looking for the mother of all overseeding techniques

rutgers1(6NJ)July 17, 2007

I am in the process of moving to organic lawncare. I would say that I am "almost there." My lawn is looking good with some very small bare spots here and there. The problem is that the bare spots have invited weeds, with the biggest pain being "spurge" (I hate, hate, hate spurge!!!!).

It is very clear that I have to fill every last bare spot this year so that I don't have to put up with another year of spurge. I also want to overall "thicken" my grass. I don't care how long it takes, or how much it costs, but I want to make sure that I go into next spring with few - if any - bare spots in the lawn.

So, here is my question? What is the best way to accomplish this goal?

- slit seeder?

- patch master in every bare spot?

- combination of the two?

- any other ideas?????


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If you're pleased with your existing lawn and can match the seed, plus you only have small bare spots, scratching those up and seeding into them would be cheap, easy, and very successful. That's as long as you can match the cultivar you have in the rest of the lawn.

Patchmaster is kind of expensive and doesn't do anything you can't do yourself. A bit of mulch (shredded paper being fine...a very light coat...or straw or Penn Mulch or just cover with a bit of dirt and dead grass), a touch of starter fertilizer, and some seed.

The rest of the lawn you can slit seed, no problems. I don't have any experience on the subject, but people here say that germination and sprout are very low in an overseeding because your existing grass outcompetes.

Still, it should help take care of any tiny thin areas.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 7:37AM
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billhill(z5 MI - KBG)

If you want to move up to the highest level of organic lawn care, then Compost is the answer. It is labor intensive therefore most don't go that far. Checkout the "Soil, Mulch and Compost" forum on this board. Take a look at my profile.

Here is a link that might be useful: Composting

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 8:36AM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

Sounds like you have a cool season grass. If its fescue you really need to overseed it periodically to keep it at its thickest and fullest. Its a bunch grass (except for a few new varieties) and won't spread, and needs to be overseeded. Broadcasting can work and slit seeding can work. Do a search of the lawn care forum and you will get tons of advice on how to do that best. Or just wait a bit and there will be tons of new threads over there on that.

KBG and Prye that is not full, can, of course, also benefit from overseeding to thicken up. Same advice as above about the how to part.

I've done both with very satisfactory results. Used a Bluebird overseeder last year and it worked very well.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 10:47AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I think what I would do is a combination of mechanical and hand seeding. Overseed the entire lawn with either a broadcast spreader or slit seeder, for uniform overall coverage. And then go back and hand seed the bare spots with a heavier application.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 10:46AM
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I used a rented slit seeding machine with good results last year. A lot of the seedlings came up in the slots cut by the machine, so to my eyes there is definitely extra value in using a slit seeder over just broadcasting the seeds. Are you in middlesex county?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 11:07AM
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KellyNelson....I live in Bergen County.

I am really motivated to make this overseeding work. Yesterday, I spent more time than I wanted to outside pulling weeds. In 75-90% of the cases, the weed was growing in a bare spot. Since I mow high, I was actually unaware that I still had so many bare spots left from the grub infestation last year. Most are small - just a couple inches wide - but large enough to attract weeds.

Thanks for your help everyone!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 12:21PM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

There are many fine ways to skin a cat, and overseed. If you hit search on the lawn forum I suspect that all the advice from last fall is still here. Tons of it. Of course, you can insert organic fertilizer for chem and add in the compost advice you find best.

Last year my back yard needed major help from drought and dogs. I cut it very short (bagged the clippings), fertilized, ran a Bluebird dethatcher type overseeder set at its deepest setting over it without seed three or four times to loosen up the topsoil, put in seed, raised the depth a little, seeded it, and then kept it moist. It came in very strong.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 8:46AM
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