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Old 04-30-2012, 09:33 PM   #1
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Default The lawn care thread

I bought my first house in late October, it was bank-owned when I bought it, and they didn't maintain the yard, so when they hired a company to cut the grass the day before I closed, the yard ended up being covered in an inch and a half of dead clippings, which lasted into the winter. Fortunately, grass is generally pretty hearty, and it came up through the caked together clippings this spring in all but just a few spots. My yard is also ravaged by dandelions, crab grass, and weeds of just about every sort. Where the weeds haven't forced out the grass, what remains of the grass is generally pretty thin - I've only got probably 3-4000 sq/ft of yard, but it's 3-4000 ugly square feet.

I did hire a lawn-service (only to spray, I refuse to pay someone else to cut my grass) to come out for this year and help get it cleaned up, but at $40 every six weeks, I have no intention of letting them "help" next year - I'd prefer to learn how to take care of the lawn myself. This morning was the first time they sprayed the yard, and when I got home this evening (12 hours later) this is what I found:


Wow, that's a jump-start in the right direction. I'm afraid, though, that once they kill all of the weeds in my yard, I'm not going to have much of a yard anymore - I've got the run-down of all of the crap they sprayed onto my yard this morning:

Ortho-Weed-B-Gon Pro (Herbicide) (Apparently responsible for the dandelion genocide)
Active Ingredient: 2.4-D MCPP Dicamba

Halts Pro 65 WDG (Herbicide)
AI: Prodiamine

17-0-5 Urea Base Mix
(What is this? A fertilizer?)

Ortho Max Pro (Insecticide)
AI: Bifenthrin

Water Smart Sprayable
(WTF is this?)

Dimension 2EW (Herbicide)
AI: dithiopyr

Does anyone have positive/negative experience with lawn service companies? Am I going to have to worry about not having much of a lawn left when they kill about half of the green stuff in my yard? What do I need to do to maintain my yard myself next year?
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:05 PM   #2
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Ya gotta kill off the bad stuff so it won't choke out the new grass. Once the grass is established, you can use lots less chemicals, because the grass chokes out the weeds.

Go to home depot and buy the name brand stuff. Put it on twice a year, and cut regularly. Letting it get long and then hacking it back is very hard on grass.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:07 PM   #3
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Scotts lawn care, the turf builder stuff. Best ---- I've ever used. Granted it's the only ---- I've ever used, but it worked. We just used a $25 seed spreader from home depot every six weeks, and it turned a very dry, shitty looking lawn into a great looking one.

Plus our secret ingredient:
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:19 PM   #4
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We bought our house in June and no one was taking care of the lawn for a few months. Now this year we have thousands of those damn white clover flowers in the back yard. Google searches say I need more nitrogen in the soil to help the grass take back the area. Im going to check out that turf builder stuff though.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:07 PM   #5
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Go to tractor supply and get 24D. I think Ortho has one of the highest content bottles. That stuff pretty much kills anything undesirable. It killed the goat head weeds I had in new Mexico. If anyone knows those things they're terror.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:11 PM   #6
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Find your closest lesco/John deer place. Tell them what grass you have, and get on their schedule. Be ---- about preemergent. geginning of Jan, march, and may.

By a high quality backpack sprayer, buy poison from lesco. Spot treat as necessary. For you at this point you will want to spray the entire lawn with your sprayer. This year will be a bitch, but you can still get one preemergent application.

If you have fescue, youll probably be good by fall, but expect a few whole yard applications with your pump sprayer. Keep the poison off plants like azaleas. a little poison kills a lot.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:50 PM   #7
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I did not mow my lawn for 6 years wgen inowned my house

I found very interesting livig thins in y yard.

Unlike your ----- *** i am not afraid of natre
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fooger03 View Post
Ortho-Weed-B-Gon Pro (Herbicide) (Apparently responsible for the dandelion genocide)
Active Ingredient: 2.4-D MCPP Dicamba

Halts Pro 65 WDG (Herbicide)
AI: Prodiamine

17-0-5 Urea Base Mix
(What is this? A fertilizer?)

Ortho Max Pro (Insecticide)
AI: Bifenthrin

Water Smart Sprayable
(WTF is this?)

Dimension 2EW (Herbicide)
AI: dithiopyr
I will hit a few that I know.

The 2-4D is a general broadleaf killer. A boradleaf is anything "other than grass". This is a very general purpose product.

The Halts Pro is specifically a crabgrass preventer. It will help somewhat after the crabgrass has sprouted but generally you want to put it on BEFORE the crabgrass starts. It PREVENTS the seeds from germinating. Because crabrass is an annual grass (dies every year and new has to come from seed, as opposed to a perennial grass like your lawn that comes back every year from the roots. Because it is an annual, you can beat it back if you are diligent for about three years in a row.

The dithiopyr is also a crabgrass preventer. It's possible the Halts will tackle emergent weeds while the dithiopyr is specifically for pre-emergent coverage. This is what will be in bag fertilizer like Scotts fertilizer Plus Halts for crabgrass prevention.

That's all that I know on your list.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:38 AM   #9
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Townhome crew sign in.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:58 PM   #10
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I've got three donkeys and two horses that would love to help you with your lawn maintenance. They are excellent fertilizers and anxious to go somewhere that gets rain.

Landed gentry crew sign in.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
Scotts lawn care, the turf builder stuff. Best ---- I've ever used. Granted it's the only ---- I've ever used, but it worked. We just used a $25 seed spreader from home depot every six weeks, and it turned a very dry, shitty looking lawn into a great looking one.

Plus our secret ingredient:
You have no idea how jealous I am right now of your lawn. How long did it take? Is this after years of doing it every 6 weeks?
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:56 PM   #12
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oddly, this is relevant to my interests.
good thread. my lawn sucks.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:13 PM   #13
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I plan to have kids and animals on my property. the last thing I want to do is spray poison all over a huge surface area.

here's how I do my lawn:

I cut it long (3")
I use a mulching mower and let the mulched clippings feed the lawn.

that's it. shit is full sun, virginia rain, and is green and lush spring through fall.

if I were to do anything else, it would be a little research and then reseed with certified seed appropriate for the climate/sun/water my yard sees.

seriously, a strong lawn will outcompete any weeds for light and water and you wont have to use anything on it. we did get some early spring weeds (warm winter) but one mow and they are all gone and the grass is a foot high after a month of me having other priorities.

if you cut your lawn too short, it will let the sunlight get to the badness.

and if you cut it often enough, the piles of mulched clippings wont look like ***.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:14 PM   #14
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PS I hate lawns. both from a resource standpoint and a maintenance standpoint.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:54 PM   #15
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Just go though it with the rotavator few times and be done with it.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:02 PM   #16
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I too hate lawn maintenance, I was raised with mowing the grass as one of my chores - 2 acres at my house, and then 2 more acres at my grandmother's house. Add in all the trees, fences, landscaping, etc., and I hated life in the summer.

The house I bought in October is on 0.125 acres of land. That's 1/8th of an acre for the mathematically challenged. On top of that, the house + driveway easily occupies half of that land. I bought the second cheapest push-mower home depot sells, and I can cut my front yard with it in 5 minutes flat. The backyard takes probably 10 minutes.


Now that I have probably 1000 square feet worth of "front yard", I've decided it probably makes sense to make that 1000 square feet look nice. The first step I took was correcting my childhood habit of dropping the lawn mower as far as it could go - because if you cut it shorter, it takes longer before you have to mow it again, right?
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
I plan to have kids and animals on my property. the last thing I want to do is spray poison all over a huge surface area.

here's how I do my lawn:

I cut it long (3")
I use a mulching mower and let the mulched clippings feed the lawn.

that's it. shit is full sun, virginia rain, and is green and lush spring through fall.

if I were to do anything else, it would be a little research and then reseed with certified seed appropriate for the climate/sun/water my yard sees.

seriously, a strong lawn will outcompete any weeds for light and water and you wont have to use anything on it. we did get some early spring weeds (warm winter) but one mow and they are all gone and the grass is a foot high after a month of me having other priorities.

if you cut your lawn too short, it will let the sunlight get to the badness.

and if you cut it often enough, the piles of mulched clippings wont look like ***.
This is mostly true for warm season grass, but fescue is generally not thick enough to stop the weeds. full son is hard on fescue in the summer, causing it to thin out and becom susceptable to weeds.

Picking the right grass for the climate is important. Im in the process of switching from cool season fescue to warm season zoysia. Im using plugs so it will take a few years. Fescue needs too much water in the southern states. theres something wrong with using more water on your lawn then you use in the house.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:32 PM   #18
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Xero scap and be done. Or like they do in more dessert areas, gravel yards or just paint what you've got green.

I need a lawn girl that takes other means of payment...
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
PS I hate lawns. both from a resource standpoint and a maintenance standpoint.
They make some really nice "astro turf" these days that looks like real grass (not the outdoor mat stuff from the 70s and 80s). If I could get that by my HOA, I'd lay that down in a heartbeat - along with some rubber mulch mats.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fooger03 View Post
The first step I took was correcting my childhood
habit of dropping the lawn mower as far as it could go - because if you cut it shorter, it takes longer before you have to mow it again, right?
No.

http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp
Quote:
MYTH: "If I mow short, it will be longer until I have to mow again." False! Wrong! (SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!) Your grass needs grass blades to do photosynthesis (convert sunshine into sugar) to feed the roots. When you whack the blades off, the grass has to RACE to make more blades to make sugar. It then grows amazingly fast. This fast growth uses up a lot of the grass's stored sugar, and weakens the plant. It is now vulnerable to disease and pests! Tall grass is healthier and can use the extra sugar to make rhizomes (more grass plants) thus thickening the turf. Have you ever noticed that short grass in the summer is always riddled with dead brown patches?
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