A lawn planted in the fall

Well, I have been told a billion times that autumn is the time to plant and feed, so having bought a home with about 3 patches of grass, I rented a tiller and tilled up about 6" of soil, fed it, seeded it, tamped it, fed it and seeded it again, covered it with hay and started watering.
After about 3 weeks, nothing has come up. I noticed a few sprouts yesterday, but it just doesn't look good.
Now, is it possible that this is just an autumn dormancy thing and come spring I'll have a beautiful, deep-green lawn sprouting up, or have I done something wrong? I've got the lawn covered with hay, but of course I won't be able to leave it there all winter...
Thanks, fnord
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I should have mentioned that I'm in CT....
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I should have mentioned that I'm in CT....
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where are you and what kind of turf did you plant?? Fertilizing two times wasnt really a good idea, seeds do not need fertilizer, and lots of nitrogen during the seedling stage can be harmful.
Toad
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Well, I'm in southern Connecticut, and I planted Rebel Elite.
It's my first time planting a new lawn, so I'm completely working in the dark here. There were about 3 tufts of grass left when we bought the place, so I was over-eager to get rolling on it.
I see a few sprouts now, but i'm not hopeful. It's a tiny little yard, at this point I'lm thinking sod :]
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

That's a brand name, and what's sold under that brand name could change from year to year, or even geographic market to geographic market. There should be a lable on the back of the bag that tells you what the mix in that bag is.
In general, the first grass you see sprouting will be the annual varieties. The perenial varieties will usually take longer. Grass seed companies have an incentive to market mixes with lots of fast germinating annual varieties. People want instant gratification. Once the annual grass germinates, if the perenial grass doesn't germinate, most people will blame themselves for not caring for the lawn.
Get your recomondations for the best mix of seed from your county extension office. Not brand names. The mix. Then go out and find a brand that has the closest mix to what you want. Keep in mind that the best mix may be different in various places on your lawn, but you also need to have some commonality in what you use, too. You don't want a dark-blue lawn, with a sharp line where the mix changes to a yellow-green mix. The compromises you make may not be the same as what any specific brand name has made in their mix.

Well, with sod you bypass the germination issues you have with seeding, but if you're laying sod over soil that won't support grass, or in an area that is otherwise unsuited for grass, the eventual result will be the same.
Some of the ideas behind (early) fall seeding are: -Soil temperature is often warmer than in spring -Mother Nature will assist with the watering -The turf has time to establish a hearty root system before the summer heat
If you wait too long, the soil won't be warm enough for germination. If you don't have germination, the game is over.
Also, if you over-fertilize, you'll reduce germination, and essentially compost the seed. If you do fertilize, make sure you use a fertilizer that has a low nitrogen level (the first of the three numbers). Time-released granules would be best, too. Personally, I don't fertilize when over-seeding in early fall. (I do use a "winterizer" fertilizer in late fall, but only at about 1/2 the manufacturer's recommended application rate.)
As for your "hay", hopefully it is not full of seed. I never can remember the difference between hay and straw, but hopefully you got the right thing -- the one without seed in it. Assuming it doesn't have any seed in it. leave it in place for the winter. It'll help prevent erosion, and will add some organic material to the soil as it breaks down.
When spring comes, watch to see if you get any germination as the soil warms up. That's going to be quite late in spring. The air temperature will be warm long before the soil warms up enough for germination. If you jump the gun in spring, you won't see anything happen even if you completely re-seed.
And of course the downside is that once the soil gets warm enough, Mother Nature isn't as inclined to help with the watering. But if you hit the window right, you can have a reasonably established lawn by the time the real heat comes in summer. Either way, I'd make plans to over-seed again in *early* fall next year.
--
Warren H.

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That's a turf-type tall fescue. Wouldn't be my first choice from what I know of your climate, but it's not a bad one. Personally, I'd overseed with some Kentucky bluegrass (several cultivars) and several other cultivars of tall fescue, so you don't have all your eggs in one genetic basket when the inevitable diseases and other stressors show up.
Kay
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If you seeded three weeks ago and you're in Connecticut, you've left it a bit late in the season. I assume you're zone 6 - even in my very mild zone 8 climate, it is not suggested one seed a new lawn (or overseed an existing one) after the middle of October - you will just not get very good germination. It is quite possible that much of the seed will remain dormant over the winter and sprout in spring but it is just as possible that much will rot or otherwise fail to germinate and you will need to go through this process again.
FWIW, it IS recommended one use a starter fertilizer with laying new lawn seed, but they too will not be very effective in colder weather. And for future reference, the "fall" they refer to when advising on seeding a new lawn is generally September and early October in the majority of this country.
pam - gardengal
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It won't hurt the lawn any, and will help (minimally) to keep erosion down in the spring rains.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Besides what Pam said you are likely to have lots of "hay" sprouting in the spring.
--
Travis in Shoreline Washington

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On 22 Nov 2004 09:14:26 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Do not use hay on the lawn (you'll end up with lots of unwanted plants). Use straw. Most seed will come up in 7-10 days. You may have bad seed.
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You may have overdone it on the fertilizer (did you use a starter fertilizer according to instructions?), and my guess is that you left it a bit late to plant, but I wouldn't be surprised that next spring you'll find you've got a fairly decent stand of grass. Three weeks is about the minimal time before you see much in the way of seedlings for Ky Bluegrass, etc.
I'm assuming you've used a seed mix that probably has a fair percentage of Kentucky bluegrass in it... if the soil temp is below about 55, you're probably pretty much done for bluegrass germination this season... but the seedlings you have will continue to grow next spring (barring some catastrophe). And yes, newly germinating lawngrasses look terribly scruffy and bare, but fill in well if well cared for.
I'm a little more concerned you used "hay" for covering... hay includes seeds, so you may have some really interesting spots next year... and some interesting weeding next year. I would have sooner see you use straw (stems only) or compost for cover over the seedbed, rather than introducing seeds of unwanted species in the hay.
About five years ago, I wound up having to redo my mom's back lawn in Iowa in late fall, after the trenching company had been through. It was mid October, but soil temps were still in the 60's, so we planted a bluegrass fescue mix and covered it with municipal compost. I tossed some annual ryegrass seed over the top for quick germination and winter cover before I left for my home. A friend who was mowing kept me apprised of the progress (he was sure I was crazy planting that late) -- looked pretty awful up till about December, when the seedlings were big enough that you could see a green haze over that dark compost from a distance. Snow came in mid December, and lasted pretty much through February. Still pretty scruffy in appearance in March, and then when it warmed up in April, everything took off nicely. When I saw it again in June, it was a little thin, but definitely the species we'd planted, except for one spot where one of the neighbors dogs had decided to dig. Replanted that, and it was a good solid stand by early July (except for the replanted spot -- that took coddling till October).
Hang in there... lawn takes time to grow properly. Keep things moist, but don't overdo it with fertilizer and mowing until the seedlings are growing nicely for you.
Kay Lancaster snipped-for-privacy@fern.com
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