Red Hen’s 2 Choices for an INSTANT LAWN: Red Hen’s Kentucky Bluegrass Sod vs. Red Hen’s Tall Fescue Sod

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One of Red Hen’s Kentucky Bluegrass Sod Fields

Article Last Updated 05/31/22

Did you know that Red Hen Turf Farm produces and sells 2 kinds of sod? 

Since 2018, we have carried both our flagship 100% Kentucky Bluegrass Sod, and more recently our “Tall Fescue Sod”.

Of these 2 choices, our Kentucky Bluegrass Sod is a more popular cool-season turf grass that is specific to our Midwest region.

CLICK TO SEE THIS IMAGE LARGER

By far, the majority of sod we sell is our Kentucky Bluegrass Sod. 

So what are the main differences between Red Hen’s two types of Sod, and why might you choose one over the other?  We get this question a lot.

FOR A QUICK SUMMARY… 

Our Red Hen 100% Kentucky Bluegrass Sod (aka KYB Sod or Bluegrass Sod) is a beautiful, lush, and finely textured natural grass. It is a blend of four high quality, top performing seed varieties, and is widely used on golf courses, athletic fields, and home lawns.

Our Red Hen Tall Fescue Sod (aka Fescue Sod or Tall Fescue Sod) is 90% Rhizomatous Tall Fescue and 10% Kentucky Bluegrass, and is grown for its superior density, dark color, and fine leaf texture. The fescues in this mix provide increased spreading ability, deep rooting, and are drought tolerant. The fescues and Kentucky Bluegrass in this mix provides lower irrigation requirements once established.

But, to dive in deeper, let’s start by focusing on Red Hen’s KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS SOD …

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How Easy is it to Care for Newly Laid Sod? WATER, SUNLIGHT and AIR are KEY Components.

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Updated 05/27/22

When you receive your newly harvested sod, most of the root system has been cut off – and you’re getting maybe a 1/2 inch of soil / roots with your sod rolls.  Over the next year to year and a half, the roots of your sod are going to be growing back. Once the roots have grown back in at the 1.5 year mark after transplanting to your yard, then your sod is considered ESTABLISHED.

You need a healthy balance of WATER,SUNLIGHT, and AIR, to help your sod to start to take root after within weeks, depending partly on your initial soil preparation and sod installation.

Since you have limited control over SUNLIGHT and AIR, the key to success relies heavily on WATER.  The roots of your new sod will penetrate the soil faster and root down sooner if properly watered.  Only 2-3 weeks may be necessary for initial sod rooting, but the roots will still be relatively shallow.

Common questions we get are when? and how much?  Usually, there are two main ways to kill new sod … by watering too much, or watering too little.

Here’s how to ensure that your new sod has the right amount of water.

First day watering.
Your sod should be soaked with water as soon as it is laid. Water each zone or section as soon as it is laid!

How do you check to make sure you have watered it enough?

You could check by walking on it. If you make deep footprints, it has enough water.

Another way – if the soil is firm – is to lift a few different corner of the sod to inspect. The soil on the back of the sod should be damp to wet. If it is not damp – and if the ground is still dry underneath – water for at least 30 minutes.

Second through fifth day watering. 
Check your lawn at least one time per day, or more than once if it is hot or windy. Walk on the new lawn to inspect it. If the soil is soft and you make deep footprints, or water has puddle in areas, it is too wet and you should stop watering for awhile, and water less often with less water. If the soil is firm, lift a corner of the sod in several places. The soil should be damp, not  dripping wet, or dusty dry.

Watch the color of the sod.

Green is good.

Blue-green indicates not enough water, and you will have problems in 12-24 hours.

Yellow-tan means the sod is heat/moisture stressed and will go dormant. The roots and crowns are still alive and if you water more, new leaves will appear in seven to ten days.

Cracks that appear between the rolls indicates not enough water has been applied and you should water longer or more often.

Temperatures above 80 degrees F generally mean more water is needed and below 60 degrees F means less water is needed.

In the cooler months of March, April, October, and November, sod needs much less water.

Further watering.
After five days or so, the soil has soaked up water like a sponge, and you must reduce your watering habits or you will drown the new roots.

Roots will not grow into waterlogged soils!  Begin stretching out the time between the watering. Reset your timer if you have an automatic system.

New Sod Watering Tips near Sidewalks and Driveways and Surfaces that Reflect Heat onto your Sod (like FENCES!).
Pay close attention around paved areas!
A LOT of heat will transfers from paved / hard surfaces and will dry out nearby new sod much faster than the rest of the new yard.

New Sod and HOT DAYS – APPROACHING 90 DEGREES F OR HOTTER
Pay close attention to your new sod on hot hot days and make sure to WATER more than you might usually.  It’s almost impossible to over-water sod that has been installed in the past month or so when we’re seeing 90 Degree Temps.   When in doubt, call us at 574-232-6811

Here’s a related FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION that we hear a lot:

I installed by sod last year, and now it’s the hottest part of the summer. Is there something I need to know?

Good question!  Newly installed sod takes about a year or a full growing season to be considered fully established, with a fully developed root system.  A healthy, established lawn is more forgiving and durable that a newly laid, still-establishing lawn.   Watering an ESTABLISHING yard versus an ESTABLISHED yard are two different things – and the hotter and dryer it is, the more this will become apparent.  Some general tips to follow when it comes to watering your ESTABLISHED lawn are:

  1. The best time to water is 4am-8am.
  2. The next best time is 8am-noon.
  3. If you can’t water during these times, watering when you can is much better than not watering at all.
  4. Watering every day, in light/shallow waterings should be avoided and can produce unwanted crabgrass, diseases and other weeds that thrive in that environment.
  5. Deep, infrequent watering is the best for established lawns.
  6. Fertilizing and mowing should also be avoided during extremely hot and dry periods.

Lawns that are still establishing tend to need more water overall – but hard surfaces that radiate heat, slopes and shade can make a difference.

To dive in deeper on this topic, check out our blog article HERE called, “Irrigation, droughts – and strange weather … HOT, DRY SUMMER TURF TIPS from Red Hen Turf Farm”  and Purdue’s free guide on Irrigation Practices for Homelawns (CLICK HERE)

LEARN MORE
Read our “Early and Longterm Sod Care Instructions” and much, much more by visiting Red Hen Turf Farm’s PDF LIbrary.

Or give us a call today – 574-232-6811Facebookpinterestlinkedinmail

Irrigation, droughts – and strange weather … HOT, DRY SUMMER TURF TIPS from Red Hen Turf Farm

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On 05/27/22 and 06/15/20, a few updates were made to this Blog originally published on 8/2/18.

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The last few months we’ve been hearing, “This sure is a strange season.”   It certainly was an unusual start to the 2018 year.  We had floods in February, snowstorms in March and in April we never thought we’d see the trees turn green.  But are we really having especially strange weather, or are we just hoping for normal weather to let mother nature do all the work for us?

Let’s look at the weather facts from this year, gathered from our main weather source: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).  In February 2018, we hit a record-breaking 8 inches of precipitation.  Rain, coupled with a huge snow storm, melted snowpacks and led to extreme flooding, causing cresting of local rivers. I think we all remember this event and some are still feeling the effects. Click: here for an article about this historic flooding.

This picture was taken on February 27, 2018, showing one of Red Hen Turf Farm’s many flooded fields.

In March, everyone was trying to recoup from the February floods. We received snow showers for the first half of the month.  It was a pretty cold month with temps averaging around 34 degrees.  Typically, around this time, we are all looking forward to spring and the green up of trees and grass.  But nature didn’t green up like it did the prior year and it remained pretty cold.  In fact, it seemed like “greening up” took 3-4 weeks longer compared to last year.  The strange weather had its effect on us at the sod farm as well.  Flooding and extremely cold temperatures prevented us from harvesting sod until April. Whereas last year, we were harvesting sod on February 14 (an especially early time compared to most years), in 2018 we did not harvest our first order of sod until April 9th – WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

April 9, 2018, Red Hen Turf Farm’s first sod harvest of the season. Snow and all!

 
 
As summer began to set in, throughout July our customers started feeling the effects of extreme heat and drought. Lawns started turning brown and sprinklers were constantly running.

One of the frequently asked questions we received during this hot, try time of the season was “why is my grass brown if I have my sprinklers on timers?”  Sure, auto-timers may seem like a dream. Set it and forget it, right?  Unfortunately, this is a common misconception, especially when the temperatures are above normal and/or if we haven’t had significant rain in weeks.  Sprinklers are a good supplement for water, but can never do as good of a job as Mother Nature when it rains.

In order to understand why your grass may be turning brown, you need to first consider how much water is needed to sustain a healthy, green appearance.

According to a fantastic, easy to read publication from Purdue, Irrigation Practices for Homelawns, most ESTABLISHED Indiana lawns need 1 to 1-1/2 inches of irrigation per week. 

But what if you are in the midst of a drought? 

You can do 1 of 2 things for ESTABLISHED lawns.

CHOICE 1:  Allow your established lawn to go dormant.  Irrigate 1/2 inch every 2 weeks just to maintain hydration to the plant crowns.  This amount of water will not green up the lawn, but it will increase survival chances during long drought periods.   However, newly installed sod will require daily irrigation 1-2 times per day for at least a week.  After a few mows, deep and infrequent watering should be practiced.

LEFT: Turf has been irrigated during a drought. RIGHT: Turf turning dormant.

CHOICE 2:  If you decide against dormancy, keep your established lawn green by watering it DEEPLY 2-3 times per week.  Soak it deeply, morning hours are best to water, but if your only chance to water is at a different time, go for it but keep a few things in mind that we’ll talk about next…

 

Contrary to some tales, watering your lawn in the afternoon will not burn it.  It is not the ideal time to water but if it is the only time you have to water, it may just take extra time due to more wind and evaporation. Avoid watering in the evening hours.  Watering in the evening can make turf more susceptible to mold and diseases by providing the moisture needed by fungus and bacteria. Even with proper watering techniques, turf can still get heat stressed and get some brown spots. Depending on the species of turf, green up times vary.  Kentucky bluegrass may take 2-3 weeks to recoup and start turning green again.  On the other hand, tall fescue will tend to bounce back quicker from a droughty period.   

IN GENERAL, WHEN IT COMES TO IRRIGATION SYSTEMS, avoid the set-it and forget-it approach. Rather, adjust your irrigation timers according to your turf’s needs, not yours.  Some things to consider when you’re evaluating your turf’s needs are:

  • Paying close attention to the weather will help you figure out if you need to water more or less.
  • Finding out how much water your lawn needs depends on a few factors such as species of turf, if it’s in the shade, if it’s at the bottom of a slope, and whether your grass is newly established.
  • Grass in the shade and at the bottom of a slope tends to need LESS water overall.
  • Keep in mind that NEW SOD and GRASS GROWN FROM SEED tends to need more weather overall FOR THE FIRST YEAR OR SO while it’s becoming fully established – but again, if it’s in the shade or at the bottom of a slope, adjust accordingly.
  • Yes, you read that right … Sodded and Seeded Lawns should be considered newly established / establishing for about a year or so.  Some of the calls we had this summer were about sod that was laid last fall, where the amount of irrigation was not adjusted accordingly, and they were effectively under-watering which led to yellowing or browning of the grass that was still establishing, as compared to the established parts of their yards.
  • You also may want to pay attention to the length of the lawn surrounding your sprinkler heads.
  • If the grass is too long, the water spray will be deflected and not get to where it needs to go.  Keep grass trimmed around sprinkler heads.

If you are unsure how much water your irrigation system is putting out or if it’s putting out the same amount all over, simply put empty tuna cans or rain gauges in grid like zones.  If they are not holding the same amount of water for each zone, adjustments may be needed.  You will also have to adjust timers on hills,  slopes and shaded areas as they all require different amounts of irrigation.  Set timers on hills and slopes just enough time until the water begins to run off, then stopping until it is absorbed, repeating until the desired amount is applied is recommended.   Hilltops dry out faster than lower areas so they should be irrigated differently.  Shaded areas also need less water.

Click here to read more on a blog we recently published on proper watering techniques.

Let’s recap and build on a few main points…

  • The best time to water is 4am-8am.
  • The next best time is 8am-noon.
  • Watering every day, in light/shallow waterings should be avoided and can produce unwanted crabgrass, diseases and other weeds that thrive in that environment.
  • Deep, infrequent watering is the best for established lawns.
  • Newly established lawns and lawns that are establishing over about a year or so tend to need more water overall – but again, slopes and shade can make a difference.
  • Oh, and Fertilizing and mowing should also be avoided during extremely hot and dry periods.

When the Temperatures are HIGH, RED HEN TURF FARM RECOMMENDS that you hold off on fertilizing and mowing, and plan on doing some extra watering if you want to keep your lawn from going dormant, especially with Recently Laid Sod

So whether you have underground irrigation on timers or a good old fashion sprinkler and hose, some adjustments and work still have to go into keeping your lawn green during droughts.

Questions?  Give us a call at 574-232-6811

 

 

A FEW UPDATES to this BLOG MADE on 6/15/20 – A HOT DRY JUNE!  

Even with types of grasses like Red Hen’s 90/10 Turf-type Tall Fescue Sod that are technically more “drought tolerant” as compared some other turfgrasses, it’s becoming quite the “HOT TOPIC” here at Red Hen.

For more on this topic, Check out Purdue’s article, “Home lawn during drought: To water … or not?” HERE, and Purdue’s article, “THE HEAT IS ON!” HERE is another good one to read.

You might also check out Red Hen’s BLOG, “Where did the rain go? And what do I do about my thirsty lawn?” HERE. Purdue’s guide on “Irrigation Practices for Homeowners” is another great resource, HERE.

UPDATE on 8/28/20 – After a hot, dry summer pretty much for months, we have written a companion article, “Doing a Simple “Tuna Can” Sprinkler Audit … IS THE WAY TO GO!” that explains why setting it and forgetting it is not a good idea when it comes to irrigation / sprinkler systems – especially if you’re dealing with brown grass and not sure why. Check it out HERE.

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Hauling and Trailering Sod Safely and Efficiently #PickingUpSod #Trailering

FacebookpinterestlinkedinmailUpdated 5/14/22

While Red Hen will deliver 500 Sq. Ft. (1 standard pallet) or more of sod, if you have the means of picking sod up, it’s always worth getting quotes for both scenarios.

When you pick sod up at Red Hen Turf Farm during our loading hours, we will always prefer to load your sod on the pallet, by using one of our forklifts.

The most common problems that we encounter when loading various vehicles are:

  1. Customers do not bring and are not prepared to use the appropriate tie downs.
  2. No good access to load trailer with Red Hen’s Forklifts because the trailer has a drop down gate that can not be removed and/or ramps that the forklifts cannot safely drive on.
  3. Tires have not been checked for wear or air pressure.
  4. Trailer is not rated for the weight of even 1 pallet of sod.

If you ultimately decide to pick up sod, the Law puts the responsibility of providing proper transportation and equipment for SAFE and LEGAL hauling squarely on your shoulders.  This includes proper cargo tie-down equipment, properly equipped vehicles and the knowledge and skills to execute the practices safely.

Being mindful of this could literally save someone’s life!

If you want to become REALLY EDUCATED about hauling cargo and equipment, we suggest you look at Purdue University’s FREE 85-Page GUIDE, “Securing the Load: A Guide to Safe and Legal Transportation of Cargo and Equipment” at THIS LINK.

The very least you should know when picking up sod includes:

  1. You need a vehicle that can haul the load safely. A full pallet of sod (500 sq. ft.) can weigh 2000-3000 pounds depending on recent rains or irrigation. IN CASE YOU ARE INTERESTED IN RENTING A TRUCK and/or TRAILER TO PICK YOUR SOD UP, we’ve included a few helpful links at the end of this article.
  2. Make sure you have a vehicle that can pull the loaded trailer and also make sure the vehicle is designed to pull the loaded weights.
  3. If you bring a trailer, make sure it is designed to hold the weight you want to haul, and make sure the tires can handle the load.
  4. CHECK THE TIRE AIR PRESSURE of YOUR VEHICLE and THE TRAILER.
  5. With a Trailer, Safety chains should be properly rigged to tow vehicle, not to hitch or ball
  6. With a Trailer, the Coupler should be secured, tight, and locked.  Refer to the “Coupling To Tow Vehicle” section of your manual.
  7. Lights: Test Tail, Stop, and Turn Lights
  8. Bring something to tie down the sod on the pallets. Ratchet tie down straps work best.
  9. With a Trailer, Follow the safety checks after 10, 25, and 50 miles as described below.
After 10 Miles After 25 Miles After 50 Miles
Retighten lug nuts Retighten lug nuts Check that Coupler is Secured
Check tire pressure Check tire pressure Check that safety chains are fastened and not dragging
Check that Coupler is Secured Check that Coupler is Secured Check that Sod is Secured

We truly want you to get home with all of your sod safely, and the people following you will appreciate your diligence.

Also, it is required by law.

Last but not least, if you are curious about renting a truck and/or trailer, here are some handy links to check for availability in your local area:

LOWE’S rents Pick-Up Trucks for as little as $19 for the first 90 Minutes – Find out more HERE: https://www.lowes.com/l/truck-rentals.html

HOME DEPOT also rents Pick-Up Trucks for as little as $19 for the first 75 minutes – https://www.homedepot.com/c/truck_rental

HOME DEPOT also rents Trailers – https://www.homedepot.com/c/moving_supplies_equipment_rental

U-HAUL rents Trucks and Trailers – https://www.uhaul.com/

MacALLISTER RENTALS operates throughout Indiana and Michigan and rents Trailers – https://www.macallisterrentals.com/rental/trailer-rental/

If you’re in the South Bend Area, BURNS RENTALS offers Trailer for rent, including Dump Trailers for heavy loads, starting at a rate of $127 for 4 hours / $184.00 daily https://burnstoolrentals.com/equipment.asp?action=category&category=33

For the South Bend Area, MICHIANA RENTAL is another source to rent a heavy-load capacity Dump Trailer, starting at $150 for four hours / $200 Daily / $200 for the Weekend – https://mtrental.com/tools/trailers/Facebookpinterestlinkedinmail

When was the last time you checked you tires’ air pressure? #PickingUpSod #Trailering

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Updated 5/14/22

“When was the last time you checked your air pressure?”

Well, this is a question we ask a lot here at Red Hen. There is a tire gauge next to our cash register for a reason.

I always tell myself I am going to count how many tires I fill up every year and never do so. But I can tell you it’s a lot.

It all started about 8 years ago when I noticed a lot of trailers and sometimes trucks would have start to get loaded, but then would have to be unloaded so that they could drive back to the office to use our air pump.

Now the important thing to understand is how we operate as a team. If it needs to get done, we do it. But if we can be smart about it, why unload a trailer just because no one checked the air pressure?

I have sent our semis out with forklifts to save customers from what was becoming a bad day.

Be proactive.

Take the time to grab a tire gauge and check your air pressure.

The last thing I want to see on the way home is a customer pulled over with a flat tire.

Oh, and for MORE TIPS on picking sod up safely, check out our blog post,Hauling and Trailering Sod Safely and Efficiently #PickingUpSod #Trailering” (CLICK HERE)

— Jeremy and the Red Hen Turf Farm Crew

P.S. If you are curious about renting a truck and/or trailer, here are some handy links to check for availability in your local area:

LOWE’S rents Pick-Up Trucks for as little as $19 for the first 90 Minutes – Find out more HERE: https://www.lowes.com/l/truck-rentals.html

HOME DEPOT also rents Pick-Up Trucks for as little as $19 for the first 75 minutes – https://www.homedepot.com/c/truck_rental

HOME DEPOT also rents Trailers – https://www.homedepot.com/c/moving_supplies_equipment_rental

U-HAUL rents Trucks and Trailers – https://www.uhaul.com/

MacALLISTER RENTALS operates throughout Indiana and Michigan and rents Trailers – https://www.macallisterrentals.com/rental/trailer-rental/

If you’re in the South Bend Area, BURNS RENTALS offers Trailer for rent, including Dump Trailers for heavy loads, starting at a rate of $127 for 4 hours / $184.00 daily https://burnstoolrentals.com/equipment.asp?action=category&category=33

For the South Bend Area, MICHIANA RENTAL is another source to rent a heavy-load capacity Dump Trailer, starting at $150 for four hours / $200 Daily / $200 for the Weekend – https://mtrental.com/tools/trailers/Facebookpinterestlinkedinmail

Too late for a Fall Grass Seeding? Tips for a Winter (Dormant) Seeding – It’s a great option that few know about!

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Article Last Updated: 11/04/21

Did you miss the optimum time for seeding this fall?  If you are wondering when that was, typically in our region (Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan) the number 1 very best time to plant grass seed is between August 15 and September 15.

It’s November 4th, 2021 and we are still getting daily customer questions about seeding at this time of year and it’s really too late and would be a waste of time and money. Mother Nature is not going to let your seed grow enough to make it through a frost and our soon-to-come harsh cold temperatures.

Any grass seed planting after September in our region can be risky due to freezing ground temperatures.  Once the seed germinates in anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks (more on germination can be read HERE), it will need a couple more weeks to mature enough to withstand the freezing and often unpredictable Indiana temperatures so planting too late may not be successful.  

TOO LATE AND NOT FEELING GREAT ABOUT WAITING UNTIL SPRING?

THERE’S A SOLUTION!

Why not step out of your comfort zone and opt for what is often referred to as a “dormant seeding“? Using the method of “dormant seeding” also happens to typically be the 2nd best option timing-wise to plant grass seed in our region.  

“Dormant seeding” simply refers to the fact that if you put the seed down once the ground is frozen for the season, the seed will lie dormant or inactive until soil temperatures are warm enough to germinate in the EARLY spring and give you a head-start compared to doing the seeding in the spring.  

You can use any seed you want to use for this method of seeding.  

Unsure what seed to choose?  Pick a high-quality seed for best results. 

Here are a few options we sell in our store:

Red Hen 100% Kentucky Bluegrass Sod Blend Seed … 

This sod-quality seed will match our most current variety of Kentucky Bluegrass sod in production. This seed will require some extra attention to establish, but it exhibits the same beautiful deep green color and disease resistance that Red Hen’s sod does.  This seed takes 21 days to germinate and will be very slow to fill in.

AVAILABLE PRICED BY THE POUND or by 50 LB BAG.

Rates: NEW SEEDING: 4 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft /// OVER-SEEDING: 2 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft

Red Hen 90/10 Tall Fescue Sod Blend Seed

Also referred more simply as our Red Hen “Fescue Seed” or “Tall Fescue Seed”, this seed will match our 90/10 Tall Fescue Sod in production. It’s currently comprised of 90% Tall Fescue Seeds with rhizomatous-type roots, and 10% Kentucky Bluegrass. The fescues in this mix provide increased spreading ability, deep rooting, and are drought tolerant. The fescues and Kentucky Bluegrass in this mix provides lower irrigation requirements once established. This seed takes 7-14 days to germinate.  

AVAILABLE PRICED BY THE POUND or by 50 LB BAG.

Rates: NEW SEEDING: 8 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft; /// OVER-SEEDING: 4 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft.

Greenskeeper Custom Mix Seed … 

OUR MOST POPULAR SEED!  Works well in full sun and light amounts of shade.  This variety contains 3 types of grass seeds and each type will germinate at a different time.  

AVAILABLE PRICED BY THE POUND or by 50 LB BAG.

Rates: NEW SEEDING: 6 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft /// OVER-SEEDING: 3 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft.

Greenskeeper Premium Shade Mix Seed …

While no grass loves shade, this blend has varieties that exhibit better growth habits in partially shaded areas. 

AVAILABLE PRICED BY THE POUND or by 50 LB BAG.

Rates: NEW SEEDING: 6 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft /// OVER-SEEDING: 3 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft.

Greenskeeper Super Shady Seed …

If you have less than 2 hours of direct sunlight and have tried to other shady mixes with little luck, this may be the grass seed for you!  This mix contains includes 5% Poa Supina bluegrass seed – some of the highest tech shad grass seed on the market.  

AVAILABLE PRICED BY THE POUND or by 25 LB BAG.

Rates: NEW SEEDING: 6 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft /// OVER-SEEDING: 3 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft.

No-Mow Fescue Seed aka Low-Mow Fescue Seed aka Greenskeeper National Links Seed

Excellent blend of fine fescues ideally suited for low maintenance and shady areas. Superb under low managed conditions with unmatched shade tolerance.

AVAILABLE ONLY BY THE 50 LB BAG.

Rates: NEW SEEDING: 8 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft /// OVER-SEEDING: 4 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft.

Valu Mix Seed

Satisfactory for utility-type general usage areas where economy is important. Truly an all-purpose contractors mix with rapid establishment.

AVAILABLE ONLY BY THE 50 LB BAG.

Rates: NEW SEEDING: 6 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft /// OVER-SEEDING: 3 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft.

For good timing on a dormant seeding, we typically suggest waiting until December and getting it done prior to March, but it all depends on ground and air temps. Basically, you want to wait until the ground has frozen and will stay that way until spring so that the seed you put down stays dormant the entire time. If we were to have a warm-up spell for a length of time, the seed MIGHT start the germination process a bit, and then become vulnerable to being killed off once the freezing temperatures return.

You will need to make sure your site is prepared for seeding prior to snow fall, as you would a typical spring or fall seeding.  

Starter fertilizer is not needed, since the grass is not actively growing, but be sure to get some fertilizer (without crabgrass or broadleaf herbicides!!!) down after the ground thaws to help give the new seedlings a good spring boost.

Simply broadcast the seed at the rates recommended, sit back (enjoy a hot chocolate) and wait for spring.   

Sound strange? How does it work? When the ground freezes and thaws during the winter months, the earth heaves and cracks, eventually making room for seed to fall into the soil where it will wait in a DORMANT STATE for warmer weather to germinate in the spring.  

Some challenges to consider with dormant seeding (overall, less challenges than spring though!): 

  • Birds love seed and since food is scarce in the winter you may get some visitors. You might try seeding in the later winter months (February or early March) for better results.
  • If we get an early sprig warm-up followed by winter settling back in again, there is potential for snow or freezing AFTER the seed has started to germinate.   
  • You won’t be able to use certain herbicides — such as pre-emergent crabgrass herbicides — until after the new grass’s roots system has grown enough to have been mowed at least 2-3 times.  

Unsure about trying a dormant seeding? Try sodding instead.

We harvest sod well into November and sometimes as late as December. The cooler months give off just the right amount of hydration so little water is needed during this time. As long as the site is prepared, you can lay it on frozen ground, the sod will go dormant, and it will “wake up” and finish rooting in the spring. (Surprising, huh?) 

Read more on seeding and our 2 types of sod at these other Red Hen blog articles:

Late July / Early August UPDATE – The Window of Time for Fall Grass Seed Planting Will Be Here and Gone Before You Know It!

FROM THE RED HEN FAQ VAULT: Soils for Lawn – Considerations for Seeding and Sodding

Red Hen’s Grass Seeding Quiz

Red Hen’s 2 Choices for an INSTANT LAWN: Red Hen’s Kentucky Bluegrass Sod vs. Red Hen’s Tall Fescue Sod

Until next time, The Red Hen Turf Farm Crew

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FROM THE RED HEN FAQ VAULT: Better Genes = Better Lawns

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……. as of 11/21/18, has not been shared with JC / MS

(This post is adapted from an article originally written by David Millar, Red Hen Turf Farm)

Seeding companies usually put in quick germinating ryegrass and fescue, which in the short run pleases the customer with fast growth, but in the long run will disappoint them if they want a lawn with the best possible genetics.

Part of our job at Red Hen Turf Farm is to choose the grass seeds that we will use to form the sod we sell, so we are very familiar with the grasses that are suitable for the Michiana area. Here, we would like to share our experience of selecting grasses with homeowners so they can get the kind of lawn they want.

  1. The Basics
    The appearance of a lawn is determined by the interaction of three things.
    1.) The genetics of the plant.
    2.) How people take care of the grass. This includes soil preparation before establishment, mowing, fertilizing, and especially watering program after establishment.
    3.) The plants reaction to weather conditions, such as temperature, excessive moisture, and humidity.

The first thing a student in an agriculture class in college learns is to start every crop out with seed that has the best possible genetics. Unlike sports players who can give 110%, the best a plant can ever give is 100%. A plant can only look or perform as well as its genetic potential.

A person can have grass with ultra superior genetics, but if the lawn is not installed properly, or not mowed and watered properly, it will not look good. Also, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. A person can care for a lawn perfectly, but if the turf has lousy genetics, it will never look GREAT.

The key to a beautiful lawn is to choose grasses that have the best possible genetics, and strive to make the lawn fundamentally healthy by mowing, watering and fertilizing properly. That way the lawn will be less damaged when it is faced with adverse weather and insect attacks. Fundamentally healthy plants are better able to resist disease attacks too. For example, newer varieties of Kentucky bluegrass will not get dollar spot disease if adequate nitrogen levels are maintained. Dropping nitrogen levels leave the plant open to dollar spot attack.

All important turf diseases are caused by different types of fungi. All turf diseases have a narrow range of temperature, moisture, and humidity at which they grow. A week of high daytime and nighttime temperatures along with high humidity will cause an outbreak of several lawn diseases. If a lawn is fundamentally healthy and has grass with disease resistant genetics, the disease attack will be light or absent. If the lawn has susceptible grasses, the disease attack can be severe.

There are four types (species) of grasses most commonly used in this area. Each species has its own set of unique genes that cause the grasses to look and perform quite differently under the same conditions. Here is how each species can be described.

Kentucky Bluegrass:

  • Has the most “sex appeal” of all grasses. It has the darkest green color, most pleasing texture, and thickness people like.
  • Has the widest range of disease resistance of all grass.
  • Looks much better after mowing.
  • Takes about 21 days to germinate and grows slowly for about 6 months.
  • Is not very shade tolerant.
  • Current varieties resistant to red thread.
  • Red Hen’s sod that we grow, harvest and sell the most of if by far our 100% Kentucky Bluegrass Sod

Fescues:

  • Is the group name for several species of fescues, like tall, fine, creeping red, chewings, and hard.
  • Are light green in color and have a narrow leaf blade.
  • Are like the P Ryegrasses in the fact they are more easily affected by diseases (red thread) that are very common during periods of hot weather and high humidity.
  • Generally are believed to have the best shade tolerance of these four grasses.
  • Red Hen grows, harvests, and sells a Red Hen 90/10 Tall Fescue Sod (aka Fescue Sod or Tall Fescue Sod) that has a deeper root system than our Kentucky Bluegrass Sod.  Read more about the differences HERE – Red Hen’s 2 Choices for an INSTANT LAWN: Red Hen’s Kentucky Bluegrass Sod vs. Red Hen’s Tall Fescue Sod

Perennial Ryegrass (P ryegrass):

  • Has a pale green color.
  • Very susceptible to often-occurring summer leaf diseases like red thread.
  • Very susceptible to a new disease called “gray leaf spot.”
  • Mows poorly. Lawns look almost white after mowing, especially after seed head stage.
  • Germinates fast and grows fast.

Annual Ryegrass:

  • Is a very pale green, ugly, short-lived plant whose only positive attribute is that it germinates quickly.
  • Is a major component of cheap grass seed.

Interpreting the Basics:
Once you understand the basics, you can apply your new knowledge to your lawn.
If I were to establish a plot of each type of these grasses, and have a group of people evaluate them every day of the year, the overwhelming winner would be Kentucky Bluegrass. If the same group were to look at the plots for problems every day, the grass with the fewest complaints would also be the Kentucky Bluegrass.

Kentucky Bluegrass and fine fescues are susceptible to summer patch. Summer patch is a disease caused by the people who care for the lawn because they have caused the lawn to be shallow rooted. Shallow rooting is caused by poor soil preparation, frequent and shallow watering, and improper fertilization. Since there is no perfect grass, selection comes down to this point: Do you want a grass that looks great (bluegrass) and is resistant to a wide range of diseases you cannot prevent and susceptible to a disease you can prevent? Or do you want a poorer looking grass susceptible to a wide range of diseases?

On the right is Kentucky bluegrass, and on the left is a mix of bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue. Note how much darker green the bluegrass is. Note the disease spots on the mix of grasses and the absence of disease on the sod.

It is funny how the selection of the species of grasses gets lost in the method of establishing of lawns. In this locale, there are three methods of establishing a lawn, dry seeding, hydroseeding and sodding. For people who are very interested in their lawn, the issue should be in the selection of the species, not the method used in establishing. But, because sod is generally 100% bluegrass, and seed or hydroseed is generally a mix of bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue, the method becomes the selection of the grass.

This is a close up of the disease in the seed mix. It is usually not fatal, but is not pretty and appears often.

Sod growers in this area primarily sell bluegrass because it is what most people want.

A hydroseeding company selling a 100% bluegrass blend has a real challenge trying to please their customers. Bluegrass requires a long period to germinate and as a seedling, looks very fragile. These traits do not inspire customer confidence or satisfaction even though the end result would be a beautiful lawn. Seeding companies usually put in quick germinating ryegrass and fescue, which in the short run pleases the customer with fast growth, but in the long run will disappoint them if they want a lawn with the best possible genetics.

The way to have your bluegrass “cake and eat it too” is with sod. Let the sod grower do all the hard work of growing bluegrass, and you can take the credit for knowing how to select a beautiful lawn.Facebookpinterestlinkedinmail

WARNING!!! It’s the INVASION of the FALL ARMYWORMS in INDIANA!!!

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(Updated 9/14/21)

Well, it’s official!

As of around 9/2/21 – Fall Armyworms have been reported throughout the entire state of Indiana. We were hoping to be spared in Northwest Indiana, but no such luck.

Actually, this seems to be an especially bad year for this pest that is currently affecting a large portion of the United States. Several articles we reviewed while writing this blog article call it the worst Fall Armyworm outbreak since 1977!

These invasive and highly destructive “worms” are actually the caterpillar / larva stage of the Armyworm Moth – which can become a real problem in the fall.

They will feed heavily on crops and grasses, including our beloved lawns!

Here at Red Hen, we’ve received photos from several customers in our area, and have confirmed they are experiencing Armyworm damage.

Adult armyworm moths are a pale brown color, with a white dot in the center of each forewing.

As a young larva, it is green in color and moves around in a looping motion.

A full-grown Armyworm larva is more of a dull-green to brown color and has alternating light and dark stripes running the length of its body. Upon reaching maturity, the larva will be about 1-1/2 inches (38 mm) long.

As the name of this creatures implies, Armyworms are known to “attack” in large groups. In these “armies”, they can affect large areas of turf, cutting it down to crown level as they go. B

Armyworm taken from turfgrass in southern Indiana. Photo courtesy of B. Voges. Found online via https://turf.purdue.edu/armyworms-invade-indiana/

Armyworm outbreaks in your turfgrass lawn will tend to be patchy and sporadic, though sometimes the feeding damage can occur on a larger scale.

The feeding damage of Armyworms can be so dramatic that may appear like sections of your lawn have disappeared overnight and you’re left with large brown spots of dead grass.

Armyworms are mostly nocturnal. The larger larva feed voraciously at night and on cloudy days. Often their presence will not be noticed until the damage is done, and it’s too late to do anything about it. Taking preventative steps before the damage occurs is a better option, but that’s quite difficult to do.

Another challenge to even being aware that Armyworms have invaded your yard is that they are hard to spot, since they can “hide” in the roots and thatch of your turfgrass. Using the “soap flush test” you can force them out to confirm if the brown spots you are seeing in your lawn are, in fact, due to some very hungry Armyworms. Here’s an article that desribes how to do a Soap Flush Test: https://blog.supersod.com/soap-flush-test-pests-including-fall-armyworm

Fortunately, unless your lawn / turfgrass is severely stressed by drought, it may recover well with proper irrigation or rainfall and proper fertilization. A healthy, properly maintained lawn goes a long way towards outcompeting weeds, insect, and disease issues.

HERE are a few links for the Experts at Purdue to learn more about Armyworms and ways you can try to control them::

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LOADS of TIPS for Proper Annual Fertilizing of Your RED HEN TURF FARM Sodded Yard

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Grass synonyms

A properly fertilized lawn can more easily outcompete weeds and disease issues and will be more resistant to diseases and insects. But what does “properly fertilized” mean?

For one thing, it means that you’re applying your fertilizer at the proper rate, using an appropriate nutrient source, and your timing of the application is appropriate.

Much of the following refers to the Experts at Purdue University’s Turfgrass Science Department’s guide on “Responsible Fertilization of Home Lawns” (HERE) and a few other science-based resources like THIS PURDUE FERTILIZING GUIDE… These tips should be helpful:

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Early August UPDATE – The Window of Time for Fall Grass Seed Planting Will Be Here and Gone Before You Know It!

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Article last updated on 08/11/2021

Every year around this time, it always feels like SUMMER is FLYING by.  

We’ve been getting lots of questions about Grass Seed, which we DO SELL in addition to our 100% Kentucky Blue Grass sod and our Turf-type Tall Fescue Sod, and many other lawn care products (including fertilizer).

Red Hen Turf Farm - Grass Seed

IDEAL TIMES TO PLANT GRASS SEED

Did you know that there are certain times of the year that are better to plant grass seed than others?  If not, you’re not alone.

It turns out that in our part of the country, often the BEST TIME to plant Cool Season Grass Seed is in the LATE SUMMER / EARLY FALL.

Specifically, in the northern-third Indiana, August 15th through September 15th is the ideal time period to plant Cool Season Grasses.  (One exception to this rule would be if you have a heavy shaded area due to trees, in which case you might want to consider a winter or spring seeding when the leaves have fallen and more sunlight can reach your soil bed.)

Why plant grass seed between August and September 15th?   Well, according to Purdue turf expert, Zac Reicher, planting turf grass seed in northern Indiana within this late-summer / August 15th – September 15th window offers several advantages:

  • Air and soil temperatures are more moderate, which improves seed GERMINATION.
  • It typically rains more frequently, which helps reduce (but may not eliminate) extra watering … this also improves your chances for successful seed GERMINATION.
  • Grass seedlings face fewer pests than they do in the spring or the hottest parts of summer, again improving GERMINATION.

WHAT IS GERMINATION

A FEW TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR ODDS FOR BETTER SEEDING RESULTS

First, let’s talk about what method of seeding or over-seeding you might consider.  Many people try to simply cast the seed by hand or by using a spreader and leave it at that.  But is this the most efficient way?

The answer is NO for several reasons, including the fact that rain or wind will likely carry much of this seed away and it will never grow.  Or much of it will become a yummy meal for wildlife.  Also, without giving the seed a thin layer of soil over the top to grow in, there’s a good chance your rate of success will go way down.  To achieve this, you can rent a slit seeder or a core aerator at most local garden centers.  We recommend using either a slit-seeder to plant your seed, or using a core aerator first and then seeding into the cores.  These methods protect the seed from being carried away, and provide the much needed soil bed for the seed to germinate.

Let’s go a little deeper…

New grass seedlings have poorly developed root systems, which means they cannot effectively absorb nutrients from the soil.

For this reason, it is important to WATER and FERTILIZE PROPERLY after seeding to encourage germination and establishment.  

  • Fertilizer Application #1 – Do this right after planting your grass seed.   We recommend using 12-12-12 (or another starter fertilizer).  The rate of application will depend on the species of grass you are planting.  You should also water 2-3 Times each day while the seeds are in the process of germinating.  Apply enough water to keep the soil moistened. When you see the new grass plants (seedlings), you may reduce the number of times you water.
  • Fertilizer Application #2 –  4-6 weeks after planting (depending on the type of grass seed you’ve planted).  Use some more of the starter fertilizer that you applied in the first application.  Again, the rate of application will depend on what kind of grass you’ve planted.  Continue to water as needed to prevent the soil from drying out. However, be careful that you do not keep the soil saturated, leaving your new grass vulnerable to pests and diseases.
  • Fertilizer Application #3 – Do this 4-5 Weeks after your 2nd Application (once again depending on the type of grass seed you’ve planted). Our 25-0-10 fertilizer would be perfect for this 3rd Application. Or, for the 3rd Application, you could apply a broad leaf herbicide if needed to control broadleaf weeds (such as our 22-0-5+Trimec+Iron). On the other hand, if you’re dealing with grassy weeds, they are difficult to kill with herbicides, so proper mowing is your best choice for controlling them.

PURCHASING GRASS SEED AT RED HEN TURF FARM

Here at Red Hen Turf Farm, we sell several varieties of grass seed by the pound, which is handy whether you have a very small or very large area to plant.

Contact us for prices and recommendations based on your specific needs and goals.

Also, check out OUR GRASS SEEDING GUIDE and Purdue’s Seeding Guide.

Some of your choices for grass seeds here at Red Hen include:

Red Hen 100% Kentucky Bluegrass Seed … 

  • This sod-quality seed will match our most current variety of Kentucky Bluegrass sod in production.
  • Aa beautiful, lush, and finely textured natural grass – definitely the BEAUTY QUEEN of our 2 types of sod
  • A blend of four high quality, top performing seed varieties
  • Widely used on golf courses, athletic fields, and home lawns.
  • Fertilizing Needs for our Kentucky Bluegrass Sod will be 4-5 applications each calendar year
  • Seed can be used to patch small areas in existing sod or seeding a large area next to sod.
  • Takes 21 days to germinate and will be very slow to fill in.
  • Will require some extra attention to establish, but it exhibits the same deep green color and disease resistance that Red Hen’s sod does.
  • AVAILABLE IN 50 LB BAGS, OR IN BULK BY THE POUND.

Red Hen Turf-type Tall Fescue Sod Mix (90/10) Seed … 

  • This seed blend mix matches our Current Tall Fescue Sod
  • Comprised of 90% Rhizomatous Tall Fescue and 10% Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Superior density, dark color, and fine leaf texture.
  • The fescues in this mix provide increased spreading ability, deep rooting, and are drought tolerant.
  • The fescues and Kentucky Bluegrass in this mix provides lower irrigation requirements once established.
  • A great choice for sites without installed sprinkler system and for sandier soil types.
  • Fertilizing needs for our Tall Fescue Sod Seed Mix will be closer to 1-2 applications each calendar year, focus on applying during the fall months because in the fall, the grass plant will use what it needs, but store some of the nutrients for the next season, making your dollar stretch further.
  • The fescue seeds in this mx take 7-10 days to germinate and the Kentucky bluegrass seeds in this mix will take 21 days to germinated and will be slower to fill in.
  • AVAILABLE IN 50 LB BAGS, OR IN BULK BY THE POUND.

Red Hen 100% Turf-type Tall Fescue Seed … 

  • Comprised 100% Rhizomatous Tall Fescue
  • Superior density, dark color, and fine leaf texture.
  • The fescues in this mix provide increased spreading ability, deep rooting, and are drought tolerant.
  • Fertilizing needs will be closer to 1-2 applications each calendar year
  • A great choice for sites without installed sprinkler system and for sandier soil types.
  • This mix will take about 7-10 days to germinate

Greenskeeper Custom Mix Seed … 

  • OUR MOST POPULAR SEED!
  • Works well in full sun and light amounts of shade.
  • This variety contains 3 types of grass seeds and each type will germinate at a different time.
  • The ryegrasses in this seed mix should germinate in 3-5 days, the fescues will germinate in 7-10 days, and the bluegrass seeds will germinate in about 21 days.
  • AVAILABLE IN 50 LB BAGS, OR IN BULK BY THE POUND.

Greenskeeper Premium Shade Mix Seed …

  • While no grass loves shade, this blend has varieties that exhibit better growth habits in partially shaded areas.
  • The ryegrasses in this seed mix should germinate in 3-5 days, the fescues will germinate in 7-10 days, and the bluegrass seeds will germinate in about 21 days.
  • For more information, visit the “Grass In Shade” section of our website. A
  • VAILABLE IN 50 LB BAGS, OR IN BULK BY THE POUND.

Greenskeeper Super Shady Seed …

  • If you have less than 2 hours of direct sunlight and have tried to other shady mixes with little luck, this may be the grass seed for you!
  • This mix contains includes 5% Poa Supina bluegrass seed – some of the highest tech shad grass seed on the market.
  • The ryegrasses in this seed mix should germinate in 3-5 days, the fescues will germinate in 7-10 days, and the bluegrass seeds will germinate in about 21 days.
  • AVAILABLE IN 25 LB BAGS, OR IN BULK BY THE POUND.

Greenskeeper Valu Plus Mix …

  • An affordable option, good for rapid establishment.
  • Primarily consists of ryegrasses, with some Kentucky Bluegrass and Creeping Red Fescue.
  • The ryegrasses in this seed mix should germinate in 3-5 days, the fescues will germinate in 7-10 days, and the bluegrass seeds will germinate in about 21 days.
  • AVAILABLE IN 50 LB BAGS ONLY

Greenskeeper Low-Mow National Links Mix …

  • Consists of low-growing fine fescues well adapted to the harsh conditions of golf course roughs and bunker faces.
  • Left unmown, this formula provides maintenance savings, erosion control, and adaptation under varying soil conditions.
  • The fescues will germinate in 7-10 days
  • AVAILABLE IN 50 LB BAGS ONLY

What’s more, if you don’t see what you are after, we may be able to special order the seed you need. Just let us know the seed specifications you have and we will do what we can to get it for you for a reasonable cost.

READY TO TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT SEEDING?  TAKE OUR QUIZ by CLICKING HERE

LEARN MORE

  • Contact Red Hen Turf Farm … Whether you’re a recent customer, a customer from years or even decades ago, or you’re simply looking for information or pricing, we’re here to help.  What’s more, regardless of whether you end up purchasing anything from us, we genuinely enjoy talking with and educating people.  Give us a call (574-232-6811) or drop us an email (turf@redhenturf.com).

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