Overseeding in Jan?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by wegomow, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. wegomow

    wegomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    A customer wants me to overseed his lawn with Winter Rye. We are in eastern NC and avg. daily temps have been in mid 50's and avg. nights mid to upper 30's. Also we have had a few frosts and freezes already. Is it too late to overseed?
  2. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,395

    Go for February. You should be fine then.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    According to my experiments it should be OK. Slow of course.

    I am planning to do some experiments with newly sprouted rye grass raised inside in containers at room temperature. I will put some of them outside or in a freezer for 24 hours. And bring the containers back inside--will grass be killed? What is your prediction? I will keep an eye on my neighbor's grass that was planted about late October and a second neighbor planted about the first week of November. 30 degrees and 4 inches of snow on the ground at the moment.

    I plan to plant some grass every month this winter--and watch the results. Four inches of snow now. I can find the flower pots outside in my garden...but...snow is covering the vacant lot where I have been doing experiments. I will seed on top of snow, but I am not sure how to mark the plots--maybe I can hammer in iron nails with plastic labels. Plots are one square yard. Snow often remains with us until the first week of March--but--we expect a brief thaw in about 4 days. Not sure if we will see our grass in January or February.

    Hopefully I will be able to do my chickweed control experiments during a brief thaw this week. Four weed control products to compare. I have transplanted chickweed to containers inside, and it is growing fine now--very small leaves yet. I will move it outside for the actual spraying--and then after the odor has dissipated move it back indoors into my office.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The freezing of unprotected grasses over a period of time is evidenced every year here in Centro Wisco... Right now all of the perenial grasses are still green and edible by the deer and rodents of the wild... these grasses are under snow that is over a foot deep and that is the reason for it as we have been down below 0 degrees F already this season and haven't gotten out of the teens for a high daytime temperature for quite a while...

    Oats will stay green(unprotect) down to 26 degrees is what the local farmers say... Annual Ryegrass(AR) has survived temps in the low teens, that I've witnessed(and likely goes colder as long as it doesn't last too long)... Perennial cool season grasses have stayed green all winter, even w/out snow cover, but turn brown and die in the Spring once the ground starts to thaw...

    Once a person understands why this happens, then you'll have the answer to your question...
    To me it is silly to wait until February to sow AR in the South, because the reason for AR in the South is for Winter GREEN...

    Does your region actually get cold enough to kill AR???
    My guess is NO...
  5. wegomow

    wegomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    Thank you for you responses. Riggle PLC are you planting sprouting the grasses outside as well as indoors in containers?
    I understand the grass will survive the winter, will it germinate is really the question I should have asked. The reason for planting is to prevent soil erosion on his lawn.
  6. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,395

    I was just considering germination time. It was 25 last night. All my crops were fine uncovered. Its going to warm up this week. Go ahead and put it down.
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    Some perennial ryegrass seed was planted in a container plunged into my garden soil on November 17, 2012. After 30 days the seed had sprouted to about 1/8 inch tall.
    You can view the temperature records here:

    Compare your temps with ours. I computed the average temperature...Nov 17 to Dec 17, 2012. It was 40 degrees F.

    Snow covers it now.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  8. wegomow

    wegomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    I will get it seeded asap. Thanks again.
  9. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

    If your main goal is erosion control, then seeding with rye is about your only choice. You will have warm enough day's to get germination but it is going to be slow. You need to keep the water on those seedling's to get the most growth. 1/4" - 1/2" tall ryegrass is what you can expect, but that's what happen's when you overseed at the wrong time of year. In the spring though, that grass will take off and will seriously compete with whatever you have overseeded, that will degrade whatever grass is there now, then that rye is going to check out in May, just be aware of that.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Now again it seems we have a consistancy problem...

    My understanding about Southern Grasses is that they go dormant when it becomes a little chilly in the Fall so people had gotten in the habit of sowing cool season grasses to keep their lawns green for the Winter...

    In the Spring/Summer it becomes too hot and the Warm Season grasses flourish on the dead bodies of the cool season grasses that could tolerate the heat...

    Is this the procedure??? or not???
    I suppose I don't need to know,,, but it is a curiosity... :)

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