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I have a two acre field that I planted in the Fall and broadcast again in the Spring. I used a Bluegrass/Fescue mix. I really need to overseed to improve the lawn as the bluegrass looks great, but not the Fescue. My daughter is getting married in the Fall on this turf so I am going all out. There is a Landpride All Purpose 48" seeder used that I am looking at. Landpride does make an overseeder, but of course there is not one available. Has anyone used a Landpride All Purpose seeder to overseed? Thoughts? I have a call into the company to chat with them as well. I have not been able to find a rental unit. thanks.
 

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That land pride unit looks pretty serious, but I don't think it will get you much better results than a broadcast spreader, but for a lot more money. I completely rehabbed our horse pastures (they are small, not sure they actually qualify as pasture) last year, then overseed in the fall. I used my Vicon spreader from the 90s to spread the seed, then just kept it moist and got great germination. Im going to de-thatch, then overseed it again the same way. The biggest pain for me in over seeding during the hot months is the amount of watering you have to do, and if I were you I would spend my money there. If your 2 acres is relatively flat, get yourself a traveling sprinkler so that you don't have to move sprinklers every 15 minutes in the morning, then again in the evening, and just use a regular spreader, I don't think you would jabber any issue with germination. Grass seed is shaped in such a way that it falls through existing grass stands to reach the ground, you don't actually have to do much to get it into contact with the soil.

If you've got the water flow, I would spend that money on something like this:
https://www.bigsprinkler.com/catalog/traveling-sprinklers/reelgreen-model-rg25-traveling-sprinkler
 

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two basic things are needed......

#1 ground contact
#2 moisture


with my equipment i would be tempted to broadcast seed....then run a cultipacker .....but the start is you must have ground contact or it just wont work.....so if the landpride unit will get you good ground contact it will work fine

moisture is a whole different set of issues......."indian rain dance" ?
 

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I had some areas on my property that were bare and not growing grass. There was a lot of gravel in the soil where the grass was not growing at all. I dug out the gravel as best I could and mixed compost and topsoil in with the remaining soil. I also mixed in a product called bio-char. This is a granular product made of charcoal that absorbs moisture when there is moisture and then releases it to the plants over time. This is very important for the clay soil in our area. There's still a lot of research going on about all the beneficial effects of this material. From what I've seen in my specific case, I think it may also help balance the pH in the soil. The grass in these areas that I remediated is so thick that I'm having a hard time spreading the clippings when I mow.

Biochar is not very expensive. I'm buying more this year and applying in more areas of my land. It is very messy to work with, but it easily washes out of clothing. I'm fortunate that there is a major Biochar plant (Biochar Now) outside of Berthoud about 20 miles from my home. They ship this stuff all over the country, but they are fine with someone who just drives up and buys a bag.
 

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A great way to thicken a lawn is to core aerate it at up to a 2" depth with an actual "core" spoon aerator, not one of the slit aerate units. Aerate in a giant hash pattern, going west to east and then north to south across the entire lawn area you want done. Obviously watch sprinkler heads, cable TV and internet cables, etc., etc. as the aerator will damage / destroy things it hits.

Here are the specific steps I use;

- If you have grass growing, cut it a little shorter than usual (about 2.75" to 3"), make sure all of the clippings, debris and thatch are gone from the lawn. I use a 13hp Billy Goat Blower to "thatch" the lawn before I aerate it and it works amazingly well. In fact, I usually "air thatch" the lawns I mow once a month in the summer and it makes them much thicker and healthier.

- Core aerate the lawn in the hash pattern. Make sure to not go too deep as seed won't grow at the bottom of a 4" core. It's not easy to core aerate at 4" and usually requires a specific effort and additional weight to get the spoons that deep. If you run a Frontier type aerator, its going to core at the 2" depth just with the weight of the aerator and no additional suitcase weights. That's really what you want in core depth.

- Then broadcast seed it and water the snot out of it. The seed must stay moist or it won't germinate and grow.

Important things to keep in mind when over seeding the lawn to thicken it....

1. The seed must stay moist to grow and that's the biggest challenge in summer heat.

2. You do not want to use Lift or Gator blades on Over seeded lawns until the new grass is growing. The blades will displace seeds and even rip out new grass.

3. Slow the mower speed down when cutting the grass which is over seeded. Otherwise, you can damage the new grass. Wait 10 days after over seeding before the first cut to not displace seed.

4. Don't cut the grass shorter than 3" in summer months or it stresses the existing lawns. My cut height rules are 3" in April and 1st half of May. Move up 1/4" each week until cutting at either 3.75" or 4" of length. Don't cut longer than 4" as the grass looks like it always needs to be cut. Then, my last cutting of the year for leaf clean up, I take the height back to 3" to make leaf clean up easier.

5. I always core aerate the lawn in the fall when I am doing my winter fertilizer. It's also a great time to over seed for thickening the lawn for the next season.

6. Don't apply any "weed and feed" fertilizer when over seeding as you don't want anything which inhbits new seed growth and some "weed and feed" products are not designed to be used on "young or new grass".

7. Make sure to check the grass seed content for "fillers" which are weeds. You want as few or no weeds in the seed. The cheaper the seed, the more the fillers. Buy great grass seed and get great results. Buy cheap seed and get weeds........:dunno: after all, that's what was planted.

I have done this on half a dozen different neighbors lawns (and my own lawn, of course) and every one thickened up DRAMATICALLY. Each homeowner has commented about it. Just keep in mind it doesn't happen over night. It takes a few months for everything to come together.

Would I spend the money to BUY a Land Pride slit seeder or over seeder?? I would rather pay someone who has one as the chances of you ever using the machine enough to warrant the cost to buy them seems very unlikely, unless you are going to get into the lawn installation business. Frankly, I don't enjoy the new grass prep and planting enough to want to do it more than I must.......the over seeding part is easy......

I did hire a local landscape company to use a Land Pride Slit Seeder which is PTO driven to plant a new lawn for a neighbor. I had the landscape company seed it primarily because he had a tractor with the large turf tires and he could get on the lawn and not rut it up where my 1 series tires were rutting the lawn and I had to keep fixing it because it was raining every other day. In fact, it was raining the day the grass was put in with the slit seeder and I ended up using a hand crank broadcast spreader to seed about 25% of the lawn where the tractor couldn't get due to moisture. Plus, the damn birds will haul away everything which isn't covered, its amazing how much money in seed one bird can eat..........

In the end the machine planted grass didn't grow any better nor worse than that which I planted with the hand crank spreader which I use for snow melt application. Main thing was we were running out of time and I got nervous and hired the company as he could get his tractor on when I couldn't. The lawn is coming in nicely now and I have cut it 4 times. I planted it just about 7 weeks ago and its about 80% filled in and looking good. I am going to core aerate and over seed this lawn in September when it cools down to really get it thick for next season.

I am not to sure about trying to plant new grass in July. That's going to be hard with the heat and water requirements. In our area, new grass goes in between mid April and end of May or Labor day to Halloween.....Same for over seeding, because of the moisture it takes to germinate and grow the grass with the summer heat. No matter if you broadcast, slit seed, over seed or hydro seed, its all going to need to be watered so the seed stay moist. In the July heat, they dry out in a matter of hours. Keep that in mind also. Hopefully you have under ground sprinkling or keeping the area watered is going to be a real challenge.

Keep us informed what you do and how it works out. We all learn from these experiences. :good2:
 

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I have a couple or three-acre weed field we jokingly call a pasture, and now that I have a tractor I'd like to turn it into something nicer. My first experience with the new 3046R was rotary cutting said pasture and it was a rough ride - LOTS of humps, jumps, bumps and lumps. So there are two issues...(1) make it smooth and (2) make it grass (as opposed to weeds.) I've read a lot of different strategies for this and I'm leaning toward renting an RT3208 rotary tiller for a week and wearing it out (perhaps in concert with my new box blade) smoothing and leveling the land. Then I'll plant grass seed. Is this a viable plan? Should I Roundup the weeds before attacking with the tiller? When's the best time to do all this? And what grass would you recommend? Any and all advice appreciated!
 

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I have a couple or three-acre weed field we jokingly call a pasture, and now that I have a tractor I'd like to turn it into something nicer. My first experience with the new 3046R was rotary cutting said pasture and it was a rough ride - LOTS of humps, jumps, bumps and lumps. So there are two issues...(1) make it smooth and (2) make it grass (as opposed to weeds.) I've read a lot of different strategies for this and I'm leaning toward renting an RT3208 rotary tiller for a week and wearing it out (perhaps in concert with my new box blade) smoothing and leveling the land. Then I'll plant grass seed. Is this a viable plan? Should I Roundup the weeds before attacking with the tiller? When's the best time to do all this? And what grass would you recommend? Any and all advice appreciated!
Your plan is viable, and is essentially what I did last year. I would (and did) spray the entire area with roundup first. After that, I cut all the vegetation as short as possible to keep it from wrapping around the tiller shaft as much as possible. If you can, bag the vegetation shop that you aren't immediately tilling in weed seeds that you don't want. I live in Washington, so my next step was picking rocks, which I hope you don't have to do. Do your smoothing at this point, then add topsoil if needed. If you need to add lime, do it now, and i also added fertilizer at this time. Till these amendments in to a depth of two inches. Next roll the field to smooth out the tilled soil. Now spread the seed, and hand rake or harrow in the seed, you only want about 1/4" depth. Roll one more time to get good seed to soil contact. Keep it moist, and wait.

As far as seed, you need to determine what you want to do with your field to determine what you want to plant. Our pastures will have horses on them, so we bought a horse specific pasture blend.

For timing, planting in fall when it's wet but not cold, or spring right after the last freeze is ideal.

Pictures are what I started with, after tilling, after rolling, first growth, and first mow.
 

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My experience has not been with growing grass, but building seeders and other turf equipment.. That has told me a couple things.. Like said in post 4, ground contact and moisture are key.

Once you get something, most anything established, even as sparse as the first picture in post 8, you need to reliably open the ground where the new seed will lie to get ground contact and concentrate moisture to the new seed.

That being, a primary seeder and an over seeder are more two different implements than two similar implements.

The over seeder we built had powered disks to mechanically cut openings for the seed. The germination rate that could be had with that method was worth the expense of the dedicated over seed implement. According to our in house plant specialist and engineers.

I'm the definition of black thumb when it comes to growing things, but I could see the benefit on our test plots.

Good luck.
 

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Satch's advice about collecting the weeds before tilling so you don't grind into the soil the weed seeds is very important. On a new lawn I planted for a neighbor, the neighbor to that lawn's north has a crappy lawn and he does an even crappier job taking care of it. When he mows, he blew all of the clippings from his "lawn" to the new lawn area and I had to spray the first 15 feet of the adjoining new lawn to kill the weeds the neighbor transferred to the new lawn simply by blowing his clippings onto the new lawn area. Thanks a lot "jerk-weed".....No point and even trying to explain it to this guy as he is so oblivious as to how to properly care for his lawn, I would have better luck explaining it to the other neighbors dog.

Another thing I have noticed is how dandelions and weeds always begin at the street edge and then spread into the lawns from there. As the weed seeds blow down the pavement, when they reach the lawn across the road, they take root on the very edge of the lawn and then each time the dandelions are cut in the new lawn, it throws them further and further into the lawn, spreading across the surface. Plus, when they go to seed and blow the seeds, the spreading continues.

This is why its also very important when you fertilize or spread any granular product to go back on the hard surfaces like driveways, road surface, sidewalks and blow the fertilizer and other things you might be spreading (lime, compost, you name it....) back onto the actual grass area. Not only will the concentration of the fertilizer tend to help the area along the road, many of the fertilizers and other chemical products will stain concrete and even asphalt if left on the hard surface to get wet...............

Also, if you spray the area first, make sure to check how long after spraying before you can plant new grass. Some products are surprisingly fast (72 hours after the sprayed areas are dead) and others take 45 days or more before the chemicals won't inhibit new grass growth.

Don't forget that most pine tree needles have a natural chemical in them which "discourages" new grass and plant growth. If you have areas where pine needles may come in contact with areas you are trying to plant, you have to keep the pine needles away from the new growth areas or they simply won't allow the new grass or pasture to grow.

Anything you can do to remove the cut up or chopped vegetation / weeds from the new area before tilling or dragging the soil, the better the results you will get in your new grass pastures. Amazingly, grass itself can be very invasive when not challenged by other weeds. I have been cutting down black berry bushes and other vegetation with my 3 pt Frontier mower RC2048. Then I cut them even shorter a week later with my zero turn mower to about 3.5". Once the clippings and debris from the zero turn are on the field, I take the Billy Goat blower and blow all the clippings and debris off the cut area into the "au natural" area (still weeds and black berries).

By keeping the area cut short with the zero turn, it allows the grass to really spread and that isn't even really from seeding new grass, just letting the natural grass from the lawn work its way into the field and not get squeezed out by the other weeds. It allows me to extend the lawn area into the 10 acre field without specifically planting new grass. But, if you let the bigger weeds take hold again, they will reclaim the field in a matter of months............

It's like the dang wild grape vines, they will choke out trees and kill them if you don't get after them. I like to use the old cables from our dog tie out's to pull vines out of the trees. The plastic coated cables bind around the larger grape vines pretty well and then I can rip the entire length of grape vine out of the trees or the vines out of the ground with the cable. Plus the clips or hooks make attaching the cables easier to the vines. I was trying to find a picture of one series of wild grape vines which I pulled out of pine trees but I couldn't locate the photo. The vines were so long and large that they were a 6 foot wad of compacted vines on the pallet forks.......they must have been at least 100 feet long in the pine trees.......the cable pulling approach allows me to strip the vines out of the trees with the vine in tact, which is nice.
 
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