I live in New England and quite frankly "my lawn looks like hell!".
I have five grandchildred ages 8 and down to play a lot but I also
have a lot of shade. The problem is bare spots and "crab" grass(?)
I would like to do something this fall that might yield some results
Somewhere I was reading mentioned "power seeding" and I am wondering
exactly what that is. Do they mean just a power spreader or something
else that might better place seed into the ground?
I was also thinking of hydroseeding now hoping that the results would
be ready for the spring emergence.
Please make any recommendations that you can that might help me make
the most beneficial decision.
The hydroseeding folks often ignore soil problems; they simply give you a
laundry list of prep instructions, too often incomplete, and spray their
stuff on, then walk away.
Best bet: talk to your local grass seed company. Sometimes the county
extension folks are good, too. Remember, soil is the foundation of your
lawn, without good soil, your lawn will surely fail.
<R.Mariotti (at) FinancialDataCorp.com (Bob Mariotti)> wrote in message
I think 'power seeding' is just a term some lawn care companies use to
describe their particular method of seeding a lawn. There are different
seeding techniques and even machines that will do the seeding for you, but I
wouldn't recommend seeding for you at this time. If you do everything else
right your lawn will probably "fill in" on it's own.
If you have a crabgrass problem you will want to go after that in the
springtime, just about the same time that the new seed would be germinating.
Since the crabgrass killer doesn't know the difference between a desirable
grass seed and an undesirable one it will kill off the new grass along with
I would recommend a healthy late fall fertilization to make sure that your
lawn gets off to a jump start next spring. Make sure that you get "all" of
your leaves raked up. Then next spring a late spring fertilization, weed
control and crabgrass control. Then comes the tricky part. The bugs.
Most people wait until signs of an insect problem before going after them.
The problem w/ this method is that by the time you've diagnosed the problem
it's usually too late to save the lawn. In my opinion there is no point in
cultivating a lawn unless you are going to protect it and to do that you
have to get down a bug killer. I would recommend something for chinch bugs
in June and then an imidicloprid as a grub preventor in July. Be sure to
follow the manufacturer's instructions and keep the kids off the lawn until
watered in and then completely dry.
Good luck w/ it.
You can rent a slice seeder at most tool rental places. It's a walk
behind, gas powered machine that slices grooves in the soil and drops
the seed in them which gives good germination. It's the best way to
overseed any larger size areas or to establish a new lawn.
Like Peter advised, it's too late this season to do this. In your
area, the best time would be early Sept. If you can make it through
another season, I'd wait till then. If you try to do it in spring,
make sure you start as early as possible. It's more difficult because
you will have weeds to compete with, require more water, and there is
less time for the grass to become established before hot, dry weather.
Another thing you want to decide is whether what is there is worth
keeping. For example, if what you have is a grass that is rougher than
you would like, disease prone, etc., then the solution is to kill the
whole thing with Roundup about a week before reseeding it. Once you
start on a project like this, it's not that much more work. You want
the best grass seed you can find, preferably one that is endophyte
Thanks for all the informative responses. As it is too late this year
I will now have time to have the soil analyzed so I can plan on
treatment and/or reseeding next spring.
Thanks again and happy holidays.
The slice seeder, power seeder and renovator are all the same basic machine.
Like Chet said, it slices grooves, drops seed and works the seed into the
soil in one pass. This is a very good machine to use on the entire lawn or
just problem areas. The key to any seeding job is soil contact. You can get
80% or better germination with slit seeding as opposed to 50%-60% with
aeration and overseeding just because of the better contact.
I use a power seeder in lawns that have had problems with weeds and
crabgrass. I run it over the problem areas without any seed in the hopper to
get rid of the crabgrass "skeletons", then rake off the thatch. Add seed and
run over the areas again two times, the second pass at a diagonal to the
first. (The grass fills in quicker this way than if you make perpendicular
passes. Don't rake off any more thatch - at least not until the seed has
rooted good. This way, you don't need to cover with straw.
You're in New England, so I assume you have a bluegrasss lawn or maybe a
bluegrass/fescue blend. When getting your seed, go to a reputable dealer
instead of using the cheaper WalMart / K-Mart / Hardware store seed. Tested
germination rates should be around 90% and weed content should be 0%. Early
spring seeding would probably do ok for you. Bluegrass starts germinating at
around 60 degrees, fescue a little warmer. Get a blend of the grass type you
prefer. Don't go with one seed variety - you'll be setting yourself up for
some problems. In a two-way or three-way blend you hedge your bets. If one
type is susceptible to a certain problem - disease, drought, insect - the
others are usually resistant. That's the way the good companies blend them.
I get my seed from Lesco. In Ohio, the bluegrass blends did fine. Here in
Tennessee, I'm using tall fescue blends and they're doing fine.Make sure you
use preemergent in the spring to head off the crabgrass. Just make sure if
you seed in the spring that it is up and has been cut twice before putting
the preemergent out.
Hope this helps.
I'd say that was a fair exchange for all the laughter, the giggles and
energy expended just for your enjoyment...what more could a man want? :)
When I read your post about your grand-children I could hear all the
And then, later, in the summer when all the 'giggles' arrive...what
then? :) The 'giggles' are good for the soul but bad for the lawn.
A few years ago when my kids were little I acquired an old rubber
lifeboat. It was 15 feet long and 5 or so feet across. I filled the
tubes with air (using a vacuum cleaner in reverse). I then put water in
the boat. The kids (mine and neighbors) would jump on the air filled
rubber into the water and had a great giggly time. :) Every so often it
needed to be drained, cleaned out etc. This wasn't a difficult thing to
do because the air would leak out in a short time and draining was easy.
But my lawn under the boat! (This is why I tell this story). The lawn
under the boat was, to say the least, non existent! Gone! I fretted for
a time and as you say "My lawn looks like hell!" But you know, as I do,
the giggles were worth it!
Today, there is no trace of that boat ever being there...damn! I did not
reseed the area, it just 'came back'.
I'm not sure what part of New England you live in or whether you live
near a farming community...horses, for example. Up here in Canada people
with horses have just too much manure. (for pollution reducing reasons,
we (they) are only allowed to put so much manure on the fields. The
excess must be disposed of responsibly...in some cases, they have to pay
to have it removed). So guess what, I help them out with thanks; it's a
two way thanks.
Without getting into to much detail, find if you can, a local farm. Help
them out by removing some of their manure. Not every farm will give it
up for free...they know how valuable it is. And it is for many reasons.
Another thing that I should tell you (you may already know this) most
manures have weed seeds in it; that's the nature of the beast. So,
compost it with your household compost. That will help destroy some of
the unwanted weeds.
Someone in another post mentioned the condition of the soil. This is a
very important point.
Most people have forgotten about Natures way to keep soil fertile. It's
the worms. They work 24/7 but they need food to keep things going.
Compost and horse/cow/etc. manures will give them something to eat. With
something to eat they multiply and work 24/7. With kids running on the
grass the soil gets compressed. Am I right? Just think, worms work when
the kids are asleep. Now that is something worthy of serious thought.
Chemical fertilizers don't help worms. In fact some studies indicate
that they are killed by chemical fertilizers. So kill the worms; then
the grass looks terrible; it won't grow. And when the ground gets
compacted it compounds the 'grass won't grow problem'. Worms add plant
available nutrients to the soil and aerates the soil. All they want is
something to eat to keep them going 24/7.
Feed the worms and your grass will come back when the little ones are
gone...my grass did. But, alas my kids did too. (sigh)
PS: Using a mulcher style lawn mower will give the worms something to
eat all year long.
Then comes the tricky part. The bugs.
Yes, a very tricky part.
> Most people wait until signs of an insect problem before going after
Thank God for 'most people'. Do you call the fire dept before signs of a
I have always worried about killing something that was put here by
someone higher than me.
I also was worried about 'just who am I
killing'. If the pesticide I use will kill this bug, will it also kill
that bug? There are you know predator bugs ie: the lady bug, to name
With the above thoughts in mind I decided that I needed to be
conservative in my approach to killing 'the unwanted'. It was the
leather jacket I was after...wanting to kill. I had heard from
'somewhere' that I needed to use pesticides, or I should say, 'A'
pesticide to do this.
I sprayed only half of my front lawn to see if there was an obvious
difference one from the other. My decision not to ever use pesticides
again was reached soon after the application.
The pesticide worked. The larvae of the leatherjacket were in stress and
were coming to the surface of my lawn. I did not at first notice them
surfacing. But what attracted my attention was a much increased bird
activity. I went outside, saw the surfaced larvae and knew why the birds
were there. I tried to chase them away but it was a futile effort. I
don't know how many baby birds died because of the application of this
pesticide. I haven't used it since.
In addition, I later determined that there was no difference to the
condition of my lawn; the sprayed side compared to the unsprayed side.
Using pesticides will kill both the bad, or unwanted bug (it's not
really a bad bug; after all it feeds the predator bug and helps them
reproduce). Using pesticides will also kill the predator bug, the ones
we need or want around! Ouch! And what about the birds? They eat the
good, the bad and the ugly...now that sounds like a movie...:)
If pesticides kill both the good and the bad please consider this: 100
aphids and one lady bug (a predator). Apply a pesticide: Consider a 90%
kill rate...that leaves 10 aphids and...and...."Hello, is there a Lady
bug hiding here...somewhere?" Oops....and we wonder why aphids keep
coming back-in number. Then out of the blue comes a Lady bug...after
eating the sprayed aphids...."Hello, where is that Lady bug. I just saw
her". In the mean time a bird has flown away to feed her young...the
onegoing saga of pesticides.
Be sure to
> follow the manufacturer's instructions and keep the kids off the lawn
Another ouch! Pesticides are not good for kids.
Have you ever noticed how kids always want to go where they are not
supposed to? After applying...do you watch and make sure they don't go
'on the lawn'? What if your neighbor uses a pesticide...does he/she make
sure YOUR kids don't go 'on his/her lawn'?
Pesticides also kill the common earthworm. The '24/7 workers' most of us
have forgotten. Earthworms not only aerate the soil but convert humus
into nutrients that plants (ie: grass) can use to grow.
> watered in and then completely dry.
Watered in....watered in? After it's watered in...kills bugs (the good,
the bad and the ugly)...and kills the common earthworm....then what?
Where does the pesticide/herbicide go now after it's watered in?
I'm going to tell you where it goes because I hate movies that don't
tell us 'the happy ending'. I want to see a happy ending to movies and
to the use of pesticides. The pesticide goes into the ground and ends up
in our drinking water or in streams where fish live and eventually in
> Peter H
I am not familiar with the pesticide you recommended-imidicloprid. I
hope that it
is not the type to which I refer....the ones that kill the good, the
bad and the ugly. The ones that will go into ground water and carry on
ad infinitum. I hope that the ones you recommend are different.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.