Lawn Seed not taking / germinating

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Help please.

I recently added pre seed lawn feed and then scarified over a period of four days as there was so much thatch and trying to juggle with work etc.

I have since seeded using bird repellant seed from a garden centre. Unfortunately the seed is not taking and not germinating anywhere I can see.

What have I done wrong. I know laying top dressing is perhaps best solution but this year I was hoping for a quick fix and to see it germinate in some locations at least.

I do have some Richard Jackson Lawn magic and will spray this on along with a wetting agent but wanted to give the seed some time to take on first instance.

I'm concerned as some patches is bare the lawn will end up having evenore moss and weeds grown in the bare patches.

Is there any tools I can use to make grooves in the soil to help with seed taking to the soil?

Any help and advice would be most appreciated.
 

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Mystic Moon Tree

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It seems from the pictures like it is very sunny & you have kids which makes me think this is high traffic. I also see it is cut very short with no shade trees & full sun with unknown sprinkler set up... possible pets? This is a monoculture lawn. All of these things are problematic when you don't take them into account. You are also trying to remedy the situation with a lot of chemical & industrial solutions like the bird repellant which sometimes can can be a waste of money & lessen germination rates. Grasses come from a meadow, or prairie &, like all plants, thrive better in a mixed plant ecosystem rather than a monoculture field. If you will only grow one type of grass in a monoculture lawn, you always have to do the work to add soil amendments & maintenance & it will always be labor intensive. A polly culture lawn seeds several grass types ideal for your climate & the location and allows certain desireable weeds like dandilion, clover, dichondra, or other ground covers to grow in where the grass struggles. These other plants provide neutrients to the soil & remove toxins from the soil that the grass can't process. So, for instance, if you have cats or dogs peeing on the grass, the urea & nitrogen will be concentrated & hot which burns the lawn & can't go anywhere to dilute when watered, because the surface is level. If you fertalize and have no shade trees or top soil this will also burn & bake the existing seed and grass. If you have kids or high traffic, the tender new shoots will be trampled under before they can set. If you mow too soon & too close to the ground, you suck up & kill all the seed & stress the existing struggling lawn. So what I would recommend is buying a garden fork hoe & possibly a tool like a pitch fork that can create some holes and aeration in the soil. Buy a bale of meadowgrass hey (not other hey) & potting soil. Buy a back & forth sprinkler that can be attatched to a hose & a timer. Buy a bag of seed from a smaller nursery or online that is a custom blend of grasses without any chemicals or additives, just natural. I could better recommend grass if I knew your state or general climate. I personally have several lawn ecosystems & my full sun one is red & white clover, blue grass, rye, & dandilion. You could also try fescue added in. It does create a mixed plant & longer low mow look, but its more sustainable. So you poke holes in the lawn you have & use the forked hoe to scarify the ground as best you can. Toss the meadowgrass hey down into the patchy lawn spots. This is to help provide shade & protection to soil life. Spread the seed thickly over the entire lawn, but esspecially in the problematic areas. Spread the potting soil (I use G&B) in at least a quarter inch thick layer in the problem areas & sprinkle for neutrients on the rest of the struggling lawn thinly. Water in thoroughly with the back & forth sprinkler; likely will need 2x per day watering in the summer & 1x per day wattering in spring & fall depending on your climate. Really saturate the problem areas to try to dilute any chemicals in the soil without washing the seed away. The top soil will help deter birds from seeing or eating up your seed, but I usually just plan to reseed in a month in case. I also have a cat, & dogs which keep them away from the lawn. Grass takes 7 to 14 days to germinate & needs a lot of water. If it goes too dry, or the soil is too compact it won't set root. Do not walk on it or mow it for quite a while. The new blades will take a full 3 or 4 months before they really can be walked on & the grass needs to really establish imo for a full year cycle with seeding & dormancy before you mow. Only really established lawn with some reprieve from the sun can tollerate being mowed as low as what is shown in the pictures. Usually you mow only to the longest setting on the mower and that is only a couple times a year once established. That is healthier for the lawn, until there is a very thick root mat with soil built up & you leave the leaf scrap down to create the soil. Water always pools & runs in little rivulets in lawns. You will always have problematic areas the grass grows around. These can be filled in year 2 with soil & more seed to fill in the patches, but it is easier to just place another ground cover here that likes the runoff of undesireable chemicals the grass exhausts, or can't eat from animal waste. Prefferably a nitrogen producing legume, or calcium fixing pioneer deep taproot plant, or low growing ground cover. A couple times a year when its not hot out I make chicken maneur tea with water in a bucket & fertalize my lawns. I plant shade trees, understory & bushes around the edges to help the lawn not get burned & need less water. I let the leaf litter stay on top of the grass all winter long for protection from the frost. I inoculate the lawn with beneficial microbes, nematodes & earthworms. I keep it low traffic, until it establishes & use the excess clippings to feed my chickens, goats, & pigs. The honey bees love the clover & I let it grow long and cycle in waves with the grass to go to seed before I mow it. The clover is up in the spring and grass thrives in the summer and fall. I allow mosses and other ground covers to fill the natural cracks & dips in the land or the shady edges along with the dandilion & other herbs. My lawn is longer than most city homes, low mow, but happy & pretty.
 
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Holy wall of text!

Anyhow, you have to make sure that you are sowing the right type of grass seed for your area.

Also, grass seed is best sown in late summer in temperate climates regardless of what the label will tell you.
 
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Hi Elgan,

I've found that seed from native-to-the-area grasses grow best. Chain stores have seed from who knows where. Local landscape suppliers are often a good source for local grass seed. (And they're way cheaper, too. Last month- $2.00 per pound for perennial seed.)

We have rock-solid dirt that does not like to grow things. To compensate for grass seed, I buy a mixture of locally grown rye grass and perennial grass. The rye grass grows quickly and helps protect the "real" grass seed until those seedlings are well established.

To plant, I use a Grass Rake (picture below) to scarify the soil as deep as I can, then put the seed. Next I use the back of the rake to cover the seed by knocking over the dirt that the rake raised. I make sure the soil stays damp for a couple of weeks. (Critical)

A de-thatching rake also works to make the furrows for the seed, but tends to be more work that a grass rake if the ground is really hard.

Along the lines of what Chuckers said, I agree (from experiences) that most grasses won't germinate well in hot weather. I recently did this for bare areas where we cut trees down. It's been 80's & 90's-F outside. The rye seed did grow, but slowly. The perennial is growing, but sparsely & very slowly. The best is to do what Chuckers said, so I always re-seed in late summer when the nights are cool. The next spring is met with Wow! You'll save water sowing in fall, too.

As far as keeping birds away, I gave up on repellents. I just put small piles of millet, sunflower & corn bird seed around the area. They prefer the easy meal & leave the grass seed alone. Lazy bums!

Best Of Luck & Happy Planting!
Paul
 

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