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April 5, 2013

I have had a couple of contacts on grass that was dormant seeded in the fall beginning to emerge in late March and early April.

The first one is from Rob Elder of Omaha Organics in Omaha.  He seeded some areas in drought damaged areas in November of last year in Omaha.  The picture below is from March 27.  In this situation, they did not rake the area first, they just put the tall fescue seed on the bare areas and covered them with compost.

The second picture is from Larry Ginger of American Lawn care in Des Moines.  The picture is from March 31 and shows emerging tall fescue.

Here is Larry's description of the process that he used.

  1. Late August:   Sprayed Roundup Pro at a 10% rate twice (2 days in a row) trying to kill exsisting wide-bladed tall fescue.
  2. During the week of Thanksgiving, 2012:
    1. Mowed the dead grass very short and dispersed the clippings to surrounding areas.
    2. Applied grass seed.
    3. Core aerated the areas 5 to 8 times.
    4. Waited one day for the cores to dry up.
    5. Then dragged the areas with a section of chain link fence.
    6. Then crossed my fingers wondering if the dormant seeding would emerge in the spring.

I dormant seeded about 10,000 sqaure feet around our place, and most areas are not showing new seedlings yet.  But it's very early, especially with the below normal March temperatures.

I seeded with "Enduro" turf-type tall fescue.  (Six Point, Five Point, and Falcon IV) 

Tall Fescue Seed 

As many of you know, I have never been a very big fan of dormant seeding.  I generally recommend that you keep the seed on the shelf until spring and seed when it is warm enough for germination.  The reason for this is the high mortality rate of seed applied in the fall.  While I am still concerned about dormant seeding of Kentucky bluegrass in the fall, I may change my mind on dormant seeding tall fescue into these damaged areas in lawns.  We will see how these establishments go this spring.

Dr. Minner is planning a longer article for the blog on this subject in the next few weeks.