New to Forum - Fall New/Overseed Lawn Prep

Discuss how to and whether you should renovate your lawn
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KentuckyBB
Posts: 2
Joined: September 6th, 2020, 10:53 pm
Location: Philadelphia area
Grass Type: KBG, fescue, ryegrass
Lawn Size: Not Specified
Level: Not Specified

New to Forum - Fall New/Overseed Lawn Prep

Post by KentuckyBB » September 8th, 2020, 9:37 am

Hello all. Can't believe I just discovered this forum after being a lawn nut for the last several years. Getting ready for my fall lawn prep after having some issues in my clay soil in Southastern PA over the long, dry summer. I had some renovation done on my house last year that killed 1/4 of my lawn ( I have about an acre in total). I had it regraded and had some new soil put down and planted last fall with perennial ryegrass. It came up beautiful last fall and established nicely in the spring, but after a hot summer, it all browned and good portion of it died in the hard baked soil. Other portions of my lawn are still in good shape as I have established a good KBG, fescue, ryegrass mix. I have a few additional problem spots where I took down a tree - i think the grass there was comfortable with moderate sunshine, but the full sun without the tree caused it to bake in the summer heat. I normally had a lawn care company put down fertilizer/weed killer, but taking matters into my own hands starting now as I've found the results to be less than stellar.

I bought a Sun Joe dethatcher/scrarifier and went over my entire law this weekend pulling up a ton of dead grass and exposing the soil. I just bought a 48" Agrifab core aerator to drag behind my tractor and I'm waiting for some rain here in SE PA to soften up the ground a bit so the tines arent' just floating on top of the hard baked clay. Hoping to get that in the next week. I have a 40 lb bag of Barenbrug KBG and 25 lb bag of Jonathan Green Original Tall Fescue that I plan to use for overseeding.

I had a soil test done and I'm at 6.2 pH and most nutrients are within the recommended bands (but towards the lower end of optimal) and I'm very low/deficient in iron, sulfur, zinc and boron. I'm hoping to get my lawn in prime fighting shape over the next few weeks and looking for any sage wisdom so I don't end up overdoing it. The small section (6000 sq ft) of burnout ryegrass in the new section, will require heavy seed as it's pretty much all dirt after the scarifying, the remainder of the lawn will just be normal overseeding. I plan on having 5-10 yards of compost dropped off at house to top dress new seed (peat seems too expensive, and I tried mushroom compost before, but I think that may work better if you're able to till into soil, top dressing seemed to kill the seed).

I bought ironite to bring up the iron, borax for boron and zinc sulfate to round out the rest of the micronutrients. I'll be mixing those in with milorganite to distribute across the lawn. I was planning on dropping all of that immediately after aerating along with the new seed to make sure everything gets deep into the soil and lawn is working with the optimal nutrients. Part of the lawn that got burnt out is fairly hard and was thinking of doing some liquid aerating on that prior to actual aerating (using sodium lauryl sulfate laundry detergent) to soften things up and hopefully allow the core aerator to do a better job and allow the seedling grass to establish a good root zone in the hard soil. I would likely do that in the next day or two.

Should I not try to do this all at once? From what I've read, most of these minerals should have no effect on the seeds, but that's part of what forums like this are for. Sorry for the novel, but I've had so much questions and finally happy to have found an active forum where I can solicit advice!!!!

KentuckyBB
Posts: 2
Joined: September 6th, 2020, 10:53 pm
Location: Philadelphia area
Grass Type: KBG, fescue, ryegrass
Lawn Size: Not Specified
Level: Not Specified

Re: New to Forum - Fall New/Overseed Lawn Prep

Post by KentuckyBB » September 8th, 2020, 11:15 am

Also, forgot to mention that I bought 100lb of epsom salt for Mg & S and a bag of Mag-i-Cal with Lawn Conditioner (humates) to bring up my pH slightly above the 6.2 range given I'll be adding sulfur and other stuff back in that may drop my pH below optimal.

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andy10917
Posts: 29112
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 10:48 pm
Location: NY (Lower Hudson Valley)
Grass Type: Emblem KBG (Front); Blueberry KBG Monostand (Back)
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Advanced

Re: New to Forum - Fall New/Overseed Lawn Prep

Post by andy10917 » September 8th, 2020, 8:30 pm

I can't advise on the specifics of the soil test, as we limit the labs we do free analysis and dosing to a single lab - as volunteers we can't learn the specific test suites from lots of labs. But a few comments about your postings:
I tried mushroom compost before, but I think that may work better if you're able to till into soil, top dressing seemed to kill the seed).
Yup, mushroom compost is far too "hot" for seeding and young lawns. We recommend pretty strongly against it use for that.
I was planning on dropping all of that immediately after aerating along with the new seed to make sure everything gets deep into the soil and lawn is working with the optimal nutrients.
I'm not a fan of that approach - it assumes that the soil is uniform top to bottom, and that 25 years of shortages can be addressed in a couple of weeks if you buy the "right stuff". My experiences and research tell me that neither of those things are true.
From what I've read, most of these minerals should have no effect on the seeds
I believe that it's like putting all the spices on top of a recipe, and then tasting either the top or bottom. There will be too much on top and none on the bottom. With soil/seed it's even worse - the highly-alkaline Lime or Magnesium is where the seed is sitting, and even reacting with each other (see Mulder's Chart).

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