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SP's fall reseed 2017

37566 Views 218 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  social port
I've decided to keep a thread on my attempt to reseed this fall. I am pretty clear on my plan and am reasonably confident in a positive outcome. That being said, my first (ever) reseed this spring did not turn out well at all. If I am going to make a colossal mistake during my second reseed, at least I will have the advantage of someone possibly pointing out my mistake before I make it. Plus, we all like pictures, and I plan to take plenty.

This is a new construction lawn that is nearly one year old. The area is almost 20,000 sq feet. No trees. Minimal shade. There is some sloping in the front yard and one side yard. Word in the neighborhood is that it is difficult to get grass to grow on these slopes (I plan to use a very thin layer of Scott's patch master to help the seed stay in place on the slopes).

The lawn had just been seeded when we moved in last September. Growth was minimal for several weeks. I believe it was at least the 2nd or 3rd week before we saw any growth at all. At the time, I was too busy with the move and family stuff to really take care of the new grass-not to mention that I really had no idea where to start at the time. By the winter, the grass had filled in quite a bit.

By March - April 2017, the lawn was thin, but at least I had grass. Here is what it looked like.

Around April I put down granular weed control, but did not get the results that I wanted. I'm pretty sure that I was way, way too light on my application. I then did a lot of homework on turf care. At some point I thought I would take a chance on reseeding. My thinking was that I might be able to thicken the lawn up and help prevent further weed growth. That, and I really felt that my options were limited since I had just put down a weed control product (Liquid herbicide seemed too daunting at the time). After dutifully waiting my 30 interval, I did said reseed with starter fertilizer and regular watering (no pre-emergent). The net effect was voluminous weed growth. I know that I had some germination, but the effort was generally unsuccessful. The weeds, especially crabgrass, took over as much space as possible. As I later learned in TLF, a spring reseed for a cool season grass was a losing plan in any case.

So, I did more homework on turf care. And then some more. Etc, etc.
I've been spending the summer on the basics-just trying to practice good mowing, correcting poor watering habits, learning the lay of my lawn, practicing edging, measuring sprinkler output, reading through TLF like its a NY best-seller novel, learning how to utilize impact sprinklers to more effectively cover all areas of the yard, doing even more homework, etc. I've applied baby shampoo 3-4 times this summer to alleviate substantial compaction. It has been effective. I've also been trying to eliminate unwanted grass with Ornamec. I had a brief period of fungal infection that went away with improved watering practices. I would have liked to put down some compost, but that's an expensive endeavor with 20ksqft. I have also wanted to level out my yard, but I figure that leveling is better done during a total renovation.
The lawn was looking like this during the summer.

On 8/15 I applied a 15-15-15 fertilizer to encourage weed growth and to address low phosphorous and potassium. On 8/16 I applied a second round of weed-killer (Bayer, WBG, RU) after an initial app around 8/4.
Here's what I am working with at the present time, embarrassing as it is.

I know. I know. Total reno is probably warranted here.

Much of the discoloration and death is from Ornamec. Otherwise, the discoloration/death is from the weed-killing products.
My next step is to apply glyphosate to some unwanted grass--probably in a matter of days. In another week or so, I may apply glyphosate to whatever weeds are still hanging around.

After that, I'm looking at applications of humic acid and kelp extract, dethatching with a dethatcher (also hoping to loosen the soil here a bit), reseeding, and Scott's fert with mesotrione. I'm still not sure if I will be mowing down gradually or if I will take inches off all at once - and only once. Gradual is usually the recommendation, but I've read of people doing it all at once. I'm worried that if I keep cutting low for a month or so, other vegetation will creep in.

I'm reseeding with TTTF from Bob Hogan. I'm honestly not sure what is currently growing. I see what I believe is KY31 in places (I may end up killing this off), but I also see some grass that is darker and not clumpy. It is possible that the builder used two types of fescue. Some of the darker grass could be from my reseed as well.

I should be set for seed down by 9/17, but I may wait a bit later, depending on temperature.
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During my fungal outbreak in the early spring/summer, I saw what I believed were patches of moss. I began to think that my soil was too alkaline. A cheap ph meter from a big box store confirmed this suspicion. I later sent a soil sample to LL. It turns out that my soil is not alkaline. I got rid of my ph meter. I then addressed the compaction, as it was the likely culprit.

I will place the report below for those who might be interested. I'm hoping that the recent heavy application of 15-15-15 made some headway in bringing those low phosphorous and potassium numbers up, but I'm really winging this part of my efforts. I take great comfort from Ware's dictum that most grasses will do just fine in less than optimal soil ( Mine is certainly less than optimal, but I'm hoping that it is sufficient for adequate growth. The weeds sure have enjoyed their stay.

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Thanks, Fronta1

Fronta1 said:
Long as you got at least 6 weeks til first frost. But honestly 6 is not great.
6 weeks is probably what I will have -- maybe a bit longer. I looked into it a few months ago and targeted the dates when the high temps would be consistently 80 or below. Over the past few weeks, I've been rethinking the mid-late September strategy and was considering moving the seed date up a bit. But I believe that I'm pretty well locked into 9/15-9/17 at this point: Weed killer applied 8/15, with a 30 day wait for seeding.
Fronta1 said:
Better options are either a germination blanket or tackifier.
Hmm...tackifier would be my preference. Do you have a good source for that?
Fronta1 said:
Look into getting some sulfate of potash for your k deficiency. You need about 2lbs/ yr just to maintain so start with 4/yr for this and next year at least
I could get that down before seeding, right? I never realized how important potassium is. I always thought potassium was added to fertilizer to help granules move farther distances.
Fronta1 said:
There are two soluble powder products called turbo tack and witches brew on Amazon. There's also m-binder which is less concentrated and is probably better put down as powder and you would need more of it. If you choose the soluble powder your best off using a watering can as they are too viscous for a backpack sprayer.

Yes you can get that down before seeding. It's salty so water it in. 1# per app.
Roger that. Thank you.
Noticed that my grass was dry yesterday. Little rainfall during the past week -- plus a stout dose of fertilizer...yeah, it was time for a nice soaking. I aimed for .75 inches.

Got up early this morning to apply glyphosate to some unwanted grass that survived earlier Ornamec applications. I'll need to do a more comprehensive glypho sweep with a backpack sprayer at some point. I didn't have much time this morning. I just wanted to kill as much as possible before my next mow, which is coming soon.

Biggest question this morning is whether or not I post in the 'what did you do to your lawn today' thread now that I am keeping my own reseed thread. Oh, it's tough all right.
ericgautier said:
social port said:
I'm reseeding with TTTF from Bob Hogan.
I like the TTTF from Hogan. My background TTTF mix is from them. What cultivars are in the mix?
I was hoping to acquire speedway, but availability is pretty limited right now. I called the Hogan company several weeks ago to talk about their availability and to discuss the possibility of growing KBG in the region.
I haven't placed an order yet (but likely will in the next few days), but my likely choices are turbo and firecracker. Bullseye, cochise 4, and ls1200 are possible additions.
social port said:
I take great comfort from Ware's dictum that most grasses will do just fine in less than optimal soil (viewtopic.php?f=22&t=60)
Oops. That's not Ware's dictum. That is from Mighty Quinn.

Apologies to MQ.
Fronta1 said:
Yes you can get that down before seeding. It's salty so water it in. 1# per app.
That's 0-0-50. Since it would be best to have a higher potassium concentration when I seed, perhaps I should push the intensity of the initial app to 2 lb/k. Any arguments against this option?
Thanks for the feedback.
Fronta1 said:
I think you might be confusing potassium with phosphorus.
You did recommend addressing the potassium deficiency.
Fronta1 said:
Look into getting some sulfate of potash for your k deficiency.
I assumed that an optimal potassium concentration would be desirable for seeding??
Next month I want my little babies to have access to all of that glorious NPK that they want.

Thanks, Fronta1; I'll stick to 1 lb/k.
Mowed yesterday using my zero-turn and push mower. I used my push mower with a bag attachment so as to catch unwanted grasses that are still lingering.
Did some spot spraying with glyphosate this morning. Also did some blanket glyphosate applications to take care of larger problem areas of weeds and unwanted grasses.
I'm unsatisfied with the results from the two apps of weed killer. By the time I take care of the remaining weeds, I'll be closer to a full reno than a reseed. Not an ideal situation, but that is where I am.
Some pics of the damage--and the lack thereof

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Ordered my seeds today. Bought 100 pounds of fescue. Based on availability I ordered equal parts turbo, cochise iv, and ls 1200. I was originally looking to do a mix of speedway and firecracker, but finding them turned into a task. Supplier (Hogan's) recommended 6 lb/1k for reno areas and 3-5 lb/1k for overseed areas.

I'm happy to finally have the order completed, but I am totally having buyer's panic...for example, why didn't I go with turbo, falcon, and hemi? Eric G's backyard looks amazing. Why in the world didn't I get Monet? What, I'm too good for Bullseye?

Also, I've been rethinking my seeding strategy some. I was planning on using a seed slicer. But I've got bermuda here and there and, I have to assume, some bermuda seeds camping out in the soil. I'm thinking that the seed slicer might spread the bermuda around the yard. A simple raking in of the seed might be the safer option, perhaps with a roller.
Fronta1 said:
Embrace imperfection.
That is the wise thing to do when imperfection is the only option. Good point.

RockyMtnLawnNut said:
Fronta1 said:
Embrace imperfection.
Agreed, and this is the hardest part for me too! I used a slice seeder, but only for dethatching purposes on my lawn. I spread the seed with my rotary, raked lightly with a leaf rake, used a roller, and then watered. I found this worked very well for me. I'm not a warm season guy, so I can't say how well it will work with the bermuda, but I'd give it a shot without the seeder if you're worried about spreading the Bermuda. Other thing you could do is use the seeder as a verticutter, vacuum up the debris from the bermuda, and then follow the process above.
I'm pretty sure that some warm season folks use a verticutter to enhance bermuda growth. I don't trust my push mower to take care of the debris; it's on the lower end of the quality spectrum. Your seeding effort turned out great, so perhaps it would be safest to follow your route. That gives me a decent germination and minimizes the spreading of warm season grass.

ericgautier said:
social port said:
I'm happy to finally have the order completed, but I am totally having buyer's panic...
Turbo, cochise iv, and ls 1200 will look good. :thumbup: They are rated high for your area -
Thanks for the encouragement there. Ultimately, I think I will be happy with them, especially if I can adhere to Fronta1's advice.

Vols_fan08 said:
Wonder why the seeding rate is going down these days on bare areas? You always heard 10lb per thousand, at the very least 8. Now you see 6-8 lb per thou all the time. Are these newer varieties that much thicker and Fuller when they mature?
I was wondering the same thing. I was expecting to hear at least 8lb for the reno. At the same time, I'd be foolish to argue with the pros at Hogan's. I think that we are maximizing germination rates(less competition) and preventing any possible clumping activity by keeping the seeding that light. I'm not sure if any of my cultivars are considered spreaders, nor am I sure that there is any TTTF worthy of being considered a spreader. I suppose that you and I both will find out soon enough.

Massive rainfall coming through tonight. Hope your area was safe from the tornado. I'm glad that we haven't seeded yet. With the cooler than normal temperatures, I've certainly been tempted a time or two. My weed killing efforts prevented me from doing so.
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I surveyed my lawn the other day. I noticed some very nice grass growing here and there, especially in my front lawn. Unfortunately, there were grassy weeds intermixed, and far too many at that.
Most of my backyard is now brown due to weed death.
I made an informed, but somewhat spur-of-the-moment, decision to apply glyphosate to the majority of my lawn. About 17000 sqft of my lawn will be dead by my seeding date.
That was not the plan, but it really made the most sense. It did not feel good to kill good grass.

So...the updated plan is at least one more glyphosate app. I need to get some potassium in the soil soon. I've also got some baby shampoo, kelp extract, and humic acid to add--possibly repeat apps.
I'm thinking about putting down another round of 15-15-15. Why? To push growth out of what is left that needs to die, to get more phosphorous in the soil (I am deficient), and to partially address the low potassium. I already have the fertilizer. My only concern is that I might have too much nitrogen in the soil if I put a pound or so down now, and then in two weeks or so, I put down that Scott's fertilizer 21-22-5 with mesotrione.

I've gotta work on the lawn as much as possible over the next two weeks.
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Got a high concentration of baby shampoo into my side yard this evening; that particular part of my yard has become harder (more compacted) over the last couple of weeks. I'm noticing a lot of small rocks there as well now that the grass and weeds are dying. Is there a convenient way to collect a thousand or so small rocks?
Got my kelp and humic acid on standby for tomorrow, time permitting.

After thinking more about it today, I think I'm going to use the 15-15-15 at .5lb per k rather than a full pound. That should make for a pretty safe bet that the nitrogen concentration won't be too high at seed down.

Ordered some tackifier last night. It looks like I ordered enough to cover an acre. I'm wondering if the tackifier could be substituted for peat moss. The tackifier (powder) seems like it would be much easier to disperse.

Gotta go on the hunt for potash of sulphate at my local co-ops on Friday.
pennstater2005 said:
social port said:
Ordered some tackifier last night. It looks like I ordered enough to cover an acre. I'm wondering if the tackifier could be substituted for peat moss. The tackifier (powder) seems like it would be much easier to disperse.
I used the powder tackifier. It wasn't super easy to spread. Not sure how you plan on spreading it but I used my Earthway 2170 and I had to bounce it to get the tackifier to come out. And I had it nearly wide open. It did work though as I had a heavy rain but only a few small wash out areas. I still used peat moss and it has helped hold moisture quite nicely.
Oh yeah...I'm now remembering that from your thread. Bit of a messy application, I'm guessing.
Thanks for the heads-up here. It sounds like a tackifier is not a good substitute for peat moss.
I'm not sure how I will apply it. I plan to read the directions if there are any and then closely look over the substance to see what makes the most sense.

monty said:
social port said:
Got a high concentration of baby shampoo into my side yard this evening;
Got my kelp and humic acid on standby for tomorrow, time permitting.
Why not put both down at the same time in same tank?
That would be the efficient thing to do. I use a tank sprayer for herbicides. I use a hose-end sprayer for the enhancing agents. My hose-end sprayer does not hold enough product to combine all three. In addition, I'd be concerned about getting down an equal distribution of all three for any given area.
Vols_fan08 said:
SP I couldn't find myself spending money on peat moss and tackifier and all that stuff
The time and the energy as well. It's no joke.
Vols_fan08 said:
I feel like if the seed is in the dirt and not laying on top of the soil it'll do what nature intends if kept moist.
I think that is very reasonable, and that is the direction my thinking tends to go. Back in mid summer, I did some 'soft testing' with some seed. Comparing seed mixed with dirt and peat moss vs seed mixed with dirt only, I found much higher rates of germination in seed plus dirt and peat moss. The conditions for comparing them were not perfect, so the different rates of germination could be due to other factors. But there are plenty of people reporting high yield with the addition of peat moss.
Vols_fan08 said:
I tend to agree with Pete with GCI turf.
You are in very good company there--along with many farmers.
Vols_fan08 said:
I wouldn't stress too much
Probably the best advice in the thread, along with "embrace imperfection." It's just grass, after all.
Vols_fan08 said:
Next weekend baby here we come!
You're probably gonna be a couple of days ahead of me because I'm on a 30-day waiting period due to the weed killer I used. Labor day would have been a good seed date for us. The weather has been ideal this week. I saw towns with lows in the 40s this week. Are you kidding me?!
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