Best settings for weed and seed

Idiot Proof Guide to Spring Overseeding

Yes, today’s lawn problems need attention today. March days provide homeowners a chance to get a jump on spring overseeding projects. Grass seed sown in the first week in March has a 10 week head start on the weed and insect season that begins in earnest in mid-May.

How to Plant Grass Seed in Spring

Overseeding lawns in spring can be a challenge to keep out ugly crabgrass and foxtail. PREVENT, our most effective and longer lasting crabgrass pre-emergent, will also prevent good grass seed from germinating. The same conflict occurs when you are dormant seeding. Can you overseed your lawn in spring and keep out crabgrass? Yes, you can! Grass Pad recommends following these idiot proof steps when seeding your lawn in the the spring.

If you have dormant seeded your yard this winter, begin at step #4.

1. Mow the Lawn Short

Short mow the lawn to a height of 1½ to 2 inches, being careful not to scalp the lawn. This makes it easier for the grass seed to make contact with the soil. Bag the grass clippings or rake the lawn after mowing.

2. Rake and Remove Debris

Rake or sweep the lawn to remove heavy debris and lawn clippings. The grass seed needs to make good contact with the soil to germinate properly, so we want to remove everything that could be in the way. If you have any bare spots, rough the surface of the soil with a rake or something like a Garden Weasel.

3. Spread your Grass Seed

Spread your Grass Pad grass seed with rotary or hand cranked “whirlwind” type spreader. The seeding rates vary based on what type of seed you’re using. A good rule for overseeding is 5-8 lbs per 1,000 square feet for fescue seed, and 2-3 lbs per 1,000 square feet for bluegrass. Extra seed should be applied to any bare ground areas, about double the overseeding rate.

4. Apply Golf Course Starter or Renovator

Late February to mid-March – Bring the lawn out of dormancy and have nutrients readily available to young emerging grass plants by fertilizing the entire area with Loveland Golf Course Starter or Renovator.

5. Cover Bare Spots

After seed has been applied, cover any over seeded bare spots with a light top dressing of sphagnum peat moss or Primera Sports Field Conditioner. This acts to hold moisture and absorbs sunlight to promote quick germination of the seed. Topsoil, black peat or straw are contaminated with weed seeds and are never recommended for seed cover.

6. Water the New Grass Seed

During extended periods of spring drought, as weather conditions permit, water seeded areas lightly so the soil surface remains moist. Give special attention to repaired bare areas. Bare areas larger than a dinner plate can dry out quickly from wind.

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7. Apply Seed Safe

Mid-April (Tax Day): Apply Seed Safe, a crabgrass pre-emergent which is safe to use when over seeding. Seed Safe contains seed starter fertilizer to get that new grass growing strong.

What is Seed Safe?

Use Seed Safe when spring overseeding or dormant seeding to prevent annual grassy weeds. Seed Safe is a unique combination of seed safe mesotrione crabgrass herbicide and a high-quality slow release starter fertilizer to promote seedling establishment. Seed Safe is ideal for use in spring lawn renovation to keep out ugly summer weeds like crabgrass and foxtail.

Why should you wait till mid-April to apply Seed Safe? Annual grassy weeds, like crabgrass and foxtail, will not germinate until the soil the temperature reaches 55°. Seed Safe must be activated and in the soil at the time when weeds are starting to sprout. The herbicide is of no use if the soil is too cold for the weed seeds to begin growing. Applied too early, the herbicide (your money) is wasted. Seed Safe remains working in the soil for about four weeks, and if applied too early, the active ingredient will break down and be ineffective at the time it is needed the most. Historical data shows us, in our area, mid-April is the ideal window.

8. Mow the New Grass

Mow the entire lawn as needed to maintain a height around 3 inches. Mow with a sharp blade at a time when the grass is not wet. Avoid making aggressive turns in newly seeded areas that have been top dressed. Mowing in straight lines across those areas will have minimal disturbance to grass seedlings. Do not let the grass get too tall between mowing. Routine mowing is beneficial for root growth on new seedlings.

9. Apply Prevent

Mid-May (Mothers Day): Apply full strength PREVENT crabgrass pre-emergent to all areas ONLY after those areas have filled in and mature enough to have been mowed at least twice. If you haven’t mowed the new grass at least twice, wait until you have before applying Prevent.

Can I Overseed My Lawn After Applying PREVENT?

If you have already applied PREVENT this season, do not overseed in those areas. PREVENT will not allow grass seeds to establish. However, you can make spot repairs after an application of crabgrass pre-emergent, just follow this link to learn more.

BE AWARE: PREVENT should not be used over areas where grass seed has not germinated. PREVENT will remain active in the soil 6-8 weeks preventing all grass seed & crabgrass seed from germinating.

Weed And Feed Lawns: Where To Begin

Weed & Feed products combine a lawn fertilizer with a weed killer and/or weed preventer in one product. One application does double duty, treating random weeds spread across an entire lawn while also feeding and greening grass. Weed & Feeds come in two basic formulations, granules and liquids. But before you make an application, here are some things you need to know about weed & feed products.

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Weed & Feed Starts With Weeding…

The “weed” half of “weed & feed” contains some mix of herbicides to kill lawn weeds. Almost all products contain a post-emergent herbicide, but some also combine a pre-emergent herbicide designed to prevent new weeds from sprouting.

Post-Emergent herbicides kill existing lawn weeds like Dandelion, Clover and many other common weeds. The complete list of weeds can be found on your product’s label. These post-emergents are always selective herbicides, so they will not harm existing grass when applied as directed. New innovations, like BioAdvanced 5-in-1 Weed & Feed, also kill grassy weeds like Crabgrass, eliminating the need for multiple applications of additional herbicides to achieve control.

Pre-Emergent herbicides are meant to keep new weeds from germinating and growing. Timing is the key, apply too early and the preventer can become ineffective while weeds are still dormant. Apply too late and seeds may have already germinated. You’re probably most familiar with Crabgrass preventers that are applied in early spring.

…And Ends With Feeding

The “feed” half of “weed & feed” is all about fertilizer. Most fertilizers are a mix of nitrogen and other macro-nutrients, and sometimes micro-nutrients, in varying amounts. Nitrogen (N) is the most important element in lawn fertilizers and comes in two basic forms – fast-release and slow-release. Most lawn fertilizers include a mix of fast-release and slow-release forms to provide quick green-up and sustained growth.

Fast-Release Nitrogen (often referred to as water-soluble nitrogen or WSN) such as urea and ammonium sulfate, is readily available and absorbed quickly by the grass, resulting in fast green-up. Unfortunately, it can also can burn your lawn if applied improperly, and can leach through the lawns root zone or run off the lawn in heavy rain, causing pollution.

Slow-Release Nitrogen (often referred to as WIN or water-insoluble nitrogen), such as sulfur-coated urea, methylene urea and animal manures, are released more slowly to the grass and provide more sustained, even growth – up to 3 months for methylene urea.

Before You Begin, Know Your Lawn Type

Before applying any type of weed & feed or fertilizer product, you need to identify your type of grass. Some fertilizers can be applied to all lawn types, but most weed & feed products are specifically labeled for certain types of grasses. Apply the wrong product to the wrong type of grass and you can damage your lawn. Use caution and read the label. If you’re still unsure, use the toll-free number found on the label to contact the manufacturer.

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When To Apply

Weed & Feed products are most effective when weeds are small and actively-growing, namely spring and fall.

In spring, wait to apply until you’ve mowed your lawn two times before applying to be sure it has emerged from dormancy.

In fall, be sure to check the with local Cooperative Extension System office for historical frost dates in your area. Many Weed & Feed labels will recommend application timing based on that date.

Most weed & feed products will have temperature restrictions as well, be sure to check the label. Do not apply to water-saturated soils, lawns under stress from drought, disease or prone to injury.

How To Apply

For liquid weed & feed products, be sure to use one of the sprayer types recommended on the label and follow label instructions for mixing and spraying.

For granule weed & feeds, use a rotary or drop-type spreader. Drop spreaders apply fertilizer very precisely in a narrow band directly below the spreader, while a rotary spreader broadcasts over a wider area. The application pattern is very important. Be sure to follow label instructions.

Both types of spreaders have adjustable application settings. How much fertilizer is applied varies according to the settings on the type and model of spreader you use. Read the spreader manufacturer’s instructions before fertilizing to help you calibrate your equipment to ensure proper application rates. You’ll find the proper setting for your type of spreader on the specific fertilizer label. If not, there should be a toll-free phone number to call. Do not use the spreader until you are sure it is set properly. You can learn more about calibrating your spreader and spreader settings. Be sure to read always and follow label instructions.

Other Things You Should Know

Mowing – For best results, mow your lawn 1-2 days prior to application. Clippings from your next three mowings should be left on the lawn. Be sure not to use these clippings as mulch or compost around flowers, ornamentals, trees or in vegetable gardens.

Do Not Rake – Heavy raking will disturb the weed preventative barrier and reduce the effectiveness of this product.

Watering – Many weed & feed products instruct you to wait 24 hours before watering in. Be sure to consult your specific label.

Feeding New Lawns – Most new lawns don’t need to be fertilized until 6-8 weeks after planting. However, that can vary depending on how the soil was prepared before planting and the type of fertilizer used. Consult your local Cooperative Extension System office or nursery for recommendations on fertilizing new lawns.