Straw When Overseeding?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by TurnerLawn&Landscape, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. TurnerLawn&Landscape

    TurnerLawn&Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    I have a new customer that wants me to overseed his yard, approx 6000 sq. ft.

    His existing grass is just a little thin. I plan to use the slice-seeder to first dethatch, remove the thatch, and then take the slice seeder back over it, this time with the seed. Do I have to put straw down? Is there some other top dressing that I could use that is not so "messy". Is a top dressing absolutely necessary?

    Any thoughts/suggestions on my plan listed above would be highly appreciated!
  2. turf21

    turf21 LawnSite Member
    from MO
    Messages: 27

    I would say no on the straw. You don't have to put anything down but if you wanted to you could spread peat moss. It will help hold moisture.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Remove the natural straw, dead grass and wonder about replacing it with oat straw, that makes a big mess...

    Not trying to be a jerk, I just think it's eitherironic or funny... :)
  4. phillie

    phillie LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 861

    The whole point in slice seeding is to get the seed in the soil, hence it being covered. Straw attracts birds and sometimes will germinate and grow with the grass. If you absolutely want to cover it then use organic soil or compost, but again it isnt necessary.
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,810

    You could...use the dead grass you just raked out as if it were straw. But plenty of water is easier than straw and cheaper, too. Be sure to use starter fert. Be sure to mow the old grass as short as possible to reduce competition against your new grass. Why is his old grass thin? Fix the cause first. Shade? Burn out? insects? Grubs? Think about the possible problems. put in a top quality elite bluegrass or fescue might be darker green than his present grass--the result--dark green spots. In an overseed situation only a few percent of new grass will successfully "take". Germination is so slow the old grass covers it up and it gets no light. Rye will give you quick results, customer happy, but it may die in heat. Avoid rye if your summer temps exceed 90. If this is a fescue situation, be sure to use a disease resistant variety--to brown patch fungus especially. If the literature does not say resistant to brown patch--it is not. Consider the new LS Varieties (Lateral spread) like Titanium LS.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Excellent post :
    Just to ad-lib...
    Slit-seeding should get you through the dead grass layer, into the soil, and the dead grass layer should help keep your soil moist... :)
  7. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    Just curious what you quoted for this job. Im actually doing the same thing for one of my new customers. I was just planning on using a rotary spreader. Do you guys think straw would be needed in this case since im not using a slice seeder?
  8. betmr

    betmr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,663

    No straw on an established Lawn. Soil contact is the issue.
  9. Leo the Landscaper

    Leo the Landscaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    No straw...the existing grass will provide the same benefit as the straw would.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    What are you going to do, to establish adequate soil contact? You want to get the seed under the dead Spring grass, whereas sitting on top will not be so good...

    Rotary spreaders will be throwing out a lot of seed, so if the lawn is bad enough to need it all over, then you should think in terms of a renovation rather than over seeding...

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