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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I bought my fourth spreader in 2 years.

Two years ago I replanted 1/2 acre of front yard. No big deal at all I prepped the yard, spread the seed ($144 per bag), covered the seed, and in 10 days time my yard was the envy of the neighborhood.

Then came July with record heat, and even watering twice daily couldn't save the yard. I was crushed.

I waited until early fall and then ran through the whole process again.

Same results this spring. A fantastic green lawn.

Then came July, more record heat, and another failed brown lawn.

Talk about being BS ! If I could have found the person from the seed company my foot would have been up his ass to the point you'd see the sole if he smiled. The seed, which is from Barrenbrug costs $144 dollars per bag, times 4 for my front lawn. I'm beyond pissed.

The result is that I'm starting over AGAIN, and to help get the job done I purchased a Brinly spreader that slot aerates and drops seed at the same time. So today I ran the big boy rake around removing all of the dead grass, then ran the new spreader/aerator combo filled with Lesco fertilizer. The first thing I noticed was that the entire product was revamped and is now built with a fairly high degree of quality. The tines are thick and now formed. There is no bending these tines, and corners don't effect them at all. The results were better than good, they were great. Lots of slots, and lots of seed. And, according to my neighbor, better than the slot seeder he rented last week at $200 per day. (Another story.)

Barenbrug 50 lbs. Barlennium Perennial Ryegrass Seed-12196 - The Home Depot

Brinly-Hardy 40 in. Tow-Behind Combination Aerator-Spreader-AS2-40BH-G - The Home Depot

The worst part of the entire ordeal was listening to my other neighbor gloat. I had rebuilt his yard last year and used Scotts Contractors seed. His yard is pristine, and I'm the guy who made it that way.

Anyway, today I rough raked, slotted, and put down the Lesco fertilizer. Tomorrow I'll use the pine needle rake, then seed, then bury the seed with the pine needle rake using the contractors mix.

Scotts 20 lb. Turf Builder Contractor's Mix (Northern) Grass Seed-18275 - The Home Depot

I like this seeder. It will make a great spring/fall seeder while the rest of my seeders and sprayer do everything else in-between.

Thank for listening to me vent.

Neighbors side yard using Scotts contractors mix.

Plant Land lot Wood Grass Groundcover
Plant Cemetery Land lot Grass Groundcover


My yard after 3 weeks - spring time 2019
Plant Tire Vegetation Grass Land lot
 

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here in maryland, established cool season turf goes dormant during the dry summer heat, but always bounces back in the fall. however, spring plantings are an uphill battle against weeds, heat, and drought. I only seed or overseed in the fall, because spring plantings are likely to fail.

its odd that you are getting great results with your neighbors lawn, but yours is failing. if you are using comparable seeds and methods, then is could indicate a soil problem. I would be hard pressed to believe that it is a seed problem, because it sounds like you got a reasonable germination and initial results. have you had your soil tested? could your builder have scraped off and sold your top soil?
 

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Perennial Rye is not very heat and drought tolerant. In fact the only good thing about it is how fast it germinates. Stop using rye the from Home Depot and start using a quality tall fescue blend.
 

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Pave it and paint it green, very low maintenance after that.😁
 

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an off the wall question - is there any chance that you used annual rye rather than perennial rye on the failed attempt?
 

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The Barenberg is decent perennial rye seed. About the best you're going to get from a box store. But even quality perennial rye will suffer in hot drought conditions without steady irrigation.

The "contractors mix" is garbage seed, plain and simple. That will probably perform even worse. It has a purpose, and that purpose is not making a lawn look nice. It's cheap crap for a contractor to throw down to prevent erosion and mud. Scotts is also kind enough to omit everything about the product from their online advertising and label so you have no clue what you're buying. But it contains annual rye (wasted garbage), cheap perennial rye that will probably die in a year again, and cheap fescue that will do as good as cheap fescue can do. And you're only buying half as much as you think since 50% of the bag's weight is a useless moisture coating.

So I'm sorry to report you will probably be redoing it again after using that contractor's mix unfortunately.
 

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here in maryland, established cool season turf goes dormant during the dry summer heat, but always bounces back in the fall. however, spring plantings are an uphill battle against weeds, heat, and drought. I only seed or overseed in the fall, because spring plantings are likely to fail.

its odd that you are getting great results with your neighbors lawn, but yours is failing. if you are using comparable seeds and methods, then is could indicate a soil problem. I would be hard pressed to believe that it is a seed problem, because it sounds like you got a reasonable germination and initial results. have you had your soil tested? could your builder have scraped off and sold your top soil?
Excellent points !!!!!

Start with a soil test. My state’s land grant university offers this for $15. Clemson University has a test kit with a prepaid mailer and container that is ordered on line and shipped to me. Detailed results with soil amendment recs and fertilizer and timing recs for what I specify as my goal arrive by email within a week or so.

Scott’s and Pennington are one-size-fits all seed for the national market. There will likely be better regional seeds, developed for your specific location. Look for them. They won’t be at big box chain stores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All,
The soil was placed after the town road construction destroyed my property. What I have under the grass is 6" of prime screened black NE loam. My neighbors yard, seen in the photos above, was planted using Scotts contractors mix. Not the best, but far from the worst seed available. He has had a beautiful full growth lawn since we reworked his side yard over 2 years ago.

I agree with all comments made. Thanks!

I have used Barenbrug rye grass 2 years in a row now on the advice from Barenbrug support. I also use Lesco fertilizer and Milorganite as needed. The end results have been a beautiful full, lush, green lawn. So lush that people I don't know will stop to comment on the beauty of the lawn.

After calling Barenbrug recently I was told that the seed will not withstand heat, hence the July failures. So why sell it for the Northeast climate. The seed is not a trivial expense either. Four (4) bags is close to a cost $600.

I'm going to try the contractors mix. My neighbors lawn (that I planted) looks great so that's the seed I'll use to re-establish the lawn, then work from that point. Sound like a plan??

And the final issue is that the 1/'2 acre is all hill. No grass and the hill ends up in the street.
 

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Contractor mix is a waste. It's full of rye, which will probably die again. And annual rye, which is designed to die in the winter.
 

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i favor the site one/lesco tttf/kbg mix, and agree with @Pedals2Paddles opinion on the contractors mix. but your neighbor did have success with it, so I hesitate to argue. also, as p2p points out, seed from the box stores is half seed and the other half is some kind of coating that probably only benefits the stockholders. whatever you decide to do, a mix is generally a better choice than a blend.

I think that annual rye or some similar fast growing annual grass can be used as a nurse crop to moderate erosion while waiting for the perennial crop to germinate. erosion control mats can be used, but may get caught up in mower spindles if not carefully applied. and, if you ever try to run an aerator or slit seeder through an area that once had erosion mats, it will be a nightmare to untangle the mess of plastic fibers that get caught up in the rotating mechanisms.

be careful with N fertilizer next spring. It will push top growth that can deplete energy stored in the root system; energy that is needed to survive the heat of summer, especially in a new lawn that is still establishing itself. I do all of my fertilizer in the fall, because that is when root systems are developing.

was your neighbors soil also replaced when your was, and if so, from the same source?
 
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if your having heat summer issues........you need a fescue blend as mentioned above....nuff said take it from guys living further south of you ....the fescue is what is surviving in the contractors mix
 

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if your having heat summer issues........you need a fescue blend as mentioned above....nuff said take it from guys living further south of you ....the fescue is what is surviving in the contractors mix
i agree.

fescue spreads very little if at all, so you also want a little kbg in the mix to fill gaps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I called Scotts and it appears the contractors mix is what I thought. There are two (2) blends, one for the north, and one for the south. Mine is for the north. The majority of the seed, up to 60% is Kentucky blue grass, then fescue, and a bit of rye grass. The mixture I bought is guaranteed to be 99.9% weed free. None of the mix, according to them, is crap seed.

Let's see how this works out and I'll keep you all up to date. Thanks, Bob L.
 
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lol. 99.9% weed free means you're getting complimentary weeds. It will also have around .25% "other crops". You're also only paying for half the weight of the bag in seed. 50% of the bag's weight is a useless coating. The germination rate of that stuff will be 80-85% at best. This is all stuff actual quality seed makers place on the label and include in advertising. Scotts includes none of this for a reason. Quality seed doesn't have this crap.

So you have a 20lb bag of "grass seed" (not sure. But half the weight is a useless coating, so you actually only have 10lbs of "grass seed". Minus the weed and other crops gets you down to 9lbs of grass seed. The germination rate under best conditions will be 85%, which means only about 7lbs of grass seed will germinate. That mix includes annual rye, which will die over the winter since it's annual, not perennial. Scotts doesn't tell you the % that is annual rye, but figure on about 20%. So now you're down to 6lbs of useful grass seed in your 20lb bag.

So in summary, you've paid for 20 pounds of "grass seed", but are actually getting about 1/4 of what you paid for. It is garbage crap seed.

I would consider "not garbage crap" to be seed blends guaranteed to 0.0% weed, 0.0% other crop, no useless coating (all seed), and 95-99% germination rate. This stuff is not generally sold in box stores because consumers don't want to read and understand what they're buying. They just want to pay less money see fancy advertising terms on the bag.

If that crap is good enough for your lawn, that's up to you. It's your lawn. But you seem to be annoyed at bad results. And you're setting yourself up for more with that crap.
 

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hey @BOBL - the scotts mix did germinate for you, and you indicated that the contractor mix worked for your neighbor. i keep thinking that we are missing the cause of your problem. i’m not yet convinced that it is the seed. i primarily use Lesco, but over the years i have used scotts, pennington, and stagreen from the box stores, as well as mixes from southern states and the local co-op. i have never had a problem with any of them. you may be paying for a lot of filler and getting some weed seed from the box store brands, but they should grow unless something else is wrong.

did you apply, or possibly over apply anything like fertilizer or broadleaf herbicide? are you sure that the soil chemistry (P and K levels and pH) is good and that there is no residual herbicide in it? could the soil just be sterile and not able to sustain the turf beyond one summer? (I have bought truckloads of top soil for the garden and had problems with it.)

can you upload a pic of the grass seed label? 60% kbg sounds high to me. (let’s fact check what the scotts rep told you.)

most importantly - what are you doing differently from the two prior failed attempts? the old saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results comes to mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dave,
The initial thought was summer heat until I found out the seed I bought just won't live in higher heat zones. They must expect people in Alaska to use the crap I bought.
 
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Dave,
The initial thought was summer heat until I found out the seed I bought just won't live in higher heat zones. They must expect people in Alaska to use the crap I bought.
yes, treat yourself to a bag of better seed. but it still leaves me wondering why that same product worked for your neighbor (unless i misread your earlier posts). I am hoping that there isn’t some other issue that we are missing! once you get north of the transition zone, a mix of just about any cultivars of tttf and kbg should do well. if not, then something is out of wack.

keep us posted, and upload a few work in progress photos.
 

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For what it's worth, I'm in NW OH, and have had good luck with both the Scotts Contractor mix and the Sun/Shade variety. Both germinated well, and filled in nicely, especially the sun/shade mix. Sorry to hear that others haven't had the same experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
yes, treat yourself to a bag of better seed. but it still leaves me wondering why that same product worked for your neighbor (unless i misread your earlier posts). I am hoping that there isn’t some other issue that we are missing! once you get north of the transition zone, a mix of just about any cultivars of tttf and kbg should do well. if not, then something is out of wack.

keep us posted, and upload a few work in progress photos.
KBJ,
I used Barenbrug seed at a cost of $144 per bag on the advice of a Barenbrug support person. I did that two (2) years in a row thinking the record heat up here killed it both years. A second call to Barenbrug support was made and I was told that the seed I used was wrong for the Northeast and it would just die as the summer got hotter.

I had my neighbor use Scotts contractor seed which was $26 per bag and he has had a beautiful growing green lawn for the same period of time I have had garbage. At this point the worst lawn in the area looks better than mine and I am totally BS after wasting all of this time and money. I just finished aerating, spreading Lesco fertilizer, spreading 6 bags of Scott seed, and raking it in using my pine needle rake followed by 2 hours of watering.
 

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KBJ,
I used Barenbrug seed at a cost of $144 per bag on the advice of a Barenbrug support person. I did that two (2) years in a row thinking the record heat up here killed it both years. A second call to Barenbrug support was made and I was told that the seed I used was wrong for the Northeast and it would just die as the summer got hotter.

I had my neighbor use Scotts contractor seed which was $26 per bag and he has had a beautiful growing green lawn for the same period of time I have had garbage. At this point the worst lawn in the area looks better than mine and I am totally BS after wasting all of this time and money. I just finished aerating, spreading Lesco fertilizer, spreading 6 bags of Scott seed, and raking it in using my pine needle rake followed by 2 hours of watering.
i was at home depot this evening and checked out the label on the scotts contractors mix. it is a blend of tttf, and it was not loaded up with rye. it should do well for you.

my yard has the full spectrum from full sun to deep shade. i have noticed that with blends, different cultivars with prevail in different areas of the yard. the finer bladed fescues tend to take over in the shady areas, and the medium bladed ones go for the sun. thats the advantage of a blend. time will tell, but your timing is good, and with all the prep work that you have done, I think that the the scotts seed is going to meet your expectations.
 
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