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Old 09-24-2010, 03:51 PM
 
763 posts, read 1,478,295 times
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Default Straw or Hay?

Is it straw or hay that I see people using after air-rating and seeding their lawns? Also, where may I get these bundles to purchase and about how much do they normally cost? In addition, the landscaper who will be doing my lawn said that he does not cover the lawn after seeding, but I tend to see everyone doing it .. any particular reason?
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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It's normally straw (wheat stalks). Home Depot and Lowe's sell it - they unload it from semi-trailers parked near their garden centers. If I recall, it's $3-4 a bale. It holds in moisture to help seeds germinate, but it also introduces weed seeds.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:04 PM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
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Hay contains seeds which you do not want in your grass. Straw is used for animal bedding, not feed. It is used to retain moisture on your new grass seed. I don't know why your lawn guy doesn't use it.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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I just reseeded the whole yard two weeks ago, tilled it and the whole nine yards. I used straw bought from Lowes, and I believe it was about $4 per bale. I'm really glad I used the straw with all the hot weather and lack of rain we've had the last couple weeks, and I feel like it kept a lot of the birds from stealing seed too. The lawn is doing great now, but I don't want to imagine what it would be like had I not used straw.

NC Extension office recommends one to two bales per 1,000 feet of new seeded area. I spread 9 bales over 6,500 square feet here, and it worked out well. I'm not sure if the Lowes straw is "certified weed-free" or not, but I don't feel like I got that many weeds because of the straw so far.

Be prepared to water your whole yard lightly at least once or twice daily for the next couple weeks after you seed!
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest (New Light area)
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Try to avoid using it if you can. As the poster above states it introduces a TON of weeds into your yard. I would only recommend it on VERY bare patches and even then use as little as you can get away with.
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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Just to be clear - I do not feel like the straw I got from Lowes introduced weeds to my newly seeded lawn. I suppose it depends on your situation whether or not spreading straw is the best choice, but I'm definitely glad I did so. It was a bit time consuming to cover the whole yard, which perhaps is part of the reason your landscaper doesn't spread straw, Jamerican.
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
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Quote:
I don't know why your lawn guy doesn't use it.
He doesn't use it because it's his reputation that will get soured by all the weeds the wheat straw will introduce into the lawn. Stay away from it it possible. It moisture-retention is what you are after I recommend applying peat moss in the needed areas. Your entire lawn should not require it since you should be watering regularly.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underPSI View Post
He doesn't use it because it's his reputation that will get soured by all the weeds the wheat straw will introduce into the lawn. Stay away from it it possible. It moisture-retention is what you are after I recommend applying peat moss in the needed areas. Your entire lawn should not require it since you should be watering regularly.

Gotta completely concur with this. I used wheat straw for moisture retention in Fall 2007 and it was Spring 2008 when my yard went insane with the introduced weeds. The leftover bales then went in the burn pile.

Peat moss over your seeded areas will add plenty of great moisture retention and bonus components to your soil's makeup. Landscapers use the straw cuz it's cheap and effective THAT SEASON but will freak you out when the calendar turns.

Sphagnum peat moss FTW!
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Old 09-26-2010, 05:00 AM
 
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Default Thanks

Thanks a million guys, everyone of your suggestions, opinions and advice have been well noted and appreciated. I was just about to ask for an alternative to the straw, when a couple of you suggested Peat Moss as an alternative . I know one of the reasons that people try to cover the seeds is so that birds will not get to them; however, in addition to that I am just wondering about the foot traffic picking up the seeds on the sole of my shoes especially when wet whenever I am doing work in the yard. In any event, I will heed your advices by not using the straw to cover the lawn after seeding. As usually you guys are the bomb .
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamerican View Post
Thanks a million guys, everyone of your suggestions, opinions and advice have been well noted and appreciated. I was just about to ask for an alternative to the straw, when a couple of you suggested Peat Moss as an alternative . I know one of the reasons that people try to cover the seeds is so that birds will not get to them; however, in addition to that I am just wondering about the foot traffic picking up the seeds on the sole of my shoes especially when wet whenever I am doing work in the yard. In any event, I will heed your advices by not using the straw to cover the lawn after seeding. As usually you guys are the bomb .

Try not to even let any seeds be visible to the eye, or walk on your seeded areas much if at all. Break up the soil to be as loose as possible, rake smooth, spread the seed, add the peat moss/composted soil, starter fertilizer, and tamp, roll or water flat. As the seeds sprout they are very frail so you don't wish to crush them with foot traffic. Grass seed laying on top of soil will not do anything but feed birds and dry up. Good luck!
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