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Research Project

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Because of all the disinformation about Springtime Germination of cool season lawn grasses competing with CrabGrass, I am putting together a research project.

    In my organic garden I have raised beds that I refresh and reraise every spring. These beds are the first to warm and show life in the spring. Many of the weeds germinate in these beds about the first week in May.

    The ground is thawed and the working of the beds has started. Crabgrass took over these beds last year, so they are primed and ready to grow. I plan to level and seed - a parcel of these beds - for a dormant seeding of our standard mix. (KBG, Creeping Red and Per. Rye).

    The purpose is to check the influence that, cool season plantings in the spring, have on the population of CG.

    I am in Wisco Zone 3 or 4. Results from other Zones and States would be appreciated. Of course there are different factors and temperature/water trends every year, but here we are relatively consistant.... Thanks...
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The Forsythia has blossomed and the sunny spot 'dormant seeding' has now germinated. I have spot seeded and composted the remaining thin areas and will hopefully see results soon.

    No threat of Crabgrass yet, but it is amazing how many broadleaf weeds will come b4 or with - the cool season grasses!!!
    Still... my grass dominates the plot of ground...

    The broadleaf weeds are annuals, of course, and I am hoping that some of the grass is of a perennial nature.

    Has anyone else done - Springtime overseeding???
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    I believe barefoot james who is much further south from you said to me last august, "I will NEVER overseed in the spring again" must have been a failure on a site that caused great heart burn

    You guys may have the temp to do it
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Dormant seeding is always a gamble because the weather can mess with it. But in the irrigated lawns spring overseeding is pretty straight forward.
    If you are referring to a complete renovation from nothing then - yeah - You will need some 2,4d by summer time.

    The question here is whether I can establish a stand of new cool season grasses b4 the crabgrass starts to grow. Now that the dormant seeding has popped, the race is on. :)
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I've done many spring over-seedings with great success.

    I can see that the thicker lawn might keep the soil cooler so CG doesn't germinate easily. CG is just so aggressive, that even if you have half the germination rate, your not going to actually tell after the plants have sprouted.

    This would be a good experiment in a basement, or any controlled environment. The hard part would be to try and count the number of CG seed for each test, and then use it in relation to germinated plants.

    Ultimately the fall seeding is only a recommendation. When I took the MG course, the experts informed us that fall is the best time, but you can seed anytime of the year. Fall is just recommended, because it takes the least amount of babysitting to establish a lawn.

    Thinking back on it, I did a fall seeding two years ago, and guess what, it failed. Temperatures stayed warmer than normal and we had a dry fall.

    So, Ultimately, what's the goal of the experiment. Are you using the started grass as a "ground cover" to compete against the CB??? Just want to know what your results are. Crabgrass is fairly think around here, and it might make me push for more spring seedings.

    Also, I think it still too early yet for CB germination, well, at least around here. I usually don't see it pop up until mid-late June. Occasionally I find early sprouts next to my sidewalk where it is considerably warmer. Do you have any CG germination in any other part of the garden ??
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    One purpose of the experiment would be to demonstrate that Pre-M for CG needn't be applied until the cool season grasses are mature enough to withstand the chemical.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    If I'm reading you correctly, then wouldn't be to late to use a Pre-M if the grass has been established, or did you get your plot seeded early enough to stay in the window of a pre-m working correctly in the spring??
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The grass popping up now is from a dormant seeding done back in March. It came up patchy so now I have overseeded the area again.
    [this is an experimental plot in the garden, so there is no pre-existing grass]

    Once this new batch comes up then it would be safe to pre-m shortly after that - Or - if I was nervous I could Pre-m now, and be happy with the grass I got from the dormant seeding.
    Of course this is an experiment, so I am only testing how much cool season grass I can grow b4 the CG germinates.

    BTW, the whole purpose of this is to determine when is the "...window of a pre-m working correctly in the spring??"
  9. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,116

    Don't PreM's work by root pruning. Is not root pruning counterproductive for healthy turf at any stage of turf development.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It doesn't 'prune' roots so much as it acts as a hormone that suppresses root growth.

    I am artificially watering the new seeding and there is new germination taking place all the time now. Still from the dormant seeds. Too early soon for the new seed to possibly be starting.

    No signs of CG yet...The new grass is giving the broadleaf weeds a run for there money as well.. :)
    The asparagus popped yesterday so the soil temps are becoming more favorable.

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