Slit Seeding vs. the Alternatives…

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by syncom2, Oct 4, 2002.

  1. syncom2

    syncom2 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 55

    All right you addicted LawnSite geniuses, I need to pick your brains! Oh gosh! Maybe I'm guilty of using the wrong forum here ???? (if so, I apologize). But anyway, being this seems to be a fairly popular topic at this time of the season, I need to hear from the experienced experts - on the popular subject of lawn renovation.
    Due to widespread drought of the summer of '02, I lost a good 20 - 25% of my lawn. Not for certain, but I believe it was primarily the bluegrass that failed to endure the horrid arid season. For the most part, what I ended up with by summer's end was numerous small deceased patches of withered grass - scattered throughout the entire 2 acre lawn.
    Now, for a little background;
    My lawn has been established for 13 years, with about a four variety mix of seed that I used in the fall of '89. For the past 10 years or so I have been contemplating wiping out the whole mess and reseeding it for various reasons. Now that some serious lawn damage has occurred, hence, it'd take a few dollars and some sweat to bring it back, I've an itch to make this overall improvement to the lawn become a reality. Some of the reasons I'm ready to begin anew is because of the soil settlement that has occurred in the downspout tiled areas, leach bed, foundation backfill, as well as some of that nasty Kentucky 31 fescue that infested the lawn from some additional soil that was trucked in. Five years or so ago I had relocated my garden location and messed up by sowing a large percentage of bluegrass in this former garden area. Not only that, but when I installed 12" tile across the front ditch line some years ago, and backfilled that area, I used a different seed mix that has given me trouble in the drier times of its existence. So I have a true hodgepodge mix of grass growing… when there's been enough moisture to support it. Due to the fact that on this 2 acre lawn site I have approximately 60 trees, flower beds, mail box, grape arbor, clothesline posts, propane tank, birdhouse posts, garden, rain gauge, septic tank access hole, 6" well pipe, curtain drain inspection port, et cetera… et cetera, disking and/or rototilling the lawn up is not an option that I would entertain with much seriousness. To add to the potential workload mix here, my present vocation requires that I work 70 - 80 hours per week. So outside of the three major summer months we all make full use of, me being able to work on my lawn for any length of time with natural daylight conditions is not all that feasible.
    Being this year is history for any Ohio valley reseeding projects to commence, I realize that in mid-August of next year (if there's enough moisture to work with) is when I need to get serious about my renovation project. Of course I'll have to have all the topsoil leveling improvements completed by this mid-August time frame. Now that… that I understand.
    Option 1;
    I spray the entire lawn with Roundup, wait a week or two, hit it again (if needed). I'd be forced to take at least a week off work (and I don't get paid unless I show up for work… go figure, huh!). Rent an Aero Slit Ryan seeder for 'bout $500 per week (or $96 / day… per my local rental company's going rate)… annnd and work my butt off around the first of September - trying to tackle this 75,000 square feet project in seven days.
    As a major side note I must share, I have no experience whatsoever in operating a slit seeder! I have been told it is very labor intensive and its not that speedy of a process. Oh joy! Being I'm planning on using a tall turf type fescue seed, to do it as correctly - as far as my knowledge will take me (and that's the only way I'll ever approach this, or anything for that matter…), it'd take at least four passes over each square foot of the lawn with a slit seeder. In essence, by the time it's all said and done, that means I'd have to cover approximately seven acres of ground with this slit seeding process. Right?
    Option 2;
    Do the same Roundup treatment of the grass. Aerate the dickens out of the lawn (with two, three, or possibly four passes), leaving the (after killed) mowed short grass in place as a moisture retainer. Broadcast the Crossfire II fescue on - using at least a 10# per 1000 rate of application. Possibly rolling the lawn after seeding, in hopes of gaining some additional seed contact with the fractured soil plugs. I wonder… what percentage of the seed that'd fall into the plugged 2-3" hole would germinate and become a healthy plant of grass?
    Bearing there is some beneficial rainfall after seeding, since "artificial" rainfall for 2 acres is out of the question for my well (and pocketbook), what kind of results can I expect if I'd take that approach?
    Option 3;
    Forget the core aerating process. Purchase a new or a good used slit seeder over the winter months. Begin next April to tackle some small manageable segments of my lawn… by killing-off and replanting sections so I'd be able to keep it moist and have some success with seed germination. Work the whole project through in this manner until I have covered the entire 2 acres. Then… if I really didn't have all that much fun, I'd place a "For Sale" sign on the slit seeder - in hopes of my overall loss being equal-to and/or less-than what it would have cost me to have rented the equipment in the first place. Of course, no matter what for methodology wins me over here, applying a quality starter fertilizer would be a given step I'd take.
    As a side note, 8 days ago I sprayed a small test plot area of my lawn (15' x 25') with Roundup. I bagged and mowed it short, scratched the soil around with a rake, then I broadcasted some Crossfire II tall turf type fescue on this area.
    I've heard and read that this Crossfire II fescue has some very excellent traits for a Midwestern lawn. It has excellent color retention, weathers nicely in drought condition. We'll see, we'll see… And unfortunately, for all you LCO's, it's a slow grower!*! Anyway, for what it's worth, I noticed this morning that it has finally germinated and is tenderly on its merry way.
    I'm a "do it yourselfer" type of a person. The reason I'm trying to get a plan in my head a-rollin' so early is because I do not see much need for me investing any serious money for fertilizer or weed control for this fall or next spring. Of course I'd still want to work the weeds over with some spot spraying this fall and next spring… in hopes of keeping 'em weeds (primarily the dandelions) from going to seed on me.
    If anyone would be so kind to share their good and bad experiences of broadcasting seed over a plugged lawn with me, that'd be so appreciated!
    Ooooooor, or is anyone willing to Hydroseed this parcel for a penny a square foot… vs. the seven cents I have been quoted?!?!
  2. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    I think Option 2 is your best bet. 10lbs per 1k should be enough for coverage. Not too crazy though about using a roller though.

    If you aerate it well enough, a lot of that seed will find it's way into your plug holes. I have done it this way (your Option 2) countless times and have had very good results.

    And yes, pray for rain. Good Luck!
  3. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Roundup, mow short as possible when dead, then aerate heavily AND slit seed. This will give you the best germination success. Whn slitseeding you only make TWO passes, not 4, in a diamond shaped crossing pattern; this way you don't just see rows of grass until it fills in.

    Success in seeding is determined by seed/soil contact. The only thing better than aeration & slitseeding (or aeravation & seeding) is to till, level and seed into bare soil.
  4. cglservice

    cglservice LawnSite Member
    from Ky
    Messages: 101

    did 15000k two days before the fisrt hurricane come through last week areated only seed at 10lb per 1000 and straw 5 inches of rain the fisrt
    time good week of 80 degree sun, we recieved two inches of rain
    today with lilly when it come through today, I looked at it yesterday
    grass was already about two to three inches high.

    I wish I could get this lucky wtih the rain every time.
  5. syncom2

    syncom2 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 55

    Did you start your newly seeded area from bare soil or did you hafta kill off the area first? One of the reasons I'm wonderin' is 'cos you mentioned that you strawed the area after seeding. So how many passes with the aerator did you travel? By the way, was it the tall turf fescue that you used? If so, may I ask what your variety was.
  6. cglservice

    cglservice LawnSite Member
    from Ky
    Messages: 101

    dark blue

    Yes i started with bare ground the owners had just finished putting a pool.

    4 or 5 passes with aerator just did it till it look right to me for seeding, i used a mix from sothern states coop called Southern Choice Turf Tall Fescue it works very well in this area, fertilized with 10-10-10 and will give it a cut this next week.

    Here is a couple of pixs.

  7. cglservice

    cglservice LawnSite Member
    from Ky
    Messages: 101

    PIC 2

    new grass 1.jpg
  8. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    What made you choose 10-10-10 for your starter? 18-24-12 would be a much better choice when applying new seeds.
  9. robert payer

    robert payer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282


    Did not read your full post. Overseeding works well. Just did some my self and the lawns turned out great. Measuring property and product is very important to success.
    Even though Roundup label reads 7 days before seeding you can seed as soon as 2 hours after Roundup application. Do a search here on roudup usage for confirmation. I have done it and it works.

    Time is running out for germination considering that you need time to kill the lawn twice. Two application of Roundup would be needed to ensure that you knocked out any remaining life. Your second application can be done on seeding day to save time.

    To save some work in overseeding just leave the thatch on top as straw unless it is all clumped up heavy.

    Good luck and go Ohio Buckeyes!
  10. robert payer

    robert payer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    I also just saw that you used the Crossfire seed. I think it was a very good choice. I have started using it also this Fall. It has been up for three weeks now since planting 2 lawns. I think that we will be very pleased with it's many advantages.

    Be very carefull, I do not think that there is time remaining this season to kill and get Crossfire germination both. Crossfire needs warmer weather in the 80's for germination in my limited opinion.
    70's with luck and Sunday prayer intentions for late season germination.

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