webuser_861286948

How to overseed lawn & grow grass?

Neal Rich
5 months ago
last modified: 5 months ago

I live in southern PA, practically in MD. I never Overseeded my lawn nor grew grass but it appears, with some google searching, October is the best time for me to do these things. I’m not a DIY expert and no nothing much about my lawn. i don’t know the exact grass I have but at my local garden shop they tell me most everyone in my area have a mixture of 3 grasses and they sell that grass seed.

I have an area in the back of my yard which used to be flowers and mulch but I want to make it all grass. To make it hopefully blend into the rest of my yard, I thought it would be best to overseed my whole back yard with this same grass seed i purchase. I don’t have much equipment so hopefully this is something I can do in a rather simple way. Is there any point to seeding just before or just after a day when there will be rain ? And I saw on YouTube that some people plant seeds in the winter rather than fall. I hope to get some great advice below.

Comments (49)

  • a1an

    Neal -

    The tri mix u speak of is probably the atypical sun-shade mix...and whatever ends up surviving based on the siting if not germination @ time of (rye, creeping fescue and a smidge of kentucky).


    We've been closing the windows @ night, so it's a sign it's getting cold ;-/

    You're around 2 months shy of when the overseed/seeding should have occured. If you got bare dirt, then I suppose the rye should germinate @ these temps, but not sure if it will harden off before then.

    Season temps for me are weird, In spring, if you seed, it get's hot pretty quick so you have to be ontop of irrigation.


    For ease of seeding/germination/post care, I would say wait till Sept 2020 of next year. If it can't wait till then, hell, I would put some seed down now and then add more seed back in spring and then plan to add overseed again in fall.

    Neal Rich thanked a1an
  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    Actually, I wouldn't put seed down now in any case--if you can't wait, wait. :-) Then put seed down in January or so.

    It'll sprout as soon as it can in April or so as a dormant seeding. You'll need to coddle it a bit if the weather is hot and dry next summer, and you may wish to reseed next Labor Day as well, but a dormant seeding is your second-best bet if you miss the fall seeding window. Which you did.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Related Discussions

    Can't grow grass under these Live Oaks in Charleston

    Q

    Comments (21)
    What a lovely family space! Tons of potential! I would agree with the suggestions to use a variety of solutions. I too have a big, beautiful giant in my backyard that drops copious foliage in the fall. The previous homeowners began a solution that I'm building upon. Wood chips under the tree (and for you, I'd place them around the playground for the kids), and pea gravel (kept in place by manufactured hardy plastic ground rails) in adult entertaining areas. I intend to dig out some of the gravel and place pavers on a grid, build an arbor, and make a lounging/outdoor dining space in that area. A leaf blower keeps my yard tidy, and I just compost the leaves (though bagging them is also an option). Best of luck to you!!
    ...See More

    Lawn Problems

    Q

    Comments (12)
    Mark Wisecarver: I would like nothing better than to help eliminate world hunger by growing food rather than grass but I live in a suburb. I appreciate your sentiment but not only do I not have enough land to make a difference, the squirrels, foxes, birds, and deer will eat anything I grow. So, I choose to give wildlife a place to feed by using natural substances and methods to grow my grass. Most of my neighbors use chemicals to fertilize, and kill weeds and bugs so all the wildlife comes to my yard to eat, and I like it that way. I am even looking for an appropriate place in my yard to put a bat box, for natural mosquito control. I just wanted to make the point that growing grass does not automatically mean a person is insensitive to ecological and humanitarian issues.
    ...See More

    POLL: Real or Fake Grass?

    Q

    Comments (195)
    Global SYN Turf....I have been to San Diego many times...have relatives there...and maybe I haven't been in the neighborhoods where you have installed fake grass because I have never seen it in any neighborhood that I have been in. What I see is people choosing smaller yards or more concrete. It might be nice to have artificial turf if you want a small putting green in your yard. However, I grew up with sheep, a goat, rabbit, parrots, several dogs, chickens in a chicken pen, and now I have a cat. And we kept the sheep and goats in a separate yard than the lawn and the chickens had their own enclosed area. But there has never been a problem with having real grass and having dogs and cats. My cat needs to eat grass for his digestion and thats also how cats clean their teeth. My dogs were trained to go to the bathroom in one corner in the garden area so the lawn wasn't dirty. Maybe some places need to restrict water use but not all people everywhere need too. And how are you saving water if you have to cool down the fake turf on hot days using cold water? And when the turf wears out it goes to the garbage dump. Grass is natural and won't harm the planet by ending up in the garbage dump. And does raking the leaves off the lawns or using the lawn mower to pick up the leaves damage the turf? Because I refuse to live in a neighborhood where I have to wake up hearing people using their blowers to get rid of the leaves from the trees...and possibly blow their leaves into my yard. Some kinds of fake turf are nice to look at...but if you want to play and lay on it it's not like the real thing.
    ...See More

    Repairing my lawn

    Q

    Comments (3)
    Depends on where you live and if you plan to use chemicals to achieve your goals. Personally, I prefer hand-digging the broadleaf weeds and mowing the rest. The alternative is to use a product designed to kill weeds. If you live in an area with a rainy spring you still have time to do some rehab. If not, wait until Fall. If there is thatch you can rent a dethatcher or rake it out. It wouldn't hurt to aerate, too. Throw down some good quality grass seed if needed. Then fertilize (I prefer organic) and throw down some nice compost. Give your lawn plenty of water during the growing season. I like using a mulching mower so the grass clippings stay behind and help feed the soil. If you can live with a less than perfect lawn, over time with a little TLC you can make it much better without using harsh chemicals. Mine is looking pretty good if you don't look too closely! Enjoy.
    ...See More
  • a1an

    What's the success rate of dormant seeding - just of of curiosity - 60% of seedown? I've often wondered how successful is dormant seedings. Winds pretty knarly - not as bad as spring washout.

    Neal Rich thanked a1an
  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    I'm sure much of the success re: winter or dormant season seeding will be related to location. In the PNW it is not recommended at all. Winters tend to be too wet and with minimal snowfall and the seed just rots. In fact, even spring seeding (which IS recommended here) is often delayed due to wet soils that take too long to dry out.

    Neal Rich thanked gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
  • a1an

    Unless the surface is scarified with the tines of anything....seeds, soil, rolled or even stepped on, (moisture aside), when I've looked at dormant seeding, I can't imagine the seeds staying in place with the typical winter winds.


    At that same token, I guess where there is a will there is a way. Sorta how even my annual plantings, baby ones emerge from the same flowerbeds and or I'll find even in cracks between pavers...I guess seeds do find a way to stay and survive, even with the winter winds.


    Ha. this has perked my interest! I might put some seed - make a 18" square - in the veg bed in January just to see how dormant seeding works or will the winds just blow it away.

    Neal Rich thanked a1an
  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    There's a reason grass seeds are spiky little things. :-) They do tend to grab on and they are natives of the high plains, which are known for being rather windy and not known for being scarified in neat rows...

    I probably wouldn't trust it on fallow ground to any vast extent, but for an overseeding, or with a light cover, sure.

    For us here in PA, even southern PA/MD border, January and February are not going to be warm and wet. Wet, maybe. Warm enough to rot the seed...no. So that's not going to be a concern. Don't try this in Georgia.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • a1an

    For my own Wiki. Re: Dormant Seeding. What is the underlying theory/ benefits of it being put down in Jan vs Last Week of Feb. Presuming it will still come to sprout when the soil temps induce it do, what is then the said benefit of dormant seeding. I once wanted to test pre-germinating seeds, but just the mere thought of how to spread - wet rice krispies- around, did not seem like a easy task,

    Neal Rich thanked a1an
  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    " What is the underlying theory/ benefits of it being put down in Jan vs Last Week of Feb "


    Pick your choose, I know of no major advantage either way. Grasses don't benefit from a cold weather period--they'll sprout well enough after a few months in storage.

    I tend to suggest January just because, around here, it's convenient, the weather generally Does Not Completely Stink, and the stuff will get snowed on (if it snows).

    But if the last week of February is better for you and your weather is compatible for dormant seeding, go for it. That's just fine according to any data I possess. Pre-germination simply requires some time being damp and cool, which will happen during March either way.

    For areas with very touchy weather that may feature warm/cold shifts, later would be better than earlier as it would be less likely that the seed would sprout ahead of time. But that's not going to happen in Pennsylvania. We're not going to get enough significant weather above fifty degrees during winter to matter.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    Is there special ‘dormant’ seed I’d need to purchase if the plan is to try this winter?


    And if I can plant in January, why not now too?

    Thank you all for helping

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    Nope, any seed will do. Once temperatures get cold enough, it's all "dormant" seed.

    But you do need to wait. Temperatures in October/November are still warm enough that there's a chance--and a good one--that the seed may go through germination and sprout. For rye and fescue, that only takes five days or so. Less for some of the speedy ones.

    Given that the current weather seems to be locked "warm," you don't want that to happen. You definitely want colder winter days.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    Can or should I lay down any fertilizer over the yard now? Should I put compost down, now, on the parts of lawn which have patches of no grass?

    Or will just seed in January take fine without additional help?

  • PRO
    myricarchitect

    Following

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    It'll take fine with no additional help.

    That having been said, compost sure won't hurt, so if you want to drop a quarter inch, go right ahead. And existing lawns can be fertilized now, and should be fertilized again at growth stoppage (usually, for you, around Thanksgiving).

    If you haven't fed this fall, do so now. If you have, you can skip it now. But in either case, plan to do the winterization feeding at growth stoppage which, again, is usually your last clean-up mow.

    For me, that's Thanksgiving week. For others, it varies. The lawn will still be green, but won't be growing any longer.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • a1an

    Neal's seeding in a existing mulch/flower bed. I think OM he's good. I would just work on leveling/grading out that new area, and bring the grade up to whatever level/pitch you want to tie into the existing hardscape

    Neal Rich thanked a1an
  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    For leveling, use good soil that's as low in OM and compost as possible and never use compost to level. Compost rots, and highly organic topsoils will also rot away. One actually wants a soil as close to one's local soil as possible, and with low OM--you can always add your own.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    What is OM?


    what fertilizer do people suggest I use now or after I cut on thanksgiving?

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    Organic Matter. Or Organic Material.


    Mostly, unless you have a specific need, fertilizers should be high nitrogen (the first number), low second and third numbers--for synthetic fertilizers. Or a high-protein fertilizer for early to mid-fall feedings (which would be marginal at this point and I'd consider it too late even for you). But for earlier feedings, like September to early October, soybean meal or the like.

    In the synthetic range, urea (46-0-0) at bag rate of about 2.2 pounds per thousand square feet, or most decent fertilizers measuring around 35-0-5 ish applied at bag rate will be just fine.

    And you can purchase an off-brand. My urea comes in a brown bag marked "Urea, Fertilizer Grade" and costs $12.50 for fifty pounds.

  • Neal Rich

    Morpheus, thank you. When should the Urea fertilizer be applied in your area?

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    I just did for my middlling-late-fall fertilization--but I have an elite Kentucky bluegrass lawn, which is notably hungry. All. The. Time. And with the fall we're having and seventy degree days at the end of October, it really needed that extra feed.

    My last feeding will be "whenever the growth period ends and I do the last mow." Since it takes me some time to be sure of that fact, it's really about a week or ten days after growth stops. And that's usually around Thanksgiving, give or take some time.

    Depending on your lawn, that can be earlier or later. Some area lawns will hit that almost the first instant the temperatures drop. Mine's near the last one, and it never really stops growing--by January, it'll be slightly shaggy. And still green. But that's well cared-for and heavily manipulated elite bluegrass for ya. It has the resources and temperature tolerance to stay up even when daytime highs are in the thirties.

    Do try this at home; we do the same on my mother's builder's-grade tri-mix lawn and it looks great in January as well. It's not even that hard.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    Do you buy liquid or granular? And if granular, do you first mix with water or just spread it granular. How long until people can have more heavy traffic on the lawn after applying? Can you give me a rough idea asto how big of a bag (pounds?) I should buy for 1/4 acre lawn?

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    Granular, I refuse to even try to handle liquid fertilizers and they're inefficient anyway due to the dilution issues and application rates required. So for me, it's urea in the bag.

    You do have to be a little careful with the stuff. Not for you, it's pretty harmless. Edible, in fact, and used as a bulking agent in cattle feed (when feed grade urea), and we produce the molecule by the tanker-load over the course of our lifetimes. But if accidentally overapplied, it can burn the lawn. Urea does have its disadvantages.

    So it can be smarter to start with a lower-powered, store-bought granular alternative that isn't 46% nitrogen. Something in the high twenties or low thirties gives a lot more margin against burn...and you still see a lof of, "I burned the lawn..." posts on here. Fortunately, at this point in the year, those are rare.

    There are dozens of granular store fertilizers ranging from around 20-0-0 to around 35-0-0 (those second and third numbers will be low, not 0, but you get the idea). Any of them are just fine, although for fall fertilization I'd actually choose one that does not have slow release nitrogen. Most cheaper fertilizers won't, or won't have much.


    How much you'll need for a quarter acre lawn (about 10,000 square feet) would be around 22 pounds of urea (so that $12.50 fifty pound bag I get would do your lawn twice with a bit left over), you'd need a 30 pound bag of 35-0-0, and if you were to go as low as 20-0-0 you'll need a fifty pound bag.

    I'm assuming application of 1 pound of elemental nitrogen per thousand square feet, which is a relatively standard number for a typical feeding.

    And it makes the math very easy:

    Poundage per thousand square feet = 100 / First Number On The Bag


    So for urea, 46-0-0, 100/46 = about 2.2. For you, 22 pounds over 10,000 square feet (near enough).


    That's why the equivalent numbers (which don't quite apply) stack oddly when feeding organically. Soybean meal equates to around 7-1-2 in terms of a fertilizer, so 100/7 = 14 pounds per thousand. So you (and I, actually) need about 140 pounds of soybean meal to feed the lawn properly. Round that to 150 pounds and use three bags.

    Compared to 22 pounds (half a bag) of urea, one carts around a lot of weight feeding organically for equivalent nitrogen levels...but there are many other advantages to mixing it up with the organics as well. More on that later if you're interested.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    Would this work? It’s 22-0-10

    my neighbor used it about a week ago and he said he’s got about a half bag left and I can have it. But if this won’t work, I can buy something else.

    https://www.greenviewfertilizer.com/labels/2131174.PDF

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    That's fine. I never object to some extra potassium (the third number). It's pretty harmless to have some extra hanging around even if you have sufficient amounts. Most of the N is fast, although enough is slower that I might hesitate a bit to use it in November...but only hesitate a bit. It's really a pretty low amount, comparatively speaking, and our weather isn't going to lead to ground freeze all that quickly anyway.

    For your lawn, you'd need 100/22= 4.5 pounds of product per thousand square feet, or a grand total of 45 pounds of the fertilizer for your whole lawn.

    This isn't an extremely powerful fertilizer would be the takeaway point here. :-) If he has half a bag left--24 pounds--then you have enough for about half a feeding.

    Half a feeding, done right now, is better than nothing. By half a feeding. :-)

    For the November feeding, make sure to give it a full feed.


    Neither one is going to visibly improve the lawn by any vast amount and you probably won't notice much, if anything at all. Although you might notice a greener color that stays greener deeper into the winter, now that I say that. And they will improve your winter survivability and the strength of the root systems. Plus you'll notice that the spring green-up starts a bit earlier (but not much), and the growth flush is stronger, the grass spreads more, and the whole thing looks better.


    Once this is done, your next feeding is Memorial Day, 2020. No, seriously. Hands off for all of early spring--feeding too early does nothing but weaken the lawn for summer and cause problems with flushes of growth that damage the roots and invite fungal and insect problems later on.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    How many years do you expect it to take before there is noticeable improvement?

    if i 1) use this fertilizer now

    2) apply fertilizer late November.

    3) overseed in January.

    4) fertilize 2020 Memorial Day.

    5) overseed in 2020 fall

    6) fertilize 2020 fall?

    Will 2021 likely offer a noticeable improvement? Earlier or later?

  • Neal Rich

    I also

    have an area that was mulch and a part of a flower bed but then used as a wood pile and storage area. It’s mostly dirt with some sparse grass growing on its own, is this an area I can also seed in the winter? Should I apply any grass now even if most won’t take? Must I wait until spring since it’s a bit more of planting new grass rather than overseeding? Can I do both?

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    Oh, you'll see improvement starting in spring of 2020. The fertilizer you're putting down now may even show some improvement in November of this year, but I don't think it's going to be extreme and I don't want to you to count on anything.

    Assuming you haven't been feeding properly, improvement starts instantly. What with overseeding and the improvement you'll get from that in spring, plus spring growth and the Memorial Day boost (and remember, you're going to have to water the grass next summer because the new stuff can't handle summers yet, it's too young), reseeding again late next summer, and consistent feedings thereafter, next fall should look pretty good.

    I'd strongly advise getting a soil test through Logan Labs as well. We can either confirm your soil is OK (highly unlikely in your locale) or find out how much in terms of calcium, potassium, and other minerals we need to add, and when, to work around everything else (highly probable). You can do that this fall or next spring. It's neither difficult nor expensive, although the proper fixes sometimes can be.

    Fortunately, fixes can always be put off or slowed down to match any given budget, and fixes will always improve a lawn (and gardens).


    ".... is this an area I can also seed in the winter? Should I apply any grass now even if most won’t take? Must I wait until spring since it’s a bit more of planting new grass rather than overseeding? Can I do both? "


    It's really too late this fall, we're running on the last fumes in summer's tank. November first looks like we finally start getting normal late-fall weather. so rather than waste the seed that'll go through germination and then die, I'd hold it until this winter. But it's certainly wide open for dormant seeding just like any other area--simply apply at the new seeding rate on the bag instead of the overseeding rate listed. Then plan on overseeding it again in August of 2020.


    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    This is good news and thanks for the details.

    Should I De thatch my lawn now or closer to the time I sow the grass seeds?

    I read aeration is good too but the machines appear heavy and I can’t lift one in and out of my suv on my own. If it’s vital I can try to find another way but hopefully it’s not vital.

    I own a metal rake and someone told me I should take the whole yard to break up the surface before I sow grass seeds but is that different when I’m going to apply before a snow fall in January or February?

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    How much thatch do you have? Amounts of a quarter inch or less are nothing to worry about and can actually have some benefits. The seed can get through that. If you see bare ground extensively in open areas, your thatch amounts are pretty trim.

    Very thick thatch I'd dethach ASAP. It's really rather too late (dethatching does damage to the lawn that, as of now, doesn't have time to repair), but you don't have much choice.

    Excessive thatch is usually an indicator of a misbalance (generally high nitrogen with a lousy soil health, or long neglect with lousy soil health, although it does vary).

    Aeration can be helpful but it's unnecessary and, again, it's the wrong time of year to do so so--that's a spring or early fall thing when the lawn has time to recover from the damage you just did. The ultimate goal is to shift to organic feeding at least partially, encourage plenty of worms, and have them do the job for you. I haven't aerated ever.

    Breaking the surface can, again, be helpful, particularly in large, blank areas of soil but it's also, again, unnecessary. Grass seed is pointy for a reason, and the winter rains and snow will work it in more than well enough. Heck, today would have worked it in well enough had it been cold enough. It wasn't.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    Morpheus, what fertilizer should I be adding at the end of this month? Is that the urea granules mentioned earlier?


    this isn’t a related topic but as we live in a similar climate, would this be an acceptable time to plant a new bush on the side of my home? My local nursery is having a 50% off sale and i have a space I’d like to fill with a Bush. Just leaves, not a flower bush of any kind. Is this 50% off a good deal or will this bush not be alive by April and I shouldn’t throw away my money?

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    Can you be more specific about the type of "bush"? If fully hardy for your zone, no reason at all you can't plant now.

    (btw, ALL nonconiferous shrubs flower, whether or not the flowers are very obvious. That is how they procreate!)

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    Urea would be great, or the fertilizers I mentioned earlier. Anything with lots of fast nitrogen at this point in the year up to the year's end is grand. I'll be using urea (46-0-0) for my final feeding when growth stops. Which it has not yet done, today is still 55 degrees!


    I am somewhat more hesitant to give a full green light to planting even hardy bushes than the above. Weaker bushes, bad winters, shallow roots, frost heaving due to air pockets...they can all lead to bad outcomes. I'm the sort that prefers to plant things in spring and coddle and spoon feed them through their first summer as if they were invalids.

    I'm going to give you a greenish-yellow light. If the bush top is healthy, and if the roots go all the way to the bottom of a pot at least a foot deep, and if it's hardy for at least Zone 6 (a full zone north of you), and if you keep a bit of an eye on it to make sure it doesn't heave out due to freezing and thawing, then yes, go ahead and plant one. If the area is very windy, I might put up a wind break around the side of the bush that usually gets the heaviest, coldest winds just to shield it a bit.

    The side of the house should be a little protected (from wind by, at worst, bow shock and, at best, by being on the side that breaks the wind), warmer due to radiation and conduction...but could be a minor problem in other ways if the bush is full sun and you're planting on the northeastern face or something like that! So check the tags and talk to the nursery person, of course! House edges also freeze/thaw more often and do lead to more frost heaving. I have that problem with all my landscape lighting that borders the house.

    So if the price is right and the bush is healthy and you're sure of the location...go for it. It's got a good chance of survival if you monitor it a little bit the first winter.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    Where I live the 10 day forecast still has the occasional low 50s day as a high but the low never gets above mid 40s.

    does this indicate the grass has stopped growing or almost stopped? Is it time to cut and apply urea? I have off work this coming Friday and can do my work then if that’s not too late.

    earlier you mentioned a possible problem with a novice adding too much urea and causing harm. How likely is that? And since it’s my first time, would you suggest something helpful to apply but maybe not as optimal as urea, but also something I cannot mess up?

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    You're close. This is not an exact science. If you expect the temperatures to keep going down (mostly) and if this is the absolute end of the season and you don't expect to be cutting more than maybe once or possibly twice just to clean it up yet, go ahead and do it. As long as the grass is still green. A surprise week-long warm up isn't going to be a problem.

    You can tell if the grass has stopped growing because it's stopped growing and you're not cutting very much any longer. :-) Mostly, your cuts, done weekly, are now just knocking the tips off--if you're even cutting weekly any longer. If the grass doesn't need it, it's done growing. But it should be green to winterize. If it's gone brown already, skip it. It's too late.

    You're in the same shape I was when I winterized, because I don't want to be out there when it's 40 or below wandering around the lawn in my coat, ear muffs (quite gentlemanly) and gloves.

    It's certainly possible (although far more difficult at fifty degrees and below!) to overapply urea. The stuff's a bit touchy because it's quite strong. But that's true of any off-the-shelf fertilizer, and if you're more comfortable with something like that, go for it. Any good synthetic fertilizer with a high first number and low second number (the third number is immaterial, really, but going low on that is just as easy) will do very well.

    Most commercial fertilizers are at least slightly diluted. Pure urea is around 46-0-0 (it actually will vary a bit due to purity, slightly downward). Commercial fertilizers tend to range from 10-10-10 (not good for winterizer due to the second and third numbers being the same as the first) to around 35-0-5 (great for winterizer due to the second and third number being much lower than the first).

    Just follow bag instructions for application. If you notice it's going out faster than it should, readjust. If it's going out FAR faster than it should, you might have to flush the soil--but it would have to be going out at double the rate or greater to risk a burn in December.

    And it should be obvious if it flows out that fast!

    You can calculate how many pounds should be flowing out like this:

    100/ First Number on Bag = Maximum number of Pounds per Thouand Square Feet of Lawn

    ...Really, it's that simple. So, in the above, for urea, 100/42 = around 2.2 (really, you can call this anywhere from 2 to 2.5 and you'd be OK in December, although I'd call it 2.2 maximum in May unless you irrigate or it's damp).

    Conversely, that 2.2 times the 43% N in the urea will be 2.2 * 0.43 = 1.00 (close enough) pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet, our target for the winterization.

    Yes, math. Booooring. Or just set your spreader to what the bag recommends. For urea, start low. Very low, and plan on doing the lawn twice if you run out of lawn before you use the correct amount of urea.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    I have patches of brown grass. But 85% is still bright green.

    Where does this leave me on the spectrum? Too late? Still add fertilizer for the winter?


    Is this a good time to add some organic material over some dead patches? Especially since I plan on overseeing this February? I hope you had a good thanksgiving. I’m thankful for all your help on this forum/topic.

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    " I have patches of brown grass. But 85% is still bright green. "

    Go for it. You've had that brown grass and dead areas all along.

    Thanksgiving was great, and I hope yours was too! And thanks for the thanks!

    It's not too late to compost the turkey carcass. :-) Although there are some rather (sensible) rules on doing that at home, actually, so it's smarter to simply toss that unless you know what you're doing...I just throw those things away.

    You can add OM at this point if you wish, or wait until spring if you want. For dead or blank areas, any time is a good time for OM. Compost would be best right now as peat moss or anything light will blow off in winter winds. Compost certainly won't.

    Nothing will begin to decay until spring, of course.

    And with seeding, keep to a quarter inch at a time. "A time" being no more than every six weeks, tops, to give the crowns of the grass time to adjust and the compost time to settle.

    Mowing in leaves is rather different, being airy and thin. I regularly mow those in so that I can barely see the tips of the grass. :-) They settle fast.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    Would this product offer the NPK you’d suggest for a pre winter treatment?

    https://www.amazon.com/Ammonium-Sulfate-Fertilizer-Greenway-Biotech/dp/B00E6D0OXU/ref=mp_s_a_1_2_sspa?keywords=Ammonium-Sulfate-Fertilizer-Greenway&qid=1576019091&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzQUNSUjNMVTdJRE5BJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwOTM5NTc1MzQzTFRLSjIzRDNSQiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNTg0NDU3M045WDJOVTdQRUhVViZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX3Bob25lX3NlYXJjaF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl


    And will this help an amateur like me not cause damage to the lawn if I overlap my spreading?


    I have a rasied bed garden along the side of my house. Do I need to be careful around that part of the house to make sure none of this gets on that soil?


    Also, I did apply some fresh topsoil over a portion of my back yard after removing some decorative rocks. Do you suspect I can over winter the grass on that area at the same time as my winter overseeing? Should I make sure that topsoil (sold to me as ‘premium’, whatever that means.) gets this fertilizer too? Same quantity? Or a different fertilizer or none?


    Lots of Qs. Thanks in advance for the As

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    That would be fine, or really, anything off the shelf at the Home Depot. Like I said, it's really hard to burn it in December. :-)

    It's fine to app that to the raised bed. I regularly strike the garden beds fairly intentionally to make sure the lilacs and other things get a bit of a feeding as they drop for winter. It won't necessarily help anything this late, but it won't hurt, either.

    And you can certainly hit the new topsoil with this as well, without any alterations. Nitrogen does stick around in the soil (you can fall fertilize for a spring planting and it does work for, say, corn and the like), just not very well. But frozen soil won't allow it to sink through easily, either.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    Morpheus,

    we had a busier than expected holiday season and I didn’t apply any nitrogen to my lawn in December. Did I miss my window? We have some rain forecasted for next weekend and multiple days with high of 50s or upper 40s in my 10 day forecast. Should I apply anything or wait? I can apply granular urea early this week if it’s a good idea. Please let me know.

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    If it's still green, you still could if you wanted.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    My area never received a snow in February. So I wasn’t therefore able to plant grass. When should I plant in the spring and how much weeding must I do over the bare soil portions? Do I also need straw over the seed?

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    You can do it right now for a spring seeding, without straw (never use straw unless it's known to be free of weed seeds, actually).

    Snow is not required and a lot of us had a snow-free, or at least snow-light year! But you're still in good time for a dormant seeding if you do it now.

    If the weeding over the bare portions is minimal, skip it--there should be nothing alive over them right now. If there is, I would remove that before seeding.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    If I don’t use straw, won’t the birds eat all my seed? This is my first time planting grass. And part of the bare portion of soil where I need to plant new grass is pitched at about a 30-40 degree angle. Do I need to worry that a heavy rain or heavy watering will wash this seed away? Any tips on what to do after laying down the seed or, this time of year, do I just spread it and then leave it alone? Thank you

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    You'll certainly notice birds but if you're dropping it at about the new lawn rate, you'll be fine. The birds aren't going to get enough to matter--or notice.

    That's quite an angle! Washout is likely to be a bit of a problem there, yes. Straw wouldn't help, but burlap might if you tack it down over the top (the grass can grow through it just fine). Remove it when you see it sprouting through. Or just let it go and see what you get. Spring seedings are always a little touch and go anyway, and you may end up with a great stand of grass...or not much of anything depending on happenstance.

    Roughing the surface a bit with a rake can certainly help the seed stay in place, if you can do so. Then seed, and walk over the surface to tamp it down a bit (if you have a seed roller, that's nice too).

    But otherwise, the purpose of this is that the March soil tends to be damp all the time anyway. Evapotranspiration is close to zero--so unless you're in a drought, you can pretty much ignore the stuff. It'll sprout when it gets warm enough, at which point you begin paying attention to it when the weather gets warmer and drier and the grasses need coddling through their first late spring and summer (which they will, they won't have the root systems to survive summer this year and will need your help with watering every now and again).

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    Thank you. Is there a brand of grass seed you’d recommend? Is there anything i should look for when buying quality seeds for this time of year?

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    Look for something with zero noxious seed (most seed should read zero up here in the north; southerners apparently aren't so lucky). And with minimal weed seeds.

    Normally I'd recommend matching your lawn as it stands, but if you don't know the cultivars offhand, the best advice is simply to buy a standard sun-shade mix off the shelf. That's probably what you have, or close.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    Thank you.

    should I apply fertilizer of any kind to the areas where I’m planting new grass from seed, and or the yard where I’m overseeding? let me know what you’d recommend

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    Not at this point, and now? I'd hurry. Nine days ago you were on time. Now? You're running out of winter and moving into a much more risky spring seeding. If you continue to get delayed, skip it until fall.

    Neal Rich thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • Neal Rich

    I planted on this past Saturday and Mother Nature or I have been watering daily. I used the word planting and should have typed planted. I hope the seeds take.

    When would you apply fertilizer and would you target the new grass orjust apply something to the entire yard (maybe nitrogen?). Thanks

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    Just target the whole yard at the point of proper feeding--Memorial Day. Give or take two weeks either way.


    If you really want to give it a single shot of starter fertilizer, I wouldn't completely object, but it's probably a waste without a good soil test and seed contains everything the new grass will need for quite a while anyway.

    Otherwise, just use a good high-nitrogen fertilizer at bag rate.


    Keep in mind, you'll have to water this through summer, particularly if it gets hot and dry. I haven't seen the longest-range forecast yet, but...

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268