KBG still at sprout and pout stage from last Fall..

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by roody2333, Apr 20, 2020.

  1. roody2333

    roody2333 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nj
    Messages: 1,043

    zone 6-7 NJ.

    2 Falls ago, a %100 KBG sod lawn was overseeded because a lot died from over watering the year or two after install. That first seeding (middle of September nice and early but not too early), I used Outside Pride brand Midnight (midnight cultivar) which isn't certified but I gave it a shot, germination was really good so I'm not knocking that brand but then the following Spring it was as if nothing made it.
    I'm thinking it was still at the sprout and pout stage the following Spring and possibly killed by over-watering because the roots are so small and easily blocked of oxygen if over watered?

    Then, last Fall (2019 like 7 months ago) I tried %100 KBG again with a more expensive KBG certified blend from seedsuperstore. This:
    I think they recently switched out the Midnight with Bluebank,so I planted Blue Note, Bewitched, and Midnight which are all supposed to be great choices for this zone.

    I know midnight is late to green up in Spring, but the others not so much, yes it has been cold but many fescue lawns have needed to be cut at least twice so this year, and the seedlings of this KBG are Still only tiny 1/2-1" sprouts, and it's in full sun, I do see some tillering though which is good.

    Both times it was given starter fertilizer when seeded.
    This past Winter it only snowed a few times and was only a few inches that melted right away.
    I thought maybe snow mold killed the first attempt but probably not and I'm not sure why that outside pride never made it - I know certified guarantees to be the cultivar advertised, and certified weed-free amount, but even without the certification I know what I saw was KBG so either way something should have grown, and outside pride doesn't seem like some BS brand to like sell contaminated seeds or something, so I think over-watering in Spring killed the first overseeding attempt. I believe it was set at 1 hour once per week starting around mid April. That time also it was fertilized in early spring either with synthetic and/or milorganite. And then again like 6 weeks later.

    Both times were prepped to a t : cut and bagged on lowest setting, lightly tine dethatched, bagged, double/triple core aerated, seed and fert spread, worked in seed, had sprinklers set correctly to germinate and then taper off.

    About a month ago in early April/late March this second attempt using seed super store it was given pre emergent.
    About 2-3 weeks ago it was given a Very light scattering of synthetic nitrogen and potash - very light in case the grass isn't ready to actually use any of it. And watered-in, always watered-in.
    Yesterday it was given a normal dose of synthetic N-P-K and a very light amount of milorganite.
    The plan is to just use synthetic to get it boosted quickly and then only needs milorganite unless P-K tests show deficiency and would be addressed (or just use winterizer for the K and a little starter for the P without doing soil tests).

    Anyway, I read people say fertilizing during sprout and pout could be a waste but it's been Spring for a month in full sun and it's still like it looked last October. Sprout and pout was supposed to be over by the end of last Fall usuaully.

    So do you let off on the watering for a few more weeks for it to get warmer? Otherwise it may drown the small roots if water now? It has been raining a lot but the sprinklers aren't turned on yet. Once irrigation starts am planning for 1 hour once per week and then in summer heat will up it to about 2 hours once per week, rains counts towards this.

    Give it a even more synthetic nitro in a few weeks? I hear people doing rather heavy rates of nitro on new seedings, but KBG is quite different than TTTF of course - it obviously focuses on rooting and eventually rhizomes before it even grows blades like TTTF does. Phosphorus should be good and I wouldn't put more unless a soil tests indicates.

    Since the top growth is so slow, does that mean the roots are too though? Once it gets warmer and you suggest to start the irrigation, should any sort of kelp or anti fungal product be used to hinder the chances of fungal disease?

    Other than that, I'm suggesting it be mowed on a higher setting than the usual ~2-3" which will help the lawn in many ways (if it even grows!). And also suggested mulching instead of bagging but now I'm thinking mulching before establishment might increase the chance of fungal problems due to clippings left on lawn reduces aeration of the turf (even with a gator blade and mowed at least once a week possibly more?).

    thoughts and suggestions please. thank you.
  2. hort101

    hort101 LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from S.E. New England
    Messages: 21,206

    Im further north then you bur this year warmed up early but went back to cold nights and alot of cloudy days

    The soil temp is a little low still and not enough warm sunshine so your grass could be a little behind
    KerbDMK likes this.
  3. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,234

    Roody, I'm not sure why you're having this problem. I'm in the town next to you and all I see are green lawns. The sandy soil in our area makes it difficult to overwater. Have you talked this over with the guys at SiteOne in Cherry Hill?
    hort101 likes this.
  4. OP

    roody2333 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nj
    Messages: 1,043

    ^ all I'm seeing is green lawns too but usually everything is fescue or some rye maybe some KBG mixed in a blend, rarely %100 pure KBG (which is the goal).

    this KBG lawn isn't near cherry hill, so it's not too sandy and thus not less prone to overwatering, When the originally sodded it, they did sod cut the most richest top soil out and then under is a bit sandy and clay but it doesn't drain water that well and could lead to puddling and suffocating of roots.

    I guess my main questions are should I push water yet (1 hour per week all at once but less if it rains a lot), and not fertilize with synthetic again for like 5 weeks just to be safe to avoid over fertilizing it.

    I do think it's just too early/unusually cold for mid/end April and to just wait but for the time being I'm wondering the best approach.

    I happened to have checked a live stream of a park in Manhattan like a month ago when isolation first hit, and usually those parks use KBG, and there was no one there and I could see they were running the sprinklers already (and at night like 7pm which is a no-no). The persons who run the landscape at a park like that are likely phds and supposed to know what they're doing, I was thinking to push water and growth would happen. But I'm afraid too much water will rot the small, young roots.

    It's been raining a lot past 2 weeks, but I see no top growth which I think would mean the lawn is actually using the water. I doubt the roots are really growing much either from all that water, KBG roots are small, about 1/3 less deep than fescue.
    I think the stuff that did topgrowth recently and needed a mowing (barely) was just what made through from the original sodding and didn't die a couple years ago when it had enough of being over watered and was addressed (scotts'/ true green also suggested back off the watering and I made a thread here with pics of how it looked and I think the consensus was to just back off on the water was about an hour every day which IS too much
    a lab soil test back then showed good results BTW, and it's been given all NPK recently, I don't think micronutrients like magnesium etc are deficient and slowing it down.

    also wondering about possible products like kelp or something just to help reduce risk of fungal etc problems - anything that'll help the lawn along am willing to try.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
  5. KerbDMK

    KerbDMK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,714

    I find it very difficult to tell somebody how much they should be watering. You really need to use your common sense and get right in there with a trowel or screwdriver to see if the soil is moist or how long it stays moist, or make other observations like whether water puddles or runs off quickly, etc..
    phasthound and hort101 like this.
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,861

    Yes, it is still rather cool--what is your soil temperature? You are right in that the top bluegrass cultivars are slow to green-up in the spring. How many daily hours of sunlight do you have in the area?
    Is the soil soft? Muddy? I think it would be better to measure the inches of water applied per week. Put out a couple small rain gauges. About a half-inch twice per week would be sufficient. If no rain gauge, use a coffee mug and determine how much water per hour your irrigation delivers. Look up the data on Evapo-transpiration each week from Rutgers. This will show about how much water you need to replace during the hot summer months, as compared to coolness of the spring and fall.

    Get a moisture meter as used for house plants at Home Depot. Keep it above average, but below wet.
    Just to be sure, you may want to get the full-detail soil test or better yet, a "tissue test" which shows the levels of the micronutrients: Calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron and the possible toxic elements like chlorides. Reduce the Milorganite as it includes too much phosphorus--plus some toxic heavy metals. Ties up iron and zinc.
    http://www.al-labs-west.com/services.php?section=Soil Analysis

    You are right to fertilize carefully without going over the top. Stay with the top-quality brands with plenty of controlled release nitrogen, (about 50 percent of the nitrogen should be in slow-release form).

    If it does not perk up in a couple weeks--feel free to get a local experienced owner-operator lawn guy to have a look. Just be ready to listen to his sales pitch--buy him a doughnut--to reward him in a small way for his time.
    He will likely check for grubs. Have him check for webworms, chinch bugs, dollarspot, and necrotic ring spot later in the year, if needed.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
  7. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,234

    Talk to the Tom at Site One in Cherry Hill about screamin green fert.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,861

    Good idea above, Phast.
    And if you decide it has to be perfect--get the tissue test.

    Indoors last November, in paper cups, my Midnight KBG from Outside pride came up in only 8 days.
    I also have some planted outdoors for an experiment, March 3rd.
    Midnight in the Green bag, of course.


    View attachment 400052


    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
    TrainingWheels likes this.
  9. OP

    roody2333 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nj
    Messages: 1,043

    Have checked for grubs in the past and found none, I know there are some in the area but barely, like 1 per 2 cubic yards of dirt. So not going to suggest any insecticides since that'll also kill beneficial insects, .I would basically never suggest insecticide..
    If this doesn't work out, we'll probably just overseed it in Fall with TTTF and easy. But wanted to try and keep it %100 KBG, I prefer to save water and thus use TTTF or especially zoysia, but KBG is a more forgiving turf in terms of self repair than TTTF, and it's not too much sq footage.

    I think it's too cold still, but am wondering why last year the outside pride midnight never made it. My guess is over watering? I don't think any selectives were sprayed on it either while it was still in the sprout and pout stage the following Spring, this time won't spray anything on it either for a while, hopefully once it gets at least 4" tall and needs a few cuts, and would use amine instead of ester base.
    hort101 likes this.
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,861

    Mysterious Mr Roody. Keep a close eye on it. I will watch my outdoor planting of Midnight Kentucky bluegrass--and 3 other types. 39 F here and rain last night.
    A link, thanks to Phasthound, here is the official soil temp from Rutgers. Still cool in most areas.

    My opinion--speaking of germination--nothing really happens until the soil temps hit about 50 F.
    In my winter seeding test, March 3rd seeding had a few tiny sprouts of fine fescue.
    Other seed types--not sure--maybe a few.
    hort101 likes this.

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