"Power Seeding" Question?

Hello All;
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(?) or whatever.
I would like to do something this fall that might yield some results come spring.
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.
Thanks.
Bob
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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.
`B
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<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 the crab.
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.
Peter H
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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 enhanced.
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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.
Bob
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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.
Barry

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Hey Barry, where have you been. It's nice to hear some input from someone who knows what he's talking about.
Peter H
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Peter H wrote:

<snip>
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 giggles...:)

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)
Gary PS: Using a mulcher style lawn mower will give the worms something to eat all year long.
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<snip> Then comes the tricky part. The bugs.
Yes, a very tricky part.
> > Most people wait until signs of an insect problem before going after > them.
Thank God for 'most people'. Do you call the fire dept before signs of a fire?
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 just one.
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.
until > 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 lakes/oceans.
> Peter H
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.
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