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Slit seeded 4 weeks ago, very little grass showing

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by dae06, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. dae06

    dae06 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    4 weeks ago I aerated, dethatched, mowed very short and sweeped all of the grass and sent to compost pile. Even after doing this, there was a bit of dead grass left behind. I figure this will work good seed to keep things moist, kind of like a natural mulch. The next day I rented a Billy Goat slit seeding machine (set it to the #5 setting which is more than the suggested overseeding setting). I bought 50 lbs of commercial seed (supposed to overseed an acre), the same seed I had seeded professionally 5 years ago. It came in great back then. I have ~7/8 of an acre minus house, deck shed, etc. I of couse ran out of seed before I was able to do it all, but the lawn that I didn't't get to didn't't really need any help.

    I went over the yard twice, 90 degrees of each other. With the dought this year, had a large area of bare dirt where the grass never came back. After 4 weeks I am seeing just a few new sprouts coming up. I've watered 3 times a day to keep the seed moist and I am disappointed with the results.

    A couple of areas that I broad-casted the seed and raked over are filled in great, but the areas I slit seeded are no so good.

    Any ideas of what I did wrong?
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  2. Puttinggreens

    Puttinggreens LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from southeast PA
    Messages: 399

    You don't say what part of the country you are in or what seed you are trying to establish. Both of these items are important to the discussion.

    Assuming you are using cool season grass, 1 to 2 pounds per 1000 square feet is far to low to get decent results.

    Need more info.
  3. dae06

    dae06 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    Sorry, Northern climate (S.E. Minnesota). 20% Fescue, 20% Rye and 60% KB
  4. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,280

    dae you must be from my neck of the woods.

    Did you put Barricade down on that lawn this spring? Make sure no pre is causing problems - shouldn't by now.

    I also tell you what, I have had a few issues getting some areas to take in my lawn with a mix similar to yours. If this is possible, I think the soil temps back in late August were too high for good results. I noticed when I did those areas again just one to two weeks ago (after the cool down), they came in much better.

    my 2 cents
  5. dae06

    dae06 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    Excellent point!!! The week after I seeded it was very hot. I did water 3 times a day though, but maybe wasn't enough. I did try another seeding yesterday over the worst part of my lawn. Now I have to worry about it getting to cold ;).

    I used pre-emergent crabgrass preventer, but I put that down in April or May. That shouldn't be active anymore.

  6. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,539

    So you seeded 38,990 sq. ft. with 50 Lbs. of seed. That's not nearly enough. Fescue should be seeded on bare ground at 6 Lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. That come's out to 223 Lbs. according to my calculator. You overseed at 3 Lbs. per 1000. And overseeding at that rate mean's you already have 50% grass coverage.

    I don't know how deep #5 is on that seeder you used, but fescue only need's to be 1/4 inch deep, and no deeper.

    Saying you used "commercial" seed is vague, grass seed is not generic. Using a good quality seed will produce better result's.

    It sound's like you watered enough. You just didn't use enough seed. Do it again before the soil get's too cold. Frost won't hurt cool season (fescue) grass, it just slow's it down. Good luck.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,723

    I think high soil temp would not be a problem--in Minnesota, but it has been very hot and dry...on the average most seed failures are a result of not moist enough. And true, a lot more seed would have been better. How deep did you place the seed?

    Are there a lot of weeds? If not, perhaps it was not wet enough. How many minutes did you water per day? How many inches of water per week? Loss of water due to evaporation is rapid when it is hot and windy. Is it irrigated? What type of sprinkler? Watering with a hose and sprinkler on 3/4th acre is a big job.

    Sprinkle the seed on the soil. Then throw a quarter on the soil. It should cover 20 seeds--or at a minimum ten seeds. That would give you 1.4 million seeds per 1000 sqft...but...only if every one germinated. Thant would be 7 tenths of a pound of bluegrass since bluegrass contains about 2 million seeds per pound.
    And since bluegrass is usually seeded at 2 pounds per thousand sqft, 10 seeds per square inch is 35 percent of what is needed.
    Perennial rye is different, bigger seeds.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    There is a problem with watering 3X/da.,,, in that you may very well have hardpacked the surface of the soil... you have existing turf that can function as a cover crop for the new seed,,, so count on that a bit as well... as one may guess, I'm going to say the biggest mistake was stripping the grassy mulch off the soil to begin with...

    Impatience with seed and expecting it to 'pop' when we want it too,,, is where we loose it... "Must need more Water!!!" is the common refrain,,, but it is advice given w/out warning... there is always a problem with "Excess" and excessive watering is no different... :)

    aerating has proven useless in that seed doesn't need 3" holes to grow in,,, but do you have any germination in the aeration holes???
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    We've had some slow germination around here also this year.

    Patience is a virtue. It's been 3.5 weeks since I did a grading job. Homeowner has watered once a day and it's now starting to finally come up.

  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    A grading job??? does that mean that the client has been watering once a day on bare soil???

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