Central NJ late overseed

kelleynelsonSeptember 24, 2007

It seems like overseeding early is the fashion this year on the forum!

This year I was too busy to overseed on 9/15 like I successfully did last year, so I did it this past Saturday.

I thought it might help the knowledge base of the forum to detail what I'm doing and report back on the results.

I'm located in Central NJ and we're having a mild fall so far. This week the forecast is avg daytime highs in the mid 70s (two days in the 80s) and evening lows in the mid 50s to mid 60s.

I'm seeding a TTTF mix, so it should get up and going in just a week or so. I see many are using KBG this year, so could see why you want the extra weeks for the slower KBG germination.

This year's plan -

My bad spots this year are the spots that were strong last year and resisted my TTTF overseeding. It was mostly fine fescues and poa that recovered from the scalping quickly and outgrew the new TTTF. This summer's heat killed those areas off and left some bare spots.

I used a pretty heavy seeding rate to possibly offset any greater mortality rate among the seedlings due to the late seeding. Seeding was done with a bluebird s22 seeder in a cross-hatch pattern. This year I used a more shallow cut, about 3/8 inch.

I didn't apply starter fertilizer on the day I overseeded this year. This year I'll wait two weeks and then fertilize to help the seedlings come up.

I bought a few bags of Penn mulch, which I used to cover seed over a few bare soil or thin-grass areas. This has a light starter fertilizer in it and helps maintain moisture.

I'm using timers to water for ~15 mins 4x daily. I am still tuning the timings so that I never see the surface of the soil change to a lighter dried-out color.

Other than that, I am just trying to minimize traffic.

Wish me luck!

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Hoping to see some green fuzz in the next couple of days!

Temps over the next two days will be in the mid 80s, glad to have the timers out there to keep the seed beds damp. Each night when I get home from work I can see the soil is moist.

Is the general thinking still to let the seedlings grow up to 3 inches, then to cut down to 2 inches for the first mowing?

I am weighing my fertilizer options. I'd like the seedlings to get a hit of fertilizer at about the 2 week mark. SBM? Alfalfa? Synthetic?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 11:26AM
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Five days in, seeing a few 1/8 to 1/4 inch green fuzzies in some areas! The Lesco tri-gold TTTF seems to be coming up about as quickly as Combat Extreme did last year.

Predicted daytime highs in the mid 70s and evening lows in the mid 50s for at least the next week. It's been really sunny and warm this week, so I have been doing short waterings at 8am, 11am, 2pm and 5pm. (via timer)

The Lesco seed starter mulch seems to be working pretty well too. It prevents the soil underneath from drying out as much. Nice to have if seeding over bare soil.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 9:35AM
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mikeg75(6b SE PA (South Phila))

What type of starter fertilizer are you going to use? My TTTF overseed project came in nicely, except for a few spots next to the patio, however, I'm now at day 14 and I don't have any fertilizer yet. I'm about to mow it for the first time as well, and I'm down to 1x a day watering for 20 minutes.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 10:50PM
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I'm still debating what I want to put down for a 'starter' fertilizer.

When I overseeded, my existing grass was due for a fert, so its been growing back pretty slowly. (Good thing for the seedlings.)

I hear alfalfa pellets/meal is supposed to help stimulate plant development. I usually use SBM, but I wonder if that might just spur a bunch of top growth and make it harder for the seedlings to establish.

Last year I used scotts starter fert on the same day I overseeded and I think it was too soon. Within a few days the existing grass was starting to grow back from my scalping. Three weeks after seeding, I needed to cut the grass because the existing grass had gotten so tall the clippings were going to be a total mess with the mower.

Nine days post-seeding this year, my taller seedlings are 1 inch tall and I see a couple late bloomers just starting. The existing grass has grown maybe half an inch, to about 2 inches, so the seedlings are still getting plenty of sun.

Long answer to a short question - Scotts, SBM or Alfalfa?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 9:51AM
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mikeg75(6b SE PA (South Phila))

Do you know of any organic lawncare retail centers in South Jersey? I'm in South Philadelphia and don't want to drive to far. I haven't looked at Lowes or Home Depot yet but I presume they wouldn't have alfalfa or soy bean meal as you've suggested.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 5:22PM
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It's easier further south, more feed stores and the like.

Here's a list of feed stores in Jersey - I'd call some of the places and see if they have what you're looking for. The place I usually go is near New Brunswick, NJ - so I think you'll probably find something closer.


and the PA list:

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 1:03AM
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What are you waiting for? Feed your young sprouts, their hungry.

I am weighing my fertilizer options. I'd like the seedlings to get a hit of fertilizer at about the 2 week mark. SBM? Alfalfa? Synthetic?

I would apply both ASAP. SBM @ 10lbs per 1000 and Alfalfa @ 20lbs per 1000.

Remember that microbes need warm soil to actively feed on the Grains and provide your plants with food. If the soil gets too cool (below 50 degrees) they will lay dormant until temps rise.

When was your last feed/with what?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 9:43AM
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Last feed was 14 lbs/ 1000 sf of SBM, in July. I usually feed about every 6 weeks - so at the time of seeding, the existing grass was not growing vigorously.

Last year I fertilized right away and the pre-existing grass took off so quickly that I think it made it harder for the new grass to come in. My experiment this year is to see if withholding fertilizer until post-germination will help the new grass compete better against the pre-existing turf.

So far my seedlings seem to be coming up faster than the pre-existing grass is recovering from the scalp cut. (probably using the food contained in the seed itself.) But I'd say this weekend is definitely the time to fertilize because the seed food reserves are probably about used up.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 10:26AM
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Scott's starter fertilizer went down today - I'll try to post some pictures tomorrow.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 11:29PM
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