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fall seeding methods

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by grassmasterswilson, Aug 19, 2013.


Fall seeding methods

  1. I core aerate and spread seed

    9 vote(s)
  2. I slit seed in two passes at 90 degrees

    10 vote(s)
  3. I spread half rate of seed and then slit seed second half

    0 vote(s)
  4. other method

    2 vote(s)
  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,964

    In my area reseeding means core aeration. Often this isn't the best method to renovate a burned up fescue lawn. In doing research on this site, guys have different methods of accomplishing the goal of good soil contact and germination.

    I'm curious what method you use?

    This is a loaded question but could you give some type of guarantee... Say if I slit seed and you water at least once a day that 85% of the seed will germinate?

    Fescue is dying out here and it is only about 16-20% of my customer base, but its a nice fall income producer.
  2. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    Most of the grass from seeding that survived was from core aeration. This is from competitor's lawns who seeded. Drill seeding/slit seeding provided poor results. Again -- this is from new accounts we picked up where others seeded. I think it all depends on who waters. my 2 cents
  3. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    I am interested in your poll but didn't know exactly how I should vote. I chose other. This has been getting a lot of discussion in nearby threads. For what it's worth: I am one of those who believes core aerating improves results with overseeding. That said, I am not always able to to that. I would never skip the step of "slitting" in overseeding. Technically, I do not slit seed since making the slits and dropping seed are two different steps for me due to the equipment I have. I scratch the surface pretty aggressively in 2 directions, drop seed, topdress whenever possible, then drag it all in. Water, fertilize, mow - all often.

    I do not do many per year but they are all large.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I'm debating with the weedy patch that never took seed last year after the drought and came back all weeds this year... fairly substantial area and I'm thinking that aerating it to death would be better than tilling it all,,, but that is just one scenario...

    I have bare spot lawns that will need to have the surface broken up,,, but an aerator may hit it only with one hole, if at all,, so that is not adequate... The nice thing about the slit-seeder is that it breaks up the surface soils on the bare spots, allowing seed bed to be established over the entire bare spot with good soil contact,,, but I'll probably do it with a garden weasel again, with some compost...

    Filling in thin grass means trying to get the seed to germinate in-between existing plants and usually surrounded by dead grass mulch or thatch... I usually just broadcast KBG seed into those areas and eventually, when things are wet enough,, they'll be washed into germination spots and generally take off...
    It is better to put down the fertilizer when the grass is really growing(Late Spring and Early Fall) and enrich those thin patches to fill-in with vitality...

    Because I didn't push for green growth during the high heat of Summer, but watered deeply only, I didn't have any thinning of turf at all,, but it is already responding to fertilizer at this time...
  5. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    I would not hesitate to use your garden weasel method on small spots, even dozens on small spots, say smaller than 1 square foot each. Some years find me fixing "divots" made on soccer fields after each game or at least several times a season. The players have kindly loosened the soil for me :) Big chunks of it are often missing. I repair the ones that can be repaired by replacing chunks of sod that are folded over or displaced altogether. For the other ones I pregerminate seed and repair. I keep a wheelbarrow of moist sand plus compost in the equipment shed and work out of small buckets dropping small trowels of the mix into divots. Other times I use a long handled trenching shovel and sweep it off with my hand as you have described topdressing. I then step these spots down and sweep and excess off the damaged area with the side of my boot. You get pretty good at guessing what amount is needed for different size spots and at hitting them by dropping the material from waist high. 45 to 90 minutes on a nearly 2 acre field I can fix every spot 22 people spent 80 minutes making.

    The point of my long explanation is: try pre germinating your seed. I get it very wet by making a slurry in a 5 gallon pail using about 5# of seed and approximately 3 gallons of water. Stir well and leave it sit overnight. Next day mix a couple buckets like that into about half a wheelbarrow of whatever soil mix you are using. Stir that up well and keep it out of the sun. Take a few pails of the mix to your job and try it. You have to stay a couple days ahead on making the mix and it starts to get unuseable after a week if there is much PRG seed in it. It will pop fast though on your lawns!

    The other thing I have come to believe wrt new seed is almost all the rules wrt fertilizing go out the window. Short of burning it, I pour the coals to new seed to get it to fill in. This is easier on a complete overseed than spot seeding but it can be done. Good luck.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That puts a good perspective on the time it takes to load up the machinery, run the machinery, copious amounts of seed and dubious results... especially with aerating for bare spots... thanks for taking the time to remind us that 1.5 hours doing an excellent/detailed job on 2 acre plot is time well spent...

    I tried the presoaking seed thing this Spring when I realized certain areas were not going to grow seed, for whatever reason,, so I got the A. Rye off to a quick start ahead of the CG... Presoaking and perhaps even pre-germination will be the process I start on once the heat wave is passed and before the irrigation is off for the season...

    The your utilizing 5 gallon buckets reminds me of Springtime and Summer plantings, when we'd fill the bucket with a thick slurry of Sphagnum moss and a bunch of seed... keep it in the dark and keep it stirred until it started to germinate in the bucket, then fill in the bare spots, no matter what the weather conditions... :)
  7. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    What variety of annual rye are you using?

    I never "got it" with peat moss. It was in all the books when I went to turf school but I have never had a good result or experience with it. I have seen lots of it in old greens soil mixes but I think using it to topdress greens and tees stopped being practical when mowing heights went below 3/16" Granted, I never gave it a serious try again after 1982 or so. Whenever I see it or even read about it I always think "that should come with a free pair of argyle socks."
  8. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,138

    Has anyone tried freezing seed? The theory is this will crack the hull hence faster germination. Never tried it though.

    I don't "get" peat moss either. Never seen the benefit of using it, use compost instead.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The reason sphagnum got to be popular for various gardening uses is because soil-less compost in a bag is still fairly non-existent and the other "soil-less" bags at your local boxstore is still sphagnum...
    Now that I have a huge pile of soil-less compost that is what I use for most things...

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