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Starting a New Lawn  RSS feed

 
Gerry Miller
Posts: 32
Location: Midlothian, IL Zone 5
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1. Apply alfalfa pellets (yes, rabbit food) at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet three weeks prior to your seeding date.

2. Scalp the existing weeds to the ground with a rented mower (you don't want to ruin your own mower).

3. Seed heavily with your favorite seed (and you really do get what you pay for in seed). The bag will tell you how much to seed. Don't skimp.

4. Roll that seed down with a rented, water fillable, roller. This will put the seed into intimate contact with the soil and help the seed stay moist between watering.

5. Water twice a day for 10-15 minutes for two weeks until the seed germinates and gets up.

6. Reevaluate your germination at the two weeks point. If you don't have the grass density you want in places, reseed right away.

7. Set your mower at the highest setting and mow when the grass is tall enough to cut at that height.

8. After you have the grass density you want, start to back off on the watering. Skip a day and water for 20 minutes. Do that a couple times and skip to every 4 days for 40 minutes. Where you're headed is weekly watering in the heat of summer and less frequently during the rest of the year.

If you completely cover the seed with peat moss or something else, you will lose some of the seed. Grass seed, unlike other plant seeds, germinate at the surface, not below the surface. In the great plains of the world, the seed is knocked down by the grazing animals and pressed relatively gently into the surface of the soil with their hooves.

In the spring you can add preemergent if you want to. Apply Corn Gluten Meal when the forsythia is in bloom.  Besides being a organic pre-emergent, it is also about 10% nitrogen. Minimum to apply is 20lb per 1000 sq ft, twice a year.

If you are going to try an organic program, fertilize about 3 weeks before your last freeze date.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22362
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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That's some damn good info Gerry!

I wish to add some of my own stuff here ... 

0.0) there's no point in putting good seed on cement.  If your "soil" is so awful that nothing will grow there now, adding seed isn't going to do you a lick of good.

0.1)  If you have weeds or existing grass, and you are trying to plant a seed that takes a while to germinate, chances are good that the existing grass/weeds will out compete your new seed. 

some quick comments:

1)  be aware that alfalfa meal has an interesting property that once it dries it repels water.  Try to not put it on thick enough to make a mat.

4) scattering seed without rolling will have less germination.  You can either use twice as much seed or simply be patient and the grass with thicken up on its own over time with good care.

5) if you toss out some loose straw, it will sort of mulch the baby grass a bit.  Then you need to water only once a day.  Plus a few other perks.  It is debatable if this would harm germination.


 
Gerry Miller
Posts: 32
Location: Midlothian, IL Zone 5
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I'm happy to report that the overseeding project on my lawn is
completed as of last evening.

As a recap:

Almost scalped lawn. (I was surprised how good it looked even cut this
short)

Coated my grass seed with MycoGrow Micronized Endo/Ecto Seed Mix.

Apply the Midnight Grass Seed 10lbs covering approximately 3000 sq ft.

Rolled seed in for intimate soil/seed contact.

Applied Organic Gem mixed with Nitron A-35 to start the ball rolling.

Forecast for rain tonight and tomorrow, 60% probability for rain, 100
probability that I will do it if the rains don't!! LOL!

Gerry Miller
 
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