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Fall 2017 - transition zone KBG - year two overseed

19513 Views 79 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  STL
Up until this week I had been trying to decide whether to overseed or go for another complete renovation after renovating with several KBG cultivars last year. I had really great success until July-Aug when my earlier poor practices and an ill-timed herbicide application killed several areas. Up to that point, I was really happy with the look, except for the color.

May 17

Aug 18

As I started researching genetic color, I stumbled across j4c11's work with Turf Blue HGT & PGR for better color in the transition zone and he led me to TLF (thanks!). I was already receiving a very cold shoulder over at the other forum where, for some reason unexplained to me, I was no longer allowed to post pics (good riddance). Working through some obvious irrigation issues on another thread, g-man & Ridgerunner have convinced me against a complete glyph reno. I started to mow lower several weeks ago and I've managed to get my HOC down to 2" (loving it and don't think I'll go back higher). I broke out my thatch rake and started cleaning up the dead/dormant material and the shed from the healthier areas. I could do this by hand because I only have ~2150 sqft.

The stolons and tiny tillers I found really pushed me over the top on deciding not to wipe it all. I still need some better color, so I selected Mazama to overseed since it has done incredibly well in recent NTEP trials in NC and TN and has much better color than Barvette HGT (the aggressive and most transition zone hardy cultivar in the Turf Blue mix). I started with applications of PGR at 0.5oz/k and Serenade 4oz/k on 8/18.

Followed by some filling in of dead areas and leveling (had some obvious settling from my DIY irrigation install) using a combo of Earthgro and Scott's Lawn topsoils that I found for 50% off. I'm mentioning this because I hadn't really planned to get the Earthgro, but when I arrived at the home center an employee was cleaning it up and offered me the discount. When I took a look, it surprised me that it actually looked to be good quality and very well screened. As I was putting it down, I realized that it had a fair amount of sand which seemed to really help with the leveling and compaction.

Since I'm lowering the HOC to 1.0" for my overseed, I'm thinking about grabbing a few more bags of the Earthgro to spread evenly over the entire area for leveling, seed establishment, and to start encouraging lower growth. With three applications of PGR and the forecast starting to look prime this week, I'm going to target Thursday 8/24 for seed down.

I'm planning to seed 4lbs of Mazama over the entire area (~2150 sqft) and add in some additional Turf Blue blend in the larger dead and leveled areas. I can water 4-5x a day with my Rachio, so I'm not going to do peat moss this time. I did come across some of the cellulose pellets, so I'm going to add those to the bare areas to avoid washout if we get any storms. I had good success with Scott's Starter w/mesotrione last year, but since I don't want to encourage excessive top growth of the existing turf, I going to go with an "organic" 10-24-10 starter blend that should release more slowly and spray Tenacity. Since I'll be creating a perfect recipe for fungus with my morning shade, I also plan to drop Pillar G (pyraclostrobin & triticonazole) and spray Serenade at seed down and then follow up with subsequent treatment as soon as I can walk on it. I have a few test pots that I'm testing PGR on and depending on the results, may continue PGR apps T+30 days. The good news is that Mazama germinated very well in my test pots at only 6 days. I have very little weed pressure due to the heat and my earlier herbicide sprays, but will follow up with another Tenacity treatment if needed. Depending on how things are looking, I'm planning to spoon feed Urea weekly as the temps drop. I know a *** overseed is tough, but I won't be too worried it if isn't successful. Really just need to fill in the dead areas. If I can't control the fungus then I'll cut the water back and abandon the new seed.

What's wrong, or what am I missing?
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Fronta1 said:
I wish you luck and hope you prove it can be done.
I would keep a very close eye on your soil moisture by touch. 4-5x a day might be too much in shade. On windier, drier days maybe not. Moisture control is going to be key. Will be following. Fingers crossed.
Thanks man! I work from home, so should be able to monitor closely. Luckily I have experience with this from last year. When I'm away, I actually wrote a simple web applet to connect my Meteobridge and the Rachio API to temporarily stop the manual waterings when my weather station detects rainfall. Given my general affinity for tech toys, I'm also considering adding a Davis soil and moisture station to my setup. Wonder if I could get it in time to install before seed down! :)
fusebox7 said:
Be extremely patient and diligent with the watering. In my pots experiment and in the NTEP results, Mazama is a very slow starter and had the widest range of germination that I noticed along with my Award and Bewitched. I'm sure your aggressive type(s) took off a lot faster. Hopefully the PGR keeps the existing turf at bay and the additional cultivars in the "turf blue blend" don't choke out the Mazama. Good luck!
Thanks @fusebox7. I have a few pot experiments that are now at day 23 for comparison too. Mazama definitely jumped out of the ground faster, but seems to be pouting a bit more than than the HGT blend. I also planted a pot of a SSS custom blend (Award, Midnight, NuGlade, Keeneland) I used in a shady area last year and its about inline with the Mazama at this point as well. I'll post some pics once there are any measurable differences.

Oh, I also pulled the trigger on the Davis Soil Moisture/Temperature Station. It should be here on Wednesday thanks to the fine folks at RainmainWeather!
j4c11 said:
Nicely done! Looking forward to the Mazama/HGT color comparison.

Did you order more HGT seed recently? If so, what are the cultivars and percentages for this year? They seem to vary.
The bag I received from Todd Valley recently (dated 8/16) has 34% Barvette, 25% Barrister, 20% Barimpala, 20% Barrari and is Yellow Jacket coated. I ordered from Roozen's last year and ended up with a 3/15 lot that had 34% Barvette, 24% Barduke, 19% Barrari, and 19% Everglade that wasn't coated. I thought the Everglade was interesting since it isn't their seed. Not sure if there were seed yield issues or what. Either way, the cultivars look better this year. Barrister seems to have better color and Barimpala seems to be a fast starter. I'm only going to put it down in the bare and leveled areas though.
Official seed down on 8/26/17 after a few days of prep pulling out shed & dead and leveling. I mowed down to 1.5" HOC on 8/24/17 to reveal more areas that needed leveling and then ended up putting down 18 more 40lb bags of Earthgro topsoil.

The next morning revealed those areas to be a little dryer and sandier than expected, so back to the home store like a good city slicker for 20 bags of Scott's "Premium" topsoil with peat and other organic material. I couldn't help myself and also picked up a 3 cu/ft bail of peat moss that ended up going on the main leveled areas and the sunnier strip near the road.

After raking in and leveling all of my topsoil, I lowered to 1" HOC for the final cut and to vacuum up the remaining dead material, bark chips, and other larger material in the topsoil mix. I was actually pretty amazed at the grass left at 1". I feel like TTTF would've been nothing but crown!

One surprise I found was a pot from last Fall that had gone into a bare spot. It hasn't spread much, but it does look healthy.

I seeded ~1lb of Turf Blue HGT seed by hand on the leveled areas and bare spots, then seeded a small amount of Mazama by itself in a shady area as a test. With the spreader, I put down 4lbs of Mazama, 25lbs of 10-24-10, and 8lbs of Pillar G (pyraclostrobin & triticonazole), and 4 30lb bags of Greenview Seeding Mulch (cellulose pellets). The bare and leveled spots got extra pellets by hand. I followed on with 2tsp of Tenacity, 10oz of Serenade, and 3oz of Essentials Plus.

Then up went the stakes and rope (hopefully my neighbors are used to them in the Fall after 5yrs) and the seed got its first soak during some irrigation head fine tuning. I usually adjust the heads for a little more overspray at the edges during seeding.

I also grabbed this video of the MP Rotator SRs in action.

Now the waiting game begins.

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Well, the forecast had looked really good, but mother nature had something else in store. Rain total sitting at 0.36" since midnight with rain expected all day. Luckily, no hard downpours or puddling yet, so everything looks to be staying in place. Fingers crossed!

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Ended up with 0.78" total precip from the system and all was very light, so no washouts! As evidenced by the high reading in general, I did a poor job of pre-soaking (only ~2hrs instead of recommended 24; didn't RTFM until just before seed down) my soil moisture sensor, but it certainly is working (higher cbar is drier; 0-5 is saturated wet). It'll be interesting to see how fast it dries back out. Although manual says it may take a few wet dry cycles to calibrate since I didn't wet/dry pre-soak. Anybody else on the forum using a Davis Leaf/Soil station and have an idea of normal wet/dry cycle readings?

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social port said:
vnephologist said:
ended up putting down 18 more 40lb bags of Earthgro topsoil.
That stuff is available at the big boxes, right? How do you like the Earthgro topsoil?
As I understand it, its collected and bagged regionally, so I'll start by saying that your mileage may vary. I was actually very pleased with it for leveling since the bags I got had a pretty significant amount of sandy material (more than is normally in locally delivered topsoil mixes here). I know others have been dissatisfied with rocks, wood, and other material, but I didn't have that experience. What I will say is that it is completely devoid of any organic material, thus why I ended up topdressing with the Scott's Premium (which actually had way more bark chips that I raked and vacuumed off).
I noticed this morning that my pots have stopped pouting so I thought I'd post a few pics showing the affects of PGR on new seedlings before I gave them a snip. These were planted on 7/29 and got a 0.32oz/gal spray of T-Pac on 8/20. I don't see any obvious negative signs at this point. I'll continue monitoring how they do until I can walk on the lawn to spray, but at this point I'm seriously considering starting the PGR back up to give the overseed a fighting chance sooner than later. Perhaps I'll pull the pots off and compare the roots too. The fescue pots are already busting through with roots of course. :)


Turf Blue HGT

Various Barenbrug RTF TTTF Cultivars (considering for back yard)
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social port said:
Hey, got a question: When you are seeding those pots, are you using fertilizer? If so, do you just toss some in or do you have some kind of measuring technique for this?
I'm no expert, but I just toss some in. In this case, I actually grabbed a small bag of "organic starter" from the potting section of my home store. It was effectively Milo+Mycorrhizae. I also tossed in a bit of granular fungicide (Pillar or Heritage G) in a few to compare.
Woke up this morning to quite a bit of Tenacity stained new growth in parts of the existing stand. I'm absolutely horrible at ID'ing, so I'm not quite clear whether its one of the aggressive KBGs or some undesirable. I do see a few sharp tipped blades that aren't KBG. Either way, I'm already seeing how difficult its going to be keeping the existing growth at bay.

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j4c11 said:
Awesome work on the pots. Do you see any difference in color at this point between Mazama and HGT?
Nah, I guess its still too early. The only discernible difference I can see in color at this point is that the PGR'd pot of HGT is darker than everything else. At this stage the Mazama is definitely finer bladed than all of the HGT cultivars, but I guess we'll see more differences as it all continues to grow.
1.92" of rain over the past two days, but luckily all was light enough to not cause problems. Morning sun has revealed a few sprouts!

Unfortunately, PGR is also starting to wear off as well. With only limited germination, I'm really considering another application today. Thoughts?

In other news, with the past few days of rain, the pots without fungicide have really started to damp off. I threw in some Pillar G, so that experiment is over.
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Fronta1 said:
Wouldn't the pgr affect the seedlings, as well?
Yeah, I think if more were up, I wouldn't really consider it. It's sort of like strike now or wait a few weeks. Hmm...
Fronta1 said:
You could give it a little more time and just mow.

Edit: as long as it's a walk behind
Stop preaching patience like I did to somebody else here this AM. ;-P Okay, okay. I picked up a Fiskars reel during my reno last year and was planning to keep it low with that. Guess I should pass the time by finding my lapping compound and getting it ready.
With forecast highs in the mid to lower 70's, I've dialed back the watering to every 3hrs and adjusted the schedule a bit with the days starting to get shorter. Now watering 10A, 1P, 4P, and 7P instead of every 2hrs @ 10A, 12P, 2P, 4P, 6P, 8P.

The lower temps and lack of PGR have really started to make the established KBG jump. A few places I missed PGR are up over 4" and other parts are at about half that. I'm considering getting the Fiskars out this weekend and pushing it back down to around 1.5". Since I'll already be walking on it, I'll probably put down some M5 & Companion fungicides while I'm at it.
Yard got a cut once in each direction with the Fiskars reel at a notch higher than 1" (can't quite figure out the height setting so need to take an actual bench height) today along with 9 oz M5, 10 oz Serenade, and 1.25 oz (not fl oz) of Companion fungicides. Also added 3 oz of Essentials Plus and 4 tsp of surfactant to the mix. The leveled areas are starting to fill in nicely, but not seeing a great deal of Mazama germination in the existing stand yet. Hopefully its just slow out of the gate or I just couldn't see well. I did go ahead and put down an additional pound of Turf Blue HGT in some of the barest non-leveled areas. As I didn't roll in, its probably throw away, but I couldn't resist the opportunity. Here are some shots I grabbed today.

One of the leveled areas starting to fill in nicely (pre-cut).

This is exactly why we use Tenacity. Beautiful!

Found a few fungi.

West side post cut.

East side post cut.

Post cut pano.

West side post spray. Man the marker die really makes the color pop. ;)

East side post spray.

Post spray pano.

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Just thought the leveled areas with all of the new green fuzz looked pretty cool on my way back from walking the dog this afternoon.

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Overall, I think things are looking great. I found these three light colored boogers today though. Hope it isn't a forewarning.

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Existing stand is off to the races, and I had quite a few tall bent over blades from the Fiskars cut, so I carefully put the rotary on it at 2" yesterday. I'm avoiding the leveled areas still, and hopefully I'm not tearing up the overseeded Mazama. I think things are on track, but found (pulled & sacrificed a few nearby seedlings) a little more poa (?) today in another area.

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