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View Full Version : Please help! My lawn is a mess! SE Wisconsin. PICS


sethhobrin
08-05-2010, 05:45 PM
My wife and I moved in to our first house last late fall. My lawn is a mess. And it REALLY stands out because most of the neighbors down the entire block have perfect lawns. I am located in SE Wisconsin.

I put down some Menards brand weed and feed in April. Then in June I used Scotts Turfbuilder. I've also applied a single applications of ortho weed be gone to kill a lot of weeds that popped up earlier.

I haven't really watered at all. It's been very hot and humid. We've also had more rain and crazy storms than usual.

My lawn is very brown and spotty. There is also some weeds that keep returning or can't get rid of.

What is the best course of action to get me on the road to recovery and what can I do to keep it in good shape?

These links are all thumbnails. I have a strip of grass in front of my yard along the street as well as a side hard on the left hand side facing the house that is just as bad.




http://img263.imagevenue.com/loc550/th_42694_IMG00003_20100805_1603_122_550lo.jpg (http://img263.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42694_IMG00003_20100805_1603_122_550lo.jpg)http://img208.imagevenue.com/loc584/th_42703_IMG00004_20100805_1604_122_584lo.jpg (http://img208.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42703_IMG00004_20100805_1604_122_584lo.jpg)http://img270.imagevenue.com/loc196/th_42716_IMG00005_20100805_1604_122_196lo.jpg (http://img270.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42716_IMG00005_20100805_1604_122_196lo.jpg)
http://img181.imagevenue.com/loc152/th_42729_IMG00006_20100805_1604_122_152lo.jpg (http://img181.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42729_IMG00006_20100805_1604_122_152lo.jpg)http://img183.imagevenue.com/loc402/th_42739_IMG00007_20100805_1605_122_402lo.jpg (http://img183.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42739_IMG00007_20100805_1605_122_402lo.jpg)http://img270.imagevenue.com/loc570/th_42746_IMG00008_20100805_1605_122_570lo.jpg (http://img270.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42746_IMG00008_20100805_1605_122_570lo.jpg)
http://img222.imagevenue.com/loc669/th_42752_IMG00009_20100805_1605_122_669lo.jpg (http://img222.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42752_IMG00009_20100805_1605_122_669lo.jpg)http://img181.imagevenue.com/loc59/th_42758_IMG00010_20100805_1606_122_59lo.jpg (http://img181.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42758_IMG00010_20100805_1606_122_59lo.jpg)http://img13.imagevenue.com/loc416/th_42765_IMG00011_20100805_1606_122_416lo.jpg (http://img13.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42765_IMG00011_20100805_1606_122_416lo.jpg)
http://img37.imagevenue.com/loc393/th_42779_IMG00012_20100805_1607_122_393lo.jpg (http://img37.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42779_IMG00012_20100805_1607_122_393lo.jpg)http://img216.imagevenue.com/loc544/th_42791_IMG00013_20100805_1608_122_544lo.jpg (http://img216.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=42791_IMG00013_20100805_1608_122_544lo.jpg)

JoJo1990
08-05-2010, 07:16 PM
You have a lot of reading to do first. Start in the renovation forum and read on posts similar to yours. Your questions will all be answered shortly.

sethhobrin
08-05-2010, 07:50 PM
I've been reading all day. Reading still. Reading about aeration, topdressing, overseeding etc.... Just wondering what people thing about a gereral plan of attack. It's all kind over overwhelming :) And maybe what I'm doing wrong and what I should be doing? My goal is to have a better lawn than my neighbors and I hope I can get some tips here to do that! Can't afford to just dish out lots of $$$ to pay someone else to do it so I gotta get my hands dirty. I understand this could take several seasons of hard work.

Thanks in advance guys!

Smallaxe
08-05-2010, 08:16 PM
Probably be a good idea to see what kind of soil you have. If it is heavy, the rains this year are going to create difficulty. Have you had puddles, or excessively soggy ground for extended periods?

Do you mulch mow? Do you have thatch? (Dead grass clippings, do not make thatch) Too much N and too much water, makes a variety of problems in a variety of lawns.

Simplest thing to do is aerate, overseed, and rake in compost, once the weather cools down a bit. It is a great catchall strategy, that is always worth the time and money, because every lawn can benefit, that looks like that. Besides, it may very well be your solution... :)

JoJo1990
08-05-2010, 08:53 PM
In early september, rent an aerator and do a double pass over your lawn. If they have a power slit seeder, that would be an ideal way to overseed also in the fall. A balanced slow release fall fertilizer will also help ease you into next spring. Watch your product labels as you may have to wait 2-4 weeks after you fertilize (if it includes an herbicide) before you can overseed.

Topdressing will really help too this year if you can, next year for sure. Check your county extension office and see if they have a soil testing lab. You will learn a lot about your soil and what it lacks through that process. It sounds like you are willing to do the work so that's a great start. Great lawns take a lot of elbow grease and some time. Don't expect overnight results, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised even by late fall if you follow the above and other suggestions posted.

Smallaxe
08-05-2010, 09:16 PM
Topdressing will really help too this year if you can, ...

Topdressing, with compost, will be the single most important thing you can do, right now. Problems, begin in the soil and compost will cover a multitude of sins, as it were.

Aeration and seeding, does little, even in the short run, if your soil structure/texture/CEC is screwed up. Begin correcting the problem, and stop making it an, "if you can" measure. You will easily lose an entire season, by simply, treating the symptoms. Go for the cause, and if that doesn't work, then get yourself a county agent.

sethhobrin
08-06-2010, 08:05 AM
I do mulch mow. I don't have standing water in the front yard.

how much compost do you think I need for the yard in that picture? How deep to topdress with a wheelbarrel and large rake? I started looking for a place that sells compost and I can't seem to find one. most are mulch and landscaping places. Are these the type of places I should be looking? Is there a certain type of compost I should be asking for? I'm assuming I need well broken up comost and not something clumpy.

I'm guessing I should aerate first, then topdress, then overseed/possibly slitseed?

Thanks for the suggestions so far guys!

sethhobrin
08-06-2010, 08:25 AM
Also here are my rental choices it looks like:

Aerator: $75/day
Billy Goat / AE400H
Bluebird / H424

Overseeder: $55/day
Yardmarv / SMRHON
Bluebird / PR18H5FA

Are these good choices?

Smallaxe
08-06-2010, 08:56 AM
I just lost my statement, for some reason, just like last nite, so I will make this quick intead,

Smallaxe
08-06-2010, 08:57 AM
Compost may be found at a construction site that sells topsoil. Often they mix their own blend.

Smallaxe
08-06-2010, 09:00 AM
You may not even need to aerate your lawn this fall. Drive a spade into the lawn in one of your critical areas, and open up the ground enough to get a good cross-section closeup photo, that we may observe thatch, root depth, and soil conditions.

Sorry for the multiple posts, but for some reason I was booted after a rather lengthy paragraph.

Smallaxe
08-06-2010, 09:04 AM
If you have a few smaller areas that you would really like to get going, you might consider, a couple of bags, of leaf compost. The bagged manure stuff has ended up being more sand than compost, so avoid that.

sethhobrin
08-06-2010, 09:58 AM
You may not even need to aerate your lawn this fall. Drive a spade into the lawn in one of your critical areas, and open up the ground enough to get a good cross-section closeup photo, that we may observe thatch, root depth, and soil conditions.

Sorry for the multiple posts, but for some reason I was booted after a rather lengthy paragraph.

I'll post a picture when I get home from work tonight. The whole front yard is kind of critical. it really needs an overhall so it is a nice full lush lawn. its pretty burned right now and thin.

RAlmaroad
08-06-2010, 01:57 PM
Without seeing your lawn close up and in good light, I'm going to go way out on the limb and bring up the watering/irrigation. Even though you said that you've got way above normal rainfall, grass will stress itself when it goes without moisture for a long time. It goes in metabolic shutdown and does take a while to recover. Why don't you put it on a regular watering cycle of 1"/week, pull a soil test and go from there. You may be surprised; If you've never done a soil test, just call you local county extension agent.

Smallaxe
08-06-2010, 10:12 PM
If grass is stressed anywhere in Wisco this year, it has cultural problems, or hydrophobic soil. :)

sethhobrin
09-13-2010, 01:11 PM
Just wanted to stop in and post some pics from after renovation.(Aeration, topdressing, overseeding).

http://img156.imagevenue.com/loc128/th_97446_IMG00034_20100911_1349_122_128lo.jpg (http://img156.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=97446_IMG00034_20100911_1349_122_128lo.jpg)http://img275.imagevenue.com/loc213/th_97458_IMG00035_20100911_1349_122_213lo.jpg (http://img275.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=97458_IMG00035_20100911_1349_122_213lo.jpg)http://img46.imagevenue.com/loc474/th_97477_IMG00036_20100911_1349_122_474lo.jpg (http://img46.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=97477_IMG00036_20100911_1349_122_474lo.jpg)
http://img217.imagevenue.com/loc647/th_97490_IMG00037_20100911_1349_122_647lo.jpg (http://img217.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=97490_IMG00037_20100911_1349_122_647lo.jpg)http://img231.imagevenue.com/loc374/th_97506_IMG00038_20100911_1349_122_374lo.jpg (http://img231.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=97506_IMG00038_20100911_1349_122_374lo.jpg)http://img279.imagevenue.com/loc13/th_97526_IMG00039_20100911_1350_122_13lo.jpg (http://img279.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=97526_IMG00039_20100911_1350_122_13lo.jpg)
http://img40.imagevenue.com/loc402/th_97546_IMG00040_20100911_1350_122_402lo.jpg (http://img40.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=97546_IMG00040_20100911_1350_122_402lo.jpg)http://img242.imagevenue.com/loc169/th_97565_IMG00041_20100911_1350_122_169lo.jpg (http://img242.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=97565_IMG00041_20100911_1350_122_169lo.jpg)

Day 8. Waiting for Germination.