Need seed bed prep advice.

zanemoseley

LawnSite Member
Location
Tennessee
I'm totally renovating half my front yard this Spring, about 12,000 sq/ft. I bought a 50# bag of Barenbrug Transcontinental Bermuda seed. I've also sprayed the entire yard a couple times with gly to kill all existing grass and weeds.

I've got a local tractor guy that is going to come turn my vegi garden and is going to till the top 2-3" (don't want to go super deep because the yard is on a slope) of the yard and box blade it. I'm not sure if I'll have to do extra work afterwards to really get it prepped properly.

Here what I've got available to use, Honda FRC800 rear tine tiller, Ryan Lawnaire IV aerator, Brinly 48" tow dethatcher, 36" tow water drum roller. I'm considering making a drag from a skid/pallet I have that's made from 2x4", I'm not sure if it would work well or not.

Here's what I'm thinking.

- Let him till and box blade with tractor
- Let dry for a bit if needed then till with FRC800 if it's still too clumpy
- Rake with dethatcher and drag with skid drag
- Spread seed and starter fertilizer
- Roll with drum roller
- Cover with straw

Would you do anything differently? Any other suggestions for a DIY drag?
 

Crazy 4 grass

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Minnesota
I would skip all of the tilling and box blading altogether, all that will do is bring a bunch of buried weed seeds up to the surface. In my opinion this is a lot of extra, unnecessary, and probably detrimental work.


Heres what i would do.

Gly, wait 10 days.
Scalp with the mower side discharging. Do not remove dead grass, this will act as your straw later and help with moisture retention.

Drag the dethatcher around a bunch with some weight on it. To scratch up the surface of the soil.
Aerate.
Broadcast spread the seed at slightly heavier rate than reccomended
Broadcast starter fertilizer.
Drag dethatcher around again to rake everything in.
Bring in black dirt, top dress 1/4 inch everywhere. (Optional step, but will help).

Water 4 times a day 10 min per watering for three weeks. New grass seed must remain continuously moist.
 

Crazy 4 grass

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Minnesota
Screenshot_20200105-095708_Gallery.jpg
Screenshot_20200105-095716_Gallery.jpg


Here is an area I did last fall. First pic taken Sep 1st, second pic taken Sep 28th.
 

takervader

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Alabama
Well bermuda, or any other warm season grass does not do well from seed, its not like the cool season grasses. You are far better off pushing a sprigged field or sodding, but I'll tell you the best way I've found to do it.

It is not time yet, I would not do this much before Memorial Day. You want it hot outside. If nighttime temps are in the 70s then youre golden. The seed needs temp to germinate, then the grass wants temp to get going.

You cannot throw the seed on ground, it needs a light dusting of soil over it. Throwing it out otherwise is like throwing money away.

In an ideal situation, lightly tiller the top layer to loosen any clay. A couple inches is really all that you need. Broadcast the seed at a high rate per sq foot, then rake smooth over that. You want it under dirt. Then fertilize with your starter, then soak it liberally. Ideally, every day for the first 3-4 days, then taper off and give 1-2" per week. Then all you need is hot sunshine. Your germination rate will vary and it will come in patchy most likely.

Once it gets to mowing height, throw N at it, 24-0-11 or similar, every 4-6 weeks until September, after that, watch the weather to determine whether it'll have time to eat more. Next year you can taper that back to 6-8 weeks. I aim for preemergent around Sept 15 but again, have to watch temps. Last year it was so hot in October that I should've fertilized again.

I personally don't use straw if i can help it at all, it contains seeds that form weeds later.
 
OP
Z

zanemoseley

LawnSite Member
Location
Tennessee
Well bermuda, or any other warm season grass does not do well from seed, its not like the cool season grasses. You are far better off pushing a sprigged field or sodding, but I'll tell you the best way I've found to do it.

It is not time yet, I would not do this much before Memorial Day. You want it hot outside. If nighttime temps are in the 70s then youre golden. The seed needs temp to germinate, then the grass wants temp to get going.

You cannot throw the seed on ground, it needs a light dusting of soil over it. Throwing it out otherwise is like throwing money away.

In an ideal situation, lightly tiller the top layer to loosen any clay. A couple inches is really all that you need. Broadcast the seed at a high rate per sq foot, then rake smooth over that. You want it under dirt. Then fertilize with your starter, then soak it liberally. Ideally, every day for the first 3-4 days, then taper off and give 1-2" per week. Then all you need is hot sunshine. Your germination rate will vary and it will come in patchy most likely.

Once it gets to mowing height, throw N at it, 24-0-11 or similar, every 4-6 weeks until September, after that, watch the weather to determine whether it'll have time to eat more. Next year you can taper that back to 6-8 weeks. I aim for preemergent around Sept 15 but again, have to watch temps. Last year it was so hot in October that I should've fertilized again.

I personally don't use straw if i can help it at all, it contains seeds that form weeds later.

I was initially just going to overseed the Bermuda seed but people were telling me it was hard to establish from seed, that's why I decided to go "all out" and kill all non-bermuda grass & weeds currently in the yard then till. I'm hoping to use the dethatcher as a rake then drag and roll as needed to get the seed buried and in good contact with the soil.

Its currently fairly cool in our area but our soil is still already at about 69 degrees, that's measured with a food thermometer 1" deep. I'm going to try and wait for a warm stretch in mid May. What's tricky is I'm trying to have the tractor guy till my vegi garden and yard at the same time. Problem is I try to get my garden put out by May 1st but I'm thinking the grass seed won't go out for a couple weeks after that. Its on a slope so I may get some wash out prior to being seeded and covered with straw. I can either till again myself with the Honda tiller or just pay him to come back and touch up with the tractor prior to seeding.
 

takervader

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Alabama
I was initially just going to overseed the Bermuda seed but people were telling me it was hard to establish from seed, that's why I decided to go "all out" and kill all non-bermuda grass & weeds currently in the yard then till. I'm hoping to use the dethatcher as a rake then drag and roll as needed to get the seed buried and in good contact with the soil.

Its currently fairly cool in our area but our soil is still already at about 69 degrees, that's measured with a food thermometer 1" deep. I'm going to try and wait for a warm stretch in mid May. What's tricky is I'm trying to have the tractor guy till my vegi garden and yard at the same time. Problem is I try to get my garden put out by May 1st but I'm thinking the grass seed won't go out for a couple weeks after that. Its on a slope so I may get some wash out prior to being seeded and covered with straw. I can either till again myself with the Honda tiller or just pay him to come back and touch up with the tractor prior to seeding.

Killing the rest is a fine choice to me, especially if you don't know herbicides well yet.

You want that soil to get much warmer. I'm speaking from experience, seeding early is the same thing as throwing money out the window. If the bermuda all around you isn't 100% green, don't do it. Ours isn't and I'm below you. My common is only at 70-80% green and 419 hybrid lags behind that at about 40-50%. We won't even need weekly lawn cutting until the 2nd week of May. Transcontinental is basically a somewhat cold-tolerant common blend, but bermuda is still bermuda, it likes it hot.
 
OP
Z

zanemoseley

LawnSite Member
Location
Tennessee
I've got a couple patches of "wild" bermuda that have been growing in this section of the yard for several years, in fact these wild sections do so well its what convinced me to actually try and grow it, when I try Fescue its tends to be a waste of money over time as it dies out and doesn't spread like Bermuda.

The wild sections I have just started emerging 7-10 days ago. There is probably a couple weeks left till they're really growing. I can use these patches as an indicator of sorts. I'm thinking I'll try to throw seed mid May, really want it done by Memorial day.
 

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