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Old 04-18-2013, 03:49 AM   #1
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So grass likes water....4 feet - not so much


Well I am tired of looking at a dead yard. Flooded with 4 feet of water with Isaac. We have replaced siding around most of the house and are now in the process of painting the house. I am itching to get some thing growing even if its weeds!!

We have something that minutely resembles grass but what kind I have no idea. I want to overseed as we really don't have the time or the moolla to get topsoil for two acres.

I like the look of Bermuda grass but everything I have read pretty much states that you have to put topsoil down read it lullabies and water it on the hour every hour for the first 3 weeks.

I am hoping that we have an option of putting down some type of grass seed over the existing whatever it is that does not require heaps of effort. Don't mind some effort but can't babysit for the next 3 months. Am I out of luck? Should I just live with it till next year?

Thanks

RJ

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Old 04-18-2013, 07:25 AM   #2
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So grass likes water....4 feet - not so much


Well, you should get a quick soil test to see what you need to do to ammend the soil to correct for the flooding damage. Then, you are not going to get much out of seed, sod or plugs without prepping the soil so get a tiller or tractor in to turn over the soil and fold in ammendments. You cannot just overseed in this situation.

Sod and pluts are transplant product so does take a lot of water to establish. And bermuda is a species that grows fairly shallow and spreads by rhyzomes along the surface. It is very high maintenance and requires extra feeding. It also goes dormant and turns brown in the winter which some people do not like. If you use a sod product make sure it was harvested no more than 48 hours and preferably within 24 hours of laying it down. Starting watering it as you lay it down---do not wait until you have it all in place.

If I were you, and once the soil is prepped, I would look into hydroseeding. It costs but a fraction of what sod does and will, in most instances, establish a lawn faster than sod. With hydroseeding a slurry of seed, fertilizer and mulch is sprayed on to form a crust. You then have to keep the mix moist as you would a conventionally seeded lawn until the seed germinates. Hydroseeding is mostly used for turfgrasses but you could put down other seeds as well.



Now this germination period will vary depending on the type of seed with perrennial rye grasses sprouting in about 7-10 days and bluegrasses and fescues taking 14-28. The sprayed on crust will help maintain moisture and protect seed from birds and sunburn but an irrigation system set to come on a few times per day would be nice. Beware of contractor grades of grass seed blends as they will likely have high percentages of ANNUAL grasses that will come in coarse (but quickly) but only grow for one season.

You know, the other thing to think about at this point is whether you really want 2 acres of turf? Perhaps some nicely colored and textured ground covers would work for you and cut down, at least long term, on your maintenance load. I think droughts and water rationing may be in all of our futures and the first thing that will have to go is watering the lawn! Might as well plan for this?

Xerescaping, the use of native plants in designed landscapes, is increasingly popular already in parts of the country. Worth looking into.


Last edited by user1007; 04-18-2013 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:04 PM   #3
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So grass likes water....4 feet - not so much


Thanks SD...understand on the Xerescaping. Grew up in the Australian Outback NO grass out there lol. With respect to tilling, how does one go about it. Do you rent a tiller and have at it or is there a particular way to go about it. Are you just loosening up the soil for the new seed or do you need to turn it and then pull everything out. I do like the idea of the hydroseeding. Is this charged by the square foot? How do you figure out rough costs?

Thanks

RJ
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:59 PM   #4
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So grass likes water....4 feet - not so much


You need to till in some organic matter, such as peat moss or organic compost. Compost would be best, as it would help provide nutrients back into the soil. The organic matter helps keep the soil loose, while also retaining moisture.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:13 PM   #5
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So grass likes water....4 feet - not so much


The first pass of rototilling (or tilling with a tractor) is to turn over the soil and break up clumps of vegetative matter so you can pick it up and haul it off. The second pass you should fold in the ammendments indicated by soil testing along with organics like mentioned in the prior post and pulverize the soil to provide a nice, airy bed for the seed. Then rake it out to grade pulling any clumps and rocks you missed. You may want to roll even with a half-full landscape roller being careful not to compact it back down. Ask the hydroseeder. With conventional seeding you would roll it after broadcasting the seed and putting a top dressing over it.

You can rent a rototiller but get a heavy one as a light one will just bounce around on top of compacted soil and do a real number on your back---not that you will not feel a heavy one in your back also. The heavy rear tine ones work fairly well and will rent by the day or weekend I should think.

It may be cheaper to hire someone to do it and if a tractor will fit into your yard the discs can really do a nice job of turning over the soil in a very short period of time. Is their a farmer or orchard owner near that might be bribed with one of those brews you Aussies are famous for having on hand?

You shouldn't have to worry about hitting underground utilities but you never know. Some phone or cable people may have been lazy and barely disguised service lines just under the surface. If yours have never been marked for you have the free locator service come out and flag everything underground. Do a sketch so you remember for next time you are digging. Cutting any utility can turn into an expensive proposition in a hurry.

As for hydroseeding, a contractor in your area will be able to give you a rough cost per square foot over the phone along with instruction for preparing for the process. I suspect some will even come out and quote for the project. Start with a search online as there is a national referral service. Or search locally or ask your real nursery. You might see if the contractor will till the soil and just turnkey the whole project for you for not too much moola. Might start here:

http://www.hydroseedingexperts.com/F...Contractor.htm

If you can be flexible and let the person do it when doing other projects in the area it may save you some although with 2 acres you have a decent sized project. You might want to get on someone's schedule as now is a great time to plant a lawn. It gets tougher when the weather heats up to keep seeds moist. You might consider waiting until Fall if you cannot get the soil prepped soon.

Someone on this site said you can rent the hydroseeding equipment but I wonder how practical that would really work out to be by the time you factor in learning curve, clean-up and all. The business is fairly competitive.

Do think about how much lawn you really want though. Obviously tilled soil will benefit ground covers and other things you plant so you might as well do the whole yard with that process. Make sure the contractor selects a turf blend that is going to work well for you. Typical turf mixes are composed of hybrid PERENNIAL, not ANNUAL ryes, fescues and bluegrasses. In California hydroseeding was used long before it became popular for turf to distribute groundcover seeds---iceplant comes to mind---on steep embankments along highways.

Last edited by user1007; 04-18-2013 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:51 PM   #6
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So grass likes water....4 feet - not so much


SD, thanks so much for the detailed reply. Sounds like a job I'm willing to pass on to a professional, although playing with the big boy tractor does sound appealing

I have emailed some contacts on the list and shall see what they come up with. I did find a couple of sites that provided a price per sq ft and it does seem a reasonable alternative. I have also chatted with the local extension and they will be assisting with getting the soil tested. Very helpful people.

Thanks again for taking the time to provide the details and here is a virtual Aussie beer for ya Cheers.

RJ

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