Here's a seeding/compost spreader question...

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Rick13, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    Has anyone tried broadcasting new seed into an existing lawn. Then follow up using a compost spreader (Ecolawn or Earth & Turf) and placing 1/4" of compost down into the yard.

    Did you have good results???

    Or could you... 1st. Broadcast seed in yard. 2nd. Spread started fertilizer throught out the yard. 3rd. Use a compost spreader to spread compost over new seed and starter fertilizer. 4th. Water. 5th. Would you have new grass???
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    There is no difference when you put the starter fertilizer on, however I would consider 1/4" of compost the perfect starter fert and perhaps the complete winterizer as well...

    growing grass has more to do with what is going on with the soil and whether the seed is in a location in which it is able to germinate... then it is water to enable it to germinate...

    your compost doesn't guarantee that grass seed will grow and your starter fert has zero impact on germination... if you have a proper seed bed for your seeds, then you can begin to predict the germination and aeration is NOT a creator of a good seedbed, so don't waste your time analysing that...

    So tell me,,, what does the existing lawn look like and how much room is there between existing grass plants for new grass plants to grow??? :)
  3. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Rick, I think what you are talking about would be a better than average way of planting a lawn. The compost would do a nice job of helping to keep the seed moist to promote germination and the results should be good. I haven't seen anyone do exactly what you are talking about but I have seen many planting lawns and topdressing with compost by hand. Slow but effective.

    Smallaxe. I think you made some good points and one I have to agree with you on is that fertilizer has virtually nothing to do with germination. It will help the seedling grow stronger and faster once it germinates.

    I am not quite so in agreement about the things going on in the soil and location being more important than water. I can hydroseed a telephone pole and grow great grass as long as I keep it watered. Heck I have a great lawn on my trailer and my machine sometimes. Basically if you are talking about starting a lawn and getting it to germinate I am not totally in agreement however if you are talking about having a lush, healthy lawn that can do a better than average job of standing up to the summer heat that kills some lawns then I am 100% in agreement.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The misunderstanding about seedbed being more important than water, has more to do with existing grass plants inhibiting germination moreso than telephone poles... :)

    This is my point: a cool-season grass seedling is not going to grow through a healthy clump of existing cool-season turf... and if I remember correctly, I believe that there was some hormonal reaction, to its location, that would inhibit its germination,,, much like a seed shutting down under water for a number of years, even decades...

    I would encourage everyone to do some overseeding and then spread a layer of compost over the top of it... even just a small area for the benefit of seeing what happens, then compare to 'starter fert' ...

    I don't use it over large areas any more, but I certainly use it in tough places or 'must be perfect', places...
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,813

    Tricky to find what works best, because the new grass looks about like the old grass in an overseed situation.
    Also I am not sure starter fert is a good idea. It probably stimulates the old grass to grow faster and thicker, before the new grass is up and established. What do you experienced guys think?
    Or maybe it doesn't matter the goal is grass--who cares how it got started?

    Half inch of rain last night, 52 degrees here. Still good seeding weather.
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    Yes, many many times.


    No fert. Soil test and apply fert only if needed after your first cut. Factor in any nutrients that were supplied with the compost before you make the decision to fertilize.
  7. Rick13

    Rick13 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    I was thinking of fixing the dead/thatch areas that are result of the drought this year. I wouldn't spread seed on existing/good growing grass. But broadcast seed on the dead/thatch areas. Compost spread the whole yard, and then water.

    Wouldn't the dead/thatch areas work well for the new seed (good germination bed) and compost (covering new seed, keep moisture in and help germinate new seed) on the top. And then water the yard to help the seed to start to germinate. And the starter fertilizer on top of new seeded once the new grass starts would help speed up the growing process of the new grass seedlings.

    It looks like Northern IL might start getting "The Fall Rains" finally!!! Rained almost all day yesterday and most of the night. YES!!!
  8. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Most starter fertilizer is high phosphorus. As an example the one I use is 16-45-8. If someone were to use a high nitrogen fertilzer it could easily make the existing grass thicken and grow and make more competion for the new seedlings but with a high phosphorus starter fertilzier the most likely thing it would do other than help the new grass is to help the existing grass get healthier roots.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Actually, that is part of a demonstration that is going on in another thread right now... Riggle is having more success at the moment because he has used a lot more seed,,, but the point is made that cool-season grasses can and will germinate from under the dead lawn debris that every lawn should have covering the soil...
    Compost over the top of that is an excellent thing to do... it doesn't get any better for seed bed than that...
    Starter Fert is absolutely redundant when seeds have been covered with compost and it doesn't inhibit long term development of the root systems, but it doesn't harm that much... grasses have the ability to grow in spite of the bad things we do to it... :)
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,813

    It is difficult to tell which works best...but true, I have had good luck by applying double or triple pounds of seed. In fact, bare soil, seemed to dry out more quickly. If you are watering every day perhaps you do not need to topdressing to help hold the moisture.
    In another spot new grass is coming up through the fading-out crabgrass, and an area that had aeration. Now that rain has occurred tiny new sprouts are visible, but soon the old grass and the new grass will look the same--not sure which is best method.

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