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Old 05-01-2012, 08:54 PM   #21
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I forgot to add the :sarcasm: smile to the end of my sentence
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:30 PM   #22
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Townhome crew sign in.


My mom has a couple acres we are looking to cleanup of weeds. Thread is relevant to me, subscribed.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:54 PM   #23
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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.
reseeding is fairly easy and doesn't hurt the environment. just pick a blend of grasses that will succeed each other in different seasons like you would for any landscaping project. if you're lucky, they will maintain a decent fill for the summer.

my experience is that grass will grow from seed very fast. there's probably a million guides on the internet on how to do it without having your seed blow or wash away. if you've already got a lawn started, it'll just fill out better after seeding.

but y8s would prefer to till the sod and replace with leafy greens.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:04 AM   #24
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Front yard sunny, thick grass, occasional weeds that I tag with broadleaf poison. Will try keeping grass taller as instructed to see if that helps.

Back yard is mostly shade, with spotty, weedy, stalky grass and bare patches. Been spreading grass seed and then pinestraw on top to keep it down for a few weeks off and on, with watering when it gets dry. Delicate little grass coming up in the bare patches, looks promising, if the poodle doesn't destroy it when he's racing around like a crazy dog in the backyard. Will try the aforementioned Scott's Lawnbuilder.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:32 PM   #25
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My yard was total ***** when we bought our house 4 years ago, and I have gotten it respectable on my own and learned a fair amount along the way. It was a PITA but once you have it in good shape it's easier to keep out the weeds and crabgrass.

1. Pre-emergents
For our climate in VA it's now about a month late to be putting down pre-emergent for crabgrass control but it will still give "some" benefit if applied right now. Pre-emergents don't last more than a couple months so you may get some crabgrass sprouting later in the summer. By then you won't want to put down any more pre-emergent because you will want that stuff gone for overseeding, which you will do in the fall. This means you will have a little crabgrass to deal with this year, and this is why it takes a couple-few years to get lawns under control. It helps to manually pull clumps of crabgrass as you find them (less of their seed in the soil) but this can be physically exhausting if you have as much as I did. The crabgrass dies over the winter so it is absolutely critical to get pre-emergents down at the proper time in the spring before the soil temperatures warm up. This is after the forsythia stop blooming and before the lilacs bloom, so those are your indicators if you live someplace cooler like OH.

The Scott's halts or halts mix that you buy at HD or the like has a pre-emergent but it isn't as effective as something like dithiopyr IMO. Dithiopyr is sold under many brand names (I use Dimension). Another issue with the Scott's halts is that it typically comes with a 10-10-10 fertilizer in the bag. Which brings me to fertilizers...

2. Fertilizers
If you haven't fertilized your lawn recently, it's okay to do it now. However, a healthy lawn is going to green up in the spring anyway as it comes out of dormancy from the winter, and dumping nitrogen right now on a healthy lawn is just going to make life more difficult for whoever is mowing it. That's another reason why I don't like the Scott's halts with the 10-10-10 and I disagree with the joker in those TV commercials telling you to "feed it" now. Of course, it's their job to convince you to buy their stuff even if you don't need it. Anyway, I subscribe to the "fertilize in the fall, if at all" motto. I don't put down anything in the spring except for a pre-emergent with no fertilizer (IIRC Dimension is 0-0-1). In mid-late summer I'll put down a turf-builder type fertilizer, and then in Oct-Nov the Scott's winter guard or whatever they call it. This will help promote root strength during the fall when the grass isn't going to spend all its energy on blade growth, so it will be strong for the next spring.

3. pH
Nitrogen containing fertilizers, and other natural chemical processes, tend to acidify your soil over time and pH control is important. Lawn grasses don't like low pH, and weeds don't mind it, so you can see how this is a problem. pH is typically raised with lime, and how much you need to put down depends on how low the pH is. Your state's agricultural extension service should offer soil testing. You send them dirt and a check for $10 or so, and they send you data and usually a recommendation of how much lime to put down. Before I had addressed this, my soil pH was 5.2 (strongly acidic soil) and they recommended 110 lbs of lime per 1000 sq ft. That much needs to be put down over multiple sessions with your spreader, a month or two apart. For maintenance I put down 40 lbs per 1000 sq ft, every 18 months or so. I am due for another soil test. OP, you should test your soil now and start getting this under control. The chemicals in lime are mostly calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. Unlike your fertilizer chemicals, the compounds in lime migrate through soil very slowly. Where the pH is important is at the roots, 2-4" down, so get a soil test and get started on this soon.

4a. Aerating
Fall is the time to aerate the lawn. This reduces soil compaction and is good for root health. You want a core type aerator (as opposed to spike type) that leaves the little plugs all over the lawn. This is the only service that I pay to have done, because I can't justify owning my own machine. Do not aerate now because your pre-emergents are somewhat like a physical shield, and will be less effective if you go poking holes in it now. Wait until fall.

4b. Overseeding
Within a week or two of aerating, spread new grass seed. Grasses do not stay vigorous forever. The plants become weak after a number of years and it's good for the overall health of your lawn to have the old stuff get out-competed by younger grass. I've been aerating and overseeding every fall, but as the lawn gets better established I may cut down the overseeding to every other year. We'll see. I usually seed mid-Sept to mid-Oct. This gives the new seedlings time to establish good roots and come up strong in the spring.

5. Mowing
I mow to 2.5" in the spring and fall because I have some partial-sun or full-shade areas that stay kind of muddy/mushy if I leave it long during rainy seasons. I step it up to 3-3.5" in the summer and pretty much never have to water my lawn. I usually discharge my clippings, but I'll bag it every 4-6 mowings if there's a bunch of leaves or flower debris that I want to collect. If you're mowing over any significant amount of live crabgrass, bag it to minimize the amount of crabgrass seed that you broadcast over the lawn.

6. Weeding
A thick healthy lawn will prevent a lot of weeds on its own, but some will inevitably pop up. If I can pull it quickly & easily I prefer that to poison, but my lawn has had issues with clover, chickweed, mouse-ear and other creepy-spready junk for which a good grass-safe weed killer is much more convenient & effective. I didn't have great success with the typical home improvment store Ortho stuff but a local garden center sent me home with this stuff called Speed Zone and it seems to do well. The bottle was like $30 but it's a concentrate and goes a long way. Buy yourself a quality pump sprayer.

DISCLAIMER: All of the above applies to bluegrass/rye/fescue lawns. Some of these things will murder tropical bermuda & bent grass and the like.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:21 PM   #26
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my lawn is ---- right now lol. My new house is 10 acres about 1000ft long by 450ft wide, and its never really been mowed. The po never cut the grass at all, so just cutting it this year is a huge improvement. I just bought this beast on craigs for 2600... 1600 hr jd f935 with a yanmar 22hp diesel and a 72" deck. This thing sips fuel at .8gph 1/2 load and 1.6 at full load. So far if you run over it the beast will cut it.....


turbos have been done,but im not sure i would have use for it besides cool factor
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:38 PM   #27
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I am a member of the sh*t lawn group. My racing/work schedule means I don't have enough time to properly maintain my lawn. Add in the fact that my dogs destroy the back yard and I've given up on anything other than making the front and side yard look decent.

Anyone know anything about thatching? My thatch seems rediculously thick in parts of the front yard and way too thick every where else. Last year I tried raking the thatch and after realizing it would take me 600 hours to properly de-thatch the whole yard I gave up. Anyone ever rent a powered thatching machine or paid a yard service to do it? Anyone have experiece with the "thatching" blades you can buy for your lawnmower?
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:01 PM   #28
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I am a member of the sh*t lawn group. My racing/work schedule means I don't have enough time to properly maintain my lawn. Add in the fact that my dogs destroy the back yard and I've given up on anything other than making the front and side yard look decent.

Anyone know anything about thatching? My thatch seems rediculously thick in parts of the front yard and way too thick every where else. Last year I tried raking the thatch and after realizing it would take me 600 hours to properly de-thatch the whole yard I gave up. Anyone ever rent a powered thatching machine or paid a yard service to do it? Anyone have experiece with the "thatching" blades you can buy for your lawnmower?
How big is your lawn?

Looks like you can rent a dethatcher for $50 and be done with it in an afternoon. Seems like it would be a good idea to me
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:19 PM   #29
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I'm in MD and have clay/sandy soil and I decided with hot summers I didn't want to lag on watering and have it burn up in a year so I did zoysia plugs. It crowds out pretty much anything, the bugs don't seem to like it as much, and it only takes watering maybe once a month even during the 90 degree summer months with no rain. Bad side is putting in plugs is a PITA and it takes a while for the plugs to grow together to make a good lawn depending on how close together you put them. It also stays gray/dormant til late April. But it's nice to go out and play cornhole as it feels like a carpet in the spring/summer.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:05 PM   #30
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Anyone know anything about thatching? My thatch seems rediculously thick in parts of the front yard and way too thick every where else. Last year I tried raking the thatch and after realizing it would take me 600 hours to properly de-thatch the whole yard I gave up. Anyone ever rent a powered thatching machine or paid a yard service to do it? Anyone have experiece with the "thatching" blades you can buy for your lawnmower?
No experience with the lawn mower attachment. The power dethatching machines are basically a bunch of spinning blades that you set to the proper depth so it gets the thatch mat and only scrapes about 1/8" into the dirt. It breaks & pulls up the thatch but it tears the crap out of your lawn. For power dethatching I think it's recommended to mow to a really short height beforehand. For that reason I think many people do power dethatching over the winter. Double-check with the pro outdoor power equipment suppliers to see what's typically done in your area. Your lawn won't look so great for a while but it will recover fine.

If you rent the machine you have to haul it home, figure out how to set it up so as not to cause more damage than necessary, run it, and you still have to rake up the thatch left behind (with a regular leaf rake). Around here the rental prices for dethatchers, aerators, and other similar infrequently used machinery are high enough that I'd just pay another few bucks for them to do the labor too. When it costs $75 to rent a core aerator machine and I can hire out the job for $90 it's not a difficult decision.

I bought a manual dethatching rake from HD. You can use it with the lawn mowed to your regular cutting height, and the manual rake won't beat up your lawn like the machine will. It's quite a bit of work as you found out, but you don't have to do it all at once. I'm on a typical 1/3 acre suburban lot and did my front yard over the course of about 4-5 weeks doing a section of it each weekend after mowing. I knew there would be a lot but I wasn't quite expecting it to add up to 11 bags worth. Fortunately this is something that will only need to be done once every few years.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:03 PM   #31
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How big is your lawn?

Looks like you can rent a dethatcher for $50 and be done with it in an afternoon. Seems like it would be a good idea to me
Corner lot, 1/4 of an acre. Backyard is lost to the dogs so between front and side yard that I would actually bother thatching, I dunno, not that big, let's say no bigger than an 1/8 of an acre.

One of my neighbors/coworkers has one of the manual thatching rakes, sounds like it works pretty well. However, his lawn is smaller than mine and it still took him forever to do it properly. He ended up only doing the spots that were really bad, he couldn't take the time to do it all.

That is my problem, I have no time to do it manually. I have a bathroom to finish, garage to clean, Forester XT to mod, pit bike to get ready for the season, garden to plant, not to mention I have a year old son, a racing career and a real career. No time for lawn care other than hurridly mowing ~ 1x a week...
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:57 PM   #32
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After reading up on the dethatching thing, I walked around my yard and started poking at the ground; some places seemed like they were tough to get to the actual "dirt". I drove out to lowes and picked up a thatch rake and a yard rake before walking out to one of the "brown areas" of the yard. I probably did all of 10 square feet and pulled up enough **** to overfill a 5-gallon bucket.

I never knew.

And holy hell it's a lot of work. For now, I'll just be leaving it all alone and going after the bad spots as they come up.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:00 PM   #33
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I laid about 25 pallets of sod, fertilizer twice a year and mow it regularly, its so pretty.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:23 AM   #34
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After reading up on the dethatching thing, I walked around my yard and started poking at the ground; some places seemed like they were tough to get to the actual "dirt". I drove out to lowes and picked up a thatch rake and a yard rake before walking out to one of the "brown areas" of the yard. I probably did all of 10 square feet and pulled up enough **** to overfill a 5-gallon bucket.

I never knew.

And holy hell it's a lot of work. For now, I'll just be leaving it all alone and going after the bad spots as they come up.
It is amazing how much sh*t you can get up with one of those rakes...and how much work it is.

Is this an Ohio thing? I'm originally from Iowa and I don't ever remember having thatch problems, ever hearing of thatch, ever seeing a thatching machine or rake, etc. etc. and I did a lot of yard work growing up...
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:37 PM   #35
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I never even had any idea of what "thatch" was until you brought it up in this thread - I had to google it.

On the bright side, 12 days after the lawn service spray treatment, my lawn is vastly improved except in the few spots which used to be just weeds and no grass, and is now just dead weeds. Grass is growing a lot faster, I mowed on Friday and damn if it isn't time to mow it again. Also, the grass seems to be sprouting seeds like crazy, I never thought grass would do that this short. Does anyone have any idea of the germination preventative that the lawn service sprayed will prevent grass seeds from germinating as well? Hopefully I can get pics up in the next day or two.
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