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Old 05-05-2013, 01:08 PM   #1
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best and fastest way to grow grass

i have a lot of bare areas. not just small patches but actual areas without any grass at all as it used to be used as a dump pile for previous home owners. what is the best way to go about growing grass. some spots are under tall trees. do i put down soil seed and hay and just water or is there more to it than that, thanks


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Old 05-05-2013, 01:44 PM   #2
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The fastest is sod.....till the area...clean out the old grass and toss down sod.....done....


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Old 05-05-2013, 03:21 PM   #3
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The only thing which ever worked for me was scotts ez seed. A jug is like 10 dollars i think. But it came up in 14 plus days.

Just sprinkle and water.

The sod is a good ideal to. If you have a sod farm in town.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:43 PM   #4
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Sod may seem faster but it is a transplant product and a seeded---or especially a hydroseeded planting---will establish stronger and faster if you give it the attention you need. You cannot just plunk sod down. For one thing it will be above your finish grade and you will scalp it trying to mow.

Remember grass seeds are different species. The cheaper contract mixes tend to have things like super fast germinating ANNUAL rye (and a greater proportion of weed seed) that comes in coarse and will only last one season while it hogs nutrients. Common hybrid blends are usually a combination of PERENNIAL rye, bluegrass and fescue. Perennial rye will do well in full sun but not in shade. Of course their are specialty climate grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia that are best grown from sod or plugs.

Now is a great time to buy turfgrass seed because you can get nice, fresh seed in bulk to make just the mix the matches your situation.

Turfgrasses germinate at different rates with annual ryes sprouting in 5-7 days, perennial rye in 7-10 and bluegrasses and fescues taking up to a month. These germination times assume you keep the seed evenly moist until it germinates and that you have fairly ideal temps and humidity.

Establishing sod can be tricky and people underestimate how much water and attention it can take. You have to make sure you bond it with nicely prepped soil or you can end up growing the transplant layer for eternity and it will not send roots into the soil. You have to strike a balance between keeping the sod layer alive while encouraging it to seek water in the soil so it sends down roots. You must start with fresh harvested sod that is ideally with 24 hours old and no more than 48 or it will have started to shrink and die. Water it immediately as you lay it, not when you are done with everything. Roll with no more than a half-full landscape roller to ensure contact between the roots in the newly planted sod and your soil bed.

You can take your chances with scarifying bare spots, overseeding and top dressing but if you have the large patches you mention and if your soil is compacted clay or something you should till the soil, pull out weed clumps, fold in ammendments and whatever you need to balance the soil (especially Ph) and a starter fertilizer and till again until you have a fine soil mix. Rake to grade, broadcast the seed, top dress and roll with a half-filled landscape roller to bond with the soil. Keep moist until it germinates as mentioned above.

If you have more square footage in bare spots than remaining lawn patches you may want to start over with everything. If you can fit a small tractor it will till the soil fast. Otherwise, a nice, heavy rear tine tiller should be in your future.

Hydroseeding is a process where a slurry of seed, fertilizer and protective crust is mixed together and sprayed on a prepared seed bed. It hold nicely to slopes, germinates more quickly than seed alone and the crust holds moisture better than other top dressings, it is establishes faster than sod. It costs a fraction of the cost of sod. If you can be schedule flexible you can get a pretty good deal even on a small or patch job when a contractor is working near you. Search online for a listing of local hydroseeding contractors.

Those bare spot patches might be worth considering but you still need to do some prep and again, watch the seed mix that is in them. Many of them have mostly ANNUAL rye.

Finally growing turf under some trees can be tricky. Obviously you need a shade tolerant species. Depending on the tree variety and what things that fall from it does to soil Ph you might be better off planting a more tolerant and adaptive ground cover. You can choose from nicely colored and textured varieties that may be easier to maintain than turf.

Last edited by user1007; 05-05-2013 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:06 PM   #5
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Depending on how shaded the bare areas are, you may want to consider using Creeping Red Fescue seed. It works much better in heavily shaded areas. As mentioned earlier hydroseeding his great for large areas, but is quite expensive for smaller ones. Just be sure you have a well-prepared soil surface, apply the seed, rake it in, apply starter fertilizer and straw mulch, if you want to. Then sprinkle lightly on a daily basis. You probably want to use a blended seed mix with at least some ryegrass that will start rapidly.
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