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Tall fescue newbie question

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by spikenala, May 17, 2010.

  1. spikenala

    spikenala LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I realize this site is for pros so if I am out of line here please excuse me (I just am having trouble finding answers). I am a first time homeowner and the guy that lived in my home before me obviously didnt care about any landscaping at all. The lawn is a disaster and has many areas that are straight up bare down to the soil. The neighbor told me the previous owner threw some seed down every year but it never grew. I tilled the soil and seeded...and then threw down some peat on top of it. It has been about 2 weeks now and grass has definitely germinated in certain areas...but not in others. I read that tall fescue doesnt spread via rhizomes. Does this stuff spread at all...or am I goign to have to re seed these bare spots?
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    You read wrong.

    Yes it does spread .... slowly. The question you should be asking .... what is the reason why the grass is having difficulty getting established in these areas.

    Fall is the best time of year to seed cool season grasses. This is when you should plan on doing your next reseed.
  3. spikenala

    spikenala LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    ^^ thanks for the advice! The prior homeowner mentioned his theory about that an old garage is under the lawn back there....I dont really know how that would impact things unless there were some strange chemicals leeching out into the soil or something.

    Is the fescue going to spread to those areas this season...or should I attempt to renovate some of these areas with some more peat/topsoil and re seed? It really looks like **** and its driving me nuts!
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    You need to determine if this is true or not as it will have a huge impact.

    I wouldn't bet on it spreading that quickly. While you might be able to seed now, I would not recommend it. There is not enough time for the new grass to get established before summer, and you would be forced to over water the entire yard to keep those few areas alive.

    Post some pics.
  5. spikenala

    spikenala LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    ^^ will do. I am at work right now and cannot get this off my mind. I was just talking to a coworker about how nice the floor looks since it was waxed this weekend......except I kept saying lawn not floor! Thanks again.

  6. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    2 weeks is not yet long enough to be sure what will and won't germinate
    it's a funny thing and something as small as the hose or sprinkler washing it into little piles or groups can make it sparse

    seed it again over what you have, continue watering and wait, it will come up and fill in the other areas. be patient, and listen to people like kiril with 10,000+ posts (!)

    i've been told many times that when seeding you will usually have to do it twice, at the minimum at least patching areas that don't fill in during the first round
  7. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    You only have to seed twice when not done right the first time.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,568

    2 weeks is not really long enough in cool weather. Give it a little more time, more fertilizer, and more water and plan on seeding again, if it still has bare spots by August 20. Keep in mind grass needs 6 hours of sun per day--if not the real problem is probably shade.
    Add seed now if you wish, but I would suggest wait until Aug 30, (or when temp comes down to about 80 during the day). This date is because the high soil temperature causes very rapid seed germination. This should (usually) be followed by cool rainy weather of fall. In any case, be sure to water every single day for 30 days. You DO have underground sprinkling, right?

    And be sure to stay with top-quality fresh seed.(Seed tested within 6 months.) It should be disease resistant, and low in weed seeds. 90 percent germination is best--85 percent is usually the minumum legal percent germination allowed. A top variety or cultivar like Aztec, or Panther IV is a good bet. Avoid no-name generic or K-31.

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