Midwest Garden Guys

Lawn Re-Seeding!

SCOTT: It’s the most wonderful time of year… for planting grass. Whether a new lawn or the important over-seeding, it’s the most successful time to lay down some seed.
MIKE: U betcha!!! But it’s not time to “Lay down some seed!” It’s time to “SOW” seed! Lay down is what Scott does when he goes to bed. 
SCOTT: Before your talking puts me to sleep Mike, tell us why right now is the prime time to seed.
MIKE: Scott, sowing your lawn around the end of August, early September, is the best time to fix damage that has occurred over this last growing season. Reasons are the cooler days and the warm soil temperatures still lingering from the summer months. Plus, frequent rainfall allows the freshly sown seed to germinate with minimal competition from heat, disease, insects and stress. Weeds may grow along with the newly germinating grass seed but can be easily controlled when the new grass is hardy enough – usually after 3 or more mowings.
SCOTT: Over seeding a lawn is important to help push out weeds and other unwanted grasses, thickening up your lawn. It’s taken me about three years of overseeding to push out some thin grasses and replace them with some nice tall fescues.
MIKE: Ya’know, everyone, 3 years ago Scott didn’t have any idea how to grow a lawn. All he did was mow it…better yet scalp it. Tall fescues are now recognized as the new Kentucky bluegrass. It has a similar texture, thickness and color but tolerates conditions that bluegrasses can’t. I personally prefer a mixture, I call “Mike’s Mix.” It’s equal parts Crossfire turf type fescue, Titanium turf type fescue and Manhattan perennial ryegrass.
SCOTT: Wait a minute, I’ve never cut my lawn that low, that’s my neighbor’s lawn you’re thinking of! So… a couple years ago I learned one of the best ways to “sow” new seed is to make mud balls. Take fresh topsoil, throw it in a 5-gallon bucket, add seed and mix it together, like lots of chocolate chips in cookie dough. Then hand spread this around your lawn. Then repeat… repeat… repeat! This gives the seed a perfect medium, other than the sand or clay that’s in your lawn, to germinate in. It also helps keep it moist, and that’s the key to grass seed, right Mike? Mike??
MIKE: Sorry, I was ordering a dozen cookies… what did you say? Ahh, seed moisture, yes, moisture is good.
SCOTT: If you buy a blend of grasses or even make the Mike’s Mix, these seeds will germinate at different times, so DO NOT STOP WATERING!
MIKE: Under pristine growing conditions, turf type grasses will take anywhere from 7 to 30 days to just germinate. 
*Perennial Ryegrass germinates in approximately 7 to 10 days.
*Turf type fescues take 14 to 21 days.
*Kentucky Bluegrass usually pops within 21 to 30 days.
SCOTT: Remember, watering means keeping the seeds wet, not flooded. And as the season heads toward fall, water in the afternoon, as morning dew will keep them moist before the sun comes out.
MIKE: One last tip, a pound of grass seed covers a 100-square-foot area. Good luck!

Your Midwest Garden Podcast guys, Mike O’Rourke and Scott Sandstrom, will be sharing gardening advice and information with readers throughout the growing season. O’Rourke, retired from Black Diamond Garden Center and known as the Garden Guy for many years, discusses landscape issues with Sandstrom in a casual conversation designed to educate listeners, and now readers, on a wide variety of topics.

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