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RayS

Summer Drought and the Revitalizer

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RayS








We had about 6 to 8 weeks this summer without rain. It killed all my Kentucky blue grass. Which I didn't care for since it was so high maintenance. The fescue pulled out of it and today I am going to plant fesue in all my bare spots. The revitalize is excellent tool for slitting the ground for new seed. This is one attaxchment that isn`t used much, but I doubt that I would part with it. In a few weeks I hope to post pictures of my progress.

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MysTiK
What does the revitalizer do (?) - there's the answer. Great pix, Ray. Pretty rough year for lawns. K.blue is considered high maintenance. But it's also known for high traffic capabilities - such as sports involving spiked shoes on wet muddy fields. It's rhizomatous, puts out rhizomes beneath the surface, and the rhizomes put up new shoots. (Outside chance of survival?) Poa annua is aka annual bluegrass. It even looks like K.blue almost. But P.annua has no traffic resistance, and no drought resistance, etc. It dies. But it's a seed factory, and will return - to repeat the same routine again. And it is everywhere. It can recur in high traffic areas due to seed. It will return due to seed generally, ignore it. Grasses go dormant, and can survive for a month or so - longer if they get occasional watering, to preserve the crowns and roots. But this year was merciless w extreme heat. Only way was to water lightly occasionally (maybe), and people don't like big water bills either, no to mention "conserve water" bylaws, etc. Plus constant water promotes the relatively wimpy poa annua - catch 22. It's crazy. Seed what you want, and get that going before the p.annua returns, (cos it does and will) not to mention other weeds, etc. If using fescue, the germination time is generally 15 days. That means keep it moist for 15 days. Mist it, twice a day. Surface moisture only. Fall rains, and heavier fall dew, will help. Perennial rye germinates fast in 7 days. K.bluegrass requires 22 days of moist to germ. (high maintenance). plus it's fussy for ferts, etc. whole nine yards. That's why it's in seed mixes - the other grasses help it - actually all grasses help each other by soil shading, reducing evaporation, occupying open spaces, etc..... Minimize (trace 7-7-7) fertilizer now. In a month, a light fertilizer (7-7-7). Just before the snow flies - hit it with fertilizer (21-7-7 slow release) - known as "late fall ferts" -> grass will be the first in the area to be green in spring. (nobody believes this, it's true) The nitro carries it strong into winter, and then just sits waiting, over winter. (been there, done that). It's the same as ferts in the spring, with no delay. Ferts again Jun 1st. This, right now, is the best time to grow grass. Put lil stakes/string around that bald spot. That's a tough area by the driveway. Hope this helps. - end of rant sm01

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Talntedmrgreen
They are a sweet tool. When I reseeded/overseeded mine last year, I ran the Revitalizer both ways, in a cross pattern and that seed had plenty of room to snuggle up in the soil and grow. Of course, had I known it would all die this year, I might have waited.

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GLPointon
Looks like a slit-seeder passed thru...that should work good for over-seeding, I would like one too. Besides seeding I get ALOT of thatch build-up due to "fast grass" and the billions of leaves I vac & chop yearly. can you set the "depth" of that or is it all in the wheels?

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PhanDad
I agree that the revitializer is great for seeding; I too have done the "cross hatch" pattern to have more "trenches" for the seed to fall into. Only issue issue I have is that for the last 3 years we've had extremely hot and drought conditions for a minimum of 6 weeks starting mid June and the grass (tall fescue that's supposed to be more drought resistance) can't get it's roots deep enough in the relatively short time it was growing to not die. I lost most of the Kentucky Bluegrass long ago. And this year I'm not going to be around for 2 1/2 weeks to water so I'm not doing anything. At least the weeds are green.

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MysTiK
You've got some good action there, Ray. Don't look at it. It grows better when you ignore it. :D If it's been a month, and if you planted fescue like you mentioned, the fescue takes 2 weeks to germinate, IF conditions are right. You'll likely see some more filling in before the snow flies. That's good results for a theoretical 2 weeks actual growth. Some lags behind; but it will come. Don't look at it. sm01

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RayS
Graham, Would it hurt do some more slit seeding? It should come up in the spring correct? . I missed a few spots. It should still have time to germinate. I would think. I just wonder if I did more if I would loose it to crabgrass preventer.

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TomSchmit
You can put down grass seed late in the fall for germination next spring ... I would still wait a few weeks until it is a little colder. Grass that germinates in the next weeks will probably not be established well enough to make it thru the winter. And yes, any of the crabgrass preventer products will prevent the seed from sprouting. Tom in Milwaukee

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MysTiK
I'm not actually experienced with applying crab prevents, but understand they are essentially "germination inhibitors". So I agree with Tom. And I assume you mean applying that as a "pre-emergent" in spring. I hate crab. My all-sand, much abused, tractor staging area, back yard got severely 'droughted' this year, and is now 3/4 crab. I'm looking at kill, followed by kill, and then maybe seed - or just ignore it, cos it's my crummy backyard - all sand, full sun, no irrigation due to well limitations. (lost cause) (unless I work out rain barrel irrigation, requires pump) (always scheming). sm01 On the question of more seed - interesting idea would be that slit seeding using revitalizer again, is going to kill some new plants, but not all - I would think most of it will survive one pass with revitalizer. I love stressing a lawn. sm01 So yes to that part. Read on. What's the cost of seed - that's a serious consideration. It depends on species. Some fescues are really expensive. Others maybe only $20 for enough to seed a lawn area. If price is not an issue, then you could take the "sacrificial" approach, and slit seed, overseed right now. You could also do what Tom suggests, later, pre-snow, aka "dormant seeding" applying seed when it's obviously too late for it to germinate, never mind establish. (Germination won't happen unless conditions are right). Between those 2 combined, you could be very successful. So I say, check the cost of your seed, and if that is not a big deal to the budget, go for it now, and hit it again, without the slitseed, in another few weeks to setup the "dormant seeding". In otherwords, consider and/or use, all available resources following various lines of approach, simultaneously. You could also ignore the new seed completely, and go for the crabgrass prevention, in very early spring, by using the same approach that seed is cheap, and let the chips fall where they may. And then in spring, after the crab prevention, you could again overseed on top of whatever results you have. I would aerate in the spring. I tend to do sacrificial seed pre-aerating, followed by immediate spread of seed on top of the aerated cores. The cores mimic 'top-dressing', and will tend to shelter, cover the seed, causing improved soil contact. Also the seed can fall into holes, and germinate in that special environment. There are a lot of possibilities with aerating; and a lot of benefits to doing regular aerating. Primary benefit is relief of soil compaction, promoting better drainage, water percolation to the root area, and other benefit similar to the effect of rototilling a garden, altho on a small scale. It all matters, and it all helps. Aerating promotes a soft lawn, rather than a compacted hard soil surface. A compacted lawn is hard on desirable grasses; but favors less desireable species such as crab and poa annua, which are both dependent on less competition for their "seed factory growth habits". Competition due to a thick healthy lawn is key - and such a lawn should foster a healthy thatch layer ecosystem occupied with healthy bacteriae and fungi and a diversity of insects, none of which can dominate due to competition. (Diversity is key to a stable ecosystem). Short answer - keep throwing seed - do whatever else you need to do. But only one shot with the revitalizer, or add high quality topsoil from a reliable source (to prevent importing weeds found in cheap topsoil - i.e. find that 'expensive nursery'). Enjoy. ... (more) Late May/ early June fertilize with something like SLOW-RELEASE 21-7-7 and also 'granular dolomitic lime' for micronutrients Ca + Mg. (cheap) (broadcast spreader). Follow watering equivalent to 1" water/week including rainfall. - or If drought, at least water every 2 weeks in drought even when dormant - preserves the yellowish 'crown area' of grass plant - minimal water for survival. Drought kills when the crown dies, i.e. dormancy fails. Trace of water prevents that. Also, fescue is typically more drought resistant. It is fine bladed and makes a beautiful lawn if it's thick. A couple years of intensive promotion will create a low maintenance stable lawn, mow it tall as it grows, if possible - height varies. Some dwarfs don't need mowing. Those are expensive cultivars. sm03

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