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Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:54 am
Location: St. Louis, MO

1 year old sod - Overseeding

Hello everyone, I'm new to lawn care so any advice is greatly appreciated.

My family and I moved into a new home in St. Louis, MO this past October. Our bermuda sod was installed late september last year and it took pretty well throughout the yard despite our yard being very dense clay.

Since we didn't have any lanscaping at all, we installed a concrete patio and a few small retaining walls around the house to plant flowers. After the construction was finished I put 13 yards of compost/top soil in the flower beds and spread the rest over the yard. With all the construction and foot traffic, the yard is looking pretty thin and beat up.

In addition, my neighbor is also a lawn newbie and cut his lawn at his mower's lowest setting all season long. Despite his paying for weed and fertilizer services, his weeds and lawn disease has started creeping into my yard. He's since started cutting higher and we believe we have the diseases under control. So brighter days should be ahead.

Now that fall is around the corner, I'm preparing to overseed the entire lawn to bring back the luster and thicken it up a bit. We purchased a blend of Rhambler, Faith, and Firecracker LS tall fescue grass. Before I put it down, I'd just like to make sure I'm not missing anything.

- Scalp lawn (Cut twice reducing to lowest setting possible.)
- Aerate (3 passes in different directions.)
- Spread compost about 1/2" thick over entire lawn.
- Spread starter fertilizer
- Spread seed
- Roll yard to ensure soil to seed contact.
- Water light and frequent
- Begin mowing as new grass reaches about 3"

I'm trying to get my soil ecosystem on the right track and farther away from chemical dependencies. Are there any steps, tips, ideas that I might include when overseeding?

Cool Member
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:28 am

You cannot overseed Bermuda (warm season grass for warm climates) with Tall Fescue (cool season grass for cool/temperate climates). Missouri is a state where both types are grown because it is in the transition zone, but you can't mix the two types in one lawn. Well, you can but it's a big mistake to do it as a home lawn.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Everything you said dj81 sounds great, your plan sounds wonderful too. And I am glad you are trying to move away form the fertilizer chemical based lawn.

But as bestlawn said. The best types around here (Mo) are Fescue and blue grass mix. Not too sure on the Bermuda. Bermuda is normal a more southern grass which means very southern MO. Though recently there are some more cold tolerant strains of Bermuda that are finding there way northward some of these being Yukon, Mohawk and Rivera.

Without seeing your lawn I would say what do you have to loose. Overseed this fall, not in the spring. Maybe the spring too but the best time is in the fall with it's warmer ground temps and cooler air temps. We all know what happen to grass in a St Louis Summer. :x

Just to add some more of my experience. I put down seed this spring, I will again this fall. I also aerated and put down Corn Gluten. You can get this from Bradford Organics and it's local made in Baldwin Mo. The reason I 'm saying this is it is organic non burning fertilizer. The other reason Is I was just outside looking at my lawn compared to my neighbors who all use Chem-Lawn for everything. Well my lawn is thick and healthy (Well considering the recent death heat wave that is) compared to those around me. It is still growing and doing fairly well with little watering from me.

On a side not don't use Corn Gluten directly after seeding it is also a pre-emergent weed killer and may effect the grass seed germinating. So wait a 4-6 weeks for the use of Gluten.

Hope this helps

Nice to have another local on board here.

Dono 8)

The Helpful Gardener
Posts: 7491
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

BL is sort of right about the mix of grasses; they aren't exactly compatible. The TTTF will shade that Bermuda. As long as you don't mind a two tone look...

All that work is too much for new sod. Give it another year to find it's feet. Then overseed with an overseeder. Skip the aeration, two directions with the overseeder (no rolling necessary; the seed is in the soil and the tines have done a light aeration at the same time). Take Gixx's advice ont the ferts for spring, but skip the ferts for fall; a light topdress of compost would be better and do more in the long run. Put a little seed on first if you like; grass is the best weed preventer. But why work so hard? It's only grass...


Cool Member
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:28 am

The Helpful Gardener wrote:BL is sort of right about the mix of grasses; they aren't exactly compatible. The TTTF will shade that Bermuda. As long as you don't mind a two tone look...
No, I wasn't "sort of right." I was completely right, and it's not about a two-toned looked. It's about entirely different maintenance regimes. Bermuda, being a warm season grass, goes through its growing season during the summer months. Tall Fescue, being a cool season grass goes through its growing season during spring and fall. The growing season months are when the grass should receive the most fertilizer (mostly fall for Tall Fescue). Tall Fescue cannot be fertilized during the hot summer months. Disease combined with heat will wreak havoc. Tall Fescue requires some irrigation, whereas Bermuda is much more heat tolerant, hence the type "warm season grass." Bermuda is maintained at mowing heights of less than 1 inch. Tall Fescue should be maintained at 3 inches or higher with the exception of dwarf varieties, which aren't many. But even the dwarf ones should be kept mowed at around 2 inches.

Se there - entirely different maintenance regimes. It's impossible to manage both together.

I mentioned the two can be mixed because sometimes fields are overseeded annual Ryegrass for the winter months when Bermuda is dormant. It dies out before the Bermuda wakes up, so it isn't maintained simultaneously. But that isn't done in home lawns ordinarily.

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