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Old 09-30-2009, 02:31 PM   #1
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


OK, this may sound like a completely ridiculously easy problem.

My house sits on lot that is 80% tree-covered and natural. However, I do have a so-called lawn covering the other 20%, a 10' x 20' strip running next to the driveway, and an area (40'x15') directly in front of the house.

The sunlight doesn't get to the entire lawn but the area that does get sun, it's only for about 1-2 hours/day. The lawn retains moisture, and only needs serious watering during the heat of summer.

I do the usual lawn maintenance, cutting the grass at suggested length, throwing lime down, seasonal fertilizer, etc.

Fall is here, and NC overseeding schedule takes place in Sept./Oct. Aerate, overseed, water...the typical.

However, the problem is this. With such a heavily wooded lot, with all-too-many acorn dropping trees, how do I prevent blowing away all of the money I just put into the ground? Acorns are dropping like rain. Raking and heavy blowing is required. Soon the leaves will be dropping and the amount requires blowing every day or 2 for 4-6 weeks.

Somehow, I don't think a covering of wheat-hay will prevent the removal of the new seed or damaging the delicate growth. Should I simply aerate and overseed in the March timeframe and take my chances on the potential for heat killing off the new growth? Or try re-sodding the lawn in the Fall instead of overseeding?

Thanks for any help or suggestions you may have.

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Old 10-02-2009, 04:12 PM   #2
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


I'd wait until the spring on the grass portion.

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Old 10-02-2009, 05:23 PM   #3
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


Wait until Spring. Consider hydromulching/hydroseeding. It works out great and establishes lawns quickly. Much easier to establish than sod and cheaper. If you have so much shade though, are you fighting a losing battle? Consider groundcover alternatives that would be more adapatable to the shade?
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:00 PM   #4
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


Great idea about the ground cover. I just found this link that gives some ideas for that:

http://www.oldhouseweb.com/gardening/filling-bald-spots-in-your-garden.shtml
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:05 AM   #5
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


I really appreciate the replies. And yes, after 3 years, it does seem as if I am in a losing battle. Now I know how the Spartan Leonidas must have felt.

To sdsester, I hate to sound like a total newbie, but not familiar with "hydromulching/hydroseeding." I am all for any ideas, but don't know what that would require. If you can provide a good link or some background, it would be greatly appreciated.

Otherwise, I am thinking about other ground cover at this time. Even some"artificial grass" to cover what should be a lawn area. I'm frustrated at throwing money at a situation that requires 24/7/52 without any added benefit. Hiwever, if I can escape the initial cost of $8K, I am all for it.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:11 PM   #6
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


Have you searched shade tolerant grasses for your transition zone? I am inclined to think that either the creeping red or other fine fescue might serve your purpose. Or would you prefer the somewhat coarser texture of tall fescue or bluegrass? There are several varieties with "shade" in their names, i.e. Shademaster, Shadylawn, Enviroshade, etc. that should give a clue to their tolerance. I should point out that "tolerance" does not mean that a species/variety thrives in shade, only that it is more accepting (or forgiving) of that condition. Remember that in nature you hardly ever see a grass growing in the woods!

Quote:
Consider hydromulching/hydroseeding.
For less than 1000 sq ft? No way! Maybe if you found a contractor with another job nearby and he could come by and shoot this while he was in the area.
Not usually for the DIY'er. Not that it is complicated, but more that the equipment is not commonly found for rent.

Quote:
Wait until Spring
Quote:
I'd wait until the spring
What the ...?

Why now?
Quote:
Fall is here, and NC overseeding schedule takes place in Sept./Oct. Aerate, overseed, water...the typical.
Why not spring?
Quote:
and take my chances on the potential for heat killing off the new growth?
Exactly the reason that now is the preferred season for this.

By the way, I am in commercial landscaping. Using a hydroseeder takes about two hours to set it up, and cleaning it after the job. Plus the actual job time and cost of materials.

But I have to wonder- what is the hurry to blow the yard off if you seed or sod now? Clean it good as part of your prep, then give the seed a couple of weeks to root in, then clean it back off gently.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:58 PM   #7
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


Hydroseeding/hydromulching is a process where seed, nutrients, and a crust/mulch material is tossed into slurry and sprayed on. The process looks rather like when they blow material to form a swimming pool. When it dries the crust locks everything in fairly nice contact with the soil.

The points mentioned by downunder are well taken that 1) hydroseeding is probably not a DIY project and 2) it might be difficult to get someone out to do a small space. If you can schedule with some patience and flexibility you can probably find a contractor to swing by when doing a larger job, or pooling little ones together near you, to do this. Do check to make sure he or she is applying a suitable shade blend. Check your yellow pages and call around.

As for my recommendation to wait for Spring? Back in my turfgrass management days, my favored time to plant lawns was in the Fall. I suggested you wait because of your unusually prolific acorn problem this year. I fear you will not have the option to be careful and will need to be fairly aggressive with a rake to get those things up and bagged. You will just rip out the young grass roots in the process? By the time they stop falling you will have lost your Fall window and it will be cool enough the seed will resist germinating until Spring anyhow.

Please note that hydroseeding is somewhat forgiving but you should still prep the soil as you would for any other kind of seeding procedure.

Found this with a very quick Google search for "hydroseeding" and hope it will help get you started if you want to explore further. At least there is a picture of the process!

http://www.hydroseedingexperts.com/

Last edited by user1007; 10-03-2009 at 02:10 PM. Reason: Added URL
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


I really appreciate your replies and explanations.

It is great information and I will try my best to get what I can to grow, whether it is grass or I decide to go the "natural" route with strategically placed bushes and creative landscaping. Thank you again!
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:05 PM   #9
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


Do get to know your local nursery (not box store) staff. And, if you are near one, see if a local university or college has planting recommendations, sample plots, and so forth. Landscape oriented meetings and trade shows often happen in the off season (although I doubt the Carolinas have much of one).

Given your wooded situation, definitely look to nature for solutions. Your best bet may be to plant native species in a designed way that looks nice.

Scale out your yard and play with it on paper over the winter. Hit the library for groundcover, natural planting, landscaping, etc. books. See if you can come up with a plant list and maybe you can get cuttings and so forth from others that have some of what you need to bring your costs down. Most will not mind sharing from my experience.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:10 PM   #10
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


Quote:
I fear you will not have the option to be careful and will need to be fairly aggressive with a rake to get those things up and bagged. You will just rip out the young grass roots in the process?
Maybe use a vacuum mulcher? Just a thought.

SD
Kudos to an intelligent and knowledgeable discussion!
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:19 PM   #11
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Wooded lot - Fall overseeding in NC


Quote:
Originally Posted by downunder View Post
Maybe use a vacuum mulcher? Just a thought.
Might work but those little acorns are so heavy. And if you are experiencing what we did last year? There are so many, for some reason, that even the landscape recycling center was refusing to take any more for awhile!

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