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Old 11-12-2012, 04:35 PM   #1
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Grass when it gets cold


I live in Virginia Beach and it is starting to get cold out. I just recently purchased a house and there are some parts of the yard along the side of the house, mainly under the trees where it doesn't get much sun light that is lacking some grass and it just makes a muddy mess whenever it rains.

How can I get the grass growing even though it is starting to get cold out? Do I just need to wait until the spring start in order to star this project?

Thanks a lot!

Zach

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Old 11-12-2012, 05:09 PM   #2
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Grass when it gets cold


It doesn't get that cold in Va. Beach. Grass is actually a weed, and will go dormant during cold months, and recover in the Spring. Lay down some Winterize now, then before it gets really warm, say Jan. or Feb, since we are going to have a warm Winter like we did last year, lay down some Pre-Emergent.

As for the muddy mess, lay down some Shade seed, but also may want to have the soil checked for acidity levels also, so you know what else to put down with the seed. To cover the seed, use the green blankets that you stake down, the grass will grow through it, it will disintegrate over time, and come Spring you get grass, then mow after 4 to 6 inches high.

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Old 11-12-2012, 06:11 PM   #3
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Grass when it gets cold


I agree with Grezoll for the most part but pre-emergent herbicides and the concept of planting or overseeding do not go together. You don't want to lay down a pre-emergent if there is a chance you want to seed in a couple months.

Definitely get the soil test so you know how to adjust things. You could apply whatever is needed to correct Ph and supplement missing nutrients over the winter. I guess a winter feeding with timed release fertilizer will not hurt anything but your budget.

Just so you explore options? Why not consider blending some nicely colored or textured ground covers into your landscape design and planted, in particular, under the trees where the turfgrass is not growing well. Carefully chosen it will thrive and be lower maintenance than turf.

By the way, here is a rather nice and animated feature on turfgrass growth you might find interesting. Be warned though while the link worked the last time I went to it, it was not working a minute ago so I hope the server is just down temporarily. It seemed to work at the second link. Just click on any of the red bullets.

http://www.files.ahnrit.vt.edu/files...grassgrows.swf

http://www.ahnrit.vt.edu/ProjectPort...ultimedia.html

Last edited by user1007; 11-12-2012 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:15 PM   #4
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Grass when it gets cold


That is why I made the two points separate. There is probably a underlying reason why they are getting the muddy mess under the trees. Even if they did lay the pre-emergent down over that area, they would still be able to over seed after 6 to 8 weeks, or steer clear of that area with the pre-emergent, and over seed for the Winter in that spot.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:34 PM   #5
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Grass when it gets cold


The only thing that I am worried about is right where I need to get this grass growing is the only entrance and exit from our back yard and it is where I have to move a lot of thigs in and out of. If I lay the winterize down should I rake it around or do anythign inparticular in order to get it going? Water it? Do I lay the shade seed right on top of it?
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:37 PM   #6
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Grass when it gets cold


Why do you have to move things out of the way. If no one needs to go out there during the Winter, do what I stated, but do not lay Winterizer or Pre-Emergant down in the area you seed. Lowes has the seeding blankets that lay over where you seeded, so that as I stated before, it protects the seed from being removed by birds, but also holds the moisture down, so the seed can take.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:47 PM   #7
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Grass when it gets cold


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
That is why I made the two points separate. There is probably a underlying reason why they are getting the muddy mess under the trees. Even if they did lay the pre-emergent down over that area, they would still be able to over seed after 6 to 8 weeks, or steer clear of that area with the pre-emergent, and over seed for the Winter in that spot.
Since you and I usually agree, I realized I must have read something wrong. I had your suggestions out of sequence. Sorry!
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:57 PM   #8
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Grass when it gets cold


No biggie sdsester. I was having to scroll back and forth when I posted, so what I was typing was put out of sequence, but never thought to go further, since I was trying to get the basic idea out there.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:57 PM   #9
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Grass when it gets cold


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The only thing that I am worried about is right where I need to get this grass growing is the only entrance and exit from our back yard and it is where I have to move a lot of thigs in and out of. If I lay the winterize down should I rake it around or do anythign inparticular in order to get it going? Water it? Do I lay the shade seed right on top of it?
A couple red flag issues in these statements.

First, you cannot me moving heavy stuff over young turfgrass shoots or you will get nowhere fast. And you are just going to compact your soil to the point it will be hard to grow turf in it.

Second, even in Virginia Beach temps are cooler than they would be in the Spring? Turfgrasses, under ideal conditions, germinate within different timeframes: Annual rye grasses, which you really do not want, will sprout in 5-7 days; perrennial hybrid rye grasses 7-10 and bluegrasses and fescues and most shade blend turfgrasses can take 14-21 or more. You have to keep the seeds moist---not muddy soggy---until they germinate. So, realistically you might be looking at the end of December before much happens. You might do better waiting until January or February as spring comes early where you are?

As far as laying down a controlled release winter fertilizer and seed at the same time. No problem. You have not mentioned how many square feet you actually need but Gregzoll's suggestion to buy those patch kits with seed and mulch in one is a good one to consider.

I still encourage you to consider whether you really want turf in the areas you mention. If you are dragging equipment or just stuff on a regular basis I really do think some sort of hardscape elements and ground cover would suit your needs better.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:28 PM   #10
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Grass when it gets cold


I would say it is about a 200 square foot area. I do not drag anything crazy heave through just trash cans, mower, a few dirt bikes, and just a lot of walking through the area. So just to dumb it down for me what you suggest my first step be?
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:31 PM   #11
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Grass when it gets cold


That is probably why you have all of the mud, and grass not growing. I would change the exit from the backyard if you can, so that you can use your driveway if you are able to, or put down a rock pathway, to take the wear off of the grass. You can use forms, or dig down and pour concrete in to make stepping stones, then that way it will blend into the grass as it grows.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:06 PM   #12
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Grass when it gets cold


Soldier Field just layed a football field of new sod today. Temp is supposed to drop to 30 tonight. Often have wondered if frozen natural turf is that different and softer than frozen astroturf?

Needless to say, they will no doubt be putting heat blankets on it or something. Or they just laid nice sod knowing it would be killed off in short order.

Last edited by user1007; 11-14-2012 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:40 AM   #13
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Grass when it gets cold


My opinion?( who cares)
Va beach is now and will be still to cold to plant grass. I would wait till spring.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:26 AM   #14
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Grass when it gets cold


chrisn, forecast is showing otherwise. Showing mid to high 50's during the day, mid to high 40's at night. Perfect to get that grass growing. VA beach does not get as cold as the Midwest during Winter. If it does get cold, it is only a very short two week period.

Quick grow seed will take during this weather for the OP, they can also mix in regular seed after a couple of weeks, and will be fine.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:45 PM   #15
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Quick grow seed will take during this weather for the OP, they can also mix in regular seed after a couple of weeks, and will be fine.
Only as a last resort for mud control or something like splashing some green in bermuda type lawns that go brown please. Quick growing seed is invariably going to be an aggressive ANNUAL turfgrass---most often rye---and you will only get one season out of it. Meanwhile it is coarse looking and will steal nutrients other more admirable seeds need to establish.

I would wait until spring unless you can deal with morning frosts.

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