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Best way to overseed?

 
                                        
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I just received my soil test back with stores recommendations.
I plan to overseed  with tall fescue by the end of August. Lawn looks great in the spring and fall but terrible brown in between.Only green around sprinkler heads.Try to attach pics.
I also just started using Ringer
Location Michigan:  Lawn     10,000 sq ft               
RESULTS:  PH   6.0       HUMUS  3      N  100#/A           P  25#/A            K  300#/A
PH-The pH of the soil is slightly acidic for lawn grasses.  They prefer pH between 6.2-6.8.  To raise pH to 6.5, apply 80# of lime per 1,000 sq ft.  Do this in 2 treatments of 40# per 1,000 sq ft  & water in.  Allow 4 weeks between lime treatments & 1 week between lime and fertilizer treatments.  Recheck pH next spring.
HUMUS: The organic content of the soil is moderate.  Organic matter retains moisture and nutrients in the soil.  To increase organic content in the lawn, rake in Canadian peat moss  ¼” over entire yard each fall.  When reseeding, apply 1-3” of compost, Michigan peat, or Scott's Lawn Seeding soil and rake or till in 4-6” deep.  Another source of organic matter is the Turf Revolution Top Dress.  Apply at 750 sq ft per bag after your last mowing and allow it to winter in.  Also, do not pick up your grass clippings as this adds organic matter & adds nitrogen to the soil. 
NUTRIENTS: Nitrogen= high  phosphorous=very low   potassium=high.
The soil is  deficient in phosphorous.  Apply Super Phosphate  at the rate of 10# per 1,000 sq ft and water in.  CAUTION: WATER IN IMMEDIATELY.  Keep the lawn on a 4-5 step program. Apply an organic fertilizer in August to help boost microbial activity in the soil.  Apply Super Phosphate again in late September at the rate of 10# per 1,000 sq ft.
If reseeding, apply a starter fertilizer to help root growth.  Seed with appropriate type for the conditions. Sod requires full sun of 8 hours or more. Recheck nutrients fall 2010.
CULTURAL TIPS FOR SUCCESS:  Water in the morning between 6&9 am.  For new areas, water every morning for 20-30 minutes. For Established lawns, water every other day 1/3” for a total of 1-2 inches per week.  Mow the grass at 3” to crowd out weeds and to keep the grass cool during the summer.  Spray for weeds May and September with Weed Beater Ultra.
Paul or any body else have any advice on overseeding or not and what method. I used a slit seeder last year but was disappointed with results.
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paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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The best way to overseed: don't.  Easier and cheaper!  The grass will fill in the holes!

Did you read the lawn care article?

How deep is your soil? 

Cool season grasses are supposed to go dormant in the summer!  It is possible to have green grass all summer, but you gotta do it right.  And the first step is to mow at 3 inches or higher.

 
                                        
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The only time I checked my soil depth was last fall when I put in a new mailbox, but that was only one location. As far as mowing height I always leave it at the highest setting. It sounds like Ringer and mowing high is your solution for most problems. I just started my own compost, but that takes time.I love your article about lawn care. I even made copy's and passed them on. I enjoy to work on my lawn (not lazy) but I hate to waste money(cheap) on bad products. What else can I do to have a green lawn in the summer?
 
jeremiah bailey
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Sounds like you're on the right direction with making compost for future spreading. You said you set your mower on the highest setting. What kind of mower and how high is that? Like Paul said, grass goes dormant in the summer. That is normal. Give the Ringer some time.
It sounds to me like you've trained your grass to want water. Stop the watering. Especially over the summer. If you train your grass to expect less water, it will actually need less water. As a consequence, it will stay greener longer in the summer dormant period. The only time I drag out the hose for the sprinkler is when the soil in my garden gets dry. My lawn doesn't see a drop of it and is the greenest of my neighbors. The only water my lawn gets is from rain, and we do get some dry spells around here.
 
                                        
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Do you have any current pictures of your lawn. I'm jealous already. As far as my mower I'm using a Troy Built self propelled with a 33'"wide cut. Height is adjusted via crank from A to D (D being the highest setting,4 Inch) and I never  change that until November. I just returned grass seed and starter fertilizer and picked up some more Ringer.
 
paul wheaton
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How deep of a hole did you dig for your mailbox?  How long did it take you to dig it?  What did you find down there?

Another point about watering:  the more you water, the more you rinse away soil nutrients.  Plus, the water you are using is probably loaded with chlorine which is designed to kill micro organisms.  But we like the micro organisms in our soil.  Therefore, it is much better to find ways where you don't need to water.





 
jeremiah bailey
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Sorry, I haven't had time to get pics yet. I should do that tomorrow. There is a good comparison that I hope will show up with my cheap-o camera. My neighbors' lawns are all chemie lawns. I mowed both mine and one next door today, same height and mower. Neither of the lawns get any water other than rain. My other neighbor mows insanely low, even in the summer. Both are noticeably browner in person, but I don't know if it will show well on my camera.  Now as green as my lawn is, it has its fair share of companion plants interspersed with it. Others may call them weeds, but they stay low and green for the most part.
 
                                        
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When I dug the hole between 2 1/2 to 3 ft.I found it very easy. Not more then 10 to 15 min. I looked like good soil.
As far as watering I would like to know if I can stop cold turkey in the middle of the summer and just rely on mother nature or would I jeopardise what's still green all to turn brown. Two of my neighbors have what I consider a show lawn using city water, but there not very chatty when it comes to how they do it. I would like to check into getting my own well if I don't step on any legal toes and 2nd. if its affordable.Do you have any more ideas.
 
jeremiah bailey
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Grass by nature, turns brown in the summer, especially at the short height we keep it. It is okay to stop watering cold turkey right now. The grass will go into its natural dormancy and return in the fall. The watering regimens that many carry over the summer keep the grass from going into its natural dormancy. In essence, they're keeping it from its natural sleep cycle. I don't know about you, but I like my sleep as much as your grass does. When your grass doesn't get its sleep, it gets stressed and becomes susceptible to disease and pests.

There is another alternative to digging a well, and its usually much cheaper. Harvest your runoff from your roof. There may be some legal hoopla to deal with depending on where you live, but usually no more than a well involves. The system is much cheaper to boot. I won't get into it here, but there is some good info available ala google. I just run city water,  but don't irrigate much. When I do, its directed at my veggies.
 
paul wheaton
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It sounds like you have deep soil. 

I suspect that if you just mow high, you'll see HUGE improvements.

NEVER use any pesticide.

A little lime and a little fertilizer will be of help. 

I would let the lawn go dormant for now and start everything else in the fall.

I would not dig a well.

 
                                        
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Not to water sounds like a tough pill to swallow, because I'm sure a lot of people like myself take pride in there lawns. I feel like lawns are mostly sleeping during the winter month when they are covered with snow at least here in cool climate zone and the next 3 season are there to enjoy green grass not brown. You stated yourself that you don't water in the summer but yet you have the greenest grass in the neighborhood. Also in Paul's article about lawn care right on top he said
In a nutshell:

      Must do:
          o Set your mower as high as it will go (3 to 4 inches).
          o Water only when your grass shows signs of drought stress and then water deeply (put a cup in your sprinkler zone and make sure it gets at least an inch of water).
Paul: what do you mean by a little lime.
I used 200 lbs. for the entire lawn once not 80lb per 1000 sq ft. as recommended from my soil test.
Also you don't like to reseed, but at what point in time can I convert from KBG to Tall Fescue?
Has anybody seen or experience with liquid worm poop for lawns (from TerraCycle Inc.)selling at the Home Depot.
 
jeremiah bailey
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For clarity, I said lawn, not grass. I have huge patches of clover, especially in the back yard. These areas are noticeably greener than the surrounding areas. I'm hoping the clover will spread to the rest of the yard, and it is making good headway. Two of my neighbors mow insanely short, even through summer. Their lawns don't do very well due to that. I did manage to get a pic today of the line between my yard and my neighbor who mows high. Well mowed high until they moved out. Now I continue to mow high for them. It turned out well, and I will have it posted tomorrow. I still have to downsize it for posting to the website.

Hey Paul, is there anyway to have a compression feature or picture quality function for uploading oversized pics? Resizing them manually is a drag. 
 
paul wheaton
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When your soil is sooooooo lousy, due to years and years of abuse, you will water it and it will continue to be brown.  You might get it a little greener, but it still won't look very healthy.  And that will make you want to water even more.  And the more you water, the more you wash away what few nutrients and OM you have. 

It is wiser to wait until fall when the grass will pop out of its summer dormancy and you can then do all sorts of things to have a lush, green lawn. 

Then, next year, you can have a lush green lawn in the spring and through the summer you can water it a little bit to keep it green and lush through the summer.

A little lime:  have you read my article on soil ph? 

> at what point in time can I convert from KBG to Tall Fescue?

I think that TF is superior to KBG - but not so much that I would tear out KBG and replace it with TF.  To be cheap and lazy, I make do with what is already there.  If I encounter a situation where I am going to introduce a lawn, then I will use TF.




 
paul wheaton
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jeremiah bailey wrote:


Hey Paul, is there anyway to have a compression feature or picture quality function for uploading oversized pics? Resizing them manually is a drag. 


Not that I'm aware of.  Sorry.
 
jeremiah bailey
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Here's a pic of the line between me and one neighbor. Mine is the one on the left with a deck and garden in the background. I mowed both the day before. Same height, same mower. Not all my lawn is this green. Another section is more monocultured, not sure how or why, but it is. That section is brown like the one on the right. I attribute this section to doing well because of the white clover. You can see some of the remaining blooms that were too low for my mower to get. The only real difference between the two yards is the other one is monocultured and maintained with chemical fertilizer and pest/herbicides. Mine is a mix of grass, clover, dandelion, and other turf, maintained with organic lawn food. Both get rain water and no irrigation.
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To Paul: by converting from Kentucky BG to TF I meant overseeding and introduce a new variety like Tall Fescue this fall, not a complete overhaul.

To Jeremiah: I had the same issue with large file pictures. Just change the resolution in your camera (if it's digital) to a smaller setting.
 
Jeremy Bunag
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Image Resizing:
If you're a Windows XP user, there's a neat and small image resizer from Microsoft in the PowerToys:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

You can right click on a picture or a group of pictures and tell them to resize to common or custom sizes, fast!  Since it's not an editor but a utility, its a bit more convenient than opening up a program and navigating menus.

If you want an alternative or have Windows Vista or 7, this one comes well-recommended too:
http://www.vso-software.fr/products/image_resizer/
I haven't use it, but it sounds about the same as the powertoy.  Shell extension that gives right click resize functionality...

Hope this helps!

-Jeremy
 
paul wheaton
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grasshopper wrote:
To Paul: by converting from Kentucky BG to TF I meant overseeding and introduce a new variety like Tall Fescue this fall, not a complete overhaul.


I know. 

Suppose you throw down seed.  It takes a long time to germinate and you need to keep it pretty moist.    You will be creating an excellent environment for weeds and fungus.  Are you gonna mow short or tall.  Will the tender new baby seedlings stand a chance competing with the existing stuff? 

It just doesn't work out.  Maybe once in a long while some people get 1% of it to take this way. 

It's just too much work for really lousy results. 

Put it out of your mind.

 
jeremiah bailey
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Jeremy, thanks, I found another way of doing it. I found a way to batch resize for Linux, which is what I use. I can't quite bring myself to use Windows. Microsoft is, in my opinion, the Monsanto of software. But that is fodder for another thread.

grasshopper, but then I can't use the image as a high res image if I wanted to!
 
                                        
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paul wheaton wrote:
I know. 

Suppose you throw down seed.  It takes a long time to germinate and you need to keep it pretty moist.    You will be creating an excellent environment for weeds and fungus.  Are you gonna mow short or tall.  Will the tender new baby seedlings stand a chance competing with the existing stuff? 

It just doesn't work out.  Maybe once in a long while some people get 1% of it to take this way. 

It's just too much work for really lousy results. 

Put it out of your mind.


At my old house I was very successful with overseeding when I soaked the seeds in water for 24 hours with one cup of Epsom salt. At my current location I used a slit seeder the first year in the fall with little success. But now I believe because of my poor soil condition. If I decide to overseed I would cut my grass every 2nd. or 3rd. day to get it short than spread the seeds, lightly topdress and use a roller to make sure they have good contact. My other option would be to do nothing and see how my lawn responded  the organic way.
I love the idea of crocus in your lawn right after the snow melts and before the grass wakes up. So I will give that a try.
 
jeremiah bailey
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grasshopper wrote:
At my old house I was very successful with overseeding when I soaked the seeds in water for 24 hours with one cup of Epsom salt. At my current location I used a slit seeder the first year in the fall with little success. But now I believe because of my poor soil condition. If I decide to overseed I would cut my grass every 2nd. or 3rd. day to get it short than spread the seeds, lightly topdress and use a roller to make sure they have good contact. My other option would be to do nothing and see how my lawn responded  the organic way.
I love the idea of crocus in your lawn right after the snow melts and before the grass wakes up. So I will give that a try.

I still think your best option is to see how your lawn responds to a new way of doing things. If you do wish to go ahead and overseed, it sounds like you have a pretty good system going for it. I would do that, just to get the TF introduced. It sounds like your current lawn is 100% KBG. Kinda high maintenance in my mind. TF/KGB might make a good mix for you. However, still just let the KBG be for now and see how it does. Maybe you won't have to go through all the time and expense of overseeding. I do Have a couple of small patches of 100% KBG growing in the wake of my neighbor's storm drain. Its weird seeing it, because it is really the only part of my lawn that is 100% anything. Every place else has this or that mixed in. I did nothing to get them there, the lawn came that way.
 
                                        
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I recently applied some Scott's Organic Fertilizer and I have to say what an dissapointment. It looked decent not great before application but now it took a turn for worst. That was the last straw with Scott's as I red in one of Paul's remark that he was suspicious of their organic product. I also picked up a compost tea brewing kit. Its a bid time consuming and only flowers seem to respond well. My next batch will go onto troubled lawn areas. I just hope it will recover.
 
paul wheaton
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grasshopper wrote:
I recently applied some Scott's Organic Fertilizer and I have to say what an dissapointment. It looked decent not great before application but now it took a turn for worst. That was the last straw with Scott's as I red in one of Paul's remark that he was suspicious of their organic product. I also picked up a compost tea brewing kit. Its a bid time consuming and only flowers seem to respond well. My next batch will go onto troubled lawn areas. I just hope it will recover.


Uh ....  recently? 

If you put fertilizer down in the middle of july for a lawn then it would have done nearly nothing.  You're fertilizing the weeds.  Grass is generally quite dormant in the middle of the summer - unless this is a warm season grass.  And we've been talking about cool season grasses.



 
jeremiah bailey
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I agree with Paul. I've been using Scott's. My last application was the beginning of June. My lawn responds well to it. I also recall Paul not really commenting on the effectiveness of the product. He doesn't really have any experience with it directly, if I recall correctly. He did however have some doubts as to the quality of the source of the ingredients, regarding industrial waste and byproducts of their other product lines. These claims are not unfounded, and I agree with him to a point. Ringers has its issues in this regard as well.
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