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Is it now too late to sow a new lawn? Northern Ireland

Discussion in 'Lawns' started by devs, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. devs

    devs Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all, I've got a large area (1.5 acres) that I'm waiting to dry up prior to rotavating, leveling and seeding.

    I live in Portrush NI and wondered if I'd be wasting my time or is there still time?

    Many thanks in advance.

    Devs.
     
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    • Clare G

      Clare G Gardener

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      Any time up to mid-October would be fine, I should say, provided that a) the soil still feels warm enough for the seeds to germinate* and b) you can keep it moist enough while they start to grow and c) you don't suffer from early frosts. The last two shouldn't be a problem in N Ireland I would have thought?

      *I check this just with my hand, but according to tradition it needs to feel warm enough for you to be able to contemplate sitting on it just in your bare skin without a shudder!
       
    • Redwing

      Redwing Wild Gardener

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      I think it's getting late and would wait until spring. I would not sow later than the first few days of October in southern England on clay soil. If you've sandy soil it stands a better chance but Northern Ireland is generally colder than southern England. You also imply it is too wet there now so may not dry out enough for sowing. You have a large area to sow. The grass seed for 1.5 acres will cost maybe around £100. I would wait.
       
    • Verdun

      Verdun Passionate gardener

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      Devs, we had a very similar question a couple of days ago.......in that instance I said go for it. Still time to do it. :)
      BUT! You have 1.5 acres and that is a lot to prepare right now.
      I would spend the autumn and winter getting the preparation done. Sorting the soil, firming and levelling. You can take your time to get it right. Then in March-April sow seed. :rasp:
       
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      • redstar

        redstar Total Gardener

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        its all about proper grass seed selection .
         
      • devs

        devs Apprentice Gardener

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        Perfect, thanks for all the help guys. Really appreciated!

        I did plan to buy the more expensive lawn seed rather than standard grass seed. I love gardens and gardening but have never dealt with a project like this before.

        I have a farmer (with the necessary tools) on standby to ready the land for me (whenever it drys out sufficiently) prior to seeding.

        I think I'd rather wait until next year now rather than risk the seed loss. Am I right in thinking that if the conditions become right the farmer can go-ahead and get things ready for the new year?

        Thanks again,

        Devs.
         
      • Sandy Ground

        Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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        If I was in your position, I would get the preparation done as soon as possible, and let the ground consolidate over winter. It will probably need further levelling before sowing.

        As regards expensive or cheap seed, use the mix that best suits future use.
         
      • Redwing

        Redwing Wild Gardener

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        What type of soil do you have? Some people like to leave clay soils to break down over the winter once ploughed or cultivated. Isn't N Ireland quite wet? I think I would leave it all until the spring but it wouldn't hurt to plough or cultivate roughly any time when conditions are suitable. Mr Redwing was a farmer for many years and we have a lot of experience of sowing grass.
         
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        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

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          Yes devs, the farmer can indeed go ahead and get things ready for early spring. Ideal. Go for it. :)
          One thing though.....I would urge caution with fine grasses especially to cover 1.5 acres. They are high maintenance, wear quickly and often do not produce satisfactory results. I have put down many lawns and persuaded many not to go for high grade seed. Dwarf rye is excellent these days and produce good looking, hard wearing lawns.:)
           
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          • devs

            devs Apprentice Gardener

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            Morning guys and sorry I nearly missed these replies!

            N.I is indeed quite wet but, moving here from Manchester I'd say they are both very comparable.

            I'm surrounded by farmers fields where the house is sited so would guess the soil is fertile. At a guess I would say that it appears to be clay'ey.

            I would love to get it ploughed before winter sets in and give it time to breakdown but assume that the land needs to be relatively dry prior to doing this?

            Good advice on the seed Verdun and it defiantly a suggestion that I will be taking up. Theres a large number of trees that surround the land so a hardier grass would have its benefits. Plus I have two young kids that love playing outside.

            Is there a particular type of Dwarf rye that you would suggest / suppliers etc?

            Many thanks,

            Devs.
             
          • Sandy Ground

            Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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            Although I understand the reason that dwarf rye is suggested, I personally would never use it alone on any kind of a lawn. Only as part of a mix with fescue and bentgrass. Then only to reduce the cost of seed. For 1,5 acres, I would expect that you will be needing somewhere in the region of 400+ kg's. That would represent a substantial saving, as dwarf rye is a "cheaper seed."

            If a slightly better lawn is required, then drop it altogether, and just use fescue and bentgrass. It will require more maintenance though. Having said that, does more maintenance matter? Presumably you will be using some kind of garden tractor to mow, feed, etc.
             
          • Verdun

            Verdun Passionate gardener

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            Dwarf rye for me. Makes an excellent durable good looking lawn. I have tried various grass seed from the finest to the roughest. You wont go wrong with this commonly available seed. Ask your farmer friend too..I am sure he will agree :)
            Sometimes it is suggested add mix fine seed but this simply wears away. For 1.5 acres dwarf rye is perfect
            I am willing to bet you will have a nice looking lawn by next summer Devs. :)
             
          • Redwing

            Redwing Wild Gardener

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            You can buy landscape mixes which are usually 40-50 percent dwarf rye grass and the balance fescues which aren't too expensive. I've used a company recently called A1 Lawns which has been fine and reasonably priced. I have no connection with them except as a customer. I would use a mixture rather than rye grass on its own; it'll look better with some of the finer grasses, especially if you are like me and leave some areas long for growing bulbs and flowers in.
             
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            • Verdun

              Verdun Passionate gardener

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              Rye grass generally sold IS a mixture folks :)
              Dwarf rye mixtures not pure rye grass on its own....not sure often supplied as pure rye anyway! :noidea:
              To clarify, I suggested a dwarf rye grass mixture that is sold everywhere, will produce an excellent lawn with qualities of durability and deep colour. All grass seed sold is a mixture of bents and fescues.....dwarf rye is added for durability in mixture I advocate.
              There are varying mixtures on the market but let's not overthink what is not a complicated product. :)
               
            • Liz the pot

              Liz the pot Gardener

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              there are thousands of grass types. My Favourite names are Don’s Twitch and Doddering Dickies, oh and yes they are common names for grasses.
              Whatever you go for as it sounds like you are surrounded by fields no doubt as time ticks you will have other grass types appear so it’s worth thinking about what density and growth pattern you require.
              As for planting now or spring, well you take your chance on weather. You could sow now and get away with it as some types of grass germinate down to 5 degrees while others require it a tad warmer. It may well be too wet now or you sow in the spring and we have a long dry spell as we did this year.
              There’s no real right or wrong answer, you take your pick and hope.
               

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