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Old 10-02-2014, 10:21 AM   #1
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Trying to grow grass under locust leaves


So I bought this house and the back yard has a giant locust tree. I put down some grass seed and fertilizer then raked it down/ in with the opposite side of my flex rake and made sure to water ASAP (and now water once a day) but all of the locust tree leaves came down right after I put the seed down.

I was going to top off the seed with some peat moss (so the grass seeds were even more covered and more likely to take - something that worked in my front yard) but now that these leaves came down I thought adding peat moss would just suffocate the seeds (given the leaves were already covering as well). I was kind of hoping the tiny locust tree leaves would act like peat moss and help the seed germinate. Will that work?

I can't really rake the leaves off without taking most of the seed. Should I buy a leaf vacuum/ blower? That might take the leaves off so I can put peat moss down but the leaves aren't all off the tree... And my neighbor has the same tree like 20 feet away.

It's only been 4 days since I put the seed down but I used that nice Scott's stuff with the blue coating and I haven't seen any germination yet...

Thoughts?

Last edited by Milwminded; 10-02-2014 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:28 AM   #2
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Picture


Here is a shot of the back yard from a second floor porch.

I spot seeded around some existing grass that was doing well, but most of the back yard (80%) was raked down to dirt (previous owner just had layers and layers of dead leaves/ grass) then I put down new top soil and seeded...
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:34 AM   #3
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Shade seed (and some shade/ sun mix)


Oh, and I used two bags of shade seed (liberal coating) and came bag with one bag of shade/ sun mix. This is a pretty shady location but some locations get decent sun throughout the day (hence the 3X1 shade to sun mix)...

Does that seem like a decent strategy?

The ground should still be decently warm but it will soon be only highs of 50 so if I need to change strategy I should do that pretty quickly or I'l be starting from scratch in Spring...
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:56 AM   #4
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Be patient. 4 days isn't long enough for germination especially with temps in the 50s. Getting rid of the leaves would be a good idea. Use a blower lightly.
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:11 PM   #5
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Don't know where you are located, but, particularly if north of the Mason Dixon line, and depending on what the weather is for the next few weeks, it's just as likely that the only thing that will do anything at this point is the rye, and the rest will wait until spring. As mentioned though, 4 days is not long enough to gauge any results. As far as the leaves, locust's are pretty wispy, and a blower is likely to just move them around a bit with not a lot of net gain. If you do go that route, take it easy, as you don't want to blow your seed around. And you could rent one if you don't have other plans for it. Personally, I would leave it alone, move onto getting the snow blower ready or whatever, and see what it looks like in the spring.
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Old 10-02-2014, 01:15 PM   #6
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Thank you


Great advice. Thank you.

Yes we live just west of downtown Milwaukee. I'm sure we'll see snow in a month or so, and we don't have a snow blower yet, so maybe the money we'd spend on the leaf blower we'll stick into a snow blower.

Assuming the grass seed doesn't germinate before snow would it hibernate over the winter and just "kick-in" come spring? Or would I have to start over (I.e. rake up the old seed, put down new topsoil and start over)?

Thank you!!!
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Old 10-02-2014, 01:42 PM   #7
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No way to know for sure, but I would say that it's as likely as not that the seed will lay dormant and take off in the spring. I'm across the lake, in Michigan, so relatively similar weather, and it's a little late for grass seed even here, but have had pretty good success overall in the fall. Keep an eye on it once the soil starts to warm back up, and you'll still have time to redo it before summer rolls around in case it doesn't take. Forgot to mention before, but I also almost always straw new seed, especially in the fall, because it helps keep the leaves off of the seed, but, again, locust leaves are pretty wispy, so I don't think that they will smother it like say maple leaves would.
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