Overseeding Advice

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by ScagSteve, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. ScagSteve

    ScagSteve LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I'm planning on overseeding my yard this Fall and wanted to get your advice on the best way to go about that. The lawn is a mix of KBG and fescue and is best described as the following:

    10% thick areas (from last Fall's renovation)
    60% moderate areas
    30% thin areas

    I was gung-ho on renting a Lesco Renovator (if I can find one for rent) but am concerned that it will damage the healthy grass that I have. My lawn isn't a total disaster, but definitely can use thickening.

    Do you recommend this slit seeder or going down the road of aeration w/ broadcast seeding? My concern with aeration is the seed that will inevitably end up on thatch. I want to rent only one machine... not going to rent a power rake AND an aerator.

    And finally, should I topdress to improve soil quality? (and if so, how should I spread the soil? with the broadcast spreader?) :confused:

    Any advice on this is much appreciated!!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    I would start by taking a soil sample. http://www.spectrumanalytic.com/ offers mail in service, or if you have a lesco store you can go their and then they can recommend first hand what products to buy if any.

    I have never over-seeded any other way then by aeration. So I can't comment on the Renovator. I have heard it works good though for seeding. I use the Aeration method because you are benefiting the existing turf at the same time.

    If this is your own lawn and you can invest some extra labor into the project I suggest the following if using Aeration.

    1. Do whatever your soil analysis recommends.
    2. Aerate in one direction
    3. Apply seed at half recommended rate (I use Lesco Team Mates which is a Fescue blend with a little rye added)
    4. Aerate in the other direction
    5. Apply other half of seed.

    Before step 2 make sure the ground is moist for best penetration
    Some people prefer Starter fert before they start, some prefer apply after job is complete. Ask Who ever analysis your soil report about what and when to apply during this project.

    I think I have a little better luck with seeding using the aeration method then others might because I use a good tow behind aerator. This allows me to really beat the crap out of the lawn by doing 2-4 passes (depending on the existing turf condition). It's hard to find someone willing to pull that many plugs with a walk behind unit.

    If I really want to go the distance I drag a small section of chain link fence over the entire lawn when finished to break the cores and give even better seed/soil contact.

    Good luck with your project. Be sure to take some before and after pictures for us all.

    P.S. The plugs will turn into topsoil, consider using the drag method if you have something to pull it with. If so also consider a good tow behind aerator too.
  3. ScagSteve

    ScagSteve LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Thanks, Soupy! I appreciate the quick reply!

    I do feel more comfortable with aeration since I've done it before. Unfortunately, I don't have a tractor (have a Scag Hydro WB w/ no sulky) so I can't benefit from the ease of tow-behind aeration. Those rental WB aerators are painful to use and turn.

    Bottom line is, I want to do what's best for the lawn. If that's making 3-4 passes with the aerator, then so be it. I was curious to see if anyone has tried the Lesco renovator, since it *seems* like it would be the ideal way to overseed. At the same time, I feel like it could also do some serious lawn damage...
  4. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    You will be fine with just aeration and seeding then. No real need to drag afterwords if you apply half seed during the aeration process.
  5. boxsky

    boxsky LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    Your germination % is less with a aeration seeding vs slit seed.

    My best results have been aerate, within 2 weeks go back and slit seed and apply a starter fert about 1 week after slit seeding.

    Slit seeding causes little damage to existing grass.

    I rent the equipment also and I'll line up 10-15 aeration jobs for the one day and then another 5-10 seeding jobs.
  6. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I've used the Renovator extensively, and here's a few tips if you want to do a A1 job:
    1) make sure the turf is not under stress and has been previously watered THOROUGHLY 2) aerate 1st, at least a few hours before so the cores dry completely. 3) mow the turf very short to make the renovator's work easier to see and less hard on equipment 4) Begin slice seeding (follow directions for metering seed) with the handle toward the forward (upper) side. Lower handle gradually. When you hear the belt scream at you, bring the handle forward one notch! This is your setting. (PS- I recommend that you talk the Lesco /Deere rep into letting you 'borrow' an extra drive belt to bring with you. You may need it. Aerating before slicing only adds to the % of seed to soil contact, which increases germination % and also dust in your face. But it's worth it.
  7. boxsky

    boxsky LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    BTW, I only have 40 accounts. Anymore and I'll need to hire someone. I like to keep things small. I make more money that way.
  8. ScagSteve

    ScagSteve LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Thanks Marcos! As a homeowner with a wife that thinks that I am too crazy about the yard, I only have the leeway to rent one machine (unfortunately). So, after much thought and research I am going with the Renovator this weekend. Despite the lack of rain in the last week, the lawn seems pretty happy right now... dry, but still dark green. Would you recommend a watering before Renovating? I will definitely be following your operating tips... great stuff!

  9. boxsky

    boxsky LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    You must have perfect level yards in your area. I need to adjust the height at least 10 times in a 1/2 acre yard. Have you tried the Lawn Solutions seeder yet. I got a chance this sprong to use it. Much easier to use then the Lesco but a lot slower.
  10. boxsky

    boxsky LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    How did you renovate the lawn last fall?
    Did you do a soil test?
    How thick is your thatch? You can use the machine (no seed) as a dethatcher before you seed the lawn. You will need to rake or blow the debri.

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