grass seed and soil contact

Hi All,
    I have a lawn with very little grass, and a lot of weeds. I want to reseed, and from what I have been reading the seed to soil contact is most important in seed germination. Is plug aerating before seeding enough to get good seed to soil contact, or is it necessary to spread a little soil on top of the seed?
    Thanks for your help!
Barry
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Aeration has little to do with seeding. I believe you want to "overseed." In preparation, do not use any weed killer at least two months before overseeding. Mow your lawn as close as possible, picking up the grass clippings. Dethatch the lawn if needed. The dethatching will bring the seed in contact with the ground. Use a spreader to distribute the seed and use a starter fertilizer, then lightly drag a rake over the ground. Protect with straw and keep moist. The best time of year to overseed varies on what seed that is used and the location. Treating weeds and overseeding should be planned several months apart.
On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 15:40:30 GMT, Barry Andrews

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In article
snipped-for-privacy@noone.com says...

Any comments/recommendations on specific fertiliser brands or formulations?

Rake *after* the seed is on? I thought the raking was done before(?)

I have found that gentleness is needed with the watering. A blast from a hose tends to push the grass seeds around (I.e. distributes unevenly.) I just have a small grass area, so I use a 5-litre hand-pump sprayer, three times per day, while the grass seed is still working on itself.
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On Mon, 28 Mar 2005 15:53:39 -0800, Endangered Bucket Farmer

Any brand will do. Look for the word "Starter" on the bag. It is not as harsh on seedlings as regular fertilizer.

Lightly raking after overseeding helps move the seed to the ground, rather than resting on top of leaves where it will rot or be eaten by birds.

That should work. A slow gentle rain is best, where water soaks in rather than runs off.
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Hi ! I am in the lawn care business and from my 5 years experience I have seen many lawns that have been seeded thru overseeding, aeration and seeding and slit seeding. With a bare lawn, your best bet is slit seeding using a machine that cuts slits in the soil and drops the seed in them. Aeration can do a good job, but only if you have a decent stand of grass to begin because the best germination occurs in the pluged areas where moisture collects with the seed. Overseeding without breaking the soil will give you even less results. Do not use any straw or else you'll be fighting various wild grasses all over your lawn. You may want to kill any weeds before, but wait 2 weeks after spraying before applying any seed. The main reason why people fail to get a thick turf is not enough water. You must keep the seed moist by watering each area at least 20 minutes twice daily until germination and then you can cut back to once a day.
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Thanks for the replies! So can I assume that I don't need to water if it rains that day? If the seed gets too much water, will it mold?
How long after the seed comes up can I apply a weed killer?
thanks a lot,
Barry
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On Sat, 26 Mar 2005 14:24:05 GMT, Barry Andrews

The straw helps the seed from drying out. If it dries out while in germination, it will die. Watering every other day should be enough. Too much water will "drown" the seed and rot it, a process called "damping off."

Best to wait some months, better a year. Weed killers are harsh on grass, especially young tender grass.

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Phisherman wrote:

Damping off is caused by a fungus. The sun or wind could dry out the seed so you may need to water twice a day. Best to check rather setting a schedule.
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Weed control may be applied after the new grass is mature enough, usually after it has grown tall enough to be mowed 3 times. Just make sure that when applying the weed control that you keep walking, making an even application. You do not need to stand there and drown the plant for it to be effective.
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Again thanks for the replies.
How long does it typically take for the seed to germinate when overseeding?
I aerated with a plug aerator and overseeded with Penington Kentucky Tall Fescue last Saturday. I also used a starter fertilizer and have watered everyday at least 30 minutes in the evening except on days when it rained. The temperature has been between 60-70 degrees. Should I expect the seed to germinate this early, or am I being impatient? So far I don't see anything. Thanks!
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On Sat, 02 Apr 2005 15:59:11 GMT, Barry Andrews

Fescues with right conditions may take 1 1/2 to 2 weeks to germinate. Moisture and soil temperatures being the key. If its been consistently warm for you lately I'd expect to see something by next weekend since you seem to have kept up with the watering. But what do I know? 30 minutes could be a dribble over an acre on a hot windy day, or a drenching of a small area on a calm cool cloudy day.
Deep watering for grass seed isn't as important as frequent light waterings. (Opposite is true for growing the lawn...) Don't want those tiny little plants to dry out. :) But Yes! You are being too impatient. You only need to get out there 6 or 7 times a day with your magnifying glass and look for signs of growth. :)
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Thanks! I can see little sprouts now where the aeration holes are. I need a magnifying glass, but at least they are coming up. :)
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