Spring lawn tips?

Posted by: Pete

Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 08:49 AM

My lawn is absolute sh!t after the winter- dead spots all over the place, etc.<br><br>As compared to all the other lawns in the neighborhood, which seem to start to be growing. Even the common area, that everyone lets their dogs go to the bathroom on, looks better than my grass.<br><br>Any tips on what I should be doing? I'm guessing re-seeding and some sort of weed killer is involved- but I've only had the house for two years and obviously I'm doing this wrong. I'm tempted to call one of those professional services, but I worry about my dog and the chemicals. And I also don't want to have to KEEP calling them every year just to get my lawn back into shape...<br><br>Tips? Thoughts? I was also thinking of just replacing the entire lawn with rocks, al the Jersey shore...<br><br>[color:red]5.19.05 - The 'Jedi Slaughter' tour begins!</font color=red>
Posted by: JonnyCat

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 09:12 AM

I'm doing my lawn right now too. First step was to de-thatch the lawn to remove the dead stuff. Just reseeded the bare spots. Now I'm watering...<br><br>My parents, that have always had a perfect lawn, have this advice - "Water, Water, Water" and of course that is followed by "Cut, Cut, Cut". Bird feeders and corn attract the birds to take care of the pests.<br><br>Meanwhile, son of perfect lawn parents, (that's me) seems to have to throw fertilizers, weed killers and I have an ever going battle with crab grass (heck sometimes I just give up - it's green!).<br><br>I guess a green thumb helps.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Posted by: MattMac112

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 09:22 AM

Pete .. <br><br>Timely topic! I was in the exact same boat two weeks ago. <br><br>After the winter, my lawn was dead. Dead spots everywhere. Note that I've never taken a serious interest in my lawn .. ever. I'd mow it, but was about it. A month ago, we were in Half Price Books unloading a few books and DVDs. While browsing, Steph ran across a book that has completely changed my outlook on lawncare ...<br><br><br><br><br><br>I HIGHLY recommend this book. Get used. Get it new. Just get it.<br><br>After absorbing this book, it was game on! Two weeks ago, I went to Lowes and started Scotts 4-Step program. We picked up the first bag in the 4-Step program, a bag of Kentucky Bluegrass grass seed and a SpeedyGreen 3000 broadcast spreader:<br><br><br><br><br><br>After fertilizing, I then went back over the lawn and spread the Kentucky Bluegrass seed. One key is to not be in a rush and try to be as uniform as possible. Then, we water every morning. Each night the sprinklers are moved around for the next morning's watering. <br><br>So .. Two weeks ago:<br><br><br><br>yesterday:<br><br><br><br>I couldn't be happier with how the lawn is turning out!<br><br>****************<br>
Posted by: Pete

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 09:50 AM

Great, I will try and keep up- I just ordered the book for $4 on Amazon, and I'll look around for the 4-step stuff in my local garden centers...<br><br>I don't know if I can keep up with the watering bit though - how long does that go on for? The whole summer? And how long is each watering session? <br><br>I've also read that sometimes you can get away with a few heavy waterings every so often, as opposed to light waterings multiple times a week.<br><br><br><br>[color:red]5.19.05 - The 'Jedi Slaughter' tour begins!</font color=red>
Posted by: MattMac112

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 09:56 AM

The book explains it all. There are different watering strategies for different types of soil compositions. One thing the book talks about is that it's better to water to a depth or 6 to 8 inches (in one watering), rather than water every so often. Doing this promotes better root growth and a more durable lawn. <br><br>We have a pretty large backyard, so it'll require us to move the sprinklers around to make sure the entire lawn is getting water every week.<br><br>****************<br>
Posted by: Biggerfoot

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 09:56 AM

The watering and 4-step program also works for me. i normally seed the lawn with a 20 pound bag in the spring. Make sure you do not make the mistake I made the first time and that is get the cheap annual seed!<br><br>The down side to watering is the expense if you do not have a well. Last year, the water bill was running nearly $50 a month more due to watering the yard (and pressure washing stuff).<br><br>
Posted by: Walrus

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 10:00 AM

<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>I have an ever going battle with crab grass...<p><hr></blockquote><p>Another thing I like about it here - too far north for crab grass!<br><br>
Posted by: Pete

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 10:36 AM

Is all of that Scott stuff safe for pets, btw?<br><br><br>[color:red]5.19.05 - The 'Jedi Slaughter' tour begins!</font color=red>
Posted by: drjohn

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 10:49 AM

<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>Another thing I like about it here - too far north for crab grass!<p><hr></blockquote><p><br>I've never understood the infatuation with lawns that some people have. Educated people using fertilizers and things to make grass grow, only to cut it. I figure if it will grow in this climate it deserves a place in my yard, whatever it is.<br><br>
Posted by: MacGizmo

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 10:52 AM

You think YOU have lawn problems??? Check out Bob not BOB. Listen to the audio, it's particularly entertaining.<br><br><br><br>CreativeGuy: For your "fix" of design software tips, tricks & commentary.
Posted by: Biggerfoot

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 11:33 AM

I do not have a label in front of me but I assume that most are the same and if you follow general guidelines for pet safety, it is okay.<br><br>
Posted by: steveg

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 11:43 AM

Too late for this season, but next late fall, winter fertilizer.<br><br>For this year, lots of GOOD seed, not the cheap stuff. And add a little more seed every week for the first month or two. More fertilizer and lawn food.<br>If you have a mulching mower, use it instead of the bag, at least until the lawn has matured.<br><br>The balancing act with birds though is that while they keep the insects down, they drop seed from weeds and other junk that they pickup elsewhere.<br><br>And water at dusk and dawn only.<br><br>
Posted by: MikeSellers

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 12:18 PM

Call a lawn service. Considering what you'll spend in seed, fertilizer, chemicals, etc. it only costs a couple a hundred more a year to have professionals do the job.<br><br>
Posted by: steveg

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 02:18 PM

Then again, there's the BLCS (Brooklyn Lawn Care System): Just pave the whole yard and paint the sucker green! <br><br>Hey, it keeps the crabcrass away... for about a week! <br><br>
Posted by: Walrus

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 02:49 PM

In Flagstaff a lot of "lawns"are made frm cinders from a nearby cinder cone.<br><br>Very classy...<br><br>[color:red]Bibo, ergo sum</font color=red>
Posted by: lesh

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 04:52 PM

<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>I was also thinking of just replacing the entire lawn with rocks, al� the Jersey shore...<p><hr></blockquote><p>You'll still have to rake, Pete. It's an integral part of having that kind of 'yard'. <br><br>
Posted by: Pete

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 04/22/05 09:37 PM

Yeah, but no mowing! <br><br>[color:red]5.19.05 - The 'Jedi Slaughter' tour begins!</font color=red>
Posted by: Pete

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 05/23/05 09:11 AM

Ok, no pictures but I can attest that after a few weeks of blister-inducing raking of dead grass and daily 5am waterings of certain areas of my yard, the lawn is looking a little prettier than it did in April....<br><br>Now, I've done 'Step 1' in the Scotts program and am looking to do a little 'in between' work before I get to Step 2. Last night I loosened up the soil in a few bare spots and threw some 'sun & shade' seed down, and raked up some more dead grass before it rained on Sunday night.<br><br>What I'm wondering is- I just bought this bag of regular Turf-Builder (no weed control), and I'm thinking I want to apply it because I have a lot of yellow areas. Now I still do have some more bare spots- my question is should I just continue to reseed & wait for Step 2, or will it be okay to lay down some of this Turf Builder to hold me over until Step 2?<br><br>Or should I go buy the Turf Builder with the weed control, and apply THAT in between my steps?<br><br>Also, watering: I managed to rig up a two-pronged watering system- bought the double-ended spigot and have a timer going as well. So basically I have two lengths of hose and two sprinklers at opposite ends of the lawn, and every morning I just swap the valves- so that at 5am every day a different side of the lawn gets watered. The pressure was just too weak to have both sprinklers going at once.<br><br>Anyway, I have the duration set for about 45 minutes each time- is this long enough? I'm really only watering the spots on my lawn that seem to turn brown every summer- I figure the rest of the lawn can handle itself...<br><br>Back in Black...
Posted by: steveg

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 05/23/05 10:42 AM

Keep reseeding. Especially if you've got bare spots, use the weed control TB. Once the lawn thickens up, the weed risk will reduce some. And have you aerated? That'll help, too.<br><br>
Posted by: Pete

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 05/23/05 10:44 AM

Aerated? You mean just poke some holes in the lawn? <br><br><br><br>Back in Black...
Posted by: steveg

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 05/23/05 10:50 AM

Yeah. Maybe an old umbrella spoke would do? <br><br>I think you can by a simple hand aerator for about $30 at Home Depot or Lowes. Good to have around.<br><br>
Posted by: Pete

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 05/23/05 10:57 AM

Maybe I could mow the lawn while wearing golf shoes? <br><br>Back in Black...
Posted by: steveg

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 05/23/05 11:03 AM

FORE!<br><br>
Posted by: mojo_jojo

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 05/23/05 01:49 PM

No these are what I call golf spikes.<br><br>
Posted by: carp

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 05/23/05 10:54 PM

Hey the way I Slice a ball those spikes would break my ankle <br><br>
Posted by: Boothby4

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 05/24/05 08:35 AM

Since I hate lawn care above all else, I reccomend a good dose of "RoundUp" followed by astro turf. Stays green, and doesn't need cutting!<br><br><br>Salus populi suprema lex
Posted by: Mississauga

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 05/24/05 08:47 AM

Roundup, the ultimate poison. Good for kids, too!<br><br>- alec
Posted by: rocrusso

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 06/06/05 09:04 AM

hey pete and all, since you were discussing lawn stuff and showing before and after pics, thought i'd chime in with my little lawn experiment....<br><br>from the before pics, you can see it was a HUGE mess. when we bought the house last August, one of the first things we did was cut down an old and droopy pine tree. the big circle of dirt on the right is the remains of that.<br><br>then, to start this spring, we had our driveway and front porch redone, so we had mixers and trucks pull up on the lawn.<br><br>i learned that in addition to the clay-ey soil we have, the pine needles from the tree threw off the ph balance of my soil and had to be fixed.<br><br>i was going to wipe and redo the lawn, if ever it needed to be done, now was the time, but i had such a busy spring, that renting a rototiller just didnt fit, and besides, everyone says the fall is the best time for that.<br><br>so my wife and i decided to wing it and have fun and see what we could do this spring and revisit it in the the fall.<br><br>we bought a broad spreader, lime, seeds, 3 40lb bags of soil and fertalizer. we also wheel barreled off about 2 inches of dirt that was by where the pine tree was.<br><br>the before pic is May 7th, just after work was completed.<br>the after pic is last weekend, May 30th.<br><br>Before:<br><br><br>After:<br><br><br>
Posted by: Pete

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 06/06/05 09:16 AM

Eh, that's a Photoshop job. <br><br>Seriously, though, that's good work- I've been toiling away on my own lawn for the last month- my wife is actually worried about me a little bit since I'm constantly out there...<br><br>I'd post pics, but I forgot to take any shots 'before' all my hard work.<br><br>I was actually *really* annoyed last week in regards to the lawn, though- I was putting my Scotts 'Step 2' fertilizer on the ground, and I had defiantly done it a few hours before it was *supposed* to start raining hard. Although, let me preface this by saying the weather forecast had called for rain the previous 2 days straight and we got nada. I got cocky, and of course about 3 hours after I laid down the Scotts here came the thunder, lightning, and torrential rains. <br><br>Ugh. Scotts was really helpful, though- I called their 1-800 number, and the rep told me to just re-apply some Ortho weed killer, as that's part of the 'Step 2' mix that would lose its effectiveness - what with the rain washing it off.<br><br>Yesterday, my wife and I finally gave up hope of getting a blacktop guy out to our house to re-do the driveway this summer, so we basically dug up the whole right side and re-planted grass seed mixed in with some 'lawn soil'. Have to water twice a day until the seedlings emerge, and then once a day until the area is fully grown! <br><br>Yeesh - all this so I'll have more to mow later on!<br><br>Back in Black...
Posted by: MattMac112

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 06/06/05 09:19 AM

Congrats on the lawn, though. <br><br>We're about ready for Step 2 at our house. Our lawn has never looked better. the hard work is paying off.<br><br>****************<br>
Posted by: rocrusso

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 06/06/05 09:41 AM

my "drive way". if you could call it that, was a bane i could not stand anymore, and essentially took the money that we had hoped to redo the kitchen with late this summer and instead decided to redo the drive way. which grew in to:<br>redid the front porch, redid the walk way between the porch and drive way, pretty much had a new drive way installed, redid the concrete apron in front of the garage and redid the concrete walk way on the side of the house.<br><br>and Pete, you have to start taking before pics, it makes it that much more worth it. here are some before, during and after pics of all that (only cause i'm so psyched/happy with it):<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Posted by: Pete

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 06/06/05 09:48 AM

We'd happily pay to get some stuff done around our place- the problem is trying to get people to come out and/or return my phone calls....<br><br>Seems like every contractor in the county is too busy to be bothered...<br><br>Back in Black...
Posted by: rocrusso

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 06/06/05 10:12 AM

so very true...<br><br>i called about 8 places, all numerous times.... two called back and gave me an estimate.... <br><br>
Posted by: Celandine

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 06/07/05 01:12 AM

I'm not sure where you live but:<br>You're right about your gutt-feeling in respect to CHEM-U-LAWN <br>type services. They'll turn your lawn into a chemical junkie, that<br>in the long run will look green as hell but will by no stretch of the<br>imagination, be healthy, for the soil organisms that SHOULD be<br>present, you, your dog, or for the grass itself. <br><br>There's no use following well meaning advice since not even you <br>know what you're dealing with at this point. Liming soil that's <br>already too alkaline, or applying more fertilizer to grass that may <br>be burned from excessive fertilizer applications will only make the<br>problem worse, by throwing it further out-of-whack!<br><br>Since you've only lived on the property for 2 years, you have no idea<br>what the former owners did (or didn't do) You may have COMPACTED<br>SOIL (needs aeration) or a THATCH BUILD UP.<br><br>#1 Get Your Soil Tested.<br><br>The most reliable, complete (and in the end cheapest) testing is<br>done through the Dept. of Agriculture Lab. in your area.<br>They generally work out of the State Universities, and have offices<br>in almost every county in the USA.<br><br>[color:green]STATE CO-OPERATIVE EXTENSIONS</font color=green><br><br>For about $10 they will give you an assessment of the amount of<br>organic matter present in your lawn, as well as the pH and nutrient<br>levels, and then give you a spot-on analysis and recommendation<br>for exactly what you need to do to "bring it up to snuff" <br><br>When you talk to them on the telephone, they will tell you to come<br>in and buy a Soil Test Kit --- it's just a bag to put the soil sample in,<br>and the ALL IMPORTANT DIRECTIONS on how to take a proper sampling.<br><br>The added bonus, is that you now have access to a network of<br>professionals (FREE OF CHARGE - I MIGHT ADD) that are dedicated<br>to answering any questions, and to give advice about any pest <br>or disease problems that may be causing those dead patches.<br><br> #2 While you're talking to them, ask about bringing them a <br>representative sample of your turf problem. <br><br>Get a low cardboard box (like the ones a case of beer comes in.)<br>Cut a 9"-1' square plug of the turf from the margin between the<br>Problem Area and a Healthy Area. (Dead Turf & Live Turf)<br>They'll need to see the entire chunk from the root zone, to the top <br>of the grass.<br><br>Bring the plug back home, and stomp it right back into place, and <br>water it in, and it should be none-the-worse-for-the-wear. <br><br>[color:green]"...or am I a butterfly that's dreaming she's a woman?"</font color=green>
Posted by: Bryan

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 06/07/05 01:20 AM

Wow...that's awesome. <br><br>Good call on spending your money like you did...those improvements are absolutely fantastic. I love the porch. <br><br>
Posted by: Pete

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 06/07/05 07:36 AM

I did aerate the lawn myself with those sandal/spike things- that was a real hoot, and the neighbors got a good laugh in the process...<br><br>My Dad actually got his lawn's ph tested as well- sounds like a plan, because now he says his lawn is doing very well after about a year of struggling with other methods..<br><br>Thanks for the tip about the Dept. of Agriculture!<br><br>Back in Black...
Posted by: Celandine

Re: Spring lawn tips? - 06/09/05 08:21 PM

<br>Er... "spiking" can further compact the soil. REAL Aeration<br>is done mechanically by a machine that removes plugs of<br>soil, and deposits them onto the soil surface allowing oxygen<br>to enter down into the root zone. If needed, you can either<br>hire a service to do it, or rent the machine for an afternoon.<br><br>But again, that may not be needed, same with dethatching.<br>These are both conditions that are only necessary under<br>certain conditions. Best bet, is to bring them a sample.<br><br>The USDA Co-Operative Extensions are just like Mac Forums,<br>full of volunteers waiting to assist anyone that needs help.<br><br>I STILL don't know the area of the country you're living in,<br>the soil may be very different where you are located from<br>the acidic-sand/clay that dominates the New Jersey Area,<br>but you can have a look at some of the PDF info available<br>through my office: Rutgers CoOperative Extension<br><br>[color:green]"...or am I a butterfly that's dreaming she's a woman?"</font color=green>