What Went Wrong?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by WETSCAPE, Jul 19, 2008.


    WETSCAPE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 168

    Hi all. I recently filled an area in the rear of my yard that gets good Sun light. I had a load of fill trucked in and covered with about 2" of topsoil. I then used Lescos Dbl eagle ryegrass. I mixed it in with starter fert and covered with hay. Its been a few weeks now and there are still bare spots. I even top dressed the areas that were bare. I can't get the grass to come up in certain areas. The areas that have come up are mostly weeds! I have been watering everyday for 20mins in the area in question. If anyone has a suggestion, I would love to listen. I hit it with more seed starter a few days ago and nothing? Am I up against tilling the entire area pulling in more topsoil and starting over again?

    I was almost thinking of hitting the area with some Scotts Turf builder? Who knows I never had a problem like this before?
  2. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,536

    Your problem is the timing. In CT we are in a bit of a drought and its been way too hot to be seeding. 20 min a day in scorching heat is no where near enough water. For seed to germinate it needs to stay moist and even at that it takes 2 or 3 weeks. The best scenario in this dry heat is to water every hour and keep it covered with straw. Otherwise wait till fall and then aerate, reseed and apply starter again and it will come up.
  3. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    If you have some bare patches this could have been caused by a heavy rainfall prior to germination. The heavy rain can wash out seed from high spots.

    You are guaranteed to get a lot of weeds with a summer seeding.

    20 minutes of watering per day might not be enough if it has been hot and breezy. I recommend about 15 minutes per 1500 square feet, once in the morning and once in the early afternoon. No night watering - it will encourage pythium damping off disease.
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    The watering is all wrong. Completely (ironic for the poster's name lol). Anyway, if you are watering for 20 minutes, you are just throwing water away. This area needs to be getting watered 3 or 4 times a day for probably about 1/4 of that time (or up to half - depending on the soil type). If you are watering for 20 minutes at a time, you can rest assured that 3/4 (atleast 2/3) of that water is going right through and not even being picked up by the plants. You have a very shallow root system right now, and calls for shallow waterings. However, as I stated earlier, 1 is not enough...it gives WAY too much time for that soil to just dry out again. It is not the amount of water, it is the timing. It is CRUCIAL that you keep that area conSIStently damp! Also, how much starter did you use?

    WETSCAPE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 168

    Thanks all!! I had a tree come down so it made a mess of the area that I am speaking of, thats how I got in this mess,. Yes the timing does stink! I always thought that watering during the heat of the day would cause the rest of the lawn to burn out, or cause a fungus (been there had that,ie blight)? I have been watering the area for 20min in AM and 20 min PM (before the sun is gone). So water in smaller intervals and once I get the lawn up kill any weeds?
    Thanks for any help!
  6. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I'd say live with what you have until mid to late August. Then kill everthing with glyphosate (Roundup), dethatch the dead stuff out, and reseed 2 weeks later after dethatching.

    You are right about trying to keep the rest of the lawn from being watered too frequently and wet all the time. Buy a sprinkler that will only cover the newly seeded area. I hope the fill was decent quality. If it was too sandy and rocky, 2" of top soil might not be enough. I'd add some compost and more top soil after dethatching and removing debris before reseeding. The more organic material, the more earthworms.... natures best soil aerators. I use compost manure, compost and top soil on my reseeding jobs. I also add my own home made compost... and the suff is just chock full of earthworms.

    Seeding over a removed dead tree area has it's own problems. How deep did they grind down the stump? Was it a maple? Maples and several other trees have a very shallow root system. Until those roots decay, it can be difficult to grow anything in those spots. You could probe the ground in the bare spots, and see if there are any large shallow roots, but only time can fix that, it that is the case, unless you bring in more soil and compost, but leveling and drainage must be considered when doing so. In addition, if it was a maple, the soil may be lacking in micro nutrients. That's my 2 cents.
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    OMG. :cry: Water as frequently as required to keep the seed moist (not wet) throughout the day. If that means 2 minute runs 10 times a day so be it. I can successfully germinate seed in a clay soil, temperatures in the 90's, with 3 waterings per day for 2-5 minutes each watering. This is assuming fixed pattern pops with decent DU.

    How long you water will essentially be determined by the efficiency of your irrigation system and what types of sprinklers your using. Ignore all the time suggestions given here as no one asked the two most important questions .... what type of sprinklers are you using and what is your DU.

    WETSCAPE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 168

    POP UP Rotarys with 2.5 gpms. Sorry not sure what DU is?
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    "Rotarys" as in a Hunter PGP or similar?

    DU = Distribution Uniformity -> simply put, how evenly is water being applied across the area.

    WETSCAPE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 168

    Hunters PGP's. DU then would be overlapping.

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