep seed damp till getmination. Amount will depend on wind, heat etc

    6. Fert the week following planting and water in. Use a good quality starter fert as not to burn new plants. Too soon with fert and you will be feeding the existing growth.

    7. water as needed for first 60 days. The deeper the watering the better for the new plants. The deeper you force the food and water the faster the roots will grow to get it.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    As was stated a layer of 'real thatch' could nullify the seed, because there is already living roots and stems in the 'real thatch' layer. If you have just dead grass clippings laying on the soil between grass plants that is fine - if - you can get the seed in contact with the soil and underneath the 'dead thatch'.

    Aeration opens up a hole. The seed drops into the hole and grows out of the hole. The space between the holes are unchanged, only now with a plug laying on it.

    If you want to just toss out grass seed, you can probably, start that in late August and continue doing so right up to the first snow. Just remember to get the seed down as the snow storm is starting. The idea is that if you throw out enough seed something will grow, but it is better to put a little work and timing into it.
  8. LawnSolutionsCP

    LawnSolutionsCP Sponsor
    Messages: 907


    I'm going to be doing trainging at Toro's Golf Course distributor in Iowa the Week of Aug 3rd. (Tri State Equipment Co) I suggest calling them and setting up a time to sit in on the classes or at least try the equipment. They are doing a customer training session on seeding and aerating.

    We will have our aerators (riding and walk-behind) as well as walk-behind and larger 30" ride-on seeder there as well for demoing.

    I highly suggest you look at power seeding...vs aerating and broadcasting seed. You will get 10x the germination rate with the same amount of seed using a good seeder over aerating not to mention our seeders are easier to use than any aerator and faster than aerating them broadcasting seed.

    Send me a PM if you have any specific questions. There is also a video on our website that shows the process. There is a good one that we use in rental stores to teach people how to use a seeder.


  9. NatesLawnCareLLC

    NatesLawnCareLLC LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 90

    Thanks David I think I might try to make it up there sometime if I can.

  10. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I have not tried the Turfco machines or Lawn Solutions. So, my experience is limited with those machines, but I have a dethatcher/slit seeder, the Bluebird type labeled as a Husky (same machine)

    Based on my experience, I would aerate the heck out of a bad lawn (3 to 4 passes) and overseed. Dethatching and slit seeding really rips up lawns, especially KGB and fescues. That is a near total renovation.... dethatch deep and slit seed. I won't do that anymore.... if it's too far gone for aeration and overseeding, then I want to kill it, dethatch deeply several times, removing debris after each run, and get some dirt to get my seed onto.

    Just my opinion.... slit seeding darn near destroys whatever turf was still there....

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