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Help me put in my lawn.

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by jstew33, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. jstew33

    jstew33 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    First off thanks to everyone for making this a great site. I have learned some very valuable information. Before I start let me be the first to say that my knowledge of grass seeds, ferts, and various equipment to tackle this project is slim to none. You are not going to insult my intelligence because I have none on this subject. I just completed building a new house and now I need to tackle the lawn. The lot was previously a fescue hayfield. I have been walking around the property and have noticed that there is a lot of thatch(I think this is the proper term). Should I just burn it off or is there another way that I can get rid of it? Also, I live in Southwest Missouri and am sure that I want to use fescue. I have heard from people that I should actually use a blend of fescue (not sure what's in the blend) as well as mix Kentucky bluegrass in with it. When I seed should I aerate before? What is the best way to seed? Do I just broadcast it? I have heard others talk about a slit seeder, but I have no idea what this is. Sorry for all the newbie type questions, but I'm just wanting to get some solid information from the folks that would know. I appreciate all the help!

  2. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    Since you already have fescue as a hay field I would suggest that you roundup the entire area before planting your lawn. This will kill off the tall fescue that is more than likely not a turf type, as well as any weeds that are growing as well. Donot burn the dead grass off, instead till it into the soil while you are tilling in your soil admendments. Take a soil sample and have it tested to determine what nutrients needs to be added to the soil. Since it is a hayfield chances are that it has been fertilized and limed yearly for hay production. No way of telling what has or has not been added or in what amounts without a soiltest. After recieving the soil test results, broadcast the neccesary nutrients onto the soil and till them in to a depth of at least 6 inches. If you till less than 6 inches you need to reduce fertilizer and lime rates by 15% for every inch the materials are not incorporated into the soil. Correct any drainage problems and then rake smooth. Buy a blend of fescue that is appropriate for your area. Good place to look for seed varities is www.ntep.org. They have a testing facility in Missouri so you should be able to get pretty close to the best seed varity for your area. You can also buy different seeds based on the ntep test results and make your own blend including adding KBG if desired. After selecting the seed, broadcast suggested seed rates according to seed type and blend. Cover with rye or wheat straw using about 1 square bale per 1000 sqft if using a straw blower, might take more if spreading by hand. This should be considered a minimum amount of straw altho you can get by with less if erosion isnot an issue and proper watering is provided.
    After planting the seed, the ground should be kept moist, not sopping wet. Never water late in the evening, doing so can contribute to fungal problems. Mow the fescue grass to a height of two inches as soon as it reaches three inches high. Future mowing should be at a height of at least three to four inches. Always use sharp blades, dull blades can pull the new grasss out of the ground by its roots and it wont grow back. Let soil dry before mowing to help prevent ruts from the mower tires. Follow up fertilizations should be made about 4 to 6 weeks after seeding, any sooner just creates top growth and little root growth, and the fertilization should be according to the soil test results. After the initial followup fertilization all future fertilizations should be made on a scheduled basis according to the growth needs of the plant, at the time of year the fertilizer is being applied.
  3. jstew33

    jstew33 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Wow! I appreciate the response and had no idea of all the steps involved. Thanks for your help!


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