So what do YOU do when overseeding a lawn?

Justinknipp

LawnSite Member
Location
Otsego MN
I am sort of a newbie, but have read a lot. When I do an overseeding job, I scarify with the dethatcher heavily, then mow and bag, then aerate, then spread seed, then scarify again with the dethatcher to blend in the seed. Recently, I have had the seed coated with Tazo (sp?) by my local farm supply store. (This is what our city has done to it's seed when seeding anything.) The cost is low and the results are supposed to be very good. (I have not tried it yet, but I have a 50# bag sitting in the shop right now.) I am looking for information on both bidding and application.

Let's assume an application rate of 3lbs/1000 and a cost of $3/lb of seed.

Thanks guys,
 

WenzelOSLLC

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Maplewood, MN
For all the work you're doing you could just use a slit seeder. It'll dethatch a bit and get the seed into the soil.

I usually just core and broadcast. Most of the properties around here have very little thatch and when you get a good rain/irrigation it all gets washed down to the soil. If it's a property I mow, I overseed that day or the day or two after mowing so there's minimal grass to get through. Running it over with the mower next week helps with soil contact.

Seed rate depends on situation. If it's really bare, I topdress as well.
 

mooch91

LawnSite Member
Location
NJ - zone 6
I usually just core and broadcast. Most of the properties around here have very little thatch and when you get a good rain/irrigation it all gets washed down to the soil. If it's a property I mow, I overseed that day or the day or two after mowing so there's minimal grass to get through. Running it over with the mower next week helps with soil contact.

What kind of germination do you get if the lawn is in decent shape to start with? Unless I really scalp the lawn first, I just get the sense I'm wasting so much seed with this method on most of the better lawns. The good grass seems to crowd out any new germination.
 

herler

LawnSite Fanatic
I use a walk-behind aerator and I make sure the soil is moist, it also helps to wait until the 90 degree days are mostly done.
 

dathorpe

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Marshall, Va.
It depends on the lawn. You must remember when you use an aerator or slit seeder or any form of soil penetration, you are also planting weed seed that's laying on the soil surface. If the yard is relatively weed free, you may use soil penetration methods. If the yard is full of crabgrass or dandelion or other weeds, you must treat and kill those weeds first. After killing those weeds, you would simply broadcast seed and DO NOT use soil penetration methods. If it is fescue seed, it will germinate in 10-14 days and as fall comes in, your young seedlings will become lawn taking the place of your dead or dying weeds. In the spring, apply a fertilizer with pre-emergent to kill crabgrass seeds and other weed seed before they can germinate. Once the yard is fairly weed free, maybe the following fall, you could aerate or slit seed to thicken things even more.
 

WenzelOSLLC

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Maplewood, MN
What kind of germination do you get if the lawn is in decent shape to start with? Unless I really scalp the lawn first, I just get the sense I'm wasting so much seed with this method on most of the better lawns. The good grass seems to crowd out any new germination.

I'd say I get most of the seed to germinate where it's needed (close to the germ rate on the bag). If the grass is so thick it chokes out new seed then I'm not worried about wasting seed. Considering nature doesn't do anything but (essentially) drop the seed on the ground and it still grows pretty good, I don't get too involved unless it's bare ground.
 

mooch91

LawnSite Member
Location
NJ - zone 6
I'd say I get most of the seed to germinate where it's needed (close to the germ rate on the bag). If the grass is so thick it chokes out new seed then I'm not worried about wasting seed. Considering nature doesn't do anything but (essentially) drop the seed on the ground and it still grows pretty good, I don't get too involved unless it's bare ground.

Understood. I have quite a few lawns that do very well in the spring and fall, but could benefit from some better varieties of grass during the summer when they get thin and brown from drought and heat stress. I've tried using this technique in the past to help introduce some TTTF in a KBG/rye lawn, but it rarely takes very well because the KBG and rye tend to rebound at the optimum time to plant the TTTF. Maybe it does "take" to some degree, but I feel like a lot of the seed ends up wasted.
 
OP
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Justinknipp

LawnSite Member
Location
Otsego MN
Thanks guys. My results have been mixed. It REALLY depends on the home owner. I get my KBG coated with TAZO so the germination is pretty good, but if it doesn't get water, then it is really a waste of time and money.

Would anyone care to share a little about how they price overseeding?
 

WenzelOSLLC

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Maplewood, MN
Another thing you can do to help when using KBG is to pre germ it. A little work ahead of time but can cut down on germ time and help with germ rate.

Depending what method I use, the seed gets 20-50% markup and I just figure out how long it'll take and add my hourly. Can do a 10k lawn pretty quick if it's just broadcasted. Obviously I have a minimum, at least the price of a bag of seed plus something for my time. Rented equipment and such adds to the price. Usually ends up anywhere from $50-$110 for 5-8k, again depending on method.

Most of my overdseeding is for existing mowing accounts so I may skew my numbers a little lean just because I hate mowing patchy unhealthy lawns. I feel that the appearance of the lawn after I mow it affects my getting new clients so I want to help it along a bit sometimes.
 
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Sharpedge3

LawnSite Member
Location
King, NC
I have been in the business for 23 years and the same question comes up this time of year. How much do you charge for aerating seeding and fertilizing. I for one have always taken material plus labor. However several companies do a square footage price. is anyone doing this and if so how do you charge?
 

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