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Who's The Best?


LawnSite Member
Warsaw, Indiana
Who has the best techniques for installing cool season lawns? Slit seeding, 3 point over seeder, broadcast and roll? Seed and top dress? What are your seed mixes? What are your starter fertilizers? Considering all the prep work has been done correctly.....I want to know what you guys think the best way to establish a quality lawn. No Sod Permitted!


LawnSite Member
For smaller areas of a few thousand SF, I drop-seed over well prepared, compacted and graded soil. I drag lightly over the seed and apply fertilizer, then a seed mulch (1/4 - 1/2"). I use sawdust, clean "hydroseed" straw or peat moss in an appropriate wire basket spreader. I water to keep the mulch surface constantly damp especially during highest evaporation pressure (middle/heat of the day) until well germinated. Triple-16 will do, though a 70% slow release with something like nutrilene as a main N source is much better, with lower N leaching and availability for longer while seedlings establish. I last used 6-15-15 70% slow release at 3/4 lb N/1000SF with excellent results.

When seeding large areas (3 point hitch) drag with some chain link fence behind the seeder. Drills(slice seeder) are great if making two or three passes at diagonals.


LawnSite Silver Member
Can't believe I'm saying this, but on bare ground a hydro-seeder is the easiest and in my option the tool of choice.

I have done several using our seeders. The thing you have to watch with a seeder is moving too much dirt since there are no root to hold everything in place on bare ground.

A slit seeder is hands down the best for renovation work where you kill off an existing lawn or thickening an existing lawn.

If you have bare dirt, a hydro seeder is the best tool.

If you purchasing one or the other. I would get a slit seeders because they are much more versitile.

Just my 2 cents.



Barefoot James

LawnSite Senior Member
Louisville, KY
WOW disagree what a dumb---- David is:laugh:
That bare ground better be fluffed up with a harley rake - bare hard ground with hydroseed is a recipe for disaster.

If he would ever get a top dresser built and you could spread compost over the top of slit seeding his unit (both LS units) would hands down be better than a hydroseeder (and I own one of each a hydroseeder and a TR) hydroseeders have their place like hillsides and shooting tackifier but level ground slit seeded with a compost spread over the top will hands down kick hydroseeders arsh. HS might be easier but better on bare ground - NO.
Reason is nutrition, seed cover, posture retention and the cocoon effect - whole different subject - but basically the seed has great seed to soil contact. I have many properties that I have done side by side comparisons hydroseeding vs TR seeding and covering with compost (keep in mind we spread compost over the top - David........ David......... wake up dude and stop making brush cutters, and dog wire buriers...... and ????) Get to work on the compost spreader and this subject would be mute. Please folks keep in mind compost keeps the seed moist, much better than hydromulch - since folks don't water it anyways, covering the seed with compost will always win!
That was pretty straight forward.....so you want a top dresser for this spring.

I might have something for you to test in 2-3 weeks. We should start buildin the prototypes shortly.


White Gardens

LawnSite Fanatic
Bloomington IL
I'm a big fan of a deep tilling and then just over-seeding and harrowing it in. Depending on the situation I like to put down some 13-13-13 fert. to get it started.

When I till I either use a walk-behind tiller, or a dingo with a soil cultivator. I don't care much for a Harley rake as I feel you can easily create a hard-pan with the skid you are using to do it.

Just the way I do it I guess.

Barefoot James

LawnSite Senior Member
Louisville, KY
Fluffed up is great. HOWEVER to use a hydroseeder you have to consider several things.
#1 you have to fill it with water and get the slurry down - anyone with a 4000 sq ft job (great - shoot and go) but anything more and a 300 gal hydroseeder has to have multiple fills - so you better have a permit to fill on site from a hydrant or have a lake pump cause a hose will fill that sucker at about 6/8 gals a minute - that means my 300 gallon unit takes - over half an hour (more like 40 mins) to fill
#2 you have to haul 3500 pounds who knows how far or fill on site.
#3 you have to have a irrigation plan and since most don't that's a whole different can or worms.

However with slit seeding and compost dressing over the top you could basically hand water each evening and get the results you expect.

4000 sq ft takes 30 mins two directions and if I had a top dresser another 15 mins to top dress.

Watering in the evening only + hydroseeding in dry times does not give you the results you expect. Compost top dressing + turf revitalizer + watering in evening only = results