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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
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    South East Michigan
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    New Holland TC30 Hydro 4x4, Gravely Zero Turn Mower

    Default Straw over seeded lawn??

    I plan to seed some grass over a 120ft by 70ft area. I've seen people put down a layer of straw over the seed. What is the purpose of this and should I do the same?
    Jerry

  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    Feb 2002
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    Janesville, Wisconsin
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    None -yet. Until then FunBuggy (EZ-Go) will have to do!

    Default Re: Straw over seeded lawn??

    I think the purpose of the straw is to help keep the seed from blowing away in the wind. Of course, if you're keeping the ground moist all the time, it may not be a problem. But the straw certainly wouldn't hurt, and it just decomposes and/or gets cut up when you do your first mowing.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Jan 2002
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    Colorado
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    2000 New Holland TC29D with 7308 FEL, and top & tilt. 1950 John Deere B. 1940 Farmall A.

    Default Re: Straw over seeded lawn??

    I've used straw for all grass seeding I've done and it works great. The purpose is to keep the sun from drying out the seed and soil and keep the moisture in. Don't put it too thick or the seed won't get enough sunlight to grow. I just take a "slice" of the bale about 3 or 4 inches thick and shake it so the loose straw falls on top of the seed. When I'm done I have a loose layer of straw about 3 or 4 inches thick. Then water it down good and keep it watered every day for at least 2 weeks. You really can't water too much. The straw will stick together better and won't blow away if it's wet.

    Just as a guide, I did an area about 90 feet by 40 feet last year and it took 3 bales. A little thicker might have been ok, so maybe 4 bales would have been better.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    Sharpsburg, Md
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    John Deere 4100 HST

    Default Re: Straw over seeded lawn??

    I agree with Mosey on the purpose of the straw. It shades the ground a little and keeps moisture from evaporating to quickly.

    I haven't put down as much as Mosey. The key is to get down as much as possible to shade. I planted about a 1/8 acre of grass this spring and probably should have used more straw (we ran out). A couple of the areas were blown clear and the seedlings dried as a result. Easy to fix and not a big deal.

    Terry

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2001
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    433
    Location
    Canton, Texas
    Tractor
    Deere 5520 MFWD

    Default Re: Straw over seeded lawn??

    I think that people also use straw to try to keep rain from washing all of the seed into the lowlying areas and off of the high spots. Sounds like real solid thinking to me.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    211
    Location
    Western NC
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    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: Straw over seeded lawn??

    Another thing to do is after putting down the straw and watering it in good, walk over it some. This will help push the straw into the ground and keep it from blowing away. It probably also helps get good ground contact for the seed. I had heard that you couldn't over water it, but found out that you actually can. After the lawn is established, it is usually best to use more water less frequently. While the seed is germinating, the opposite seems to be true, from my experience. Don't lay down too much water all at once. If possible, give a lighter watering in the morning then another in the evening. My first lawn was a disaster. My most second lawn turned out much better, much faster, and with a lot less work.

    Kevin

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    New Holland TC30 Hydro 4x4, Gravely Zero Turn Mower

    Default Re: Straw over seeded lawn??

    OK, I need to get moving this weekend on this project. Soon it will be so hot out that I won't be able to keep the seed from drying out whether I have straw or not.

    Thanks for all the good info.

    Jerry

  8. #8
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    Aug 2001
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    michigan thumb
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    jd 970, JD GT235

    Default Re: Straw over seeded lawn??

    A HAND SHAKEN BALE WILL COVER APPROX 500SQ. FT. LIKE HAS BEEN SAID TAKE A "SLICE" OF BRIGHT DRY STRAW IN EACH AND ACT LIKE YOU ARE DRY FINGERNAIL POLISH.

    WHEN LOOKING AT THE GROUND I LIKE TO SEE HALF DIRT AND HALF STRAW. just realized the caps sorry.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    118
    Location
    Lower Hudson Valley New York
    Tractor
    B2710 FEL with a 72 inch mid mount mower and teltrax canopy

    Default Re: Straw over seeded lawn??

    Jerry,
    I live in farm country and we always use hay to cover newly seeded lawn areas. Keeps the seed from blowing away, holds moisture after watering and shades the seedlings when they germinate. For larger areas we use a machine called a bale chopper. You load a full bale of hay into the top of the machine string and all and it chops and blows the hay on the seeded area. You can pull the unit around with a larger lawn tractor or they make a distribution hose which will blow the shredded hay about 15 feet. Try any rental center.
    Biggest thing to remember when starting a new lawn is to spread starter fertilizer on when you spread the seed. The fertilizer actually coaxes the seed to germinate and then it feeds it afterwards.
    I like Scotts products but any starter fertilizer or fall fertilizer will do. Just make sure that the nitrogen level is low (that is the first number on the bag ie. 20-10-5 = 20% nitrogen)
    Good luck and remember that if the seeding fails you can always put down sod....just remember ""Green Side Up"

    Dale

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    582
    Location
    Seattle area
    Tractor
    JD 855 4WD, HST

    Default Re: Straw over seeded lawn??

    Another reason we use straw (or peat moss) to cover a newly seeded lawn is to keep the birds from running off with all of your new seed. If left uncovered your new lawn with become the local aviary.

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