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Seeding lawn help please!

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by ChellaJ, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. ChellaJ

    ChellaJ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    We live in Central Indiana and just purchased our home last November. At the time we closed, the hydroseed did not take and the weeds were taking over. We have been told on 5 occasions that the subcontractor was going to regrade our back lawn and hydroseed. This still has not happened. It is now getting so hot. I know it is not the best time of the year to seed. What I need to know is how to take care of the seeding if and when they ever get it done. We also want to overseed and can wait until fall for this. What should we do to help the hydroseed take?
  2. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    There is no such thing as hydroseed that doesnt take. There are numerous wrong ways to hydroseed. There are also numerous other ways that people seed that are also wrong. Some people that get into the hydroseeding business think all you have to do is mix seed and water and spray it on and somehow it will magicly grow. The same can be said for other seeding methods as well and, a lot of homeowners seem to have the same thoughts.

    To get a stand of grass you cant simply spray it or broadcast it on the ground and think it will grow. A soil test should be the first step before any seeding method it chosen. After the test results come back you can then prep the area to be seeded and incorporate the amendments into the soil. The soil will act as a buffer against the harmful effects of the salts in fertilizers. After incorporating the amendments, level and rake the area smooth and then you are ready to seed. If you are broadcast seeding, simply broadcast the seed in two different directions for good even coverage, then rake lightly to insure good seed to soil contact. If the area is subject to erosion straw can be used to help protect the seed. Straw isnt necessary as long as a good irrigation system is installed and the irrigation isnt applied to the point of causing runoff. Straw does help hold moisture and does provide some protection to the seed. If irrigation isnt available, then straw, or a similar mulching material should be considered a mandantory requirement.

    If the area is being hydroseeded, the same rules apply. If irrigation is present, then low or no mulch rates will be required. the advantage hydroseeding has over broadcasting or slit seeding is that it is easier and faster to apply and you get more uniform seed distribution. Another advantage is that special tackifiers can be added to the slurry to help prevent erosion.

    After the seed has been applied, watering is the next step to insuring fast grass establishment. For the first 2 to 3 weeks, watering should be frequent and lite. Never to the point of runnoff or puddleing. Watering should not be done in the late hours of the evening as some drying out of the soil is necessary to allow oxygen to get to the seed. Watering at nite also increases the chance of fungal diseases. After 2 to 3 weeks the grass should be ready for the first mowing. Letting the grass get to long before the first mowing will insure a thin and spotty lawn. For cool season grasses the first mowing should be when the grass reaches a height of 3 to 4 inches and mowed no lower than 2 inchs. Be sure to use sharp blades to prevent the mower from pulling the grass out by its short and fragil roots. Future mowing should be at the desired height that you wish to maintain your lawn. After the first mowing, the watering schedule should also be changed to less frequently and more heavily, but never let the soil dry and crack. In 6 to 8 weeks, the grass should be sufficently established that watering only one or two times a week will keep the lawn growing. Some additional fertilizer might need to be applied at this time, but forget trying to rush things by using large doses of high nitrogen fertilizer, it will only create more problems.
  3. ChellaJ

    ChellaJ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks Muddstopper,

    As far as testing the soil and having it prepped, I will have little to no say in the matter. The subcontractor will just come out and do what they've done to every other yard in the development. Turn the soil over, rake it even, and blow the seed.

    Do you think the seed will still be O.K. with the hot weather? We can water per your recommendations and we can overseed too. I'm just really concerned that they've strung us along too far and now we'll never have a chance getting a nice lush yard.
  4. dfischer

    dfischer LawnSite Member
    from Il
    Messages: 114

    No, it will die. Hate to be blunt, but some research on this site into past threads will show you an overwhelming concensus - Seed in the fall. Early spring only if you must. Never in mid summer.

    A newly seeded yard will die. You will go nuts trying to keep it alive.

    Probably both.

    btw, you should at least spend 40 bucks and go buy a soil test kit. At bare minimum go get a $20 PH meter.
  5. Splicer

    Splicer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    This was seeded early May:

    Copy of Kelley's Lawn Restoration 011.jpg
  6. Splicer

    Splicer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    5 weeks later with watering 15-20 minutes/morning:clapping: :weightlifter: :cool2: :headphones: :usflag: :

    5 weeks later 6-13-06 009.jpg
  7. Splicer

    Splicer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Seed quality is very important as is the fert to get it established...If you religiously water DAILY there is NO reason new seeding won't take and keep...but you MUST be faithful and diligent with the watering...I just saw the entrance to a new subdivision be hydro'd with NO water (sprinklers or otherwise) and MAYBE 2 light rainfalls come in beautifully...

    If everyone waited to seed only in the fall there would be alot of dirt/mud around these new homes being built...Just remember...due diligence will reward you 100 times over...

    TURF DOCTOR LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,138

    He's right water and starter fert will help.
  9. ChellaJ

    ChellaJ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Thank you all so much for your help. We have been asking for almost 2 months for this to get done. This morning they are finally out there turning over the nasty weeds and raking it. The other yards have taken the hydroseed well. But they were seeding in late April. We will water and then overseed this fall.

    I guess I'm off to find some fertilizer!
  10. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    Before you buy and apply fertilizer, ask the hydroseeding contractor what kind and how much, if any fertilizer he is already ading to the slurry. One of the worse things you could do would be to apply additional fertilizers if the contractor has already used fertilizer on your lawn. If they havent already seeded your lawn, you can still take a soil test and have plenty of time to get the results back before you will need to apply the fert. Seed doesnt need any fertilizer to germinate anyhow. Here is a partial list of some good soil testing labs.

    ABC ORGANICS Crop Research Foundation
    P.O. Box 967
    Camarillo, CA 93011
    Contact: Johnny Agulia

    ABC ORGANICS provides several different quantitative soil tests that determine the nutritional status of soils. Base saturation/CEC soil test, organic matter, and nutrient analysis; organic fertilizer recommendations.

    Ag Resource Consulting, Inc.
    P.O. Box 667 / 131 5th Street
    Albany, MN 56307
    320-845-6320 Fax
    Contact: Glen Borgerding

    Base saturation/CEC soil test, organic matter, nutrient analysis, organic fertilizer recommendations, manure testing, and nutrient management plans.

    Agri-Energy Resources
    21417 1950E St.
    Princeton, IL 61356
    815-872-1928 Fax

    Complete soil test, Base saturation/CEC, LaMotte extract method. Fertilizer recommendations based on ideas from Albrecht, Reams, and the late founder of Agri-Energy Resources, Dave Larson. Interpreting Your Soil Test is a 4-page leaflet explaining the Agri-Energy Resources soil analysis report.

    Albion Laboratories, Inc.
    101 N. Main Street
    Clearfield, UT 84015
    801-773-4633 Fax
    Contact: Kevin Dickenson

    Base saturation/CEC soil test, organic matter, nutrient analysis, organic fertilizer recommendations. Field agronomists work individually with growers to design soil management programs.

    A&L Analytical Laboratories
    2790 Whitten Road
    Memphis, TN 38133
    901-243-2440 Fax

    Base saturation/CEC soil test, organic matter, nutrient analysis. Microbial analysis offered as an option. Organic fertilizer recommendations available on request. Six locations in the United States (TN, IN, VA, TX, CA, OR, FL, IA) . The A&L Agronomy Handbook ($6.00) is a noteworthy 132-page soil and plant analysis manual.

    2724 Lamotte Street
    Marlette, MI 48453
    Contact: Joe Scrimger

    Soil tests include base saturation/CEC as well as the LaMotte extract method. Fertilizer recommendations based on ideas from Albrecht, Reams, and Joe Scrimger.

    Brookside Analytical Laboratories
    308 South Main Street
    New Knoxville, OH 45871
    419-753-2949 Fax
    Contact: Mark Flock

    Base saturation/CEC soil test, organic matter, and nutrient analysis. Brookside conducts soil tests on behalf of its network of crop advisors and agronomists who work directly with farmers, perform soil tests, and design soil management programs. Soil test reports follow the style developed by Dr. William Albrecht. Contact Brookside for a list of crop advisors in your region.

    Cook's Consulting
    RD 2, Box 13
    Lowville, NY 13367
    Contact: Peg Cook

    Base saturation/CEC soil test, organic matter, and nutrient analysis using the LaMotte photometric system. Noteworthy publications include "Common Sense" Crop Production and "Common Sense" Market Farm Production, $25 each.

    Crop Services International Inc.
    1718 Madison S.E.
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507-2518
    616-246-6039 Fax
    Contact: Dr. Phil Wheeler

    Soil tests include LaMotte, CEC, Humus, paramagnetism, and scanner (radionics). Fertilizer recommendations based on ideas from Albrecht, Reams, Callahan, and Phil Wheeler.

    International Ag Labs, Inc.
    P.O. Box 788
    Fairmont, MN 56031
    507-235-9155 Fax
    Contact: Dr. Dan Skow, Wendell Owens

    Soil tests include the LaMotte extract for nutrient analysis, humus, and formazon dehydrogenase (biological activity). Fertilizer recommendations based on ideas from Reams and Dan Skow. Seminars offered on Reams Biological Theory of Ionization. Soil Testing for Biological Agriculture is an 18-page booklet on their soil test report and fertilizer recommendation guidelines.

    K-Ag Laboratories International, Inc.
    2323 Jackson St.
    Oshkosh, WI 54901
    920-426-2664 Fax
    Contact: Dr. Akhtar Khwaja

    K-Ag Lab conducts a range of soil tests, provides organic farming recommendations, and works with specialty crops such as blueberries, cranberries, ginseng, vegetables, herbs, and black walnuts.

    Kinsey's Agricultural Services
    297 County Highway 357
    Charleston, MO 63834
    573-683-6227 Fax
    Contact: Neal Kinsey

    Base saturation/CEC soil test, organic matter, and nutrient analysis. Fertilizer recommendations based on ideas from Albrecht and Neal Kinsey.

    Midwest Laboratories
    1361 B. Street
    Omaha, NE 68144
    402-334-9121 Fax

    Soil test provides nutrient analysis, percent organic matter, and base saturation/CEC numbers, but fertilizer guidelines are standard pounds of nutrients required per acre. The website provides helpful information leaflets on soil, water, and environmental topics (see Midwest Memos).

    Midwestern Bio-Ag
    10851 Hwy ID, Box 160
    Blue Mounds, WI 53517
    608-437-4441 Fax
    Contact: Gary Zimmer

    Base saturation/CEC soil test, organic matter, and nutrient analysis. Fertilizer recommendations based on ideas from Albrecht and Gary Zimmer. Midwestern Bio-Ag publishes a number of informative booklets, books, audio tapes, and videos. The Soil Nutrition Handbook is a 130-page training manual with guidelines for understanding soils, soil reports, and fertilizer guidelines for biological farming.

    Organic Food Matters
    741 S. Yates Road
    Memphis, TN 38120-2820
    901-684-1949 Fax
    Contact: Jeptha Gates

    Soil tests based on the Lamotte method. Fertilizer recommendations based on ideas from Reams, Andersen, and Jeptha Gates.

    Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
    P.O. Box 2209
    Grass Valley, CA 95945
    916-272-4794 Fax

    The Basic Soil Test includes: organic matter, estimated biologically released nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen, available and reserve phosphorus, exchangeable potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium, soil pH, hydrogen, CEC, base saturation, sulfur, zinc, free lime, and soluble salts. Know Your Soil: A Handbook for Understanding Your Soil Test Report ($20) is a 15-page booklet by Amigo Bob Cantisano on soil test interpretation combined with organic soil management guidelines.

    Terra Labs, Inc.
    6073 State Route 219
    Celina, OH 45822
    Contact: Keldon Colvin

    Base saturation/CEC soil test, organic matter, and nutrient analysis advocated by Dr. Rudy Ozolins. Fertilizer recommendations based on ideas from Albrecht and Ozolins.

    Texas Plant & Soil Lab, Inc.
    5115 W. Monte Cristo
    Edinburg, TX 78539
    956-383-0730 Fax
    Contact: Esper K. Chandler

    TPSL uses carbon dioxide as part of its natural soil test method to extract soil nutrients; it mimics natural conditions in soils to determine what would be available to plant roots. Fertilizer recommendations based on ideas from Albrecht and Esper K. Chandler. Commonly used by Texas organic growers.

    Timberleaf Soil Testing
    39648 Old Spring Road
    Murrieta, CA 92563
    Contact: Bob Russo

    The Timberleaf soil test was developed especially for market gardeners who practice the biointensive approach made popular by John Jeavons, author of How to Grow More Vegetables... The Basic Soil Test includes base saturation/CEC, estimated nitrogen release, available nutrients, pH, and soluble salts. Optional tests exist for organic matter, trace minerals, and composts/greenhouse media. Timberleaf provides a detailed soil test report that contains soil test report data as well as explanations and recommendations for organic fertilization.

    University of Maine Soil Testing Service
    5722 Deering Hall
    Orono, ME 04469-5722
    207-581-2934 Fax

    Base saturation/CEC soil test, organic matter, and nutrient analysis. Compost analysis on request. Organic fertilizer recommendations available on request. Commonly used by Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners (MOFGA). Publications on website: Soil Testing Handbook for Professionals in Agriculture and Commercial Organic Nutrient Recommendations.

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