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Over Winter Grass Seed? - Tired of Brown and Weeds!


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docspencer
Indiana
Posts: 7
Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:04 pm   Post subject: Over Winter Grass Seed? - Tired of Brown and Weeds!


Our new yard is currently a mixture of bare soil, weeds, and some "wild" running fescue. I'd like to get a head start on the lawn by putting some grass seed before winter hits. I'm tired of mud and dust - I want a lawn!

A neighbor who is also a landscaping guy tells me I can scalp the existing green stuff, spread some seed (I'm planning on 80% kentucky blue and 20% rye) after Thanksgiving and over the winter the snow, etc. will push the seed into the soil and in the spring it will sprout.

Does this actually work? Has anyone tried this - if so, what were your results?




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Bestlawn
SE Michigan
Posts: 4
Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:01 am   


Yes, it works. It's called dormant seeding or winter sowing. When temps are favorable in spring, the seed will germinate. But, you will still have weeds because planting grass means you cannot use traditional methods for controlling weeds since herbicides will kill the grass. Just be patient and deal with the weeds while your grass is growing in.

Dormant seeding isn't the best method for growing grass. Normally, I recommend it for people who planted their lawn in the fall, then dormant seed lightly so the additional winter sowing can help fill in missed areas. The reason it isn't the best method is mainly because of the weed pressure that spring presents. But, there are other reasons, such as a newly formed turf being subjected to hot summer so soon.

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docspencer
Indiana
Posts: 7
Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:27 pm   


I understand what you're saying and I will be attend to the weeds as they start to become a problem. I figured it was worth a try to get a jumpstart on the seeding! Thanks!

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OrganicAlan
Boring, Maryland
Posts: 26
Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:09 pm   Post subject: Snow-Grass-Tree-Limb Swatting Lawn Method


Dear docspencer,

Thanks.

Good question.

Years ago I was all ready to plant fescue on a bald spot. I worked the dirt up with my roto tiller.

Then it snowed.

I figured I'd go ahead anyway.

The snow should water and keep the seeds warm, right?

Even before I finished chickadees were swooping down to eat the seeds. I had to go into the woods. Cut a small tree limb.

Go back and swat or slap the seeds deeper into the snow. Good thing I only had a 20 foot patch to do. I churned up a lot of snow that day.

Did it work?

YUP.

The grass grew in fantastic.

Alan

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docspencer
Indiana
Posts: 7
Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:26 pm   


Thanks for your experience with this. I went ahead and spread the seed late last fall before the snow. Since then it's snowed and rained quite a bit - frozen and thawed. I didn't get a chance to take out the existing weeds and grass on the surface, but I hope in the interim the seed has been washed past those and into the soil.

Based on your story, I'm hopeful come spring I'll start seeing need litle sprouts!!!

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OrganicAlan
Boring, Maryland
Posts: 26
Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:47 pm   Post subject: In My Experience the Weeds Win if You Leave Them In


Thanks.

Ok.

I don't want to get your Hopes up too high.

Weeds sprout and grow ahead of EVERYTHING else.

So if you tossed grass seed in on top of the weeds. Snow or no snow. The weeds WIN every time.

Alan

P.S. - Maybe if you get in there and scythe the weeds off - you might see some new grass. Might.

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docspencer
Indiana
Posts: 7
Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:12 pm   


I could try and get in there early with the weedeater and scalp everything down to bare soil before the grass starts sprouting?

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OrganicAlan
Boring, Maryland
Posts: 26
Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:50 pm   Post subject: Might work to WeedEater the Weeds


Dear Doc,

Thanks.

Generally you have to coddle grass seeds.

A few may sprout and survive the birds lying on the surface of the dirt. Most may even wash away.

I have a short cut method for planting clover in the Garden before winter. OR for planting grass seed in dead spots in the lawn.

A - I rototille or hoe up the surface of the dead spot

B - Carry some dirt out of the woods. Or dig it out of the edge of your garden. Spread it over the dead spot.

C - Sew your Grass seeds

D - Go into a wooded area. Find a dead branch. Drag it back and forth to roll the dirt over top of the seeds.

You can use a rake to do this too. But you'll have to be careful not to cover the seeds So deep they won't sprout.

Alan

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docspencer
Indiana
Posts: 7
Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:00 pm   


I like that idea for small spots. If my over-wintering doesn't work (and I've already noticed some washing of the seeds), but I'm hoping the rest of them have moved down into the soil with the freeze/thaw cycle. If not, I'm thinking about using your method over my entire area - spread the seeds first, then spread 1/4 inch of top soil.

Again, thanks for the tip!

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OrganicAlan
Boring, Maryland
Posts: 26
Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:01 pm   Post subject: I'm Curious About Your Plan


Hi doc,

Thanks.

Now I'm curious.

When planting tiny seeds in a row in the garden. I'll sift dirt so it's very fine. Then cover with 1/4 inch. Say something small like Carrot seeds.

But that's a tiny row.

What kind of screen or equipment do you have that will put 1/4 inch of dirt over a patch of ground - 6 to 12 feet wide or more?

I've always had to put the dirt down 1st. Then scratch the seeds in 2nd.

I'm always open to new ideas.

Thanks,
Alan

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docspencer
Indiana
Posts: 7
Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:18 pm   


That's a good question.

I hadn't thought about screening the top soil. I guess that would be best, huh? I know you can buy it screened, but that's a lot more expensive and I'm talking about an area all the way around my house, extending for about 30 or 40 feet. If I had to do it myself, I'd probably run my small tiller through small piles, get it beat up well, move it with my tractor then spread it. I like your tree limb idea. I wonder if that would work for this large an area. if not, I guess I might try a 2X4 or 4X4 dragged behind my tractor? Any thoughts?

One way or the other, we've lived in the house for 15 months now and I'm tired of the mud!!!

I also just thought about putting down some straw to make sure it didn't wash.

I think I'm finding out exactly what I DON'T know about this....... Confused

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OrganicAlan
Boring, Maryland
Posts: 26
Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:35 pm   Post subject: Football field size grass plantings


Hi,

Thanks.

You're getting the idea.

In order NOT to have to rent or lease a bunch of equipment. On our small farm we learned to improvise.

If you cut a big enough limb - with leaves - and weight. So it takes some effort to pull it.

You too can re-seed football size areas - without the traditional equipment.

DON'T tell an Engineer - perfectionist what you're
planning to do tho. I can tell you from Experience.

HE'll get all bent out of shape.

Alan

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docspencer
Indiana
Posts: 7
Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:41 pm   


Good to hear I'm at least in the ballpark here. I'm learning that trial and error (emphasis on the latter) is a great way to learn.

Being at Purdue, I know all about engineers!!!

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