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First Time Overseeding. Need Help

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lee Homan, Mar 6, 2001.

  1. Lee Homan

    Lee Homan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    I got a call from a man today that wanted an estimate to spread top soil over his front yard. I said what are you trying to accomplish? He said that he had some bare spots in his yard from where the trees were hanging to low and that he had them trimmed and now wanted to get some grass in there. I said that he would probably have to overseed the spots. He also said that part of the yard was fescue and part was bermuda and that he wanted fescue over the entire yard. My questions are:

    1)Is it necessary to spread top soil? I thought I could aerate, seed and fertilize.

    2)Will the fescue crowd out the bermuda?

    3)What kind of price should I charge? This would be my first time.

    4)Do I need to guarantee that it will grow?

    5)What would be a good fertilizer mix?

    6)Should I wait till later when it warms up to do this?
    Here in N. Alabama the temps. are about 50-60 degrees.

    Thanks. Lee

  2. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    1. Be cautious spreading topsoil over trees roots. Not really recommended. In a case like this I would create 5ft mulch rings and then seed up to that point.

    2. Dont know who the agressor would be. I would imagine that bermuda would be the stronger of the two. Could be wrong, as I stated Dont Know just guessing.

    3. I would charge $.26 sf for the seeding up to 4-in. of topsoil. I would plan on using 6-8lbs of seed/1000sf, and then 5lbs of starter fert and lime/1000sf. I would also figure on charging for watering the property for 30min 3 times a day to insure proper germination. Dont forget to figure in for a topdressing as well. We charge $2.49/cuft for this.

    4. I would guarantee 70% germination rate. This means that he will see the area has 70% of grass seed sprouting.

    5. I would recommend a Scotts Starter Fertilizer.

    6. Now would be the perfect time according to your weather predictions.

    Of course if you predict like the locals did this storm, then all information will be null and void -LOL

    Hope this helps.

    [Edited by kutnkru on 03-06-2001 at 10:03 PM]
  3. syzer

    syzer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,272


    1. Why is it not too smart to throw some top soil over the roots? So they dont grow up into the new soil?

    2.You said use 5lbs of starter fert and lime/1000sf what is the mix ratio on this? like 70/30 or what? Or would you just get the soil tested to see how much lime you need then just ad the fert.

    3. What do you use for top dressing? I hear that petemoss is the best for this as it holds moisture and you dont ahve to pick it up like hay.

  4. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 436

    Lee call me and maybe I can help you out. I need to rent a small aerator in the next week or two and we might be able to time it on the same day and split the cost. Also you can borrow my pull behind.

  5. lakegastonla

    lakegastonla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 296

    Ssouth, that is really cool of you! That's what it is all about folks, the helping hand!
    I have a guy in my area who is a competitor. I know he visits this site on a regular basis because he talks about it to an acquaintance of mine. He especially looks for MY posts to see how I do things and what I charge when I answer others posts. Yet, he is not registered, or has a false registration. Some people just won't do right :)
  6. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    1.I learned the answer to this one from paul:
    2. I apply 5lbs of starter fert per 1000 sf of turf area. I will also apply 5lbs of lime per 1000 sf of turf area. I probably shouldnt say this, but I use this as a standard rate for seeding w/o testing the soils.

    3.We use composted leaves and clippings from the previous season. If we dont have these at our disposal, then I will use the peatmoss.

    Hope this helps.

    [Edited by kutnkru on 03-07-2001 at 01:48 AM]
  7. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 436

    Lakegastonla, I am only returning the favor. Lee helped me in Jan. on some clean-up jobs. I would not dare ask some of the LCO's in this area for help. Most will not even wave when traveling down the road.
  8. NateinAtl

    NateinAtl LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 121


    I do bunches of aeration and seeding here in Atlanta. I hear the same questions asked over and over. First of all, advise the customer to make mulch or pinestraw rings around each tree trunk. He will always have that same problem with not enough sunlight and besides the straw/mulch makes it look nicer and easier on mowers and aerators. Secondly, bermuda is a runner type grass. No matter how hard you try, bermuda will always "creep" in the lawn unless you completely start over. If the customer decides to aerate and seed with fescue, now would be better than waiting, but let him know the ideal time is Sept/Oct. Advise the customer to plan on doing the aeration and seeding again in the fall. The only guarantee should be that you guarantee to do a quality job. That is, you guarantee to pull 9-12 aeration plugs per square foot as well as put the correct amount of seed per 1000 square feet. If within 48 hours the customer sees a problem where you possobly skipped a spot with the seed or aerator, he can call you to return. Never guarantee germination. That is up to the good Lord and the customer. If he hasn't had a fertilization app in a while, put the correct amount of starter fert for his lawn size. Also put down the correct amount of lime for his size lawn.

    But the main thing is to prepare the customer for the creeping bermuda. It is a pain in the rear, and if it sooo important for him to have a total fescue lawn, let him know that he will have to completely start over----no matter what anyone else tells him. Also let him know that Fescue is a high maintenance grass in the south. He most definetly needs to aerate and seed each fall--the key being using the correct amount of seed each time. Using too much seed will kill it off.
  9. Lee Homan

    Lee Homan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    Hey Stuart,

    Thanks for the offer. I'll call you sometime this week.


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