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speedster
08-16-2010, 06:17 PM
Not sure if this post belongs in Fertilizer or lawn renovation so I just put it here.

I've got about 7000 sq/ft of yard space that's in pretty bad condition. The results from the soil test confirm this. I have mostly sunny areas with about 600-1000 ft' of mostly shady areas. Two large spruce trees contribute to my acid problem. Soil is pretty clay rich and not a whole lot of healthy grass. I have a lot of crabgrass and broadleafs that I sprayed a few weeks back with 2-4D with pretty decent results. Most of the crabgrass is brown and dead but most of the broadleaves still exist. The majority of what turf I have is KBB with some fine fescue in the shadier areas. I do also have some moss growing I believe due to the low pH. I cut the grass all summer long at a pretty high setting which kept it green. But before spraying a few weeks back I began a process of shortening my cuttings. I'm not scalping it but I am cutting pretty short in anticipation of overseeding soon. My original plan was to rent a slit seeder early september and dry run it a few times to dethatch and then seed heavily. I plan to topdress to some degree with top soil and compost. Then come spring I planned on aerating, and applying a pre-emergent to revent the crabgrass from coming back. By that time I hope my lawn is much thicker and can better defend itself against broadleaves and crabgrass.

Anyway, I got the results back from the lab and they read as follows:

pH = 4.8 !!!
P = 33 lbs/acre MED
K = 190 lbs/acre HIGH
CA = 1490 lbs/acre MED
MG = 153 lbs/acre MED

Here are their recommendations:
Aglime = 170lbs/1000 sqft !!! (~1200lbs for my lawn?)
Nitrogen (N) = 3 lbs/1000 sqft
Phosphate (P205) = 1 lbs/1000 sqft
Potash (K20) = 0 lbs/1000 sqft

You can use any fertilizer that supplies the plant nutrients recommended. Apply all of the P205 and K20 and approximately 2/3 of the N in the fall and the rest of the N in the spring after the flush of spring growth.


AS you can tell the soil is in bad shape. With all of my ambitious plans what should I do now? Do I seriously need to put down 1170lbs of aglime all at once? Can I do this right now and then seed in 2-3 weeks? Will this in any way hamper seed germination?

As you can probably guess the spruce trees might have something to do with the pH problem. This is my first summer in the house so I'm not sure what type of lawn maintainance the previous owner performed. Obviously he never added lime :)

Whats my game plan fellas?

Smallaxe
08-16-2010, 07:52 PM
I think I would aerate, a couple directions , then add lime and compost, to get that stuff down into the clay. The slowly moves through the soil and is only a temporary fix. Compost,SOM, buffers the ill-effects of pH extremes and allows grass to grow inspite of it. If you got low SOM and CEC along with bad structure, you are setting yourself up for growing thatch, just to keep it alive.

speedster
08-17-2010, 12:40 AM
I think I would aerate, a couple directions , then add lime and compost, to get that stuff down into the clay. The slowly moves through the soil and is only a temporary fix. Compost,SOM, buffers the ill-effects of pH extremes and allows grass to grow inspite of it. If you got low SOM and CEC along with bad structure, you are setting yourself up for growing thatch, just to keep it alive. thanx for the tips. what exactly is som and cec
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speedster
08-17-2010, 09:23 AM
As far as the aglime is concerned, this is my first lawn and I've never actaully applied lime before.

In my case what would be the best type to add to my lawn? The powdery stuff or the pellitized lime? Obviously I'd assume I'd apply it to a dry lawn. If I go with the powdery stuff does it get watered in? Will this effect the seeding I plan to do in early september?

Also, since the report suggests that my K is high what type of fertilizer should I look for? Like a 30-5-0 or something like that?

Smallaxe
08-17-2010, 09:50 AM
SOM = Soil Organic Matter. Sand, clay and silt are inorganic.

CEC = Cation Exchange Capacity. That means nothing more than the NPK has a place to sit, one particle at a time, until the plant can use it. Without a place to be much of the N goes unused, on bad soils, with no structure. It tends to grow, almost hydroponically, producing thatch.
Clay, OM and silt are the common CE sites, in a soil.

Kiril
08-17-2010, 11:07 AM
CEC = Cation Exchange Capacity. That means nothing more than the NPK has a place to sit, one particle at a time, until the plant can use it. Without a place to be much of the N goes unused, on bad soils, with no structure. It tends to grow, almost hydroponically, producing thatch.

HUH.............


@OP,

I would lean towards moving your lawn to all fescue as it can tolerate pH extremes far better than KBG can.

With respect to the soil test ... it is not telling you much of anything. With the exception of the pH, the numbers are meaningless without knowing the depth of soil it applies to. That said, if we assume 6", then they are perfectly acceptable IMO, and need no adjustment.

speedster
08-17-2010, 08:08 PM
when you say fescue are you talking about tall turf type? I've heard out can be really clumsy and lwots of maintainance to repair.
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speedster
08-18-2010, 07:56 AM
when you say fescue are you talking about tall turf type? I've heard out can be really clumsy and lwots of maintainance to repair.
Posted via Mobile Device

Geeze, no way to edit posts here?

Sorry I posted from my phone. What I meant to say was I've heard tall fescue can make you yard clumpy and uneven. I've also heard it can be a lot of maintainence to repair because it doesn't fill in.

I stopped by my local co-op yesterday and bought 520 pounds of pellitized lime. Thats all they had. After seeing how little 520 pounds actually is of lime it doesn't sound so rediculous that my lawn needs 1170 pounds according to the report. I'll probably put this lime down and then add another 500 when they get more in stock.

Kiril
08-18-2010, 09:00 AM
What I meant to say was I've heard tall fescue can make you yard clumpy and uneven. I've also heard it can be a lot of maintainence to repair because it doesn't fill in.

This is untrue.

stealle
08-18-2010, 09:36 PM
Geeze, no way to edit posts here?

Sorry I posted from my phone. What I meant to say was I've heard tall fescue can make you yard clumpy and uneven. I've also heard it can be a lot of maintainence to repair because it doesn't fill in.

I stopped by my local co-op yesterday and bought 520 pounds of pellitized lime. Thats all they had. After seeing how little 520 pounds actually is of lime it doesn't sound so rediculous that my lawn needs 1170 pounds according to the report. I'll probably put this lime down and then add another 500 when they get more in stock.

I think that is way too much lime to add all at once. I would never apply more that 50lbs per 1000 at a time. Also, it is best not to apply lime and fertilizer at the same time. It works kinda like this. The ideal pH for grass is between 6.0-6.5. If pH is 7 or more the soil will hold iron and will not release it to grass and trees (less greening). A pH less than 6 becomes too acidic for most lawn grasses. Also, if the pH is too low the nitrogen in lawn fertilizer will not work as well, which means less growth and greening of your lawn. So you need lime so the fertilizer will work better. The catch is, you can't apply lime and fertilizer (nitrogen) at the same time or they basically cancel each other out. Meaning, if you apply them at the same time, your pH will not increase much and the nitrogen will not be usable to your grass. For best results apply lime at least one month preferably 3 months before applying nitrogen.

If I were you I think I'd do this.
1. Apply 50 lbs of lime per 1000 sq ft. now. Make sure it gets watered in really good several times before seeding.
2. In a couple weeks, seed your lawn. Do light watering several times a day to keep the soil moist (not flooded).
3. Apply a good starter fertilizer one month after the lime application. I usually apply starter fertilizer at the same time of seeding, but in your case I think the lime needs time to soak in first. By this time your seed is starting to germinate. The small seedlings will still appreciate the fertilizer. Try to get several mowings in before the first frost.
4. Apply another 50lbs lime per 1000 sq ft. in November. Late fall is the best time too apply lime. It will gradually soak into the soil all winter long.
5. Apply another 50lb lime per 1000 sq ft. in February 2011. That's enough lime! Have your soil tested again in the Fall of 2011
6. Get on a regular fertilizer plan in the spring 2011. Plan to do some more over-seeding in the spring. You might have better luck since your soil should be much improved.

RigglePLC
08-18-2010, 10:45 PM
Steall is right. But you may need to apply crabgrass control in spring--that would kill any new seed...so try to get all your seeding done in the fall. Do it right the first time. Use a top quality tall fescue (TTTF). Don't use cheap seed. Seed can be expensive so make sure to keep it moist--try to get every seed to germinate.

Our local experts no longer recommend phosphorus for grass--it does not need much--and it has been outlawed in most of our state. It is an important contaminant of lakes and streams. I would concentrate on nitrogen, but use a product high in slo-release nitrogen. And for the first year, use a little more than they recommend--the grass may grow too fast but it will build thickness faster. Say five light applications spaced throghout the year, while avoiding nitrogen applications when temps are over 85.

speedster
08-19-2010, 07:26 AM
I think that is way too much lime to add all at once. I would never apply more that 50lbs per 1000 at a time. Also, it is best not to apply lime and fertilizer at the same time. It works kinda like this. The ideal pH for grass is between 6.0-6.5. If pH is 7 or more the soil will hold iron and will not release it to grass and trees (less greening). A pH less than 6 becomes too acidic for most lawn grasses. Also, if the pH is too low the nitrogen in lawn fertilizer will not work as well, which means less growth and greening of your lawn. So you need lime so the fertilizer will work better. The catch is, you can't apply lime and fertilizer (nitrogen) at the same time or they basically cancel each other out. Meaning, if you apply them at the same time, your pH will not increase much and the nitrogen will not be usable to your grass. For best results apply lime at least one month preferably 3 months before applying nitrogen.

If I were you I think I'd do this.
1. Apply 50 lbs of lime per 1000 sq ft. now. Make sure it gets watered in really good several times before seeding.
2. In a couple weeks, seed your lawn. Do light watering several times a day to keep the soil moist (not flooded).
3. Apply a good starter fertilizer one month after the lime application. I usually apply starter fertilizer at the same time of seeding, but in your case I think the lime needs time to soak in first. By this time your seed is starting to germinate. The small seedlings will still appreciate the fertilizer. Try to get several mowings in before the first frost.
4. Apply another 50lbs lime per 1000 sq ft. in November. Late fall is the best time too apply lime. It will gradually soak into the soil all winter long.
5. Apply another 50lb lime per 1000 sq ft. in February 2011. That's enough lime! Have your soil tested again in the Fall of 2011
6. Get on a regular fertilizer plan in the spring 2011. Plan to do some more over-seeding in the spring. You might have better luck since your soil should be much improved.

Thanks for the tips. If I put out the lime I already bought it would be about 75lbs/1000. So maybe I'll go a little light on that and save the rest for november. I plan to seed sometime around labor day. Now I'm really wondering about using Tall Fescue. Several people have suggested it and it sounds like I've had some misconceptions about it. Sounds like it may be more appropriate for my yard considering my acid and shade conditions.

Due to the presence of weeds I will definately need to apply a pre-emergent next spring which could cause issues with a spring seeding unless I use that expensive tupersan (or whatever it's called).

I will try to follow a more consistant fertilizer plan next summer.

Thanks again for your assistance. Excellent info.

speedster
08-19-2010, 07:32 AM
Steall is right. But you may need to apply crabgrass control in spring--that would kill any new seed...so try to get all your seeding done in the fall. Do it right the first time. Use a top quality tall fescue (TTTF). Don't use cheap seed. Seed can be expensive so make sure to keep it moist--try to get every seed to germinate.

Our local experts no longer recommend phosphorus for grass--it does not need much--and it has been outlawed in most of our state. It is an important contaminant of lakes and streams. I would concentrate on nitrogen, but use a product high in slo-release nitrogen. And for the first year, use a little more than they recommend--the grass may grow too fast but it will build thickness faster. Say five light applications spaced throghout the year, while avoiding nitrogen applications when temps are over 85.

Thanks for the tips Riggle. I will definately be using a pre-emergent next spring in hopes of controlling my weeds. So you are correct in that I really want to get a good seeding in this fall. Hopefully the slit seeder gives me a really high germination rate.

I didn't realize that phosphorous was illegal in some states. Could be why I see a lot of fertilizers that are labeled as 28-0-4 and the like. I will keep that in mind.

I've never applied pre-emergent. Does the pre-emergent actually kill the crabgrass seed forever or does it just make it dormant for a short length of time? Is it typically just applied early in spring or does it need to be applied later in the summer as well?

Smallaxe
08-19-2010, 09:39 AM
You needn't eliminate, spring seeding, if you keep the process of how things work, in mind.

CG germinates, after soil is 55 degree F. and the air temps are much warmer.
Cool season grasses germinate when temps are 50 degrees F. and soil is moist.
Pre-m kills the seed AFTER germination, by inhibiting root growth.

So after your TTF has germinated, give it some grow time, to be out of risk of being killed, then put down the pre-m. Follow the progression of spring, not the calendar.

With lots of water, the pre-m leaches away,over time and may need a second application, mid-season. The best thing to avoid CG, is mulch mow and mow high during heat.
Mulch mowing keeps the soil cooler, than just baking in the sun.

Kiril
08-19-2010, 11:47 AM
I think that is way too much lime to add all at once. I would never apply more that 50lbs per 1000 at a time.

I agree with this, especially if not incorporating.

The ideal pH for grass is between 6.0-6.5. If pH is 7 or more the soil will hold iron and will not release it to grass and trees (less greening). A pH less than 6 becomes too acidic for most lawn grasses.

This is not only extremely general, but wrong in some cases. Turf grasses have a wide variety of pH ranges where they can produce an acceptable quality of turf, fescue (TTTF) I believe having the widest range (~4.7 - 8.5). KBG and Rye are probably the narrowest at ~6.0 - 7.0 ideal range. Also, iron is not unavailable at a pH above 7, however you can expect reduced availability as pH increases in most soils.

Also, if the pH is too low the nitrogen in lawn fertilizer will not work as well, which means less growth and greening of your lawn.

This is in part true, as it relates to the N cycle and ferts that require microbial decomposition (ex. urea).

The catch is, you can't apply lime and fertilizer (nitrogen) at the same time or they basically cancel each other out. Meaning, if you apply them at the same time, your pH will not increase much and the nitrogen will not be usable to your grass.

Can you please explain this, with the appropriate chemical equations.

For best results apply lime at least one month preferably 3 months before applying nitrogen.

For a top dressed pelletized lime, it could take 6-12 months or more (depending on soil and environment) to see any significant change in pH. IMO, it is not reasonable to wait until pH is at an "ideal" range before applying a source of N (organic would be a good choice) in this case. The OP needs to get some N down this fall before his turf goes dormant.

@OP

You will never win the pH battle if your soils are naturally acidic. At this point, your Ca:Mg ratio and other major nutrients are acceptable. Apply the lime you have, then your best option here IMO is to increase your soils buffering capacity by increasing your SOM, and using turf grasses that are tolerant to a wider range of pH .... like fescue.

stealle
08-19-2010, 08:41 PM
This is not only extremely general, but wrong in some cases. Turf grasses have a wide variety of pH ranges where they can produce an acceptable quality of turf, fescue (TTTF) I believe having the widest range (~4.7 - 8.5). KBG and Rye are probably the narrowest at ~6.0 - 7.0 ideal range. Also, iron is not unavailable at a pH above 7, however you can expect reduced availability as pH increases in most soils.

I did use the word "ideal" pH. Not "acceptable" pH. There is a difference. Perhaps I should have said the ideal pH is 6.0-6.5 for most "lawns" instead of "grass". Many weeds prefer acidic soil. So even though TTTF has a wider pH tolerance range you might encourage more weed growth by allowing an acidic pH.


Can you please explain this, with the appropriate chemical equations.
Probably not very well, but I'll give it my best shot with a few basic facts. Non-organic sources of nitrogen (typical commercial fertilizers) can cause the soil to become acidic. More specifically, ammonium nitrate or urea found in fertilizers. Ammonium nitrate or urea will break down in the soil to form nitric acid. It takes approximately 1.75 - 2.0 lbs. of lime to neutralize the acidity caused by 1lb. of nitrogen.

In all honesty, I have read conflicting information about applying lime and fertilizer at the same time. Some sources say you can apply them at the same time. While other sources say you must not apply them at the same time. Regardless, the OP has some time before winter sets in. He should have plenty of time for separate lime and fertilizer applications.

For a top dressed pelletized lime, it could take 6-12 months or more (depending on soil and environment) to see any significant change in pH.
6-12 months sounds much longer than any source I have read. I've read that an application of lime in the late fall will have plenty of time to adjust the pH by early spring. Can you please provide a legitimate source for that in appropriate APA format.:p
IMO, it is not reasonable to wait until pH is at an "ideal" range before applying a source of N (organic would be a good choice) in this case. The OP needs to get some N down this fall before his turf goes dormant.
Agreed. That was step 3 of my suggestion.

speedster
08-20-2010, 06:30 AM
You needn't eliminate, spring seeding, if you keep the process of how things work, in mind.

CG germinates, after soil is 55 degree F. and the air temps are much warmer.
Cool season grasses germinate when temps are 50 degrees F. and soil is moist.
Pre-m kills the seed AFTER germination, by inhibiting root growth.

So after your TTF has germinated, give it some grow time, to be out of risk of being killed, then put down the pre-m. Follow the progression of spring, not the calendar.

With lots of water, the pre-m leaches away,over time and may need a second application, mid-season. The best thing to avoid CG, is mulch mow and mow high during heat.
Mulch mowing keeps the soil cooler, than just baking in the sun.

Only thing that worried me about spring seeding and pre-m is that the window seems super tight as there isn't much difference bewteen 50 and 55 degrees. If I were to put down seed in say early march when soil temps were 50 and we all of a sudden had a nice warm 2-3 day period that raised soil temps significantly I may miss the pre-m window. And with my current CG problem that would suck.

Maybe I'm wrong here but from what I've read the single most important thing you can do in spring to control CG is to put down pre-emergent.

I'll just have to wait it out to see what kind of coverage and germination I get from this falls seeding. If I need more in the spring maybe I'll overseed again and use tupersan. That will allow the new seed to germinate. Then after 6-8 weeks I could lay down a standard pre-m that would get me through summer.

My lime situation is what it is. I put down 360 pounds of lime last night over my ~7000 sq/ft. (so about 52lbs/1000) and gave the lawna good watering. In all honesty it didn't really seem like much. I may lay down another 300lbs or so in late fall after my newly seeded grass comes in.

speedster
08-20-2010, 07:02 AM
Oh one other comment/question. What are the implications of slit seeding in areas that still contain some crabgrass? When i sprayed a few weeks back it I felt it was pretty successful. Most of the CG turned brown but some fringe areas remained. I will spot spray that ASAP. If I slit seed on top of that dead crabgrass will I be creating more problems by incorporating pieces of the dead CG back into the soil? I've got to admit it would be a major undertaking to remove all of the dead crabgrass before slit seeding.

Smallaxe
08-20-2010, 09:47 AM
Only thing that worried me about spring seeding and pre-m is that the window seems super tight as there isn't much difference bewteen 50 and 55 degrees. If I were to put down seed in say early march when soil temps were 50 and we all of a sudden had a nice warm 2-3 day period that raised soil temps significantly I may miss the pre-m window. And with my current CG problem that would suck.

Maybe I'm wrong here but from what I've read the single most important thing you can do in spring to control CG is to put down pre-emergent.

I'll just have to wait it out to see what kind of coverage and germination I get from this falls seeding. If I need more in the spring maybe I'll overseed again and use tupersan. That will allow the new seed to germinate. Then after 6-8 weeks I could lay down a standard pre-m that would get me through summer...

I understand your apprehension. Here in Wisco I have noticed when the grass seed sprouts in the spring. Then I watch in untreated areas, (of full sun) to see when the CG becomes noticeable. I have never observed a 'super-tight window' of opportunity, but I would not expect that you take my word for it. :)

Your tupersan is a good idea, as long as you don't mind spending the money, however, for your own understanding about how things work, it would be good to observe for yourself.

I have to say also, that pre-m is NOT the single most important thing for CG. I personally never use it, on turf.

Kiril
08-20-2010, 11:14 AM
I did use the word "ideal" pH. Not "acceptable" pH. There is a difference. Perhaps I should have said the ideal pH is 6.0-6.5 for most "lawns" instead of "grass". Many weeds prefer acidic soil. So even though TTTF has a wider pH tolerance range you might encourage more weed growth by allowing an acidic pH.

No offense stealle, but weeds grow perfectly fine in an "ideal" pH soil too. Weeds are generalists and they will flourish when conditions are conducive to growth. Certainly there are some that will do better in an acidic soil or a basic soil, but the same can be said for turf grasses as well. The point is .... you do not need to have your soils pH in the range of 6.0-6.5.

Probably not very well, but I'll give it my best shot with a few basic facts. Non-organic sources of nitrogen (typical commercial fertilizers) can cause the soil to become acidic. More specifically, ammonium nitrate or urea found in fertilizers. Ammonium nitrate or urea will break down in the soil to form nitric acid. It takes approximately 1.75 - 2.0 lbs. of lime to neutralize the acidity caused by 1lb. of nitrogen.

Please read up on the nitrogen cycle because the above is wrong.

6-12 months sounds much longer than any source I have read. I've read that an application of lime in the late fall will have plenty of time to adjust the pH by early spring. Can you please provide a legitimate source for that in appropriate APA format.:p

https://www.crops.org/publications/sssaj/articles/64/2/774

http://fieldcrop.msu.edu/documents/pell_lime_cssi_series.pdf

Please be aware of the difference between incorporated and top dressed and note the length of time and rates, even with incorporation, for pelletized lime to work with respect to changing soil pH.

speedster
08-21-2010, 10:08 PM
I spent a large portion of my day working on my yard prep for this overseeding project. I went around and spot sprayed glyphosate on some crabgrass that I missed in my original spraying. I also spent too much time on my knees trying to remove some of the larger dead grabgrass shoots. Man what a pain.

Yesterday I mowed the yard again on a low setting. Some of the areas with lots of dead crabgrass was low enough that there was nothing to cut. It literally looks like hell right now. Anyway, I was wondering if I should be mulching when I mow or bagging. Today I bagged simply because I wasn't sure if I should be returning crabgrass back onto the soil/turf. My thought was that by bagging I would be able to capture any seedheads that might have gotten past the spraying.

To me mulching makes sense if you have a nice thick stand of healthy turf but I'm not sure it makes sense if all you are cutting is mainly dead and live crabgrass along with some broadleaves like dandilion and nutsedge.

Is this the right mode of thinking or did I do the wrong thing? MY guess is that I'm 2-3 weeks from seeding depending on the weather.

One last question- I do not have irrigation on my lawn. My lawn gets water from rain and from an oscillating sprinkler I attach to a hose. I don't think running irrigation lines is in the budget this year. But I'd like to have a couple of decent portable sprinklers that I can hook to a couple of hoses in order to supply water to the part of my lawn I'm going to seed. Are oscilators the best option for me or should I look into impulse style sprinklers? Any specific ones you can recommend? THanks.

stealle
08-22-2010, 01:33 AM
I wanted an irrigation system too, but it wasn't on my budget for this year either.

I prefer impulse sprinklers. Mostly because I live near an open field and it is frequently windy. There is a chance you might be watering your neighbors yard with oscillating sprinklers. Other than that, it doesn't really matter how the water gets on the soil. It just needs to get there. Right after seeding you should water about 3 times a day, but you only need to water for about 15 minutes in each spot. The soil just needs to be damp; you should avoid letting it dry. However, puddling should be avoided as well. I accomplished this last spring by purchasing the cheapest hose and the cheapest plastic impulse sprinklers I could find on sale. I used a couple manifolds (something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Gilmour-Robert-Bosch-44GT-Green-Manifold/dp/B000BQKBNE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1282449616&sr=1-3 ). I placed the impulse sprinklers so there is a slight overlap in spray pattern. I called it my "red-neck irrigation system." I had this set-up in my yard for about the first month after seeding. I didn't have to walk on the new seedlings and I avoided getting muddy feet.

I have retired the "red-neck sprinkler system" until the next time I need to do some over-seeding. However, I did purchase the "National Walking Sprinkler (Model B3)". It cost about 3 times as much as the "John Deere Traveling Sprinkler", but is built with 10 times the quality. It works great for my back yard which is about 5000 sq feet. The only thing about this sprinkler is that it doesn't have an auto-shut off so a good reliable timer is a must. The Nelson timers were widely available in my local stores. Avoid it! It is terrible unreliable. I flooded my yard several times because it didn't shut-off. Here it is just to show you what to AVOID: http://www.amazon.com/Nelson-56600-Shut-Off-Water-Timer/dp/B0015AP1QM/ref=pd_sim_ol_2 Instead, I searched high and low and found this: http://www.amazon.com/Orbit-62001-Garden-Digital-Watering/dp/B0006ZI6H8 All I can say is Wow! The Orbit timer is very reliable. Considering I only use the "manual" mode (because I only need something to automatically turn off my sprinklers), this timer is kinda overkill. However, I wanted something reliable and I found it.

My front yard is much smaller so I find my "Gilmour Heavy Duty Sled Impact Sprinkler" does a great job in the front.

speedster
08-22-2010, 09:03 AM
I wanted an irrigation system too, but it wasn't on my budget for this year either.

I prefer impulse sprinklers. Mostly because I live near an open field and it is frequently windy. There is a chance you might be watering your neighbors yard with oscillating sprinklers. Other than that, it doesn't really matter how the water gets on the soil. It just needs to get there. Right after seeding you should water about 3 times a day, but you only need to water for about 15 minutes in each spot. The soil just needs to be damp; you should avoid letting it dry. However, puddling should be avoided as well. I accomplished this last spring by purchasing the cheapest hose and the cheapest plastic impulse sprinklers I could find on sale. I used a couple manifolds (something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Gilmour-Robert-Bosch-44GT-Green-Manifold/dp/B000BQKBNE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1282449616&sr=1-3 ). I placed the impulse sprinklers so there is a slight overlap in spray pattern. I called it my "red-neck irrigation system." I had this set-up in my yard for about the first month after seeding. I didn't have to walk on the new seedlings and I avoided getting muddy feet.

I have retired the "red-neck sprinkler system" until the next time I need to do some over-seeding. However, I did purchase the "National Walking Sprinkler (Model B3)". It cost about 3 times as much as the "John Deere Traveling Sprinkler", but is built with 10 times the quality. It works great for my back yard which is about 5000 sq feet. The only thing about this sprinkler is that it doesn't have an auto-shut off so a good reliable timer is a must. The Nelson timers were widely available in my local stores. Avoid it! It is terrible unreliable. I flooded my yard several times because it didn't shut-off. Here it is just to show you what to AVOID: http://www.amazon.com/Nelson-56600-Shut-Off-Water-Timer/dp/B0015AP1QM/ref=pd_sim_ol_2 Instead, I searched high and low and found this: http://www.amazon.com/Orbit-62001-Garden-Digital-Watering/dp/B0006ZI6H8 All I can say is Wow! The Orbit timer is very reliable. Considering I only use the "manual" mode (because I only need something to automatically turn off my sprinklers), this timer is kinda overkill. However, I wanted something reliable and I found it.

My front yard is much smaller so I find my "Gilmour Heavy Duty Sled Impact Sprinkler" does a great job in the front.

Excellent info my friend. I appreciaite the help. I am going to purchase a manifold and some additional hoses. That walking sprinkler looks cool. I've never seen one of those before. Doesn't look like a whole lot of water coming out but I guess considering how slow it moves the lawn would end up getting wet enough.

I'm gonna set down with pen and paper and draw my lawn out and see what kind of system I need for full coverage.

Any thoughts on my problem of mulching or bagging?

Smallaxe
08-22-2010, 09:45 AM
Mulch mowing is always best, unless as you say, you are replanting seeds.

stealle
08-22-2010, 11:45 AM
Excellent info my friend. I appreciaite the help. I am going to purchase a manifold and some additional hoses.
I had one manifold in the front yard (~2000 sq ft) and two in the back yard (~5000 sq ft). My water pressure is 60 psi and 11 GPM (pretty typical water pressure in a house). I have a water outlet in the front yard and another in the back. I could run one sprinkler in the front and one in the back at the same time. However, I couldn't effectively run more than one sprinkler off the same water faucet. Just letting you know that unless you have some abnormally high water pressure and flow you will be using those valves on the maniffolds to turn off all sprinklers except one at a time.

That walking sprinkler looks cool. I've never seen one of those before. Doesn't look like a whole lot of water coming out but I guess considering how slow it moves the lawn would end up getting wet enough.
The walking sprinkler has two speed settings:
1. 20-30 ft/hr = 7/8" water
2. 30-40 ft/hr = 1/2" water.

I have been using the slower setting. It's putting down an inch of water in my yard. I use my Orbit timer and run it for 6 hours to water my entire back yard. It gets a real good soak. I might try the faster setting when weather cools off. I'd probably cover the entire yard in about 4 hours. It surprisingly puts out a lot of water. Also, when I watch the water landing on my patio it looks like a very natural, gentle sprinkle. You can see this sprinkler on youtube if you search the name of it. It will give you an idea, but none of those videos do it justice.


Any thoughts on my problem of mulching or bagging?
My thoughts are the same as yours and I am in a similar situation. I've been bagging my grass in hopes of collecting as much weed seed as possible, but I hope to get back to mulch mowing this fall after over-seeding. My front yard didn't get seeded until late spring. I also didn't use any pre-emergent because I didn't want to harm the young grass so I'm dealing with a lot of crabgrass in my front yard. Therefore, I had a lot of crabgrass. I've almost won the battle but I just need a thicker stand of grass and some good pre-emergent next spring.

I was spraying for crabgrass and pulling by hand. I discovered this weed puller "Fiskars 7870 Uproot Lawn & Garden Weeder" : http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-7870-Uproot-Garden-Weeder/dp/B0030MIHAU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1282487298&sr=8-1-catcorr I thought it would be a total gimmic, but I gave it a try and I'm glad I did. I filled up a 5 gallon bucket twice in about an hour with crabgrass without the backache of pulling by hand.

I will probably try this GreenView Starter Fertilizer w/ crabgrass preventer (tupersan) this fall: http://www.greenviewfertilizer.com/store/Seed-Starter-Fertilizer-Crabgrass-Preventer-P44C33.aspx I might even use it early next spring in case I need to do more overseeding and to give any left over seed from the fall a chance to germinate. Also, to give the young grass another chance to establish before applying a standard pre-m that causes root pruning. Since tupersan only lasts about 4-6 weeks I will then apply a standard fertilizer with dimension about 4-6 weeks later (early/mid spring). (something like this): http://www.greenviewfertilizer.com/store/Spring-Fertilizer-with-Crabgrass-Preventer-P33C33.aspx This will sound like over-kill to many people, but after battling crabgrass and trying to get my front yard looking good all summer I need a plan of attack.

RigglePLC
08-22-2010, 11:51 AM
Sorry Speedster,
get off your knees--no need to pull dead (or even live) crabgrass. You will seed right through it. The slit-seeder will not plant more crabgrass plants. And it will fade fast as temps cool off. Frost will kill it in about 6 weeks. No need to bag the clippings--plenty of crabgrass seed escapes, anyway. But mow very short before you sow seed. If you want to collect the residue and use it to cover the seed as if it were straw-fine. Don't add topsoil as it contains weed seeds. The Orbit electronic sprinkler timer is a good bet--you need that. Oscillating sprinklers are fine, but remember they cover a large area lightly--they should generally be run about 45 minutes per day. Place a coffee mug in the yard to judge how much water you are applying in 45 minutes. A quarter inch is about right--more if hot or windy. Feed with Turfbuilder or similar product about 3 weeks later and again 3 weeks after that to get maximum fill-in and growth before snow. Mow as soon as there is anything to cut, as this helps the grass to spread sideways. Mowing also helps the bluegrass, because otherwise the faster rye will overshade the slower bluegrass. Skip sprinkling on mow day to make sure soil is firm and not muddy.
My thoughts--I don't guarantee results.

speedster
08-25-2010, 08:14 AM
Well I took the advice here and started looking for some tall turf type fescue in my area. I stopped at Southern States Co-Op and tractor Supply. I asked them for Tall turf type fescue and they pointed me to Kentucky 31. Now I'm no genius but I've heard Kentucky 31 sucks and to avoid it. Kentucky 31 was the only seed sold at both of those locations. So I called most of the nursuries in my area and none of them sold seed. I asked them where I could get it locally and they all suggested Southern states :( I stopped by two landscape centers in my area and finally talked to someone that seemed pretty knowledgable. Neither of the places sold seed but he did seem to know his stuff and agreed that a tall TTF should work well for me. He indicated that a lot of places that have traditionally sold seed have dropped seed lines for one reason or another. I even called two of the largest lawncare companies in town and neither of them was interested in selling seed or telling me where I could find it. They were both eager to come to my house and sell me a lawn renovation plan. Honestly I just can't afford to sink a few grand into this right now. My wife and I are new first time parents and we are trying to balance that with some home renovation.

In despiration I tried the big box stores. Lowes sold mostly Scotts and pennington products but did nto carry any that was specifically TTTF. They carried some blands and sun/shade mixes but looking at the contents nothing really looked that great.

Next I stopped at Wal Mart of all places and they sold 2 types of TTTF. I've atached pictures below. The first one was:
Rebels Tall Fescue Mix
39.75% Rebel Advance Tall Fescue 90% germ
38.00% Rebal IV Tall Fescue 90% Germ
19.75% The Rebels Brand Brockton Tall Fescue 90% Germ

2.25% Inert Matter
0.20% Other Crop Seed
0.05% Weed Seed
No Noxious Weed Seeds found/pound

The second was:
Pennington Ultimate Seed
39% Justice Tall Fescue 90% germ
39% Rebel III Tall Fescue 90% germ
19% ? Red Fescue 90% germ
9% Newport Kentucky Bluegrass

2% Inert Matter
0.30% Other crop Seeds
0.10% Weed Seed

I don't know if either of these are worth a darn but when I went to seedland.com and looked at their TTTF seeds one them them was Rebels and was the virtually the same as the one listed above.

Now I'm not sure what to do.

Any suggestions?

BTW, Notice the bottom of the label on the Rebels brand.......It says Pennington Seed Inc. lol

Kiril
08-25-2010, 10:16 AM
Rebel in this case is the variety of TTTF, not "The Rebels" brand seed mix, which is also made by Pennington I believe. Either one of these will be fine. Red fescue has better filling characteristics and does somewhat better in the shade, so if you have a lot of shade, I might lean towards the mix with the red in it.

speedster
08-26-2010, 08:00 AM
Rebel in this case is the variety of TTTF, not "The Rebels" brand seed mix, which is also made by Pennington I believe. Either one of these will be fine. Red fescue has better filling characteristics and does somewhat better in the shade, so if you have a lot of shade, I might lean towards the mix with the red in it.

My picture was blurry but I believe the red fescue percentage was actually more like 10% instead of 19%. Otherwise my math doesnt add up. I do have a couple thousand square feet of area thats a little shadier than others. I actually thought about using both seed. Making one pass of the slit seeder with the pennington and a 90 degree pass with the rebels.

I may actually be driving up to pittsburgh this weekend so maybe a bigger city like that would have a seed distributor that I can get some seed from. Gonna have to see if I can track a place down that sells it. Anyone know of a place in the Pittsburgh PA area where I can get seed?

RigglePLC
08-26-2010, 11:20 AM
I would prefer the "Rebels" blend. It claims 40 percent more roots. It has less weed seed and less "Other crop" which means crabgrass. Also the second one has "Newport" a cheap, low-quality old-fashioned bluegrass. It also contains red fescue--which has a thin leaf blade and does not survive heat.
The Rebels blend does OK in shade according to the website, also has Rebel IV--that means fourth generation--about 10 years newer and better than Rebel III.
http://www.turf.com/products/rebels-iv-grass-seed.php

speedster
08-31-2010, 08:26 AM
Now I'm kind of wondering if I might have a potential problem on my hands. During this past week I'm already starting to get a fair amount of fallen leaves in my yard. Much more than I expected for late August. Most appear to be coming from a maple and a hickory tree. I can cut and bag my lawn imediately before my overseeding project but once I lay the seed down and start watering what am I going to do about all the leaves that will fall? The amount of leaves I see right now is just the start, I expect much more by the time Octber comes around. If I plant TTTF this weekend how long would it be before my first cut? Would I use a leaf blower during germination to blow the leaf cover off or would I just leave it there until the first cut? Also, if I cut it would I bag the leaves or mulch them back into the soil?

I was hoping I wouldn't get significant leaf fall until october but it appears to be starting earlier than I expected. And looks to get much worse.

dcgreenspro
09-01-2010, 01:48 AM
A couple of my shady properties are always earliest on the renovation schedule for this very reason. When you finish your seeding, make sure to keep that soil moist and use a blower daily, if need be, to get the leaves off. IMO I usually wait 1-3 weeks before my first cut of newly planted seed anyway so if you need to use a blower, water after it. Follow it up with another fert app about a month after seeding and although it might not be all you have expected, when everything warms next spring, you will be pleasantly surprised. good luck

Smallaxe
09-01-2010, 10:19 AM
Now I'm kind of wondering if I might have a potential problem on my hands. During this past week I'm already starting to get a fair amount of fallen leaves in my yard. Much more than I expected for late August. Most appear to be coming from a maple and a hickory tree. I can cut and bag my lawn imediately before my overseeding project but once I lay the seed down and start watering what am I going to do about all the leaves that will fall? The amount of leaves I see right now is just the start, I expect much more by the time Octber comes around. If I plant TTTF this weekend how long would it be before my first cut? Would I use a leaf blower during germination to blow the leaf cover off or would I just leave it there until the first cut? Also, if I cut it would I bag the leaves or mulch them back into the soil?

I was hoping I wouldn't get significant leaf fall until october but it appears to be starting earlier than I expected. And looks to get much worse.

Some people put down straw on there overseeding and put it on pretty thick. Straw works better than leaves, because it is wide enough to really suffocate a piece of ground, Unless it is put down too thick.

I will be putting seed down in the maple leaf fall. It will then be buried under pine needle, after that a steady barage of oak leaves into and through the winter. Our weekly schedule turns to every 5 days or so, just to keep the ground from being suffocated. Leaves make good cover, when MANAGED properly. Don't be afraid to try and don't worry about the leaves for a few days or week as needed.

Look at you germination success after each removal and see how the cover helped some areas better than others.

speedster
09-01-2010, 02:14 PM
interesting theory. So are you saying the leaves can work in the same way straw does to some degree? Just don't let them get too thick? So if I do my first cut of grass a few weeks after planting the new seed would it be advantagious to mulch any leaves that have fallen or should they be bagged? Or should I just blow them off the yard before mowing?

I have three lawn sprinklers I plan to run 3 times/day for about 10 minutes at a time. Will the leaves hamper water penetration into the soil?

RigglePLC
09-01-2010, 09:18 PM
I am not sure about whether the leaves should be blown off or mulched. Tall fescue takes about 10 to 14 days to germinate. Slower if weather turns cold or soil is cold in spring. Allow about 14 days to get the grass blades up tall enough to mow. But after that it will probably slow down due to cool weather.

Not sure if leaves will interfere with watering. I suspect not much unless they are very heavy. Most leaves do fall until after frost.

Kiril
09-02-2010, 10:22 AM
interesting theory. So are you saying the leaves can work in the same way straw does to some degree? Just don't let them get too thick? So if I do my first cut of grass a few weeks after planting the new seed would it be advantagious to mulch any leaves that have fallen or should they be bagged? Or should I just blow them off the yard before mowing?

I have three lawn sprinklers I plan to run 3 times/day for about 10 minutes at a time. Will the leaves hamper water penetration into the soil?

The problem with leaves is as they dry, and then get wet (naturally or by sprinkler), they form a mat of sorts that will kill any new grass. There shouldn't be any real problem with leaves (other than blocking light) as long as you don't allow this mat to form.

speedster
09-04-2010, 02:27 PM
I stopped by my local rental yard and rented a slit seeder. The only kind they rent is a bluebird s22. Is this a good unit? I thought about seeding today since its nice and cool and overcast. But the ground seems too wet from yesterday's rain. I would assume the ground should be dryer. Since its a holiday weekend I get to keep it until Tuesday. Cost me $70.
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