2015 Fall Seeding Issues

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As the fall seeding season is coming to an end, it has been one of challenges.  After speaking with some sod farms, that will plant the seed in middle of August, they have faced major issues as well and some are saying it’s been the worst in 15 years!  A positive that we had going for us is the warm temperatures.  It kept the soil temperatures up.  With the soil temperatures up grass seed was coming up in 4-8 days!  Now that we are into October and the soil temperatures are down that same seed could take 14-21 days to come up!!!

Now on to the issues of the fall.  The first major issue is that we have not had the rain that we have seen all season long!  Some places in the Kansas City Metro have had less than 1 inch this fall.  When we have had rain, it hasn’t been a soaking rain.  It has been a quick hitting rain and then moves on.

The second issue is the warm days.  Although it does help the seed come up quicker; at the same time it dries out the soil quicker.  As we talk about all the time with seeding you must keep it moist to soften up the shell of the seed and allows the seed to germinate.

The third issue is the windy days we have had.  With the windy days it also dried out the soil, so it has been a challenge to keep the soil moist.  Even with irrigation systems we have seen areas that just won’t stay moist.  If you were seeding areas without irrigation, it has almost been a full time job.

We still have some time for things to change and the seed is still there and will come up when conditions are right and gets what it needs.  Stay the course is the direction we are giving, keep watering!

Remember if you have seeded weeds can’t be sprayed until the new grass is mowed two times.  This is an issues as most don’t want weeds in their yards but they want to seed.  If you seed early in the fall, you still have time to get those weeds sprayed out in late fall before the end of the season.

Brummel Lawn is completing round 4 of their Standard Turf Fertilizer Program in the next few weeks and will be getting ready for the final round.  The final round will get the turf ready to make it through the winter and come out in the spring with a bang!

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My Grass is green why should I do anything?

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My Grass is green why should I do anything?


This year grass has really done well, except for some fungus out there. But even with green grass that might look like its healthy, you might start to see issues next spring…. With the wet spring, summer and looking like fall, the pores in the soil are closed up, not allowing the roots to get the air they need.  This is very true with clay soils and even sandy loamy soils.  The best way to solve this problem is by aeration, either single pass or double.

Aeration will help in many ways.

  1. Allow more oxygen to get to the roots, which will help with root development
  2. Even Core Aeration will break up the thatch level and increase the microbial activity in the soil to help with the decomposing organic matter (grass clippings) which is basically Free Fertilizer!!!
  3. Help with fungus issues
  4. Loosens compaction for better water absorption and nutrients

These are the major ones but there are many more.  In most cases it will also help the lawn be more drought tolerant the next season.  Brummel Lawn starts its fall aeration the last week of August and will aerate until Thanksgiving.

Do I have to do it every year? No you don’t have to do it every year, but every other or even every third year will make a big difference, on wet years it is good to get it opened back up!

How deep do the plugs go? Normally we try to get the core to come out about 3”.  If the lawn is wet we will be able to get it a little deeper and if its dry maybe only 2”, so if you have an underground dog fence you may want to have it marked or let the technician know.  Also if you have an irrigation system, you can mark the heads, in most cases the technicians are able to see where heads and boxes are and are able to avoid those items.

With aeration an over seed can be done? Yes with the plugs and the holes you do get soil to seed contact.  But, if you have a lot of bare areas it would be best to drill-seed or verti-cut and seed.

So if you have a thick lawn, or haven’t aerated in the last couple of years, or have paths where people/dogs or even vehicles might have ran over,  you might want to think about aeration this fall.  It could save you money in the long run and you could just aerate and not seed!  A great fall fertilizer and aeration will take a good yard and make it great!

Remember you can always call our office and have one of horticulturist come out and make a recommendation on aeration, fertilizer, verti-cut, drill seed or recommend nothing!


What Does My Pre-emergent Do?

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The number one complaint we receive in the spring is that the pre-emergent didn’t work and they have dandelions in bloom or they have seen a few weeds in the yard.  Well the good news is that the pre-emergent didn’t fail as it only prevents crabgrass and goose grass and other “grassy weeds”.   Brummel Lawn applies your pre-emergent in two applications or at a spilt rate.  We have found that by putting down the pre-emergent at a spilt rate you get better results and the pre-emergent last all summer long, until seeding season.  Each round of pre-emergent, we apply the correct rate of fertilizer.  In the early spring apply enough to wake the grass up and the 2nd application to keep the grass going all summer long.

As far as dandelions and other weeds, we have exciting news!  Normally we have to wait for the soil temperatures to come up before we can spray to kill weeds when they are actively growing.  After extensive research by a Turf Horticulturist, this year we are trying a new product that we are able to spray starting the first time we come to your home.  Along with that product we are doing a liquid pre-emergent and fertilizer.  Once the weeds start to actively grow we will also add our normal weed killer to the mix.  So don’t worry on this first round if you don’t see the fertilizer beads like normal! 

Another question or concern is that “I wanted to seed some areas but you put down my pre-emergent!” Don’t worry if you are going to seed areas or have us seed them, we or you are able to apply fescue seed with the pre-emergent that we apply. The key is that you must rake or drill seed to ensure that you have great soil to seed contact.  You won’t have to worry about crabgrass as well, because with the spilt application we will be putting it down again to cover those areas that have been seeded.

With us applying the first round before irrigation systems are on, don’t worry about it getting watered in.  With the spring rains or even the snow it will work the pre-emergent into the ground, now that we are doing a liquid fertilizer the grass will take it up right away though the blades of the grass vs needing the water to take it up though the roots.    


The Goal Of Watering New Grass Seed

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All seeds require moisture and a certain temperature range before they begin to germinate. Once the germination process has begun, if conditions change, the seed or new sprout is vulnerable and can die.

If the seed or sprout dries out, it dies out. Your mission then, is to provide adequate moisture at all times. The pre-sprout phase is most critical. Your commitment to watering new grass seed must stay strong. The germination time for grass seed ranges from 5 to 30 days depending on the variety. It can be even longer than this in cooler temperatures.

This is how long it will take to actually see the grass growing. Until this point, the seed, or the soil and mulch in contact with the seed, must stay moist. It doesn’t need to be soggy or swimming, but moist.

Once the new grass is visible, the roots are also growing down into the soil. This happens quite quickly. As soil moisture below ground is more accessible to the roots, the plant is not so vulnerable now. However, don’t reduce the amount of watering on new grass seeds yet.

Seeds will not sprout all at the same time. Seeds will be buried at different depths, absorb water differently, or be of different quality or maturity. Many seed mixtures are blends that will have different characteristics affecting their development. It is important to keep the surface level of soil constantly moist until all seeds have germinated.

Until the planted area is densely showing green growth, don’t allow it to dry out. The percentage of seed germination is in your control, though people often blame a thin lawn on the “lousy seed that didn’t come up” It is possible to increase the percentage of germinating seeds.

Existing Lawn Being Over-seeded

Normally a lawn should be watered deeply but infrequently. Change this when you are watering for new grass seed. Now you must water every day. Set automatic timers for about 5 to 10 minutes early in the morning and again at mid-day. Observe and adjust this time. Sprinklers have a broad range of flow in gallons per minute and you must use your judgment here.

Watering done by hand or hose-end sprinklers must be consistently and evenly applied. It should provide approximately the same amount of moisture throughout, but less in shady areas.

Twice daily watering is essential until the new grass is up, then after one more week, reduce to once per day. Adjust this pattern according to season and temperature demands.

Bare Lawn Areas Being Filled In

If there are areas of substantial size or number, follow the same instructions as above. For smaller amounts or areas, if hand watering is practical, leave the lawn on its normal irrigation schedule. Supplement the bare areas twice daily, or as needed, to keep the new seed moist.