Seeding bare patches successfully
When seeding bare areas on croquet lawns, it is important not to disturb the level by creating bumps. This method ensures a good germination and no bumps.
The first stage is to apply the seed. Then cover this with seeding compost to a depth of around 8mm. That is all you need to do - don't rake or disrupt the existing surface, just sprinkle the seed and cover with seeding compost. The seeding compost won't create bumps because it is totally organic and will disappear in the profile as it is consumed by micro-organisms. If you are seeding during the playing season it is best to mix top dressing with the compost to give it some body so that it stays in place when balls roll over it.
The key to good germination is to keep the seed moist (not wet). The seeding compost that I supply is very unusual because, unlike other composts, it retains water very efficiently. So watering once a day is sufficient to ensure a good germination - twice a day is better but unless the weather is exceptionally hot it probably isn't necessary. In growing weather you can expect germination in 5 to 6 days and you will probably have to start trimming the grass after 10 to 14 days.
You can seed directly on top of dead moss or, if you prefer, rake the moss out then seed. I normally seed straight onto dead moss.
DO NOT apply iron, ferrous sulphate or lawn sand until the seed has fully germinated and the grass well established. Iron hardens the seed casing and prevents germination. You can apply iron before seeding if it has been thoroughly watered in and left for at least two weeks before applying seed.
Eradicating coarse grass. Kill off patches of coarse grass using Round Up. Wait until the grass is dead (5 to 10 days). Seed into the dead grass without disturbing it using the above method. This is a quick and simple way of controlling coarse grass without disrupting the playing surface.
What you need
I recommend Barenbrug Sport Extreme which can be mown to 4 or 5 mm. It is very hard wearing reducing rabbit runs in hoops and wear especially round hoops. I have been testing Barenbrug Medal which contains 60% perennial ryegrass (30% Barolympic 30% Barsignum) and 40% slender creeping fescue. This gives a tighter sward because the creeping fescue fills in any gaps. This is the seed that I have used on my own croquet lawn and I am delighted with the result.
A more expensive option is Barenbrug Ultrafine which contains the Barolympic cultivar which was ranked No 1 with a score of 8.6 in the G4 table of the British Society of Plant Breeders Turfgrass Seed 2018, the highest mean score in the entire publication. This seed is particularly suitable for croquet lawns.
These cultivars are hard wearing, recover very well from drought, can be mowed as low as 4 or 5 mm producing a fast playing surface and generate less thatch than other grasses. They germinate strongly at temperatures down to 9 degrees C.
The seeding compost is graded to 4mm and must be kept dry before use. To aid germination and establishment of seedlings an organic fertiliser should be used. The Croquet Lawn Spring or Autumn organic fertiliser that I supply is safe for seeding applications and should be applied before covering the seed with compost.
The products (E mail or phone for Croquet Club preferential prices).
Bar Extreme, Medal or Ultrafine seed: is supplied in 20kg bags. The recommended application rate is 30 gsm.
Seeding Compost: Supplied in 40 litre bags (min 6 bags) or in bulk bags of 730, 1000 or 1500 litres. A 40 litre bag covers 5 sqm. Supplied on a pallet. Cost varies according to quantity and delivery address.
Fertiliser: Croquet Lawn Spring or Autumn organic fertiliser is usually included in the annual programme that I supply.