Help with overseeding lawn

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  #1  
Old 02-20-17, 06:04 AM
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Help with overseeding lawn

Hello,

I live in Iowa and this year I'd like to over seed my lawn and try to thicken it up and get some grass growing in bare spots. I'd appreciate advice and steps on how to go about this correctly.

We've had a very mild winter in Iowa this yer and have already hit 60s in February. I'm sure that won't remain constant.

I was thinking of doing the following
1. Aerate the lawn
2. Apply grass seed to law via spreader. Not sure what type of grease seed to use.
3. Apply fertilizer. Not sure what type to apply.
4. Apply crabgrass preventer.

What would be a good time frame to do this in?
Should I start now?
What products would be best?

Thank you!
 
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  #2  
Old 02-20-17, 06:33 AM
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Lawn Care

This article may be helpful:

Lawn Schedule for Iowa

More advice is available from the Iowa State University website.
 
  #3  
Old 02-20-17, 07:05 AM
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Make sure you read the label for the herbicide you are considering. Some prevent germination and can prevent new desirable seed from germinating as well and should not be applied when seeding.
 
  #4  
Old 02-20-17, 03:02 PM
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So maybe a good first question is what is going on with the current lawn. If it's clay, or poor drainage, or whatever then maybe that needs to be addressed before putting down more seed?
 
  #5  
Old 02-20-17, 08:09 PM
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Several issues really.

1. Bare spots that need to be seeded
2. Grass in areas seems to be thin and the roots very weak
3. Applying weed Preventer in spring doesn't seems to do a thing. By summer I'm having weeds coming up left and right.

I do seem to get a nice lawn with good growth at the beginning of spring in April and May but after that it's all downhill.

I do need to do better with studying on top of applying different products to the lawn, but perhaps I'm not applying the right thing at the right time.

I'd appreciate any product suggestions and timing advice.
 
  #6  
Old 02-21-17, 12:55 AM
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So first question, how large is the lawn, sun/shade, do you have sprinklers or are really good at watering lawn through season?
 
  #7  
Old 02-21-17, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by blobula
". . . I do seem to get a nice lawn with good growth at the beginning of spring in April and May but after that it's all downhill . . ."
If your Summers are dry, and you can't routinely water, then adjusting your cutting height upward to 2 or 3" will retain more moisture in the slightly cooler soil.

Seems too long; but when cut uniformly, looks fine from a distance.
 
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Old 02-21-17, 08:20 AM
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upward to 2 or 3" will retain more moisture
Figured that would be a later recomedation after we understood how he's maintaining the lawn. Can have the best of everything but if you don't water it's going to krap.

BTY, I go even higher, up to 5" during the hot summer, takes a few cuttings to work down to "normal" length in the fall but sure makes a difference in overall health of the lawn.
 
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Old 02-21-17, 06:44 PM
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The front and back yard is covered by half shade and half sun in the morning and has more sun on them as the day goes on. One sycamore tree in front and back.

No, I do not water my grass. I actually tried to water it more last year during the summer but didn't notice much of a difference in keeping weeds at bay.
 
  #10  
Old 02-22-17, 05:45 AM
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Weeds benefit from watering just as much as grass so watering will do nothing to prevent or control weeds. A lush, thick stand of grass can help out compete weeds but unless you go chemical there will always be weeds. Mother Nature loves variety so maintaining a weed free lawn will be a never ending chore. It can be done but it will take constant maintenance and money on your part.

No herbicide can prevent weeds all year long. So, at the minimum you will have to develop a year long strategy. Often there is an early season pre-emergent application to prevent weed seeds from germinating. That protection is only temporary and often tops out at three months. Down here that first pre-emergent is applied in late February and March and it's effectiveness starts declining the minute you apply it. So, by May/June that first herbicide application is spent and you need to have something else down or ready to go down to prevent weeds from re-establishing.
 
  #11  
Old 02-22-17, 06:11 AM
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I'd definitely say after that first application I slack off on applying more weed preventer.

Would you be able to suggest a product that I could try this year as a weed preventer, or are the following ones ok to go with?

Also just to confirm I should apply this in late march at the latest?

Would aerating my lawn now benefit me?

I have used these in the past.
Menards Weed and Feed

Scotts Weed and Feed

One last question.

Is a weed and feed for later in the season, or should that be applied along with a crabgrass preventer?
 
  #12  
Old 02-22-17, 09:15 AM
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Is a weed and feed for later in the season, or should that be applied along with a crabgrass preventer?
Pre emergence is the crab grass preventer, so that is first application and stops the initial germination of crab grass seeds. Also stops germination of grass seed so don't plant at same time.

After that it's weed and feed, this is the maintenance portion. Used to apply 3-4 applications but last year with grass so thick I cut back to 2.

I also spot weed every week or so with a spray bottle to catch the lucky ones who survived the applications.

It's a lot of work but it's what I live for in the summer!!!!!
 
  #13  
Old 02-22-17, 04:01 PM
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Thank you for all the replies and advice.

Would you happen to have any answers for the others questions in my previous post?
 
  #14  
Old 02-22-17, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by blobula
". . . Would aerating my lawn now benefit me? . . ."
I can't speak to "now" in Iowa; but aeration is often helpful, especially just before seeding.

I can't bother on my lawns, which are now between 2 and 3 Acres, so I avoid all harsh chemicals and allow the earthworms to do the aeration for me.

They leave their castings on the surface, so I do power-rake once a year after the snows melt and the surface dries; and that serves as my fertilizer.
 
  #15  
Old 03-10-17, 09:00 AM
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I've given up trying to have a perfect carpet lawn. Most of my lawn is septic-field (thus sand), I'm on a well (so not an endless supply of water), and effective weed-n-feed chemicals are illegal and no longer sold here.

So, I overseed with Dutch White Clover. Its got incredible green staying power, chokes out other weeds, and takes (fixes) nitrogen out of the air and puts it in the soil. When the grass and clover achieve their natural co-existing harmony, it's thick, weed free, and beautiful! Bye bye buying bags of grass seed and fertilizers for me. A few more years and I should be done with just touch up over-seeding here n there.
 

Last edited by Bob_Plumb; 03-10-17 at 11:43 AM.
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