Planting Grass Seeds

Hi all, I am new to the forum so I'll introduce myself - I'm Scott.
For the past couple of years I have been having problems with my grass as it is bare and patchy in certain sections.
I have read loads about what to do and even been in touch with a groundsman at a professional football club who has gave me advice on what seed to buy and what to mix it with and I am still having no success.
I was told to mix my grass seed with fine clean sand as he reckoned my garden did not hold the water all that well.
This Spring, I raked the whole garden (only a small garden) I then put loads of seed and sand down and raked over so most of the seeds were mixed with the sand and soil.
That has been 2 weeks went by with me watering every day and still I can still see no sign of any grass growing.
I have read it can take from 14 to 20 days before it may start to grow but it is getting really frustrating.
I noticed the birds were eating some of the seeds so I have bought a net to put down for when I put more down so they can't eat the seeds.
Some of the seeds you can still see sitting on top of the soil.
Can any of you experts tell me what I am doing wrong as I am spending a lot of money on trying to get a decent lawn and getting absolute nowhere.
I never used any new soil or anything this time, could this be the problem ?
And when I say I water it once a day, should I do it in the morning before I go to work and then when I get back as I have only been doing it once a day.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Scott
--
Oozmiester


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On 4/26/2012 4:38 PM, Oozmiester wrote:

I know little about grass seed but do know that different seeds are recommended for different locations and the more desirable seeds take longer to germinate. Seed distributors often sell blends with some annual rye which germinates rapidly to help hold soil and satisfy customers with quick results, but the more desirable seeds just sit there to germinate. With good seed, you just have to be patient.
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Frank;957187 Wrote: > On 4/26/2012 4:38 PM, Oozmiester wrote:-

> can

> net

> a

Hi Frank, firstly thanks for taking the time out to reply. I do know for a fact, that it is good seed so I suppose I'll just need to be patient and keep watering twice a day.
Do you think it would help if I bought fresh soil and covered the seeds, would this help them germinate ?
Is it also wise to put down some more seeds during may time as long as I keep watering ?
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On 4/27/2012 3:41 PM, Oozmiester wrote:

Like I said, I'm no expert but you only need to water to keep moist and seed will obviously grow better if in loose soil. I put got some of my own put down a couple of weeks ago and yet to sprout. I don't buy the quick cover stuff with rye as it may be satisfying to see grass by now but half your money is wasted on the cheap seed.
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Bob F;957219 Wrote: > Oozmiester wrote:-

> just

> freshly

>

Hi Bob, thanks for replying. I'll up the watering daily then and hopefully this will help. Only problem being I work 9-5pm so I think I'll need to look at a timer sprinkler as I can only water in the morning and then at about 7pm.
Can you send me a link to the timer sprinkler you have or something similar ?
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Bob F;957289 Wrote: >

> digital

> turning

> as

I managed to find some decent digital sprinklers online. Baffled to actually know how this will work though. Can this be worked by a normal tap from the house ?
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I would think all the ones Bob is talking about have standard hose fittings. It would be pretty hard to sell them if they did not. I have one and I see them in the home centers, hardware stores, etc all the time.
The only concern I have with them is the reliability. It's a battery operated device and if it fails to close you could wind up with water running for a very long time. I would hope they have enough smarts to know when the battery is declining and stop opening long before the battery is near dead. But with all the cheap stuff typically made in China these days, I wouldn't count on it. It's certainly good for use when you're going to be around and can catch it in a reasonable time if it goes wrong. If you're going on a 2 week trip you probably should have someone keep an eye on it.
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So where are you guys from then ? Bob and Trader4 ?
Here is my plan, thanks to the input from you guys:
I am going to aerate the whole garden. Seed it so they go into the small holes. Put some starter fertilizer down. Put a net over the garden to stop the birds eating the seeds. Then water, water, water.
I'll also do it at the fall as I have plenty of seed.
I'm not 100% sure about how the sprinkler timer works. Can one of you guys explain, I'm being thick here. I'd only be having it on possibly twice in one day while I am at work. With a normal garden sprinkler you attach the hose to the tap, turn on the tap and you have your sprinkler until you turn the tap off.
How does this timer work with the tap if you are out ?
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wrote:

Everyone is guessing, including you, based upon no meaningful input from you. Answer these questions:
Where do you live? (USA north or south, Europe, etc) What type seed are you planting? (warm or cold weather types) Is your soil loose or hard packed? (sandy loam or clay) Have you ever had a soil sample analyzed? (pH & fertilizer levels)
For example if your phosphate level is high, applying a starter fertilizer is the worse thing you can do to your soil. If your pH is low you need to add lime but if your pH is high lime is very bad. A $10 test can get you a detailed report & answer these questions. Then you can get meaningful advice.
Red
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+1
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'Red[_2_ Wrote: > ;957665']On May 1, 5:03*pm, Oozmiester > snipped-for-privacy@gardenbanter.co.uk

Hi Red, I answered in one of the posts above where I was from.
I'm in the United Kingdon, Scotland. We don't usually get great summers and usually we have plenty of rain. The type of grass seed I am using is Mascot grass seed R13 (is this good seed) ?
I only have a small garden, which is 8 x 6 meters. Soil looks hard packed, not loose. I have never had my soil sample analyzed - not sure where I could get this done but I could look into that.
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Oozmiester;957699 Wrote: > Hi Red, I answered in one of the posts above where I was from.

> seed) ?

> this done but I could look into that.
I also meant to add that when I moved into this house I actually laid new turf down rather than seed, that was about 4 years ago.
Not sure if this helps matters.
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wrote:

Googling produces this about your seed:
Cost effective mixture for general sports areas where finance is important. Quick establishment. Formulated using STRI rated cultivars. Helena helps density of sward and drought tolerance. High summer wear tolerance (French National List Trials 2006).
50% Neruda 1 perennial ryegrass 25% Helena slender creeping red fescue 25% Mystic strong creeping red fescue
Should be fine for full sun to partial shade. And these grasses should germinate in 7 to 10 days. But some additional points:
It also depends on temps. You need soil temps in the 50s for seed to germinate. That generally means daytime temps in the 60s.
Nothing wrong with using that seed for a lawn. But it's optimized to be cheap and for use on athletic fields and similar. Meaning it's less expensive as seed, establishes quickly and can withstand a lot of traffic. But it's usually not going to look as nice as a lawn could that uses a mix designed to grow a really top end lawn.
Among the tradeoffs with seed mix are:
how quickly it establishes how it stands up to traffic how much water it needs how much fertilizer it needs how quickly it greens up in spring how well it holds color into winter disease resistance color texture, ie is it coarse or fine whether it can self repair via rhizomes texture
If you're just looking for a typical lawn, the seed you're using should be fine and it's not the source of your problem unless there is something actually wrong with it, like it's been sitting around in a poor environment for many years.
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wrote:

Ok, that information helps. You are in a cool climate so your grass seed is likely some variety of fescue. You state that you normally get plenty of rain so lack of water shouldn't cause your problem. That leaves a couple of possibilities: (1) Soil unbalance (get soil test) (2) fungus (Check with your local plant experts) (3) soil compaction (core aeration as stated previously) (4) a pet having a favorite area to relieve itself (see item 1)
Red
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wrote:

While it's OK to seed after aerating, the objective is not to have seed go in the holes. The holes from a core aerator will be about 3/4" around and a couple inches deep. Some of the seed will wind up in those holes, but how much of that will germinate is questionable because seed needs to be planted 1/4 to 1/2" deep, not 2".
And forget about using one of the fake aerators that doesn't remove plugs of earth. Removing the earth is what decompacts it. And that removed earth gets spread around as a nice place for all the grass seed that doesn't wind up in the holes to grow in.
As I said before, if the soil is not compacted, no thatch problem, etc, I would use an overseeder to apply the seed instead of aerating. Or ideally, you could do both.

I don't know what kind of birds you have or what kind of seed, but birds eating the seed have never been a problem in the many times I've done it. Nor have I seen pros doing anything to deal with birds. If you want to cover it, weedfree straw can be used. You cover it lightly and it helps retain the moisture during germination. Problem is, don't know where you'd get it. And straw that has weed seed will bring more trouble than it's worth.
The ideal thing is hydraulic mulch, which is kind of like ground up paper mache. But given the cost, at least here, it's only practical for smaller area.

http://www.homedepot.com/Outdoors-Garden-Center-Watering-Irrigation-Sprinkler-Timers/h_d1/N-bx4mZ5yc1v/h_d2/Navigation?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053&searchNav=true
That's the link to one at Home Depot. If the link doesn't work you can find it under lawn and garden dept.
It goes between the tap and the hose. You leave the tap on and the timer controlled valve opens and closes at the set times.
How much you need to water depends on the climate. In general, I'd do it 3 times, 11 am, 3pm, 8pm. If it's cold and cloudy, you could probably just do it twice. If it's 80, windy and sunny, it could take more. You just need to keep it constantly damp on the surface. No need to flood it. Depending on the sprinkler head and area that could be as short as 5 mins.
As the grass starts to grow, reduce the watering times, but make them longer. At about a month, you should be watering once a day. At 6 weeks, maybe every other day, etc. Long term giving it an inch of water a week should be ideal, probably in two waterings, unless nature provides it. To measure how much water you're putting down use some used tuna cans.
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It would help if you provided information as to the location and the type of grass. You don't think the best practices for growing tall fescue in Canada are the same as growing Bermuda grass in the Carribean, do you?
First thing I'd do is stop listening to the turf expert. If your soil doesn't hold water well, the last thing you want to add is sand And adding sand by mixing it with seed? How long do you think that's going to take to make any significant difference in the soil? Assuming you're trying to establish a cool season grass, you're also seeding at the wrong time for best success. Early Fall is by far the best time. You have less competition from weeds, declining temps so it's easy to keep it moist, and the grass has many months to get established before enduring the stress of summer.
If you have an area of a couple thousand feet and up, the easiest and best practice is to use an over-seeder which can be rented. It's a piece of power eqpt that cuts grooves about 3/8" deep and drops the seed in them. That gives you good seed/soil contact and a high germination rate. An alternative is to use a core aerator if the ground is compacted, then apply the seed. Or you could do both. If the soil needs ammendments, you can apply those after the core aeration where some of it will at least drop in the holes and go down a couple inches. And if the soil isn't holding water well, then the ammendment should be humus of some sort, not sand.
Did you apply starter fertilizer? Check the PH?
And again, how long grass seed takes to germinate depends on what kind it is, which we don't know....
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