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reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Posted by nilaa 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 20, 11 at 18:14

Hi,
We bought a home in fall and the lawn had few bare spots here and there, it was not thick and green. the seller told it was due to the harsh summer.
So we put seeds and water, but only some areas we saw new grass and then we weren't able to do fall fertilization.

Now in spring, what should i do?fertilize and then reseed? or wait till fall to reseed?
the sides and front lawn are better but the back yard lawn is patchy and south facing.
New to lawn care and have no clue on what to do next.
Thanks for any help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Many people do seed and fertilize in the spring because they, apparently, need something to do outside after a winter inside. Both are, really, the wrong thing to do then. Grass grows in the spring, vigorously whether you fertilize or not, so about the only thing spreading fertilizer in the spring does is cause you to have to mow more often. If a good reliable soil test tells you that your soil needs some nutrients late May or early June would be a more appropriate time to fertilize even though most all cool season grasses really want ot go dormant during the hot and dry summer.
Seeding in the spring is also not good since those grass plants will be doing the most vigorous growing just when they want to go dormant, during the hot dry summer. So if you wait until mid August, the stroes that sell those products will be putitng them on sale (often for 1/2 the spring price) to try and lower the inventory they need to store over the winter, and that is really the best time to (if it is even necessary) reseed and fertilize any lawn, when the cool season grasses are growing and developing a root system.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Thankyou.
never thought of it this way!
Is it better to do Seeding in fall?

So if the grass is patchy now is it ok to leave it as it is now?


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Most all grasses spread by sending roots out to establish new plants so if you water regularly and mow as high as possible what you have now will slowly spread and fill in those bare spots. Now would be a good time to talk with the people at your counties office of your state universities Cooperative Extension Service about a soil test so you can begin to prepare for what you need to do toward fall.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

"Most all grasses spread by sending roots out to establish new plants"

Some grasses spread that way, but some don't, certainly not "most all". Since the OP is in zone 6, cool season grasses are most likely.

The most common cool season lawn grasses are turf type tall fescue (TTTF), Kentucky Bluegrass (KBG) and Perennial Rye (PR). Of those, only KBG spreads via rhizomes. The others are bunch grasses (there are some rhizomatous varieties of TTTF and PR, but they don't spread much).

Fine fescues are often used in shady areas, and of the fine fescues, only creeping red fescue spreads (and only improved varieties spread much).


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Thankyou Kimmsr and Bpgreen.
I think we have tall fescue grass , our lawn has full sun. It looks like bunches of grass rather than the neat thick green lawn.

If it doesn't spread what would be the next step? am little confused, just water and wait?

Thanks!


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

I would take this time to look at the soil and find out what it needs to grow a good healthy stand of grass, a good, reliable soil test for pH and base nutrients, as well as a good indepth look at the soil itself and then spend this summer getting the soil ready for seeding later in the summer or early fall.
What is the humus level in that soil?
How well does that soil drain?
How well does that soil retain moisture?
What does that soil smell like?
What kind of life is in the soil? Earthworms and other critters
What is the tilth (workability) of that soil?
These simple soil tests can help you find the answers to those questions.
1) Soil test for organic matter. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. For example, a good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains� too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Tall fescue is a bunch grass. There are some newer varieties that spread via rhizomes, but they don't spread nearly as quickly as KBG does. Tall fescue will spread very slowly out from a single plant using tillers (basically a new plant grows right next to the existing plant), but it's not going to be filling any holes that way.

You can try seeding in the spring, but that may not give the grass enough time to establish a strong root system before the heat of summer kicks in. So a fall overseeding is probably going to give you better results. Tall fescue lawns often need to be overseeded every two to three years to continue looking full.

Zone 6 doesn't tell us enough about your growing conditions. Where are you? Zip code is good enough. Once we know where you are, we can give better advice. You may be able to mix in some KBG to help fill in bare spots.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

If you did not fertilize last fall definitely fertilize now realizing spring N requirements are less. .3-.5 pound of organic N should suffice. This equates to around 15-20 lbs of Alfalfa per 1000ft or 7-10 lbs of chicken manure. This is not rocket science your weekly growth will tell you if N is lacking, if spring growth is such that you have a hard time mulching in 5-7 days lay off the fert, if you are not seeing much growth in 5-7 days fertilize. IMO you want your lawn to thicken and cover the ground at your summer cutting height before the summer heat hits.Being this is a Organic forum feeding the microbes at a regular interval is a good idea until you reach a point that weekly growth is consistent with only mulching. Some grass cultivars are N hogs as some of the new compact Bluegrass varieties and will require much more annual N to maintain a high level of turf quality.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Most all grasses need about 2 pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year, more then that simply causes pollution. At this time of year grass grows, really well, whether it is fertilized or not. If a feeding is needed the time to apply that would be late May to early June to help the grass some during the hot, dry summer weather. The only thing feeding a lawn now will do is cause you to mow more often.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Bpgreen, I am in central NJ. i think the previous owner didn't fertilize last yr, and also didn't overseed.
I will overseed in fall.

Kimmsr and Brandyanna:
Thankyou. i just now read the faq for organic lawn care.
weekend when i was removing weeds, i saw a small area of lawn taken over by clover. i guess the soil is low in N.
What is the difference or which is better alfalfa or soy bean?
or is it all the same.

if i apply SBM or alfalfa in may should i again apply it in fall?
I am planning to topdress with compost and overseed in sept.

Kimmsr,
when i checked the soil, water drains slowly. tilth isgood.
but there is no repungent odor neither good earthy odor.
I could only find 2 earthworms when i checked for worms.
The whole neighbourhood and the prev owner, are into chemicals,spray for even a tiny bit of weed,neatly mainted lawn by lawncare companies. very few do it on their own and i doubt they do organically.
What surprises me is there are lots of small kids playing in the lawn :-(

Thanks!


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

If I were you, I'd wait until fall. Concentrate on building the soil now and try to keep weeds at bay. In late summer or early fall, once the temperature starts to drop, overseed the lawn. If you want to keep it all fescue, you can, but you'll need to oeverseed every few years. If you add a small amount of KBG (maybe 10% by weight, which is almost 50% by number of seeds IIRC), the KBG will fill in bare spots in the future.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

We have been so conditioned to accepting so many synthetic chemicals that no one thinks about them any more and the damage they are doing. People spray all kinds of these things around and let their children play where those children can, and do, absorb them. We know that girls are entering puberty today at age 8 and 9 rather then 13 plus, why? We have all kinds of genetic changes going on in our systems today, why?
We have all kinds of people who depend on selling us those poisons also telling us they do no harm. Do you really believe them? If a product causes a genetic mutation in a fruit fly why would it not also cause a genetic mutation in a hum,an, even though we may not see that mutation as quickly?


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

* Posted by kimmsr 4a/5b-MI (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 15, 11 at 6:16

"Most all grasses need about 2 pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year, more then that simply causes pollution. At this time of year grass grows, really well, whether it is fertilized or not. If a feeding is needed the time to apply that would be late May to early June to help the grass some during the hot, dry summer weather. The only thing feeding a lawn now will do is cause you to mow more often."

1. We are talking about a lawn that received Zero N last fall. If the microbes have no food how do you suppose any population will be supported?
2. If you wait until May or June to feed here on a N depleted lawn you just blew any chance of getting a thin lawn to cover and shade the soil and I guarantee it's not going to happen when daytime temps are 90+.
3. If no fall Fert. was applied and you wait until MJ then you just missed the most active time for new root growth. Light spring Fertilizer is not a bad thing. Read DHall's sticky on the lawnsite Organic forum regarding timing. Much better advice than some of the envirowackybs you are posting here.
3.If you are doing this for a living and adhere to the 2 lb N line on the new compact Bluegrasss cultivars that are N hogs you will be out of a job in 3 months.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Grasses, like every other plant in this world, manufacture nutrients and store those nutrients in their roots over the winter so those nutrients are ready for new growth in the spring. Only if you believe the purveyors of synthetic fertilizers would you think grasses, or any other plnat, needs "fertilizer" in the spring.
Applying any "fertilizer" before the Soil Food Web can properly utilize that food simply results in those nutrients getting washed out of the soil and into the ground water, pollution.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Until today we didn't put any fertilizer yet and i see the grass very nice and green now after all these downpour.
also many weeds sprouting too.

Thanks for all your suggestions, i will wait until fall to reseed. actually the lawn looks better than before. going to mow high and wait and see how it is doing.

Regarding fertilizing still i haven't found a source for soybean meal or alfalfa pellets. will check few nurseries and feed store nearby.

Thanks!


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

If you find a local feed store you'll they'll have some sort of grain that is readily available in your area whether it be corn, soy, alfalfa, cotonseed or whatever.

As far as seeding in the Spring for me I've found it to be a tremendous waste of time and money. For someone like me who is lazy with watering the Spring seems like the perfect time. However with the amount of storms I've gotten this year it's washed away most of what I put down.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

* Posted by kimmsr 4a/5b-MI (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 17, 11 at 7:23

"Applying any "fertilizer" before the Soil Food Web can properly utilize that food simply results in those nutrients getting washed out of the soil and into the ground water, pollution."

I have news for you. Soil microbes are active in the early spring. Please explain how a water WIN or fert gets washed out of the soil.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Soil scientists have known for many years that soluble Nitrogen slows out of soils with the excess water and pollutes the ground water and that is why they find high levels of nitrates in ground water. Phosphorus, applied just before a rain, can be washed off the soil and into the storm water runoff which then flows into our streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans, and excess Phosphorus can also flow out through the soil just as that excess N.
There has been a lot of discussion about this just about everywhere in the last 10 years as red (toxic) algae blooms have appeared in our lakes.
Soil microbes start to become active when soil temperatures reach about 40 degrees, but not very.
Grass greening in early spring is from the nutrients stored in the crowns and roots the previus fall.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

WIN = water insoluble nitrogen. Throw some alfalfa in a glass of cool water and tell me what happens.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

The nutrients will leach out of the Alfalfa and flow with the water, when you dump it, into the ground water and pollute that ground water.


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

If Alfalfa pollutes the ground water than so does the decaying root mass of the turf, all the crop residue of mulch mowing as surely you have seen green shoes after mowing and what about the dead microbes in the soil?


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RE: reseeding in spring and fertilization doubt

Decaying organic matter can pollute the ground water just as any synthetic fertilzer, manure, etc. when in quantities too great for the Soil Food Web to properly handle, although that too us a very simplistic explanation. Ever been around a swamp and smelled the water there?
Too much of anything is as bad as the wrong thing.


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