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rabernethy4
08-06-2010, 02:04 PM
Hello. I recently moved into a new house in SE Michigan. The lawn looks OK, but I've run into a couple problems. First, I got blasted by dollar spot and spurge. I'm currently trying to control both of those problems. Second, the soil seems pretty compacted and there's a lot of thatch. Judging by the condition of the rest of the landscaping, I'd say the lawn has been a bit neglected over the years. I decided I would overseed the lawn this fall and I'm looking for some advice since I've never done this before.

Here's some more background info:

I think the lawn is mostly KBG, but I'll snag some pictures tonight and confirm
The backyard has a large expanse that gets a lot of sun and a lot of traffic (kids)
Due to the grade, the sides of the house tend to stay wetter longer
There are a couple trees, but overall the lawn is really sunny

Here's my plan:

Thoroughly water lawn the day before
Mow existing grass (1.5 to 2 inches; collect clippings)
Dethatch
Aerate (2 to 3 passes; 20 to 40 holes per sq. foot)
Apply seed
Apply compost topdressing
Apply fertilizer
Irrigate appropriately

Here are my questions:

What kind of seed should I get?
What kind of fertilizer should I get and when should I apply it?
What's the proper irrigation schedule after overseeding?

rabernethy4
08-06-2010, 02:05 PM
What is the difference between these Scott's products?

TurfBuilder Sun & Shade Mix
TurfBuilder High Traffic Mix
TurfBuilder Heat-Tolerant Blue Mix
TurfBuilder Kentucky Bluegrass Mix

I assume they have different cultivars and mix ratios, but I'm finding it hard to figure what they are and which type is appropriate. Any suggestions?

rabernethy4
08-06-2010, 11:29 PM
This thread needs more pictures! :) Can you tell what type of grass that is? Nothing had seed heads, unfortunately.

Smallaxe
08-06-2010, 11:43 PM
Get the water away from the house... Very dangerous situation in the midwest...

rabernethy4
08-09-2010, 10:02 AM
Any suggestions on the seed type? Do I need to dethatch if I'm aerating?

ICT Bill
08-09-2010, 12:41 PM
Any suggestions on the seed type? Do I need to dethatch if I'm aerating?

speak with your local extension agent they know the varieties that work best in your area, I personally like "midnight" KBG it is very disease resistant and has great color, it also uses less water and fert to look good

whatever you pick look at the label and look for "weed seeds" percentage you will find that the cheaper seed has lots of weed seeds sometimes as much as 10%, DO NOT buy the cheap seed because of this. You often get what you pay for with seed

you have time, do a little research on how old the varieties are in the mix, you want newer varieties that have better disease resistance

nepatsfan
08-09-2010, 01:17 PM
I would aerate and overseed in the fall. Dethatch in the spring.

rabernethy4
08-09-2010, 01:25 PM
...local extension agent...
I've seen this mentioned a few times, but I have no idea what it means. How do I go about finding a local extension agent?

ICT Bill
08-09-2010, 01:32 PM
I've seen this mentioned a few times, but I have no idea what it means. How do I go about finding a local extension agent?

most often they are through your state university and normally cover a defined area like a county

http://www.msue.msu.edu/portal/

rabernethy4
08-09-2010, 01:57 PM
Thanks - that helps to clarify. I e-mailed my county's extension last week regarding soil testing so it looks like I can follow-up with them regarding seed types. :)

bigslick7878
08-09-2010, 03:50 PM
How about a picture of the lawn and the lay of the land.

Pic on the right is tall fescue.

ICT Bill
08-09-2010, 04:55 PM
How about a picture of the lawn and the lay of the land.

Pic on the right is tall fescue.

good call bigslick7878, I just assumed KBG since he was in Michigan

rabernethy4
08-10-2010, 06:52 PM
Here's an overhead shot from Google Maps (north = up). The land gently slopes downward from north to south. The backyard seems to get a lot of afternoon soon, especially that large expanse in the middle. Though, the woods on west side shade the western boundry. What other details can I provide?

rabernethy4
08-10-2010, 06:53 PM
Here's the advice I got from the local extension:
We do not recommend a particular cultivar of seed per se. The recommendation for the type of seed you would use depends on your environmental conditions. Unless you go to a specialty seed store, seed will be identified as bluegrass, ryegrass or fescue. For a sunny site (> 6 hours), an improved bluegrass mixture would be the choice. For 4-6 hours of sunlight, a mixture of all three, with the majority bluegrass would be the choice. For less than 4 hours of direct sunlight, use a shade mixture of fescue and ryegrass. If you have less than 2 hours of direct sunlight, you will not have success with any type of grass seed.

bigslick7878
08-10-2010, 07:00 PM
Here's an overhead shot from Google Maps (north = up). The land gently slopes downward from north to south. The backyard seems to get a lot of afternoon soon, especially that large expanse in the middle. Though, the woods on west side shade the western boundry. What other details can I provide?

Pretty hard to tell what the backyard looks like from 5k feet.

Here I will spell it out for you.

Get a camera.

Go out in the backyard.

Take about 5 pictures (or more just make sure you get the entire yard) from various angles. We can tell what the grass looks like from that perspective and what the general condition of the yard is.

Don't get 2 inches from the grass,don't kneel down, stand and take the pics with the camera at head level.

Post them here.

We will do our best to help.

Smallaxe
08-10-2010, 08:25 PM
The advice from the local extension, is about as close to right as you can get. We always add it as a mix, unless it is a specific grass, originally.

rabernethy4
09-07-2010, 02:34 PM
Sooo...I finally got after it this weekend. Rented a Classen CA-18 aerator from the local Home Depot, aerated, overseeded (Scotts Sun & Shade Mix), and am now top dressing with compost. I thought it was going to be much easier to rake in the compost, but I think I left my grass too long. I'm basically shoveling compost onto the grass and then rubbing it with my hands. It's taking forever. Also, I didn't think to ask about "screened" compost so I'm dealing with a few compacted chunks here and there. Not a big deal, they break up pretty easily. It's just mildly annoying.

Anyway, what should I expect to do in the next few weeks? How can I handle any weeds that pop up without hurting the newly sprouting grass? Any other advice/tips? Thanks for all the help thus far.

Smallaxe
09-08-2010, 08:09 AM
I use my haqnd to fan it out of the wheel barrow, like sowing grass seed, for even coverage. Some people use shovels.

I think that you should be fine with germination if you keep it moist. Mulch mowing will help with cover for the seeds. Broadleaf weeds can be spot sprayed in October or as long as they are still green. Let your turf develop first.

RigglePLC
09-08-2010, 12:22 PM
Just guessing, but I think your grass is mostly perennial rye. I saw a dollarspot lesion. and I saw no sign of rhizomes in your pics. Bluegrass has rhizomes. Scotts "Sun and Shade" is a good choice. Especially if it contains "Courtyard" (Scotts version of "Midnight", a very dark green variety). Water is now the most critical factor. Every day watering is best --twice per day is even better. With luck the ryegrass part of the mix will be up in 7 days. The bluegrass is much slower. The whole thing slows down when the temps cool off into the 60's. Very slow when temps fall below 50. May I suggest professional lawn care this fall and next spring ? They have a better shot at stopping the spurge you mentioned. Postpone your weed spray until spring. Spurge if it arises will appear about July 4th--get it sprayed then when it is young and tender. Its tough. Tougher in a thin lawn.

rabernethy4
05-01-2011, 01:52 AM
Yay - spring is here! I'm excited to see the fruits of my labor last fall. Any advice on fertilizer? Is there anything I should avoid considering the overseeding I did last fall?

Smallaxe
05-01-2011, 10:54 AM
There are 2 mjor mistakes that people make on their lawns, that are done everywhere by everybody, in order to make money early and plenty...
But if you think about it, the Extension Offices throughout the Midwest States make a valid point...
Young plants spend a lot of energy getting roots as deep and as widespread as possible. N of course promotes leaf growth instead and those roots grow close to the surface creating thatch... Early Spring Fert is the first mistake... after 2 or 3 mowings is better, but if it is shady it may not even be wise to do it then...

Secondly Pre-m is a root inhibitor and CrabGrass, especially in the shade, is no real threat until sometime in a hot June or hot July... So don't be dumping that stuff on right away either... I personally never use it on turf...

You are going to hear the standard line that Tru-Green has made millions off of along with the others who follow their model, but it is wrong... :)

mattb84
05-02-2011, 09:25 PM
Now there is a post I can agree with.
Posted via Mobile Device

RigglePLC
05-03-2011, 11:38 AM
Smallaxe is right. Crabgrass is not a problem in the shade. Except that in the sun, you cannot risk omitting crabgrass control. Sock it on within about 7 days. MSU chart shows for crabgrass control you are already in the "late" week. A few more days and you are in the "Done" zone. Try to use only top quality fertilizer to build thickness of your new grass. Try to find fertilizer with 50 percent of the nitrogen in slow release form. You need to read the fine print carefully. Skip Home Dep and go to a garden store where the clerks have some knowledge. If clerk is wearing a badge that says "Certified Gardner" or something like that--ignore it (it means I went to a class in the store for 4 hours). If his badge says "Master Gardener", he has been to a class put on by MSU and has about 50 hours training and knowledge. If the badge says MCN (Michigan Certified Nurseryman), that is better yet. Build the thickness of your grass, but cut back on the fert once you have it thick. You need heavy duty sprays to combat spurge, which should appear about July 4th. Plan to spray early and often. Weed B Gone Max is a good place to start. Do not cut grass short. Spurge needs sun. Tall grass shades it out.

RigglePLC
05-03-2011, 11:52 AM
My wife just bought some Scotts Sun and Shade Mix.
It contains about 9 % Wendy Jean fine fescue, 8% Uno perennial rye, 8% Silverdollar Per rye, 8% Wildhorse Kentucky Blue, 6% Abbey Kentucky Blue, 5% Fenway red fescue...AND...50 percent inert water-absorbing-coating.
The actual ingredients change from time to time, depending on seed field success or crop failures, for the various seed ingredients.