When it comes to keeping our athletic fields healthy in the cool and cold months here in Connecticut, one of the most important tasks is overseeding – the process of applying a cool season grass seed (such as perennial rye grass) over an established warm season turfgrass.
As fall temperatures drop and nights get longer, warm season grasses slow their growth rate to almost zero; with growth largely shut down, warm weather grasses can’t recover from athletic play. Overseeding with a heartier cool season grass provides a playing surface that can withstand wear and tear during the cool season’s winter months.
The best time to overseed is early fall into mid-to late November, when temperatures are optimal to germinate and establish cool season turfgrass. Since warm season grass has slowed or stopped its growth, it won’t compete with ryegrass that is trying to root.
The following steps are recommended to prepare for overseeding:
Aim for 5-10 lbs of seed per 1,000 square feet, depending on traffic. Apply seed with a rotary spreader in multiple directions; this will help insure a more uniform coverage.
Water substantially immediately after seeding to help push the seed down to soil; a light watering three to five times a day in the subsequent week should be enough to keep the surface moist. Once the seed has germinated, water less frequently but for slightly longer duration. Once grass is fully established and regular mowing can occur the watering can generally be cut back to once or twice a week.
Not sure how to maintain your athletic field this fall and winter? Let Diamond Landscapes & Athletic Fields do it for you. Call us today to learn more: (203) 628-4377.