Overseed or Start over?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Grant1994, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Grant1994

    Grant1994 LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 40

    I am very new to the lawn care industry and my first project is going to be my own lawn well technically my parents lawn. We have not had much luck over the past few years getting a good lawn established and I'm hoping you guys can give me some advice. Overall we have about 1 acre of grass, the front yard being half of that it gets about 4-5 hours of direct sunlight in the morning and drains very well. The back yard gets good sunlight for most of the day but most of it is shaded by large oak trees in the woods around the house. Half of the back yard drains well and never has good grass always seems to dry out and die the other half is a low spot next to wetlands that never drains most of the time i have to wait several days after a rain just to be able to mow it without getting my ZTR stuck in the mud but the grass in this spot is rich and a nice dark green. The whole yard is covered by an underground sprinkler system. I want to do this right so do you guys think this yard can be saved with proper seeding, fertilization and weed control, or should i strip it and start over? Sorry for the long post but I have already learned a lot from this site and I am hoping you guys can teach me some more!
  2. JohnnyRocker

    JohnnyRocker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    Soil test.:usflag:
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    Fix the drainage first. Get an irrigation company that also does drainage tiles. Then fix the irrigation if it dries out in the summer. You need to separate the zones so that wet areas can get less minutes and the dry sunny areas more. What kind of grass? Mostly perennial rye, I suspect. Areas close to the woods are probably too shady to grow any kind of grass.

    Perhaps you could overseed with a high-quality disease resistant variety:
    Make sure any variety you choose is resistant to gray leaf spot and red thread.
    Overseed with a heavy rate, add starter fert, and omit crabgrass control. Start about the date grass greens up in your town--about the second week of April. Start a few days before that if you are in a rush--the first few days are mainly for water absorption.
  4. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,956

    Grant, I'm a cheapskate. I suggest seeding with improved varieties of turf-type tall fescues. Many to choose from nowadays. My 2 cents.
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Blah, blah, blah, need to, blah, blah blah.....

    That's all I got out of the first post, why?


  6. Grant1994

    Grant1994 LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 40

    Thanks for the advice so far! As soon as I can see bare ground I will get a soil test done we still have about a foot of snow cover. As for grass type after talking with my local JDL and reading threads on this site I think I am going to go with a 50/50 KBG and PRG mix, it seems to do well in my area. One thing I am still unsure of regardless of which route I go is when to put the seed down, at what temperature and for how long should the soil be before applying the seed?
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    I think in my tests, my earliest germination was about May 8--but I cannot find the original post. Seed was sown about 3 weeks prior to that. That means about April 15. It was mainly perennial rye. Your climate is probably similar to mine.
    Soaking the seed for about 96 hours inside in warm water with an aeration pump should help, (then dry and apply); this would probably sprout the seed a day or two sooner.

    No need to wait for the snow to clear before taking the soil test. Dig down to get the soil. True, it may be a bit frozen, but keep looking, you will find a soft spot. Send it to the soil lab now--beat the rush.

    Our grass professors in Michigan do not recommend 50/50 rye and blue mixture, anymore. The rapid early growth of the rye crowds out the bluegrass--with the result being 99 percent perennial rye. They suggest not more than 15 percent perennial rye. (If you want any bluegrass in the final lawn turf.)

    I have some seed planted outside on bare soil on top of snow in early December. I will let you know what happens. There are around 17 inches of snow over it right now. 20 degrees here at the moment. Very cold winter, near record snow.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  8. Grant1994

    Grant1994 LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 40

    Riggle thanks for the info on the seed germination, it appears as though our climates are very similar. I am sending off my soil samples to the UMass lab tomorrow I should hopefully have the results in about a week. While I am waiting I have been looking at some equipment because right now I have a scotts spreader but want to upgrade to a pro spreader with pneumatic tires. The equipment I will be buying on my own and am on a pretty tight budget I'd like to spend no more than $150 do you guys have any suggestions? I have been looking at Earthways Estate series.
  9. Grant1994

    Grant1994 LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 40

    I am still waiting for the soil test results but I was able to take some pictures of different parts of the lawn today I was hoping maybe you guys could give me some advice based off of these.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  10. Grant1994

    Grant1994 LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 40

    Hope these uploaded right

    photo 1.jpg

    photo 2.jpg

    photo 4.jpg

    photo 5.jpg

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