Growing in your bare spots

ducks4you

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I have a big lawn--one acre/5 acres that sits around the house and separate 4 car garage. Every time I tear up some lawn I have to fight the weeds and I have had minimal success growing grass. I always try to grow it in the Spring. On Mid American gardener, one of the panelists, a Professor Emeritis, said to start your lawn in the Fall, here, last week in August, so that you won't have to compete with crabgrass. He said that crabgrass stops going to seed then. The suggestions were to use a cover crop in the early Spring of the following:
1) oats
2) Canada Grass, which I had NEVER heard of--
Canada Green grass seed is a blend of 53.2 percent creeping red fescue, 23.4 percent annual rye, 14.1 percent perennial rye and 4.4 percent Kentucky bluegrass.
He suggested killing off the cover crop, but I don't live in the suburbs, so if it grows well and looks pretty good, I intend to leave it.
Any suggestions? I have 2 big and gaping holes in the lawn from the last few years.
 

Beekissed

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Yep....just cover it with hay~not straw~in the fall and you'll have grass hay in the spring. The hay mulches the hay seed found naturally within the bale, holding in moisture and protecting the young sprouts until they are strong. I did that around the dog's run line and house last winter and had a tall stand of lovely clover/grass there by spring. And that was in the shade!

It's easy, it's cheap and it works. I've got grass growing up in the places where I rolled out mulch round bales this fall, where previously only moss would grow. In these pics you can see where the moss ends and the rolled out hay begins....

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...and it isn't even spring yet! If I were you, I'd get me a few bales of hay and lay it on those areas right now and see what spring brings.
 

flowerbug

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what source would you have for mulching the area? i wouldn't want to spread hay if you didn't know if it had weeds in it or not that you wouldn't want to get established. otherwise, mulch away.

are there surface flows carrying away organic matter?
 

Dirtmechanic

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I gave up an got this;
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Its not for aeration, its for seeding. It helps for larger areas where I reseed fescue. I try to do it just before a rain so the seed gets in the holes. Works good. With little patches I can see a wheelbarrow and shovel with compost and seed but thats a lot of work. Forget the kentucky bluegrass. The red fescue is that superfine stuff for deep shade. I would just use a regular tall fescue like Titan RX so it could handle heat better in summer. If you are growing moss check the pH, or consider just feeding the moss buttermilk cut with 7 parts water. No need to fight it when a moss garden would do.
 

ducks4you

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All very good ideas. I have only had success putting hay down and having seedlings grow when I have spread out bales for my horses to eat. There are sometimes weeds in the hay. My hay man had to purchase some hay to sell this past year and I keep coming across a weed (name escapes me, so I will put it here when I find the post where I identified it last) that I have had to try to eradicate. My horses won't touch it, so I find it left where they ate in their stalls. I throw it in the barn trash to get rid of it. I would like to keep all hay seeds to use to reseed the pastures.
BE aware that only 3rd cutting, around August here, is likely to have hay grasses that have gone to seed. First cuttings and usually 2nd cuttings are unlikely to carry any seed.
I am looking at oats and clover to use to fill in. Good grass seed is Pricey!!! Old seed is a waste of money. Just bought a new rake which is vital to smooth the areas out.
 

Beekissed

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Around here second cut has tons of seed in it. So far I've not seen any weeds arising out of spreading these bales. But, since this is lawn and you'll be mowing it constantly, wouldn't the benefits outweigh the risks? It's not like any weeds will get big enough to make a stand and spread, is it? And, when they sprout and are still tender and young, wouldn't they look vastly different than grass and be easy to pluck out of the new growth?
 

flowerbug

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Around here second cut has tons of seed in it. So far I've not seen any weeds arising out of spreading these bales. But, since this is lawn and you'll be mowing it constantly, wouldn't the benefits outweigh the risks? It's not like any weeds will get big enough to make a stand and spread, is it? And, when they sprout and are still tender and young, wouldn't they look vastly different than grass and be easy to pluck out of the new growth?
@Beekissed i agree that it isn't too likely with regular mowing that such a thing might become a problem, but i've had some really bad experiences with things that have just shown up from materials that people have brought us along with weed seeds that are contained in seed blends (including grass seed blends). these cost me many hours each year now in trying to eradicate them or just to keep them under some kind of control in various gardens. they weren't here before and i regret they ever got started.

i guess what i would say is that if you do use seeds from any source no matter how you get them keep an eye on your planting to make sure any questionable plants don't have a chance to drop more seeds. mowing will not always get the entire plant or developing seed heads. i have some weeds here which will grow, flower and drop seeds before they are 1/4 inch tall. i actually don't mind some of them, but Mom hates having to weed them out of gardens. they're hard to get rid of when they're so tiny. (note that size is for the smaller plants, but they do get much bigger and that is where they are more of a problem to me - aside from the reaction i have to them when i pull them)...
 

ducks4you

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Keep adding your thoughts, but I have another question. DD's back yard is divided by cement walkways. I have tried unsuccessfully to get ground covers going under this tree that REALLY NEEDS TO GO!!!, and is on the north side of the garage. Lots of shade, and a little bit less than shady, wet in the winter and mostly a dry microclimate in the summer bc of the stupid, overgrown tree in the back yard. If the tree were gone I could probably grow something native bc our forested areas almost never really dry out. Does anybody think that pachysandra would work as a ground cover? At our office there is pachysandra spread out between a sidewalk and a stone barrier, but it's on the east side and gets sun.
 
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