Princess 77 – Homeowner Evaluation

When turf companies market a brand new grass without submitting it to long-term University trials in Georgia, I’m at a loss to know whether to recommend their grass for use by homeowners.

In the Summer of 2005 I asked for radio listeners’ experiences with several new grasses.

It is important to note that this was not a scientific survey and the comments listed here may not reflect reality. It is not my intent to disparage a grass … only to present the comments of real-life users.

Below are the comments I received on ‘Princess 77′ bermudagrass.

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This project started in August of 2003. I had great success with Princess 77 seed when planting my lawn. I only wished I would have known about it before I planted the seed from the Big Box Stores (Princess 77 was not available at the Big Box Stores when I started this project).

I started by tilling the yard, sprayed with Roundup (waited 4 days) before I planted. I added dolomitic lime and starter fertilizer. I mixed the seed (pure seed 5 lbs) with sand and put down with a broadcast spreader. Since Bermuda seed needs to be covered, I raked over most of the yard and added wheat straw (lots). Last, I drove over the entire area with my lawn tractor to make sure the seed had soil contact (all the neighbors thought I was crazy). I watered for 7-14 days until the seed germinated. I fertilized around 30 days later and cut three times before fall.

This seed is noticeably closer to the sod that’s in the front of the property. It is bluish-green in color and very fine… unlike the common Bermuda. It has almost completely taken over the other seed I planted. This was 2 years ago and now I have a full lawn. I have aerated (to help fill in the bare spots) the last two years and added sod where the lawn slopes (to help with the erosion area). I also had a soil test done and added the appropriate amount of lime and fertilizer (should have done at the start of the project) Tyrone C.

Glad to have an opportunity to tell you about my experience with Princess 77. Followed my usual regime for planting grass: tilling, raking, put down lime and turf fertilizer, tilling and raking again, spread seed, covered with wheat straw and kept damp for two weeks. Very little seed germinated. Began an email conversation with Pennington and we finally decided the temperature in May was below normal for Roswell. They refunded my money and I reseeded. This time it was all of the rain the last of May and June that caused the lack of germination, however, I would say that perhaps 30 percent of seed did come up and has done a nice job of spreading.

I also read on the bag not to fertilize at the time of planting..I plan to reseed next spring and see if I get the turf that is promised. Nancy H.

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I planted some Princess 77 Bermuda in nearly full sun next to a lake. I cleared the land and found the soil to be mostly red clay. I rototilled the 2000 square feet I was planting and spread about 15 cu yards of top soil. The top soil was not the highest quality and had lots of rock. I then rototilled again after the topsoil was spread. I spread the seed with lime and starter fertilizer at the end of May. I rolled the area and covered the area with a light sprinkling of wheat straw, about 1.5 bales. I watered the area for an hour 3x per day for a week, 2x per day for two weeks, daily for 3 weeks and 3 times per week for the 5 weeks.

I have had marginal results. The grass is now covering about 60 percent of the area and grew to about 1.5 inches before I cut it last week. The growth was enough to control erosion which is what I wanted. I considered laying sod but the growth has been enough to dissuade me from that. The area is not near a house and while I want it to look nice, it is not critical. If it was near my house I would have laid sod.

I plan to aerate next May, spread additional high quality topsoil, and reseed. I’ll do a soil analysis to determine where I stand and correct any deficiencies prior to reseeding. If I’m not happy after that I will go ahead and lay sod. Jim Z.

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In January of 2005 I topdressed a dormant Bermuda lawn (Tifway 419) with app. 1/8 ” of 65/35 sandy loam. In late February I applied Scott’s Halts as directed – I also used a general weed control on March 18, 2005. I applied a second application of Halts on March 26, 2005. I set my TORO 1600 ‘walk behind at 85/100″ for cutting – and bagged the clippings.

I applied a second layer of top dressing 65/35 in June of this summer. According to the notices on both the Scott’s products and the Spectracide Weed Spray the active agents should have been rendered inert by late June.

I overseeded and new area seeded my lawn on July 4, 2005 – I used the 275 lb drum roller on the Toto 1600 to press the Princess 77 into soil contact. On the overseed I applied at a rate of 1.5 lbs per 1000 sg ft and at a rate of 2.5 Lbs per 1000 sq ft on the bare areas and slope areas.
I misted the newly impressed seed and covered the slope areas with a minimal flaking of wheat straw at a rate of 1 bale per 4000 sq. ft

In July of 2005 the Atlanta area received 14.56 inches of rain as measured at the airport – and those of us down here in McDonough received our fair share of that. I also would mist over if we went three days without rain which was rare in that time period.

My germination rate was significant in paucity and disparity. I would estimate that no more than 5-8 percentage of the seeds germinated, if that much. Princess is very small and using a 1.5 lbs per 1000 sq. ft produces a saturation rate of over a million seeds per sq. foot – I got a few isolated lonely sprouts in the bare areas and I could not really find any evidence of germination in the overseeded areas. Dave in McDonough

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