"Dormant seeding" lawn question

We have a lot of lawn damage from a combination of lots of hot weather and lack of watering this summer. The lack of watering was from a drought (we live in a suburb of Chicago) and the fact that watering restrictions in our community plus high water costs discouraged us from a lot of watering.
I know, I know, now instead of paying for water we're paying for seeding the lawn. From my calculations, though, the reseeding is cheaper.
The damage is mostly in areas that aren't shaded. Our lawn care fellow tells us that a lot of it should come back in the spring, but we want to reseed anyway, although we prefer to do it ourselves.
Anyway, the plan is to "dormant seed" the lawn; put down seed now, or at least before the ground gets too hard, so it will germinate in the spring.
Any suggestions or tips for this? We're recent homeowners and really have no experience with this.
Thanks,
-Len
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Never heard of this technique. Why not just seed in the spring if you think it is too late this season for germination? My guess is that a large portion of whatever seed you sew this fall will wash away, get eaten, or rot before growing season next year. Instead of a 90% germination rate, I think you'll be looking at far less.
KB

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Why not water it and see if it cames back now, you risk a few things in Chgo now, Rain could wash it away before spring, birds will eat it, and if we get a frost within 10 days it will be dormant anyway. The ground temp must be apx 55 for seed to grow, it is getting colder fast.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We had a friend that put grass seed down down after the last snow in winter.
It worked too.
shirley
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 18 Oct 2005 22:14:04 -0400, "Kyle Boatright"

On the other hand, if he's overseeding a lawn that's going to recover anyway, the germination rate doesn't really matter.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
LenS wrote:

You can try it now, you are a little late so how well it will work will depend on the weather over the next two months. I much prefer to seed in the fall.
BTW if you would have taken just a little better care of your lawn, not only might it have been cheaper, but it would have looked better for half the year.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Alot depends on whether your lawn was initially sodded or seeded.
If it was seeded, I would just throw some seed down as a test case and wait till spring. THe dead grass present will provide the nooks and crannies to hold the seed in place to keep it from washing away. I said test case because it is a little to late to seed a lawn now. you risk the unsprouted seed rotting away during winter. (and attracting mice)
If it was a sod lawn, you have to grub out the peat moss layer the sod was grown in in order to get the seed in contact with the soil. and than rough up the soil to hold the seed.
I live in the nortthwest burbs of chicago and every summer my lawn looked like hell because of watering restrictions. One year, I got the brillant idea to stick a big screwdriver into all the dead spots (in the spring). Lo and behold, it turns out that under each dead spot was a giant chunk of asphalt. The builder had decided to "linear landfill" underneath the six inches of top soil he put down. Some of the chunks were over 5ft across. I left them because ,like the builder, I had no way to dispose of it once dug up.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Seeding now in Chicago is generally a waste. What makes you think the seed is going to wait till next spring to germinate? What will happen is it will germinate now, but most likely not have enough time to get established before winter, which will kill most of it. The time to have done this was a month ago. The only case where I would seed in your area now would be if I had bare ground. In that case, I'd likely use an annual rye for some quick cover for the winter.
In your case, I'd wait till spring to seed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Or at least until cold weather as you're right about not enough time to get established this fall. Seed will over-winter very well (it managed on its own for years w/o us at all, so that's nothing abnormal) and particularly where one gets some snow and freeze/thaw cycles it works to get it in good contact w/ the ground and it's there all ready for spring...
Chicago is far enough away from where I'm located I don't have a good feel for just when, but a local Ag Extension office or good nursery man can tell OP for sure...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Or at least until cold weather as you're right about not enough time to get established this fall. Seed will over-winter very well (it managed
on its own for years w/o us at all, so that's nothing abnormal) and particularly where one gets some snow and freeze/thaw cycles it works to get it in good contact w/ the ground and it's there all ready for spring... "
That's an interesting question, which comes down to what germination rate one would get next spring from seed that was planted in early winter, when it' too cold to germinate. You'd have to compare that to the germination rate from the same seed planted in spring. I would expect to see that the germinatin rate is substantially higher for the seed planted in the spring. You're right many seeds are designed by nature to make it through the winter. But even then, it's a statistical thing. Enough obviously must make it to keep the species going, but that doesn't mean that given the choice of spring planting, that spring planting wouldn't be substantially better.
And I'm not sure about typical grass seed, like fescue or blue grass. I would think in nature, most of these would form seed heads in summer and then germinate and establish in the fall? And I would think a substantial portion of any seeds left for months on the surface would succumb to wash out, animals, rot, etc.
Bottom line, I would go with the conventional approach. In Chicago, that would be seeding in Sept, which would be best or waiting until early Spring.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Not that bad, actually, for most cool season grasses. I've done some counting in the past and typically got somewhere in the mid-80s for germination rates.

Most actually don't ripen until fall when it is actually too late to reseed that year. Of course, many of the cool season grasses also propogate and "thicken up" in the fall by tillers, not seed.
Some, certainly, is lost to various causes. Some is also lost in the spring. The advantage of late fall overseeding is as noted before the "automagic" working of the seed into contact w/ the ground by the freeze/thaw cycle and that it is there waiting for the earliest spring start.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you're wrong, simply pointing out that the other method can work pretty well as well....

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Joseph Meehan wrote:

We had a record dry summer here. Give him a break.
A
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Joseph Meehan wrote:

He did mention a drought. Wasn't he being responsible and considerate by not wasting water on a lawn?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

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.