Seeding without soil prep

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Mow Money Lawn Care, May 15, 2018.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,939

    Lots of unanswered questions here. Mow short. How short? How short is too short?
    Topdress. How much is enough? How much is too much? Different for different types of seed? Do you measure topdressing in inches (as 1/4 inch) or measure it in pounds per thousand?
    Can you substitute more water for topdressing?
    Can you substitute shorter cut for topdressing?
    Can you substitute more starter fert for topdressing? ( Like 20 pounds of Milorganite, for instance?)

    I tried to calculate the number of cubic feet to cover 1000 sqft at 1/4 inch deep. I found 21 cubic feet. That is almost a cubic yard, nearly a ton.

    So how does that work for the new Scotts product that includes, seed, starter fertilizer and topsoil--its all in one.
    Correction--no soil actually included.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  2. KerbDMK

    KerbDMK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,204

    Soil Improver?
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,939

    I cannot find the link at the moment. Last year I experimented with 3 foot by 3 foot seed plots after raking 30 seconds, 60 seconds and 90 seconds, or adding a pound of topdressing--followed by an ounce of seed. Fairly good results with annual rye, fine fescue and perennial rye.
    Good question, Kerb. What exactly is soil improver? How much is included? How much is the soil improved?
    How does it work since they don't know what needs improving? lime? Sulfur? Iron? Moisture retaining granules? Peat moss?
    Is it deceptive, in that I thought it included topsoil? The picture shows roots and good soil under the grass.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    KerbDMK likes this.
  4. KerbDMK

    KerbDMK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,204

    I’d be interested in knowing more about it, it’s probably good stuff, Scotts makes good products.
  5. Mow Money Lawn Care

    Mow Money Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 863

    I will look into the Scotts all in one. I would be concerned it wouldn’t match the existing grass that is good in the yard.
  6. Mow Money Lawn Care

    Mow Money Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 863

    By raking the seed in, you were able to keep the seed spread evenly? I can’t grasp that concept. I would think raking the seed would leave bare spots.

    Would you recommend spreading the seed, then top dressing with soil? Or by your approach, add soil, spread seed then rake it in.

    Also, what about using a lawn roller to press the seed in?
  7. Delmarva Keith

    Delmarva Keith LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    I was in a hurry — my recollection is just raked it in (the usual back and forth type motion to drill it in) with an ordinary metal rake and left it in God’s hands. It came in just as full and thick as the rest of the turf I seeded in the area (very full and thick — no bare spots). Seed was Mountain View Seed Firecracker SLS. It is an aggressive little grower so I’m sure that helped.

    I choose to prep then seed / rake, drag, whatever rather than seed and then topdress so I don’t have to be dainty or precise with a top dress. If adding compost, just dump the compost in reasonable piles every ten feet or so and go to town spreading it with a landscaping rake. I did once seed and then spread peat moss over a small area — worked fine — but it is a pain to spread anything properly once the seed is down. I don’t do it that way anymore.

    On large areas after seeding, I’ve hitched a dethatching rake with a couple of cinder blocks on it and really tear up / mix in after seeding. On smaller areas I’ve hitched a drag mat and dragged that over it. Garden weasel for really small areas. Decent seed to soil contact and plenty of proper watering seem to be the only magic needed. I have noticed that adding compost rather than none does seem to improve the turf, at least in the first year. On larger areas, it can just be impractical unfortunately.

    I’ve never tried a roller but I don’t see any reason not to use one. Anything that’s fast, easy and gets the seed in contact with soil should work well Thumbs Up

    I’ve got an area lined up for the fall, 16,000 sq ft +- where for a number of reasons I plan to slit seed TTTF / KBG mix with a power seeder. Have you done it that way before? In the back of my mind I’m a little worried about how bad that will chew up existing turf. Temporary injury is OK but I don’t want to kill what’s there. I’m probably over thinking it :hammerhead:
  8. Smokindog

    Smokindog LawnSite Member
    Messages: 232

    For what it's worth, ... I just seeded an area of heavy shade in my back yard which is St. Augustine. I've tried everything to get the St. Augustine to grow including raising the canopy a bit but it's back towards the creek bed and just heavily shaded with the opening facing north. I used the Pennington Dense Shade mix. I bought one small bag of the all in one (One Step 125 sq ft) and one bag of Smart Seed (250 sq ft). The area is sandy and was bare. I used a garden rake to scratch the surface and spread the product, taking care to make sure I knew where the One Step went down. The scratched up soil was moist but not wet. I rolled the area and then watered. I added a very light spread of 15-15-15 to the seed only area before rolling.

    The One Step did come up a few days earlier but the only real difference I see now is a small area I could not roll because of access. Now there are a LOT of variables here like location of the spot, roots, sun, water, ... but that small area that I did not roll is the only area not filling in like the rest.

    Like I said, take it for what it's worth, free anecdotal "advice" :)

    Good luck!
  9. Garrett1234

    Garrett1234 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    E2060A41-FFA4-4308-BE73-BC24AEC19980.png A02275CC-46F4-408E-9BEB-6128D23EDB9C.png CA15E18A-2B06-4F70-88B5-3A2957159A96.png Non professional / homeowner experience to follow:
    I did the below project at my property. October 2017ish first photo. Thanksgiving 2017 second photo. Last week 3rd photo. I used no starter fert/topdressing/compost. I rototilled existing soil (not in a housing development so probably why it was decent soil not needing above mentioned items). Then the FEL to smooth it out. Hand raked it clean as I could. Got soil moist (not soaking). Used a handheld fertilizer spreader to distribute seed. Raked it in best I could. Threw straw on top. Turned out pretty good, but not perfect. Once it grew in I wanted it thicker. Mowed it short, spread more seed, kept it moist, no difference really. Tried it again. No results. Finally did sections at a time with cutting short, putting down compost/sand blend, spread seed, raked last. Great results. I’m sure all situations/soils/climates are different. But i had no luck just spreading seed. It needed the compost for sure on the “reseeding”. Good luck to you. Please share the results because I love learning on this site.
    KerbDMK, Delmarva Keith and hort101 like this.
  10. KerbDMK

    KerbDMK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,204

    Nice job Garrett. You did what you needed to do, hung in there, and got it done. I’m sorry that you had to go to the extra work of top dressing.

    I hope that your experience doesn’t prevent other people from giving the easier method of spreading seed a try. Where would we be if some people weren’t brave enough to do the things that others say we can’t do?

    I've had tremendous success with it and I hope others will give it a try. All there is to risk is a trip around the lawn with a spreader, some grass seed, and water.

    One special tip would be that if you are over seeding with KBG, you cut and bag the grass short first, and then keep it short until the new grass catches up to the preexisting grass.
    hort101 likes this.

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