More Dead Turf!
Almost daily, I continue to get calls, email messages and other inquiries concerning significantly large patches of dead turf. First, if the turfhasn't begun to show signs of green stems and leaves at the crown (base) of the plant, then they are indeed dead and no amount of handwringing and finger pointing will bring them back! Reseeding will be theonly option at this point, unless you are willing to go through the expense of laying sod.
Unfortunately, we're getting a bit late to consider a normal fall seeding ofturf (October 15 is the absolute cut-off date for reseeding). Since Kentucky bluegrass seed can take two weeks to germinate and another four to five weeks to become mature enough to survive the winter, seeding this turf should likely wait until spring 2003. Perennial ryegrass and turf-type tall fescues can germinate within five days to a week, but this is assuming warm soil temperatures. Tall fescue is also pretty susceptible tofrost kill if it doesn't reach sufficient maturity in the fall.
In short, you can risk a fall seeding now and hope that we get a prolongedmild fall season, or you can wait until we get a couple of frosts and do a "dormant seeding." The idea of dormant seeding is to seed into a prepared soil after soil temperatures have cooled below 40°F so the seed will not germinate until the following year. The advantage is that all the work can be done in the late fall when the soil is dry enough to work and the seed is in place to take full advantage of warming soil temperatures next spring. Such seedings are excellent when we have moderately coolwinters. If we stay too warm, the seed may germinate and then be killedwhen freezes do occur. If you do a dormant seeding, I recommend using aslit seeder. Freezing and thawing of soil in winter and early spring will improve soil and seed contact for greater success of turfgrass establishment in Spring 2003. Authors: Dr. David Shetlar &
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