I built a house near the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of VA. I
have two acres and construction disrupted about 3/4 of an acre. Even
though it was in the middle of summer which is a bad time to try to
grow grass, particularly in a drought year, it was better than the
dust bowl we had. It worked out ok in back of my house and in front
near the road, but the area directly in front of my house (about 60ft
X30 ft) and on the sides of my house (about 40 ft X 20 ft) are
basically packed dirt with grass up close to the house (about 1/2 ft
in front of house).
Being near the water on what used to be farm land, there were two
problems growing grass which I need advice on (and I have never grown
grass myself before this). The biggest problem is wind. It
frequently blows 20 mph at least once, if not several days a week.
When I had the lawn seeded, the excavator that did my final grade put
down see and put hay on top. The winds blew the hay off the lawn in
the bald areas and pushed it against the front of the house or
The second problem is heat during the summer. Since I seeded in
summer and the hay blew away, it was difficult to keep the grass cool
and wet enough to sprout. In addition, I am on a community well and
there is not enough water pressure for more than two or three
sprinklers at once. It takes about 6 sprinklers to cover the area
that hasnt grown.
So for the first problem of the wind, I have no idea what to do this
spring. Is there an alternative to hay that would work in a windy
How do I determine when it is warm enough to seed? Is it by the low
temperature that is maintained? What temp?
For the second problem, I think seeded in the spring will help, but
any suggestion there would be great. I also have heard use fertilizer
from some people and dont from others. Some say aerate, others dont
Products such as this:
are far better than hay although they can get expensive. Landscapers buy it
in large rolls which go down rather quickly and it will not blow away if it
is put down properly. Even quicker is HydroSeeding. It is not normally used
on flat areas but it will work there as well as it does on difficult
terrain. Over a large area it might be cheaper than traditional seeding
using an expensive mat product.
Summer is _not_ the time to put down grass seed as you may have realized.
Early spring is a good time. Here in East Tennessee right now is a fine
time to seed. The soil needs to be properly prepared before putting down
seed. Broken up a bit, PH adjusted, amended with organic material and the
worst of the stones and roots removed. If your soil is unable to hold
moisture properly then establishing a decent lawn is going to be difficult.
As ever, check in with the local extension folks.
Although I have not tried it, a friend in Nebraska who had a similar
problem with strong wind got some Idaho Bunch Grass and said it was
terrific for his need. I have no idea of its properties, etc, but a
bit of research may help.
OP's problem seems to have been that the wind was blowing away the hay that
the landscaper put down to protect the grass seed. Planting some other sort
of grass seed in the same way doesn't seem as if it would be much of a
help. Well, unless the new sort of grass managed to come up to full grown
in a day when the wind wasn't blowing. Maybe crabgrass is the answer... <g>
Add a tackifier to the seed and mulch you're going to use this spring...
this is typically how the hydroseeders keep stuff on slopes.
Cool season grasses like red fescue, tall fescue, kentucky bluegrass
need cool soil temperatures for a fairly prolonged period of time to
germinate and establish well. Get that seed down as soon as practical.
I have not had much success starting grass from seed in spring. The
hot summer draught (in E TN) usually wipes it out. Best time to seed
is about mid September to early October. Times varies to location.
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