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Too Late to start new lawn?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by sghouse, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. sghouse

    sghouse LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I am in the Midwest near St. Louis and wanted to know when it will be too late to start a new lawn this year. We have fairly warm temperatures predicted for the next 10 days (highs in the mid to low 80's and lows in the mid to upper 50's). But, obviously we don't know what the temperatures are going to do for the next three weeks.

    We have a 100 by 80 foot section of our yard that will have the top foot of soil removed and replaced due to soil contamination issues. This will not be done till late next week at the earliest. My question is, how do I know when it is too late in the year to have the yard seeded and fertilized with the hopes of re-establishing good turf that will last the winter and then grow well in the spring. I will be using a fescue blend from Lesco and will be putting down a starter fertilizer at the same time. Is it too late to try and start this process the last week in September/first week in October. I know it is best to get at least two mowings in before the yard goes dorment for the year, but I am not sure when this will occur. Any help that you guys can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  2. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    I am SW from you by about 200 miles. Around here, and I think in STL as well, fescue is normally active through Thanksgiving. Of course, there are always exceptions, but I know most years I mow for at least a couple weeks after Halloween. It's not a full blown seeding, but when I lived in KC a few years ago, I overseeded in mid-October with fine results.

    Look at it this way, if you have some young grass that gets frozen out, it is still better than looking at mud for 4 months. All you've lost is a little seed, and you have protected the area from erosion and bonded the topsoil together into a turf structure that will take slice seeding well in the Spring.
  3. sghouse

    sghouse LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for the reply, and yes I agree that it would be good to get some grass started so I am not looking at a big mud hole all winter. I guess what I should have added to the original post is that this is an environmental clean-up being done by an outside firm. They want to reseed the area with the idea that they are done with the project after they complete the soil removal and reseeding. I want to make sure we get good re-establishment in the first try because if it does not do well now, I will be responsible for any further work in the future. I realize that in order to get a nice thick lawn I will have to over-seed in the future, but I need to make sure that the first effort is productive. Hopefully this additional information makes the issue a little more clear. Anyone else have additional thoughts?
  4. sghouse

    sghouse LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Anyone else have any ideas? Thanks
  5. Bill S

    Bill S LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    It is going to take work on your part...water, water, water. No water, no grass :(
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Use a farming fertilizer high in phosphorus, and if you hire someone to do it ask if they do because slow release is for established lawns, you want a FULL power fert so the seed gets germinating and growing like yesterday and BLAM in 1-2 weeks you got lawn.

    If you haven't had any rain you will want to SOAK the soil before aerating, DO aerate or in extreme cases till it, then do all the seeding / fert / lime / aerating and then water extensively again (I recommend at least 2 but really 3 hours per section with a hose sprinkler to cover the whole lawn in sections). That is, unless it's raining there at least two days a week...

    As for too late?
    All through october is good but you got to deal with the leaves, remember that and plan accordingly, they usually start to fall heavy towards end of October / first week of November. You want as close to an established lawn as you can get by then, so I'd say mid-october to second last week of, not too much later because of the leaves!

    Usually I skip November here in VA because of the leaves, but once they're gone you can do it in December as well, just remember that most of the seed won't germinate until spring... After Christmas it's too late because of frost, the seed won't have time to get sealed up in the holes from the aerating and then the soil won't keep it from freezing etc etc... But I've done a few late november -to- early december, it's usually fine so long it's not freezing yet and you got a good 3-4 weeks before it does.
  7. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    I just reseeded my front lawn last week, the seeds have all germinated, etc. I think this is the best time of year to seed in St. Louis. Gotta keep it watered, though.

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