New house, no rear lawn, very little shade, and no green thumb. Tried
generic fescue mid spring, covered with hay, and watered faithfully with
very little results. Didn't aerate. Should I try some type of creeping
fescue or centipede or similar? Sounds to me like that would provide
faster and more thorough coverage. Would a "creeping" grass be more
heat/sun tolerant? Bermuda in front doing well. Does fescue or seed in
general need to be covered with dirt to germinate? Live just north of
Atlanta. Need something that tolerates little shade (for now) and a lot
of heat and humidity. And some instructions for seeding.
Any help is appreciated.
About 5 years ago I was directed to "Tall Fescue" because it sends roots
down 3+ feet in search of water. Thus, it doesn't brown out in mid
summer. This has worked out well in MA. Note: Tall Fescue is a
specific kind and is not just a mix of fescues.
Thanks stubby. Do you recommend one brand over another? Scotts vs.
And do I need to aerate? Should I cover new seed with dirt or just sow
above ground and water like crazy?
Loft's "Rebel II" is one variety that Home Depot carries once in awhile.
I gave up on leveling my lawn. The roller just doesn't do it, even in
March when the ground is soggy. (I'm in MA). Because my lawn isn't all
that bad, and my improvements over about 5 years have been impressive, I
concentrate on bad spots. In my lawn cart I mix some potting soil,
several handfuls of Tall Fescue seed and a handful of starter
fertilizer. Then I walk around, find a spot that needs attention and
scrape it with a 3-tined tiller. Apply some of the mixture and stomp on
it. (Roots cannot cross air gaps, so you need to compact it.). Water,
but don't go crazy.
The potting soil mixture has peat moss in it and that allows it to hold
water over time. Sometimes I use a bag of garden soil and some peat
moss. No problems with it.
Plan on spending several years on improving your lawn. And mow it
fairly high, like 4". What people see is the eveness of cut, not the
length. Keep at it. Every year will look better.
Also, I apply real lime every year. You can get it from a tile shop as
"anhydrous lime" and that is much more active compared to the pelletized
limestone sold as "lime" in Home Depot. Or, there is now a product
called "pH +". I don't recommend anything as basic as sodium hydroxide
(NaOH) known as lye, but you could dilute it and figure how much to use.
Lye is really cheap.
On Sun, 05 Jun 2005 16:56:35 -0400, Paul H. Smith wrote:
As far as brands go, it's generaly all the same seed from the same fields.
Cheaper seed can have more weed seed in it... but as with everything, you
get what you pay for. I would suggest that you call your county extention
office and ask what types of grass is the best for your area.
With new construction, they tend to really compact the soil (what's left
of it that is) and they do the least ammount of prep to the lawn before
they lay seed/sod. Go out with your shovel and dig a few test holes in the
lawn area and see what the soil looks like a few inches deep. If the soil
quality looks poor, then the grass will do poorly. You will need a minimum
of 2 inches of high quality soil (four or more is suggested). If you have
hard pan clay or really compacted soil, then you should add the new soil
and till it in or otherwise the water will drain through the good soil and
run off along the clay. The grass root system will be short and tend to
dry out quickly.
Yard Works Gardening Co.
I live just north of Atlanta too. It is absolutely the wrong season to try
and establish a fescue lawn. It'll fry, despite your best efforts. If you
really don't have much shade, why not aerate then sew Bermuda? Keep the
soil damp for a couple of weeks, and it'll sprout. By the end of the
summer, you'll probably have a full lawn that is very tolerant of our summer
conditions. You could sew common Bermuda, which makes an OK lawn, or you
could try one of the "improved" seeded Bermudas.
If you want green grass in the winter, overseed the Bermuda with Winter Rye
in mid-late September.
Note, I've done the winter rye thing myself, and hated it. The stuff is a
very "wet" grass, and clumped up very bad when I mowed it, even on dry days.
I had good luck with the "Landscape Mixture". It's a combination of fescue,
rye and other seeds. The rye sprouts quickly to help with erosion and
doesn't come back the next year. The other seeds take longer but they are
hardier plants. I don't know beans about growing grass and it worked for
me. One guy on here made the comment that it was "pasture". I think that
was supposed to be an insult but I didn't see him volunteering to help me
pay for a new sod lawn either. For what it's worth, a year later my lawn is
looking good. If that's what other people term as "pasture" I'll take it.
It was cheap and easy and it beats the hell out of mud and soil erosion.
Be sure that your seed is of a high quality. I seeded my new
(relatively small) lawn with 75lbs. of Rebel IV turf-type tall Fescue:
I seeded mine from bare soil in mid-October. I had NC clay, which I
amended with 30 bags of organic humus (roughly 1200lbs.), and limestone
pellets (tilled all down to 4-5"). Before the seed, I applied Scott's
Starter Fertilizer per the instructions. I surface seeded and watered
per Pennington's instructions.
The lawn is green and thriving in the 20's overnight now. I did not
straw the seed, in order to prevent wheat/weeds developing from seed-
carrying straw. I'll be putting down pre-emergent and fertilizer in
early spring. The pre-emergent will "lock up" the crabgrass and other
seed that's been on standby, waiting for spring germination.
A new lawn will take a lot of attention to water and seasonal
I hope this helps.
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