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Newly Seeded Lawn in Connecticut (Seed Questions)

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Cliffside Stump Grinding, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. Cliffside Stump Grinding

    Cliffside Stump Grinding LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Hey! New Member here. Unfortunately, I just found this forum this morning, as Ive been working all summer on my personal lawn, and have had a few questions here and there.

    My buddy and I work for Cliffside Stump Grinding. He's actually the owner, and for now, its pretty much the two of us. It more or less a part time gig, but provides plenty of entertainment, and a little side cash..

    My personal project for this summer included taking down 32 trees, grinding the stumps, re-grading two areas with erosion issues, final grading, spreading 50 yards of topsoil, and finally, seeding.

    The questions I have are primarily about seeding. I had a good friend who owns a business do the job. By the time I priced out doing it myself, it was a no brainer to just have him complete the job.

    First off, I had actually tilled and re-graded several problem areas, which ended up being half of my property (property total = 1 acre) The areas that still had some grass, were very thin, and mostly dried up due to the drought-like weather we’ve been having. He started by cutting the “what was left” lawn down to nothing. I guess he uses his Z-Turn, with the deck on the ground. Picks all the grass and debris up nicely. Next, he uses his Lesco Overseeder, and proceeds to due a cross-hatching over the entire lawn. Finally, I guess he puts his spreader on a “half normal application” setting, and over-seeds the entire lawn.

    The job looked great, and I was very happy to see my hard work come out so nicely. He made a few suggestions on watering, and that was it.

    1)We are definitely in a drought here. Hasn’t rained all all in like 6 weeks, except for one 4 hour flash of rain a few weeks back. It is extremely dry. At what frequency should I be watering, and for how long?
    2)The back yard is a 50/50 sun/shade area. For this area, he used a Lesco seed containing 3 different fescues. Don’t have the names now, but it claims a darker green, rich looking grass. It takes longer for the fescue to germinate, according to my research. Also, it has no rye at all. Is this ok? According to what I know (I very-well could be wrong, so please correct me if so) the rye comes up fast, giving the other seeds some holding power in case of heavy rain. Eventually, the other seeds come up, and take over the rye.
    3)The middle of the backyard all the way to the front is Lesco Metro, which I guess is a popular blend of ryes, fescues, and Kentucky Blue. How is this Lesco Metro? Will this be a good blend for me in Connecticut?
    4)Lastly, any input on application, watering, seed choices, and/or some do’s/don’ts would be greatly appreciated, as part of our business will include planting in the near future, and I could use the info.

    By the way, the seed application broke down to about 10 pounds per 1000 sq feet.

  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Ok,...the seeding, the amount, and the seed used all sound good. The actual watering is going to depend on where you are at growth wise - as in the developmental stage. When was this seeded? recently? Even if not, one of the best things that you could have (believe this or not) would be alot of bare ground with alot of seed still in the ground. That is because this seed is still viable - able to live. If it has germinated and started to grow, then died back because of the dryness, then it is gone...will never come back. I'll tell you...some pictures of the area would be worth a thousand words, because I (we) could tell where you are at growth wise. See, the thing to understand, is that when you grow grass from seed, you are watering 3 different things. The following is pasted from a post I made a while back.

    The main thing is, is to keep it watered. When I say watered, I mean, morning, mid-day, and at night. The thing is, is to always keep the soil damp. As long as you have CONSISTENT moisture, it will make all the difference in the world between weeds or grass. What do you want? If you want weeds,...then let it go dry once in awhile...the weeds will take right over, and the grass won't have a chance. If you want grass, keep it damp...how much? Whatever it takes. It will be several shallow waterings at first until it starts establishing. Fortunately, after you get a bit of grass growing in there, this helps retain some moisture. Eventually, your watering frequency will go down, but your watering time will go up...you have to reach deeper into the soil to the roots. You don't want to water too shallow, it will drive the roots back up toward the surface. Now, do NOT make the common mistake of thinking once you have a little grass growing there, it is mission accomplished, let's roll up the hoses. It is at THIS time that watering is all the MORE important. Once that grass germinates, and you have all those fine little hairs growing, you let those go dry, they will die right off....and they never come back...gone forever. Seed, you can throw out there and leave it dry for the season...it will be alright, but new seedlings,..they are very fragile and HAVE to have a steady moisture. Hit it with fert. again about 3 weeks later. Anyway, after you get some good growth going, the weather cools down a bit, you can mow it, and it will harden off for the winter.

    So, this brings us to another subject, and this is the feeding. Was it hit hard with a starter fertilizer (high phosphorus)? If so, when. It should be hit at the time of seeding, watered well, and hit again in about 3 weeks. I come back in about 2 weeks afetr that and hit it with a fert. like 24-0-11, and grow grass like carpet, but that is just my way.
    I hope this info helps, and if you have any other questions, feel free.
  3. Cliffside Stump Grinding

    Cliffside Stump Grinding LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Wow Runner, thanks for the info. Actually, my cousin is a Horticulture Major, and studied at Uconn for 6 years or so. When I asked him today, he gave me the EXACT same info.

    I actually planted only 7 days ago, and Im beggining to see little grasslings here and there. It seems I see them mostly in areas with just alittle shade. Im guessing its easier for these areas to stay alittle bit more moist.

    The only thing I was finding hard to believe (not anymore) is watering during the day. I always thought that was bad. But I guess not.

    I water twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. Ive got 7 zones, but only 3 with programmable timers (so far). I guess this is the time where your going to tell me to get all 7 zones on timers, right?

    I would off hand say Im on the right track, just need to tune my watering up alittle. I dont know though, because during the day, it seems to dry right out in certain areas. I dont see any dead seedlings, just lack of seedlings in certain areas. Again, those certain areas would be the high-sun areas.

    What should I do, or what should I fix. I am almost in-capable of watering in the daytime. Unless I purchase 4 more timers, which I suppose would be an idea.

    So, there is no answer as to how long to water. The answer is, just keep them moist like all the time?

    So, whats next? By the way, I knew to fertilize again in like 3 weeks or so, but thats only when you start to see them grow decently, right.

    I will try and take some pics sometime this week.
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Yes,..your area that is going dry needs more water. It may just not be getting the coverage that other areas are getting. If you have to water it an additional time during the day, then so be it. You MIGHT get lucky and be able to water it just a little longer and have it hold moisture - depending on the soil structure. Whatever you do,...do NOT let it (any area) dry out during the day..ESPECIALLY if you have those little seedings coming up. It will come in, and as it does, your watering time will go up a little bit (to reach deeper), and eventually, you will be able to decrease the frequency of waterings, but still INcreasing the time. The upcoming turfgrass will help retain moisture in the soil as well. You are definitely on the right track!
  5. Cliffside Stump Grinding

    Cliffside Stump Grinding LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Update on Project
    Switched gears on Tuesday night. Figured after reading this info, and knowing that areas with grass already, just slice seeded and over seeded had a better chance of holding water, I re-configured the timers so each newly soiled and seeded area gets water for 1/2 hour, 4 times a day, from sun up, to sun down, spread out respectively.

    Now, the problematic areas that see alot of sun seem to stay moist 24 hours around the clock, but by no means flood. Im already seeing this as a good move because this morning when I left for work, my lights shined on an area that was nice looking, green, coming in fast..

    It seems the fescues in the back definately take awhile longer to germinate. Today would be day 10, and early this morning with a flashlight I still couldnt see any grasslings. These areas are 50/50 sun/shade, and are again kept pretty moist right around the clock. Im assuming I should see something by this weekend.

    We are do for some rain too. We've been in drought conditions making it that much harder to grow. Since early August, we've had nothing to speak of rain wise. This should kick things up a notch as well!!! :weightlifter:

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