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New lawn dead after winter?

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  • Apr 16th, 2019 8:21 am
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[OP]
Newbie
Jun 6, 2006
8 posts

New lawn dead after winter?

Hi,

For the second year in a row, the areas I had reseeded did not survive winter. Why? I reseeded in early September both years. The lawn seemed well established and healthy at the end of October.

I live in Ottawa and bought my seeds (Kentucky Bluegrass, creeping red fescue, annual ryegrass) from Walmart.

What am I doing wrong? Why isn't my new lawn surviving winter?? The old lawn is doing fine, only the areas seeded are affected.

Thanks a millions for your help
11 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 31, 2007
4212 posts
791 upvotes
Richmond Hill
Try seeding in early spring. Gives it more time to get well established through the summer.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 27, 2009
6405 posts
3595 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
jwayne wrote:
Apr 15th, 2019 5:59 pm
Hi,

For the second year in a row, the areas I had reseeded did not survive winter. Why? I reseeded in early September both years. The lawn seemed well established and healthy at the end of October.

I live in Ottawa and bought my seeds (Kentucky Bluegrass, creeping red fescue, annual ryegrass) from Walmart.

What am I doing wrong? Why isn't my new lawn surviving winter?? The old lawn is doing fine, only the areas seeded are affected.

Thanks a millions for your help
What size is your yard? We never could make our lawn in our small townhouse yard survive year to year in Ottawa. Now we are in an acre lot and it seems to do much better.
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 6, 2006
8 posts
Will certainly do that. Although, I am reading on the Internet that many people report issues with new lawn not surviving winter, even when planted in spring! I wonder the cause....
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 6, 2006
8 posts
60X100. The "old" lawn does fine, but the bare areas that are seeded do very well end of summer and fall, then the newly seeded areas die the next year.
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 6, 2006
8 posts
Actually, the same areas I seeded two years ago look exactly like they did last year around May, when I realized that the affected areas did not survive winter. That's how I know that I am dealing with the same situation this year...
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 19, 2004
8382 posts
1515 upvotes
Cambridge, ON
Seems early to know it did not survive.

Only reason I can think of, when you seeded in September, did you water enough to get it established? You need to make sure the perennial grass gets established. The Walmart cheap seed probably has a lot of annual grass in it which grows fast but obviously won't survive. People often stop watering after the annual grass grows but it is the perennial grass you care about and usually takes longer to grow.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2002
6180 posts
815 upvotes
Annual grasses grow fast from seed and will dominate the lawn initially. When they die in the fall they're gone forever - they don't grow again in the spring.

Perennial grasses grow slowly from seed but will survive the winter and grow again in the spring.

Seed sellers usually sell a mix of the two. The annual will give you the quick green up you want and the perennial will be there in the spring. Of course it's to the sellers advantage to give you a higher percentage of annual seed so that the bare patches will bring you back looking for more seed in the spring.
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 6, 2006
8 posts
You know what, I think this was my mistake. Looking at the mix I bought (Kentucky bluegrass, annual ryegrass, creeping red fescue). So essentially, I watered until I saw the annual ryegrass pop up. Then I stopped watering. That's probably why the Kentucky bluegrass never came out. I don't even think I saw any fescue last summer. So I probably a nice lush lawn of annual ryegrass that isn't supposed to survive anyways.

I will definitely look for a different mix and water for a longer period!
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 6, 2006
8 posts
Thanks for the clarification. I'm going to go to bed a much smarter man than I was before :)
Member
Mar 22, 2017
335 posts
269 upvotes
Typically, you don't want to buy cheap seeds at Walmart. A local nursery, sod provider, online store, etc will give you better quality seed. These seeds tend to be more vigorous, drought tolerant, disease resistant, better colour, texture, etc. They will also typically not contain annual grass (waste of your time unless you have an erosion issue or you live in a hot climate and are winter overseeding).

You can overseed in a couple of weeks - Ottawa tends to be the first week in May. Use a starter fertilizer and top dress the lawn with triple mix. Water 2x/day for 2-3 weeks, then 1x/day for a week, then 1x/2days for a week, then 2x/week, then 1x/week (but heavy). Once the summer rolls around, baby the new grass a bit and give it some water or it'll die in the heat.

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