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Lawn renovation, to leave dead grass/thatch or not to?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by CK82, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. CK82

    CK82 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 235

    Anyone have experience with lawn renovations, leaving the thatch, dead grass in the newly seeded areas to help protect the seed, thus eliminating the majority of the straw? I would imagine it is one in the same as using straw? We renovated a lawn this last week and left the thatch, but also broadcasted EZ Mulch pellets for protection and moisture retention and at this point have some results. Although it is slow at this time of the year, there are little sprouts coming through. Question is, would the seed do better with thatch removed and straw spread?

    Any previous experience/knowledge, please reply.

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I never remove dead grass and I never use straw, and I have success according to conditions... the drought this year has changed conditions in many areas... it took an extra amount of irrigation to bring the soil back alive enough to seed to feel comfortable in germinating this Fall... a lot more, actually...

    Also what I'd do is forget the EZ Mulch water retention stuff and add compost to the yard... people can afford a lot more when you're not removing organic matter by the truck load from their lawn... :)
  3. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    Be careful with the thatch you lift out of the lawn. It is good to leave some on the lawn to protect the new plants but too much can kill the new plants. Leave just enough for good cover. Say 2 inches thick and you may have a problem.
  4. JCResources

    JCResources LawnSite Member
    Messages: 109

    Some dead plant material is better than bare soil in my opinion. Our slit seeder leaves a little fluff on top and seems to protect the seed/new seedlings well.

    We have had problems with some neat-nick home owners coming in after us and raking or mowing up this debris. This leads to poor stands in these areas and we have learned our lesson on this one. Next seeding season every customer will get some printed material about the process and care of their newly seeded lawn.

    Attached is a photo of some seedlings coming up through this layer of "protection" 11 days after seeding.

  5. PerfectEarth

    PerfectEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    On total kills, we very lightly rake.

    On overseeds, we rake up a ton of thatch. Why leave it on?

    in both cases, raking does more than just remove the thatch- it helps to knock seed down to the soil and into grooves.
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,705

    I have done some tests overseeding heavily crabgrass infested spots. Spots where I used about ten times the usual amount of seed, came in nice and thick. Didn't matter whether I cut it short first, or not. Three times the usuual amount of seed worked OK, but not as soon and not as thick. The photos are in one of my threads, but I cannot find it just now.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    You leave it on because it protects the plants and soil the same way that wood chips do around a peony...

    You leave it on because it captures and moderates the impact of water...

    You leave it on to improve infiltration, percolation and drainage of water...

    You leave it on because soil structure is built from it and improve CEC...

    It saves the client money and doesn't make it look like, you are a greenhorn doing a wonderful job...

    I believe that the physical texture of soils and how they interface with moisture, by visual analysis is the very basic understanding of soils... to me it is unbelievable that lcos can't understand why the grass debris is important to healthy soils... maybe it is because mockers attack the idea every time it comes up... I'll analyse the subject with anyone who presents "Point Counterpoint" but mockers will not be acknowledged... :)
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,705

  9. PerfectEarth

    PerfectEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    So this is what we are normally left with after overseeding... what we rake up and remove.

    And some of you tell me that this should be left on? I guess I'm a greenhorn.


  10. DirtRoad

    DirtRoad LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    Ya they are out of their minds.

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