Spring seeding grass


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Old 03-17-13, 02:22 PM
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Spring seeding grass

I had two 60 foot tall cedar trees in my front yard that did wonders for shade and keeping the soil acidic. A blizzard a few weeks ago decided to do some harsh pruning and dropped both trees. Alas, I have a need to over seed my lawn. The lawn was seeded with fescue, which I was quite pleased with.

I was thinking about renting an over seeder that slices into the soil. The lawn is not perfect nor is it hideous. I would like to thicken up and fill in some spots. Moss has been an issue and my guess is that the acidic cedar trees are to blame. I'm guessing that moss killer is a temporary fix.

I plan on getting the soil tested so I'm not wasting my time or money.

It is an established lawn with typical lawn issues: clover, weeds and some crab grass. Would I be better off treating the crab grass now, established weeds and clover over the summer and over seed in the fall?

Its been a few years since the lawn has seen lime and hindsight tells me to do it last fall.

How do you guys feel about Spring seeding? What about the over-seeder? I can rent it for $65.00. I used tall fescue, chewing red fescue when I planted the lawn 20 years ago. As for my location, S.E. Mass.

Thanks for your input.
 
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Old 03-17-13, 03:49 PM
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Big difference in city and country. I just went and bought a few pounds of clover seed to put in the garden and other places, and you want to get rid of it. Nothing wrong with that, it's just a difference. Lime should be spread now, and maybe too late, but it needs to be in the ground before things start to green up. In Mass. you may be OK. I put about 2 tons at a time out every February, and use no fertilizer on the 4 1/2 acres I have in grasses. Keep the lime away from acidic loving plants, like blueberries, azaleas, etc. I am not a fan of spring seeding, but you need to do something. Spring seeding doesn't really give the grasses time enough to gain a good root system before the dry hot summer hits it. I think if you buy a rotating hand held spreader (probably $12) from a hardware store, you can save a little, and keep it around for overseeding other areas.
 
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Old 03-17-13, 04:03 PM
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clover

The only time I've planted clover on purpose was for cows....lol I don't mind a little clover, but now its in competition with the grass.

Why are you planting clover in the garden? I'm a country bumkin and never heard of doing such a thing.

As for the soil, its lost its frost. A bit muddy on the surface, and nice and cold. There isn't any growth yet, as the lawn is just starting to wake up and getting a hint of green in spots.

I'm in cow country, surrounded by a field that is half farmed, half going back to nature. The deer were pleased to have the cedar to nibble on, but now that's been chipped up, cut up.

No thoughts on the mechanical over seeder that injects the seed into the soil? The birds will have a feast if broadcast seed now.
 
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Old 03-17-13, 04:16 PM
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I planted 10 acres of Crimson Clover in a hay field once. Cows pushed on barbed wire fencing trying to get into that field as it matured. I harvested it and put it in the barn, then released the cows. I don't think they went for water for two days , eating all the stubble.

I plant clover in garden areas since it fixes nitrogen to it's roots. Little if any fertilization is needed for the crops I plant there, mostly corn and beans. Clover also beats out the weeds if I get it in soon enough. The same crimson clover field was across the highway from a row of chicken houses. Of course the smell you have from that is pure nitrogen floating over my fields, and the clover grabbing it. Nice symbiotic relationship.

I have never used one of the mechanical seeders except the ones used to do large fields behind a tractor. Looks like an aerator but introduces fertilizer and seeds at the same time making a great hay field. I always use wheat straw to cover seeded areas until it grows through. Mind you, not HAY, but wheat. Hay technically is any grass that can be harvested....seed....weed...anything. At least wheat straw will have had the tops cut off where the seed are.
 
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Old 03-17-13, 05:56 PM
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Larry, lately I've been struggling to control some clover outbreaks in my normally weed free lawn. Are you sending that stuff north? Biological warfare?

reefcrazed - I'm in CT. I too live in an area that was once cow pasture. Here's my lawn recipe. I add lime every spring usually when the daffodils start peeking out. I'll do it in the next week or so. After that it's a weed control product, usually Halts. I fertilize again once or twice and if I have to I will top dress and overseed in the fall. I've been doing that for 20 years and my lawn is usually pretty healthy.

Usually seeding is best done in the fall but IMO it's more important to get the soil covered to keep it from compacting and drying out. Try contacting your local extension service for a seed recommendation. I use URI #2 a fescue/bluegrass/rygrass blend. I would simply rake the ground clear and topseed it heavily. Assuming your ground isn't compacted just spread the seed, rake and cover with a bit of good topsoil.
Fertilize with a starter blend and water - a lot. Overseed and top dress again in the fall and fertilize. Remove weeds by hand this summer.

Next spring is time to start controllling weeds like crabgrass with a pre emergence product.

The key is patience.
 
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Old 03-17-13, 06:09 PM
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Biological warfare?
No, but I can make you a deal on a trailer load of Kudzu

I lime in the late winter so it can act to neutralize the soil somewhat and keep acid loving weeds down a little. The grass blend will work well, too, as the ryegrass will take hold rather quickly and allow the others to merge in behind it.
 
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Old 03-18-13, 07:50 AM
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Larry - We moved from SC in the early 80's. I had almost forgotten Kudzu. With the current warming trend I suppose that we'll be seeing it here soon.

My list of things I don't miss. In no particular order.

Fire ants
100*F - 120% humidity
cottonmouths
kudzu
B-52s (giant roachs)


Things I miss.
Azaleas in April
fishing and golf year round
No snow
Spanish moss
Real BBQ
Fried Catfish and hushpuppies
 
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Old 03-25-13, 10:38 AM
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I hate to see folks waste their money on spring seeding. Wait till Sept/Oct. It's a foolproof time to plant.
You've got the right idea about working on lowering the weed competition till then.
 
 

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