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Hydroseeding and naming different grass

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by stevenf, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,612

    On a few of my customsers lawns, they have small random spots where no grass is growing. I would like to hand aerate and hydro seed these spots. The reason I want to hydro seed the spots is because I have read that when you hydroseed, you are seeding seeds that are already germinated and dont need the customers frequent watering. If this is correct, do you have to leave the seeds soaked in water for a specific amount of time before they germinate?
    Also, Ive looked at different pictures of different types of grass and I just cant find the difference in person. They all seem to look alike. The only grass I have noticed is centipede. What are some tips or some HIGH DEFINITION pictures that can help me see the difference?
  2. KGR landscapeing

    KGR landscapeing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    Grass Types

    Below is a brief summary of many of the types of grasses you'll encounter on the job.

    Blue Grama Grass. A low-growing perennial that is adapted to a wide range of soil conditions throughout the Great Plains. It is highly drought resistant. Its use as a turf grass is limited to cool, dry places with little or no available irrigation water. It is a bunch-grass that can be established from seed. Unless watered, it becomes semi-dormant and turns brown in severe drought.

    Buffalograss. A stoloniferous, highly drought-resistant perennial used in sunny lawns in the Great Plains. It is fine-leaved and dense during the growing season and turns from grayish green to straw colored when growth stops in the fall. It can be established by seed or sodding, and grows best in well-drained heavy soils.

    Bentgrass, Colonial. A fine textured, tufted grass with few creeping stems and rhizomes. It forms a dense turf when heavily seeded and closely cropped. Used chiefly in high quality lawns and putting greens, it is more expensive to maintain than ordinary lawn grasses, and is popular in cool, damp areas like New England, Oregon, and Washington. It requires fertile soil and frequent feeding. It is disease prone and must be mowed below about 3/4" or it becomes fluffy and forms an undesirable spongy mat. Of the several strains sold, Highland is hardiest. Astoria is bright green compared to Highland's bluish green, but Astoria is not as drought resistant or as aggressive as Highland. Astoria, if well-managed, gives a better lawn than Highland.

    Kentucky bluegrass. The most widely used lawn grass in the United States, where there is adequate irrigation for it, this is a hardy, long-lived sod-forming grass that spreads by heavy underground rootstocks. Common Kentucky bluegrass will not tolerate poor drainage or high acidity, put prefers heavy well drained soils of good fertility that are neutral or near neutral. It is highly drought resistant and can go into a semi-dormant condition in hot summer weather. It can be injured if mowed shorter than 1 1/2" inches, and will not tolerate heavy shade. Because it is slow to establish itself, it is often planted with faster growing "nurse" grasses that provide cover and prevent weed invasion

    Red fescue and Chewings fescue. These rate next to Kentucky bluegrass as the most popular lawn grasses in the cool, humid regions of the United States. Red fescue spreads slowly by rhizomes. Chewings fescue is a bunch-type grower. Both are established by seeding. They are used extensively in lawn seed mixtures, grow well in shade, and tolerate high acidity. They require good drainage but will flourish in poor arid soils. Red fescue and Chewings fescue are fine textured with tough bristle-like leaves. When seeded heavily they form a dense sod that resists wear. They heal slowly when injured by insects or disease. Consistent mowing below 1 1/2" can severely damage them. Improved strains of red fescue include Pennlawn, Illahee, and Rainier.

    Rough bluegrass. A shade tolerant perennial injured by hot dry weather but useful in lawns in the extreme northern United States. It is established by seeding. Leaves, which are the same texture as those of Kentucky bluegrass, lie flat giving the turf a glassy appearance. Lighter green than Kentucky bluegrass, it spreads by short stolons. Its shallow root system limits its use to shady areas where traffic is light.

    Ryegrass. Italian or annual ryegrass and perennial ryegrass are propagated entirely by seed that is produced in the Pacific Northwest or imported. Much of the ryegrass in seeded lawns is a mixture of annual and perennial varieties. Many commercial lawn seed mixtures contain too much ryegrass which competes with the permanent grass seedlings for moisture and nutrients. Sometimes, however, it is advisable to include a small amount of ryegrass in lawn seed mixtures on slopes in order to help prevent soil erosion. Coarse clumps of ryegrass may persist for years. It often results in ragged looking lawns that are difficult to mow. In the southern United States annual or common ryegrass is used for winter over-seeding of bermuda grass in lawns and on golf greens and tees. Fine textured varieties include Pennfine, Manhattan, Norlea, Pelo, and NK101.

    Tall fescue. A tall growing bunch grass with coarse, dense basal leaves and a strong fibrous root system. It is established by seeding. It is also used for pasture. Tolerant of moderate shade, it grows in wet or dry, acid or alkaline, soils but prefers well drained fertile soils. Because of their wear resistant qualities, two improved, highly drought-resistant strains of tall fescue, Kentucky 31 fescue and Alta fescue, are often used on playgrounds, athletic fields, service yards, and the like.

    Bermuda grass. Bermudagrass grows vigorously, spreading by stolons and rhizomes, and can become a tenacious pest in other cultivated garden areas. It dislikes shade, poor drainage, high acidity, or low fertility. It needs heavy applications of readily available nitrogen. Although drought resistant, it requires moderate amounts of water during dry periods and must be clipped closely in order to form a dense turf.

    Each variety of bermudagrass has a fairly specialized use. Common bermuda, a coarse grass, is the only variety for which seed is available. Other varieties are established vegetatively. Common lawn varieties include Tiflawn, Everglades No. 1, Ormond, Sunturf, and Texturf 10. Tiflawn is finer textured than common bermudagrass and greener. Ormond is coarser and grows more upright than Everglades No. 1. Of the three varieties, Everglades No. 1 requires least maintenance.

    Bermudagrass varieties used in high quality lawns and in golf course putting greens and fairways include Tifgreen, Tiffine, Tifway, Bayshore, and Tifdwarf. These are medium green and fine textures.

    Carpet grass. A rapidly spreading stoloniferous perennial that produces a dense, compact turf under mowing but is very coarse textured. It can be established most cheaply by seeding, or quickly by sprigging or sodding. Grows best in moist, sandy-loam soils or those with fairly high moisture content year around. Does poorly in dry soils or in arid regions. It thrives with limited fertilization in poor soils but is very sensitive to lack of iron. Although resistant to trampling, heavy wear, disease, and insects, it will not tolerate salt-water spray. Its tall, tough seedheads must be attacked frequently with a power mower.

    Centipede grass. Spreads rapidly by short creeping stems that form new plants at each node, forming a dense, vigorous turf that is highly resistant to weed invasion. Although usually established vegetatively, some seed is available. It is considered the best low-maintenance lawn in the southern part of the United States, but can be severely damaged by salt water spray and lack of iron. An annual application of a complete fertilizer will improve its quality. Although drought resistant, it should be watered during dry periods. It is very low in nutritional value and should not be planted near pastures.

    St. Augustine grass. A creeping perennial that spreads by long stolons that produce short, leafy branches, this is the number one shade grass in the southernmost United States. It grows successfully south of Augusta, Georgia, westward to the coastal regions of Texas. Seed is unavailable; it is established vegetatively. It will withstand salt water spray, and grows best in fertile, moist soils. It produces good turf in the muck soils of Florida, but liberal applications of high-nitrogen fertilizer are necessary, especially in sandy soils. It can be seriously damaged by diseases and insects.

    Zoysia Japonica. (Japanese lawngrass.) A low growing perennial that spreads by stolons and shallow root-stocks, this grass forms a dense weed-, disease-, and insect-resistant turf. It grows best in a region south of a line from Philadelphia to San Francisco. Above that line the shorter growing season makes it impractical. It turns straw colored with the first frost and remains off-color until warm spring weather revives it.

    Common zoysia japonica is coarse textured and excellent for large areas like airfields and playgrounds; however Meyer zoysia is desirable for home lawns. Meyer is more vigorous, keeps its color later in the fall and regains it earlier in the spring. There is no seed, but the sod is available from nurseries. It will survive in low-fertility soils but responds well to liberal applications of fertilizers with a high nitrogen content. Emerald zoysia, a dense, dark green hybrid between zoysia japonica and mascarene grass seems superior to Meyer zoysia in the southern U.S.
  3. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,612

    What about the hydroseeding question.. Anyone???
  4. Dandy Lion

    Dandy Lion LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    You are incorrect about the hydroseeding. You get better germination rates(just about 100%) because the seed soaks in the hydro tank, but it is critical that you water it. If the germinated seed dries out it will die. Dry seed can sit on the ground for ever until it gets wet and then germinates. Hydroseed once it hits the ground has to be kept watered. This doesn't mean that it has to be actually wet all the time, it just means it needs to get watered on a regular basis. Shorter more frequent waterings are the ticket. Once the lawn gets established then you can increase the duration of waterings. Hope this helps.
  5. whitefrog1

    whitefrog1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    on your question of how to pregerminate seed.
    1. Begin with 50lb bag of seed in a nylon bag.
    2. Place the bag in a 50 gal barrel and cover it with water, then cover the barrel with plastic. Each day remove the plastic and change the water.
    3. On the 4th day (usually, but watch for germination) you can aerify the area to be seeded. You can coMbine sand with the seed for hand seeding or use calcined clay to dry the seed so it will flow through a spreader. Seed to soil contact is still very important. Verticuting is great if you aerified to bust up the plugs and to slice in the seed.
    4. Lightly rake the area and roll.
    Water will still be necessary until establishment though as has been said, but the advantages are your customer will see results faster.

    As for identifying grasses. It will help tremendously to know the characteristics of grasses to identify them. Example, warm season grasses have hairy ligules, cool season grasses have membranous ones. Knowing the auricles, collars, and other things will help. Once you get use to seeing grasses and can narrow them down to 2 or 3 species by eyeing them, these tools will help you identify it exactly. Pick up a book or go to UT, UC Davis, OSU, or another college's website with turf programs. There is a wealth of info in their publications. Find charts or tables on identifying grasses and it will show each varieties characteristics.

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