Lawn reseeding

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Hitch, May 22, 2001.

  1. Hitch

    Hitch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I recently reseeded my lawn approx. 4 weeks ago (about the end of April) and it doesn't seem like any of the seed has germinated. Here's what I did (and in what order):

    1. Thatched entire lawn (x-crossed)

    2. Applied seed ("sunny" mixture from Agway)

    3. Applied starter fertilizer

    4. Applied lime

    That evening there was a good soaking rain, and ever since I have been watering it about every day. I have been told by a few people that my problem was in applying the lime, and that I should have only applied the fertilizer with the seed. I live in Northeastern PA and my yard is approx. 1/2 acre with some thin sections and bare spots, and receives sunlight most of the time.

    Was the lime my problem and if so, is there anything I could do to fix it? My problem is I'm the type who puts things together then reads the directions when it doesn't work! Is the lawn messed up or is it able to be re-born again? Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance for any info.
  2. ejenkins

    ejenkins LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Hitch, what type of grass is it again? If it is a cool season grass (fescue type)then you needed to plant in the early or late fall so that the seeds would germinate during the winter months. You would Only plant a warm season grass (bermuda, centipede, in the spring. In the southeast where I am, stores advertise in the spring time when everyone has spring fever, to get out and plant your lawn! This is a sales gemmick to get you to buy everything (seed, Fertilizer, etc.) that they have in stock regardless if it is right to plant or not. Maybe you know more about seeds than I, but the info I have shared goes pretty much that way for us in the south. Again if you haven't, find out if your seed is warm or cool season and plant it at that time of year. Good luck!
  3. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    You can plant cool season grasses in the spring, summer & fall, with the best results in the fall. I'm not sure about the lime being a problem, I think I remember having limed at the same time as seeding and having success. Did you rake the seed into the soil, or just spread it on top? If you didn't rake it in, its possible that first soaking rain you mentioned may have washed away most of the seed. Other than that I can't think of any other possibilities with out seeing it.
  4. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    I'd have to agree with BRL, the soil should be loose when you plant seed. I'm assuming that you scrached the surface when you thatched it. It also doesn't hurt to roll over the seeded area with a lighter weight.
    If the property slopes there's a good chance that the seeds were washed away with the water running off. Did you fill in patches here and there or did you re-seed the entire area? If there is nothing there to 'hold' the seed, it may help to cover the seeded area with straw. This retains moisture for the lawn, aids in preventing runoff and helps the seeds germinate faster. You only need to cover it lightly, by the time the lawn takes off you won't even notice the straw anymore.
    I have never applied fertilizer to a freshly seeded area, normally I have good luck with lawn taking off good and fertilize once it's established. Using the wrong thing here may be a part of the problem, I'm not sure how lime affects seeds.....
    Good luck
  5. Hitch

    Hitch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I checked the tag on the seed and here's the types:

    -32% Kentucky Bluegrass

    -24% Fine Leaf Perennial Ryegrass

    -24% Creeping red fescue

    -14% Wizard perennial ryegrass


    I'm not sure which are warm or cool season grasses. I did "scratch" the lawn approx. 1/4 - 1/2" when I thatched and did not use a roller after seeding. Thanks again in advance for the responses!
  6. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    All of the above are cool season grasses. What you may have is a compaction problem. Often times water sits in low areas, creating compaction. The result is that turf thins out and eventually dies, also seed will not readily take in compacted soil.

    Prior to seeding it is allways a good idea to core airate, not spike or de-thach. The latter two do little or nothing to alliviate compaction.

    Germ rate= germination rate ie. in a given sample of 100 seeds 85 will germinate.

    Jim L
  7. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    To get the best results,I always aerate before reseeding,the seed to soil contact is neccesary to get germination.I would have aerated it,seeded it,let the plugs dry in the sun,then drag it in with a peice of chain link fence,or drag mat.Then put down your starter,and lime.I have excellent germination doing it this way.By thatching it,your still not really getting good seed to soil contact,so your not going to get great germination.Rolling helps too.The biggest thing is dont over water ,water a few times a day lightly,so you dont wash away your seed.That rye in the mix should jump up in 7-10 days easily in spring temps.
  8. Hitch

    Hitch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for all of the advice! I think I'll just continue applying fertilizer as usual the remainder of the summer. Being that the seed is cool season grasses, I'll attempt to tackle this project again in the fall. I've printed all the replies and plan to use the advice given to me, trying the core aeration and rolling it this time. Besides, there's fishing that needs to be done!!

    Once again, thanks to all who replied. Your advice is greatly appreciated! I only wish that I found this site earlier!

Share This Page