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Please_Be_Green
08-21-2008, 08:54 PM
I purchased a new home in March. It was a stretch for me... Previous owners had professional landscapers, fertilizers... everything by a professional... My new yard was the envy of the neighborhood I unfortunately, can afford it all, especially in these economic times. I had the first two "professional" applications of Fert & Pre-Emerg and a second application with a "weed killer". After writing a check for $250.00, and spending over $220 a month in gas to get to work, something had to give... Unfortunately, the fertilizer company had to go...

Realizing that I had to stay on top of the yard, I attempted to keep up with Ferts from Home Depot (Scotts). A few weeks after the 2nd application a fungus set in. I didn't know what I was dealing with... That's when the obsession set in. I haven't stopped doing research on lawn maintenance, weeds, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, etc. etc... All, which I'm sure you professionals do to keep the lawns looking pristine.

On the other hand I'm a DIY type of guy and when I normally do something I do it 110%.

Not sure if your all willing to help out a residential guy, learn some trips and tips. (I'm not sure if I was a professional in this business, I'd be so willing to post on a public forum to a home owner.)

I guess my first question would be about Fertilizers. As I mentioned I've been using Scott's 4-step program, but I can't say I think its very good. The house across the street is using the same Fert company that my house used to use, and their lawn looks great compared to mine and they don't do a damn thing. I've been looking into Green View, but have also found the local Lesco's.

How about these products Dimension, Armand, and Acclaim pre-emerg, fungicides and weed killers? I had the early season pre-emerg and I've decided that it's definitely starting to wear out. While I don't have a lot of crab grass, I do see, more and more spots starting to prop up. Can a home owner get hold of these products and apply it? Or are they strictly for professional.

I've done some research and it seems as though there is an applicator license one can get in the state of NJ. Which would allow me to applicate on my own property. In your experience do certain home owners do this? Could I then purchase this stuff from Lesco's for self application?

I have so many questions, and I'm trying so hard to keep my lawn green.

americanlawn
08-21-2008, 09:25 PM
Hey dude -- the most important key is proper mowing. Any idiot can get a "license". If you have a descent spreader for granular fert, and a spot sprayer for liquid weed killer....your'e good to go. (unless you have a huge lawn). My opinion only.

Please_Be_Green
08-21-2008, 09:40 PM
I'm trying with that too... I have about 15000sqft of turf to cut... I'm using a 10 year old snapper push mower. I'll mention in my old home I never once took the blades off to sharpen them, but have done it twice this season so far.

My wife is starting to think I'm really crazy about the lawn.

PSUTURFGEEK
08-21-2008, 09:55 PM
The license your'e referring to is a NJ state private applicators license which isn't really a must to have for what your'e trying to do, as said earlier keep your mowing height up and don't over water, just start with that and see where it takes you. Alot of DIY's seem to set the mower to number Dirt.

shovelracer
08-21-2008, 10:03 PM
Yes you can buy stuff at the lesco as long as it isnt restricted use. Most of what you would use isnt. You will pay retail pricing so it may be easier just to keep paying someone to do it. I see my customers pay top dollar for their own products only to get marginal results mainly due to improper calibration and application.

Frank Fescue
08-21-2008, 10:41 PM
I purchased a new home in March. It was a stretch for me... Previous owners had professional landscapers, fertilizers... everything by a professional... My new yard was the envy of the neighborhood I unfortunately, can afford it all, especially in these economic times. I had the first two "professional" applications of Fert & Pre-Emerg and a second application with a "weed killer". After writing a check for $250.00, and spending over $220 a month in gas to get to work, something had to give... Unfortunately, the fertilizer company had to go...

Realizing that I had to stay on top of the yard, I attempted to keep up with Ferts from Home Depot (Scotts). A few weeks after the 2nd application a fungus set in. I didn't know what I was dealing with... That's when the obsession set in. I haven't stopped doing research on lawn maintenance, weeds, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, etc. etc... All, which I'm sure you professionals do to keep the lawns looking pristine.

On the other hand I'm a DIY type of guy and when I normally do something I do it 110%.

Not sure if your all willing to help out a residential guy, learn some trips and tips. (I'm not sure if I was a professional in this business, I'd be so willing to post on a public forum to a home owner.)

I guess my first question would be about Fertilizers. As I mentioned I've been using Scott's 4-step program, but I can't say I think its very good. The house across the street is using the same Fert company that my house used to use, and their lawn looks great compared to mine and they don't do a damn thing. I've been looking into Green View, but have also found the local Lesco's.

How about these products Dimension, Armand, and Acclaim pre-emerg, fungicides and weed killers? I had the early season pre-emerg and I've decided that it's definitely starting to wear out. While I don't have a lot of crab grass, I do see, more and more spots starting to prop up. Can a home owner get hold of these products and apply it? Or are they strictly for professional.

I've done some research and it seems as though there is an applicator license one can get in the state of NJ. Which would allow me to applicate on my own property. In your experience do certain home owners do this? Could I then purchase this stuff from Lesco's for self application?

I have so many questions, and I'm trying so hard to keep my lawn green.


If you can show a picture of your lawn.

Please_Be_Green
08-21-2008, 10:58 PM
Yes you can buy stuff at the lesco as long as it isnt restricted use. Most of what you would use isnt. You will pay retail pricing so it may be easier just to keep paying someone to do it. I see my customers pay top dollar for their own products only to get marginal results mainly due to improper calibration and application.

That's what I'm starting to think... I mean I think I could pay a little less for certain things, but I don't get any experience. ie. I probably could spray, but to get a quality sprayer and the product and my own time to do everything... Probably cheaper to just get someone to do it...

On the other hand, over the long haul, it's probably cheaper if I enjoy learning, researching and experimenting and am willing to not have the best lawns.

I'll see if I can take a pic in the morning... It will show the fungus damage, but it is coming back, since were having some cooler weather. i.e. it was mostly red thread, but there could have been some p.blight going on there also. I put two applications of Scotts Fungus control, but looking back I shouldn't have waited as long before I put the first application down, or wait a month in between the second.

RigglePLC
08-21-2008, 11:11 PM
Red thread is everywhere in early summer. Extra fertilizer is often a better cure than fungicide. Much cheaper, too. Do not water at night if you have red thread. In fact, try watering twice a week, only more minutes--to reduce the average daily humidity.

Red thread should disappear as night temps come down. It will reappear about next June 15th.

group501
08-21-2008, 11:15 PM
I have found that most professional services are price only slightly above what you would pay to do it yourself. I was in a costco the other day and saw a 50# bag of Scott's weed and feed for $47.00. Although there is 24d weed control in the bag this is really not an effective way of applying it and would probably have marginal at, at best results. An "Industry Standard 5 service program" consisting of pre emergent crabgrass control, post emergent weed control, fertilization and surface feeding insect control will probably be in the $80-$95.00 range per application depending on where in NJ you are located.

The one thing that I would advise is to educate yourself as much as possible, Lawn Site search should prove to be very useful tool. After educating yourself, interview some companies that specialize in lawn applications. With all of your knowledge as to what constitutes a sound program you will be able to make an educated decision as to what the real difference between doing it yourself and paying a pro to do it really is. Just make sure that you also do some research on the companies you interview.

Remember, there are certain things that happen during the year that are out of even a pro's control and require a special service call to correct. Most companies offer a guarantee that if a service does not achieve the desired results free service calls to correct the problem will be provided. A good lawn care provider will set a fair price and provide exceptional service. When you do it yourself and a service does not provide the desired results you are kind of on your own.

benjammin
08-21-2008, 11:15 PM
Contact your local Ag Ext.
Get a soil sample before you put down anything else. Here's the Rutgers/Ag Ext web page for soil sampling and anylsis: http://njaes.rutgers.edu/soiltestinglab/

I'm a first time home owner with a new lawn and my wife says I'm obsessive too. Just relax and change your perspective. Look at your yard from across the street, I'll bet it still looks as good as your neighbors. You can do it your self, but not in a day or two.

benjammin
08-21-2008, 11:18 PM
and I meant to add, as others have stated, proper watering and cutting are key.

Please_Be_Green
08-22-2008, 06:37 AM
Thanks everyone... It's great to know after reading the replies that my research is paying off.

i.e. After the lawn started showing "signs", which I didn't realize at the time. I just knew something wasn't right as I kept saying to the wife, "Do you think the lawn is starting to discolor?". As I was just starting research my neighbors probably saw me out side at first light, crouching down, picking single blades of grass, examining them.

continued researching a couple of things I decided I did wrong, which have been confirmed by some of the replys...

1. I may have actually cut too high. (In May when the lawn was actually looking good, if I stuck my fingers into the grass it was probably a good 5".
2. I over watered. New to the automatic sprinkler, I just turned it on expecting the previous owners settings to work... Watering 25min every, other day.
3. I didn't realize that possibly low (N), could be an issue. (However, I'm still not sure that was the issue.
4. Took me thru May to understand the importance of sharp lawn mower blades.

Please_Be_Green
08-22-2008, 07:00 AM
Red thread is everywhere in early summer. Extra fertilizer is often a better cure than fungicide. Much cheaper, too. Do not water at night if you have red thread. In fact, try watering twice a week, only more minutes--to reduce the average daily humidity.

Red thread should disappear as night temps come down. It will reappear about next June 15th.

That's what I'm figuring out now... So now the objective is to not let it hit next June.

I asked a couple around the block who I have watched for 12 years do all their own yard work (I said I moved, but I only moved down and around the corner), "How do you keep your lawn so green?, Why don't you have any fungus?" ( I tell you they have the "PERFECT" lawn, but they also spend upwards of 40 working hours a week in it as a couple.)

His response, water only twice a week and only supplementing nature. Sharp blades, good fertilizers and an application of Bayleton in mid-to-late May.

Do you think if I had kept the fertilizer company they would have done an fungicide / Bayleton application?

Here's the kicker... The red thread started showing itself in late May. I called the fert company and told them that I think something is going on with my lawn. I mentioned that it had this "pinkish/reddish" hue in spots in the morning. She said that they would send someone out. Two days later, I come home to find a receipt in the mailbox that a Weed & Feed Application was put down. The guy spoke with my wife about what he was going to do, but unfortunately my wife said she couldn't understand him with his Mexican accent. She thinks she he said something about "fungicide", but the receipt made not mention of "fungicide"... I was charged for a Weed & Feed application $113, not a Fungicide application which I was told before the season would run $156

Ya know, typing this all out... maybe low nitrogen was the culprit? Maybe he did apply a fungicide, which would have meant the fert schedule was a good 16 weeks in between the March fert/pre-emerg and my summer Step 3 application. Would a fert company spray fungicide and apply fert at the same time?

Frank Fescue
08-22-2008, 10:50 AM
Watering 25 minutes every other day isn't "overwatering" it's probably not enough during the hot/dry summer. I know conditions up and down the east coast have changed to cooler/wetter conditions. but in my neck of the woods we went a good 6 weeks (June-July) with less than an inch of rainfall.


"Would a fert company spray a fungicide and do a weed and feed at the same time?"

I wouldnt put it past anybody to do anything. I wouldn't. Normally if its a red thread issue the fert and better cultural practices can help fix it. I hate selling fungicides because they're expensive and oftentimes people think it'll mean season long protection from fungus.

Please_Be_Green
08-22-2008, 10:55 AM
I guess it's possible that they treated with Fertilizer... rather then just jump to the more expensive "fix" of fungicides... More research, more feedback, more likely I'll have them comeback in early spring and handle it all. I am enjoying trying to understand all this stuff though.

Thanks for the feed back...

Oh, and my 25 min every other day was in early April - May, which were actually kind of wet if my memory serves me correctly. There actually was a 10 week lap between 1st pre-emerg application and the 2nd application of Weed/Feed due to weather.

EDIT... I probably should have just called the Fert Company and spoke to them... However, I was so uneducated at the time I wouldn't have even known what questions to ask.

Hissing Cobra
08-22-2008, 01:38 PM
Click on the link below and read the replies that we've given this Lawnsite member.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=234196