Need Advice on Seeding Turf

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by MOturkey, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    I know, the powers that be will move this, but there are 109 guys and gals watching this forum, and only 4 on the appropriate one, and I'm needing some advice.

    One of my mowing customers has a steep embankment between the city sidewalk and street curb approximately 8 feet by 30 yards or so. It is very steep, approaching, or possibly surpassing, 45 degrees. A couple of years ago, he had it sodded. This year he didn't water it during the extremely dry weather we had in July ( I know, he SHOULD have), and approximately 1/4 of the grass, fescue I'm sure, has apparently died out.

    I suggested he try and reseed those areas, rather than going to the considerable expense and trouble to have it sodded again, and he asked if I'd be willing to do it. I told him I'd try, even though it is definitely outside my area of expertise. Come to think of it, I don't really have an area of expertise. :)

    The largest of the dead areas are perhaps 2 or 3 square feet, most are smaller, and there is heavy thatch covering the soil. Should I remove the thatch, or try and leave as much of it in place as possible to help prevent erosion of the seed and underlying soil? If I remove it, should I use straw or some other type of mulch to stabilize the areas?

    Also, should I use straight fescue seed, or a mix of fescue and annual rye? If so, in what proportion? I've noted in some posts that some don't advocate the use of any straw mulch, but instead only water the seed in. Any thoughts on this?

    Anyhow, guys, any help you could give would be most appreciated. I suppose a slit seeder would work well, but I'm not sure one is available to rent locally, and being unfamiliar with them, am not sure one can be utilized on such a steep grade.

    Also, any thoughts on how to charge for something like this?

    Thanks in advance. Neill
  2. Oasis1

    Oasis1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    I've had the same problem here in Illinois with dead grass, and what I've been doing is aerating, seeding and some starter fert. You should be able to get that little bit of seed and fert for under 25 bucks, but here the aerator is what is expensive.65 to 85 dollars for a whole day. As for charging the guy i would charge him around 200 dollars.
  3. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Slice seeder used on a side hill back and forth- Lesco renovator would do a good job, and use a good blend of seed with some annual rye for a quick germination to hold the rest in place.
    Cost--- My min. for the renovator is $250 + seed the only exception would be if I could get some other work close by and then the price might drop some.
    Expensive ??? Yes but if you let the lawn die it won't regrow for free so you will have educated your customers on the benefits of irrigation.
  4. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    Have them make it into a rock garden or flowers and forget trying to grow and mow grass on it..45 degrees ya ever going to get it to hold will be a never ending battle for you..
  5. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    I hate to disagree, but I dont think you will be able to run the renovator on a true 45 degree slope. If you can it is certainly going to take some muscle to keep it in place. I also doubt that you can run a mower safely over a 45 degree slope altho I am sure there are some here that would try. My suggestion is to weedwack the slope as close to the ground as you can, rake all loose debries away, wet the soil and then broadcast the seed and cover with straw. The reason for wetting before seeding is to prevent the new seed from floating down the slope as the water runs off.

    Other option is to use a hydroseeder with a thin slurry of mulch to apply seed and mulch and a good tackifier to hold it all in place. The hydroseeder spray should help the seed mixture to pentrate the grass layer and insure seed to soil contact. Since you would be using a thin slurry of mulch you can either go back over the area with another layer of mulch or you can cover the thin coating with straw.
  6. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    Guys, thanks for the help. Actually, the grass looked great until the extreme drought during July. IF the owner had just watered it a couple of times a week, I think it would have been fine.

    I mow it now with a push 21. Kind of a big area for a trimmer, plus it looks great after being mowed with my Honda. Not all of it is 45 degrees, it varies somewhat from one end to the other, but some of the lower portion is probably at least 45 degrees. I have to kind of twist on the handlebars to keep the mower in place. Probably not too good on the engine, but it only takes about 8 minutes to mow each week.

    I think I'm going to just go with dethatching, wetting, seeding, and a fine layer of straw mulch. Bought a seed mix with 3 varieties of fescue and annual rye for quick growth.

    Again, thanks. Neill
  7. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    leave off the annual rye. The fescues will germinate this time of year in about 7 days and the ryes in 4 or 5 days. No need to use a competing grass just to save a couple of days till seeing green.

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