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Too much seed

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by dnickel, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. dnickel

    dnickel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    My contractor used about 16 lbs/1000 Turf type tall fesce due to extremly sandy soils on my new home. He didn't expect but about 50% to germintate or survive, but it all must have. Grass is very thick, and is only nice and green where the population is correct. Should I lightly power rake it to thin it out? Too much competition for nutrients I assume. Lawn is now 5 weeks old. Also, what is the best product going into late fall/early winter for high pH soils to reduce pH? Mine is 8.1. Power rake or hand thatching rake??
  2. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Where exactly are you located?
    How big of an area are you talking about, appoximately, in sq..ft. or acreage?

    Your assumption about color is probably very close to the truth. :waving:
    Actually, what's probably happening is a combination of lack of nutrients in the soil itself + a mass competition for CO2 just above the soil line that's simply not there.

    This isn't sand country here, so I claim to be no expert in that arena.
    But just the same, I'd feel leery about power raking a 5 week old fescue lawn in sandy soil.
    I'm sure others on here will have input on this...
    My gut instinct tells me that going over it with a core aerator a number of times will stunt or kill a fair % of the unnecessary fescue without the risk of ripping out the yard.

    A soil pH of 8.1 isn't that awful in terms of growing turf.
    1st and foremost before anything else, you need to incorporate organic matter into your lawn to help it to retain water more efficiently during the growing season. The best way to do this is to topdress the entire thing with finished compost.
    The best buy in compost is picked up bulk in pickup truck, or delivered to the curb & dumped.
    Generally, bagged compost is a rip-off.

    If you have a LARGER lawn & compost turns out to be too much for your budget, you could find a local rural source of cotton seed meal in 50# bags like a farm co-op or grain elevator.

    The regular routine use of cotton seed meal at a rate of 20 lb / 1000 sq ft will do the following:
    1) gradually lower pH over an extended period of time
    2) provide a source of protein for natural existing microbes to feed upon within your lawn.
    In other words, this is a true "soil food" that'll take the place of your fertilizer!
    You'll just need A LOT MORE to do the job, that's all!

    You need a decent quality spreader with a very good agitator in the bottom in order to spread cotton seed meal.

    Or.....If cotton seed meal isn't your bag, either, you can effectively lower the pH using split-pea sulfur, too.
    But of course this does nothing to improve the soil OTHER THAN lower the pH.

    And p.s...
    Get some of your $$ back from that contractor for ripping you off!!!
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  3. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    not to mention a fight for moisture and sunlight real estate
  4. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,278

    hope you get this straightened out. 16lbs/K WOW thick as hair on a dog.
    If he would have went 1/2 that rate would have been alright.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I would let the survival of the fittest take over here. The soil is sand the season is cool and wet right now. Put some winterizer down and by all means compost if you can. Next summer you will probably be thinking of overseeding to thicken it up.
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Leave it alone. Top dressing with compost and mulch mowing will provide the microbes all the food they need. This is especially important in a sandy soil, where it is to be expected you have low organic matter.

    BTW, microbes aren't cattle, they don't "need" protein, they primarily need carbon and nitrogen. The idea that soil microbes need to be fed protein and/or sugars in order to thrive is one of the most ridiculous misconceptions perpetrated on this and most every organic "landscaping" site.
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Well, maybe ther're different microbes with different attitudes lurking around the country! :laugh:

    Your 'Left coast' soil microbes might settle for just a wimpy diet of carbon & nitrogen so they can simply sustain turf in its present state.

    Our 'Midwestern' soil microbes like a steady diet of healthy, nutritious PROTEIN so they can translate the converted energy into a long-term food source, plus help to develop a stamina that'll work to stop most weed encroachment before it begins.

    If dnickel leaves the thickest areas of his/her 5 week old yard completely alone & JUST topdresses it, those areas will likely continue to choke themselves into oblivion, and you know it, Kiril! :nono:
  8. mishmosh

    mishmosh LawnSite Member
    from OH
    Messages: 45

    High seed rate often results in disease. As mentioned, core aeration is a good way to thin things out without overdoing it with a power rake.
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    If you are going to comment on stuff like this, do us all a favor and lose the homeowner logic.

    The weak will die, the strong will survive. It will balance itself out. The answer is not fertilizing the crap out of it, to end up realizing you cannot maintain the current density no matter what you throw at it.

    Beyond that, sandy soils need much more organic matter than your typical clay or loam type soil. Compost is the only reasonable and relatively short term option to build a more fertile soil.
  10. greenskeeper44

    greenskeeper44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    i agree and concur with kiril and smallaxe

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