PDA

View Full Version : Late, Late Renovation.


White Gardens
10-28-2010, 11:20 AM
A gentleman has contacted me to do a late season lawn renovation.

Anyone in zone 5 done one this late before and what were the results?

I told this guy there is going to be no guarantees and a follow-up will be done in the spring to fill in any bare spots.

Project includes, soil amending, tilling of lawn with a soil cultivator, soil tests, and seeding with annual winter rye for cover and a tall fescue blend.

fl-landscapes
10-28-2010, 11:33 AM
Im certainly not anywhere near your zone but I would say you are in the "dormant" seeding time of the year. I would be afraid to till it and have no germination to stabilize the soil, any warm up and rain and your going to have a mess. I wouldnt do it.

RigglePLC
10-28-2010, 07:37 PM
Above is right. Try to convince him to go with sod. You don't want to be reseeding a couple times in the spring. With sod you have top quality grass, you don't have to worry about winter soil erosion, weeds, thinness, crabgrass--try to get it done and the check accepted before anything can go wrong.

White Gardens
10-28-2010, 09:00 PM
Above is right. Try to convince him to go with sod. You don't want to be reseeding a couple times in the spring. With sod you have top quality grass, you don't have to worry about winter soil erosion, weeds, thinness, crabgrass--try to get it done and the check accepted before anything can go wrong.

The problem is that only blue-grass sod is available, and he wants a tall fescue lawn.

I talked it over with him and he still wants to go ahead. ;) I explained to him the chance of failure too. He said he didn't care as most of his blue-grass lawn is dead already. He understood the consequences.

It was originally sodded a couple of years ago, but nothing was done to the soil first, they just slapped it down on hard clay.

I think my only real luck is going to be getting the annual rye to germinate for winter cover.

Considering the fall we had this year, most seedings failed this year. It was probably the worst fall ever to try and establish grass.

RigglePLC
10-29-2010, 03:15 PM
What is your soil temp? And when do you expect frost? Most blue and ryegrass does not grow at temps below 45 degrees (my estimate). I am not sure if tall fescue is able to do better at cool temps or not--I suspect not. And it is a little slow to germinate (10 days) (better plan on 30 days under your conditions). Rye a little faster.

You might consider working with someone who has pre-germinated ryegrass seed, (indoors in 85 degree warm water with air blown through it).

Keep shopping--someone must have TF sod or TF with blue mixture.

Take your payment in advance.

White Gardens
10-29-2010, 08:30 PM
I don't know about soil temps Riggle. It's starting to drop, but isn't as low as it normally is this time of year as we had a hot dry fall.

We just got our real first frost last night, and tonight it's going to freeze/frost again. After that though the ten day out-look looks good for temps and staying above freezing at night.

I'll probe the soil tomorrow and let you guys know where it's at. I'll also keep this thread updated and let you know how it goes.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
10-30-2010, 01:31 PM
I put some Tall Fescue seed down to patch in some places in my own lawn. Did this about two weeks ago. Took about 10-12 days to come up and looks good. However, we did have some warmer days then (70's). Those days are over now for here, highs in the 50's now.

If your forecast is some days in the upper 60's or 70's, and your soil temp looks ok, go for it. Can you slip some Per Rye in the mix to get some quicker germ. so that the homeowner is tided over?

Darryl G
10-30-2010, 01:41 PM
OK, now I have never done this myself, but I have a friend who has been in the buisness for about 30 years and what he does for late season planting is put down a thick layer of hay and let if stay there for 10 days to 2 weeks, but no longer. He does a fair amount of work doing whole lawn installs for local builders. According to him, the decomposing hay generates enough heat that he can seed into December. Again, I can't attest to the effectiveness of this method myself but just thought I'd throw it out there. I would imagine that it could be put down too thick and burn the seedings as well.

White Gardens
10-30-2010, 09:58 PM
I put some Tall Fescue seed down to patch in some places in my own lawn. Did this about two weeks ago. Took about 10-12 days to come up and looks good. However, we did have some warmer days then (70's). Those days are over now for here, highs in the 50's now.

If your forecast is some days in the upper 60's or 70's, and your soil temp looks ok, go for it. Can you slip some Per Rye in the mix to get some quicker germ. so that the homeowner is tided over?

I was going to use annual winter rye instead of perennial. Should give me the same results.


OK, now I have never done this myself, but I have a friend who has been in the buisness for about 30 years and what he does for late season planting is put down a thick layer of hay and let if stay there for 10 days to 2 weeks, but no longer. He does a fair amount of work doing whole lawn installs for local builders. According to him, the decomposing hay generates enough heat that he can seed into December. Again, I can't attest to the effectiveness of this method myself but just thought I'd throw it out there. I would imagine that it could be put down too thick and burn the seedings as well.

I have a pile of leftover, finely shredded hardwood mulch that I'm contemplating using as cover instead of straw. I'm hoping to get similar results to straw/hay. I have used it in the past for erodible areas that I've seeded with good results.

Temps are supposed to stay above freezing for the next 15 days, with the exception of one cold night. Otherwise the daytime temps are supposed to be around 60*for all 15 days.

My only concern is though that I probed the soil outside my house today and got a reading of 60*. The problem is that it's probably going to steadily drop.

CHARLES CUE
10-31-2010, 07:15 AM
I was going to use annual winter rye instead of perennial. Should give me the same results.




I have a pile of leftover, finely shredded hardwood mulch that I'm contemplating using as cover instead of straw. I'm hoping to get similar results to straw/hay. I have used it in the past for erodible areas that I've seeded with good results.

Temps are supposed to stay above freezing for the next 15 days, with the exception of one cold night. Otherwise the daytime temps are supposed to be around 60*for all 15 days.

My only concern is though that I probed the soil outside my house today and got a reading of 60*. The problem is that it's probably going to steadily drop.

Go for it if the guy is willing to pay fr it and understands what could happen.

From my experience. Cold places that don't get much sun will not germinate till spring. The warmer places that get more sun could germinate. Any slope that faces south have a great chance of germinating. There always spring to do some patch work. Just wait longer to put your pre down I find if you put the pre down before June you wont get to much crab. Good luck

Charles Cue

White Gardens
10-31-2010, 10:25 AM
Go for it if the guy is willing to pay fr it and understands what could happen.

From my experience. Cold places that don't get much sun will not germinate till spring. The warmer places that get more sun could germinate. Any slope that faces south have a great chance of germinating. There always spring to do some patch work. Just wait longer to put your pre down I find if you put the pre down before June you wont get to much crab. Good luck

Charles Cue

Ultimately I've explained it to him that there is no guarantees. Even in my service contract I put a disclaimer stating that, " Due to the nature of this job being done in late fall, there is no guarantees and a follow up will happen in the spring to address any spots that might not have germinated completely."

I feel his main goal is mainly getting the soil tilled and amended. It's newer construction, hard clay, and the BG sod pretty well died this year. The front of the house is facing the South, and that's the only reason why I'm considering doing this job this late. The front would be the most exposed to the sun, and the rear isn't as critical this fall for establishment.

As for PRE-Em, depending on what the spring does, I might suggest not applying it at all next spring depending on what kind of seeding results I get now and then. The yard isn't that big, so if he doesn't put a pre-em down, I can come in and spray Drive to get any CG that will germinate. And because this yard is small enough and not going to take too much time to do, he is at least getting one herbicide spraying out of me as part of the renovation and is included in my cost.

I'd be lying if I wasn't a tad nervous about this job, but, give the customer what he wants. I could have gotten this job done a week ago too if it hadn't of been for a tire kicker, who wanted a wall installed, committed to it, and then back down at the last second because some low-baller came in and said they would do the wall for a 1/3rd of the price that I estimated. It just wasted my time and ultimately my other customers time, but that's the nature of the work I do.

That's another subject too, I might end up hiring a crew next year as the design/estimating/and sales part of my biz is eating up too much of my time and it's getting harder to work on projects, and be prepared to move to the next one.

CHARLES CUE
10-31-2010, 08:36 PM
Sounds like you got the plan and know what your doing.

Well did the lowballer get the job.Some people work for nothing.


Charles Cue

White Gardens
10-31-2010, 10:12 PM
Sounds like you got the plan and know what your doing.

Well did the lowballer get the job.Some people work for nothing.


Charles Cue

Thanks Charles, I feel I've got a good idea on how I want to do this renovation and get the best results for the time of year it is.

Not sure actually about the low-ballers. The company that low-balled it was actually a larger company in Champaign IL (that was the location for the job). The job was for a friend of my sister, and he was kicking tires from the get-go.

From the conversation I had with him, they were going to use 2 less courses of block and they were going to use Allen Block, when I was going to use Rock Wood blocks.

I hate Allen Blocks. Every wall that looks shotty around the area is usually an Allen Block wall. Even the blocks themselves don't look like they age very well. From what I hear though, Allen Block has been hit pretty hard by the current economy and are practically giving away their block. That coupled with the volume of work that this company pushes (judging from their web-site), it looked as if there was no way I was going to compete.

I just don't get how their bid was a third of mine. Even if my estimate was high, it wasn't even close to my estimate.

People always ask me, " Just do it the way you would do it for yourself ". If I can't sell a job on quality and aesthetics, then I don't want the job. I want my projects to have a lasting quality to them, if my customers can't get 20+ years of enjoyment out of their project, then why am I doing this type of work? It seems like as soon as you skimp on any part of a project, then you can take 5 years off of for each little thing you didn't do correctly.

Sorry for the rant. If I hear anything more about that job, I'll let you guys know.

RigglePLC
11-01-2010, 09:33 PM
Keep looking for the tall fescue/bluegreass blend sod.
Like this one.
http://supersod.com/sod-tfov.html

I get the impression it is usually blended with bluegrass to hold the sod together--and usually grown on netting to help hold it together even more. Without rhizomes it does not knit together well. As long as temperatures are low, longer trip times my not be critical.

RigglePLC
11-01-2010, 09:34 PM
And
http://www.korbysod.com/products/

[url]http://www.murraysod.com/all.pdf[/url
In Illinois,
http://www.tclandscapesupply.com/shoptc/281-932/BLACK-BEAUTY-TALL-FESCUE-BLEND-SOD.php

White Gardens
11-01-2010, 10:43 PM
We only have one sod farm now in the area. Originally there was about two or three around but the other two have gone out of business.

With that said, without naming the farm, I've used their sod in the last two years with bad results. Originally those jobs were doing well until we hit a hot dry summer this year, which was the first one in 3-4 years.

The guys lawn that I am working on now, the sod came from that farm. (not installed by me)

One landscaping job I did last summer, I replaced a small section of the lawn with the sod, and that section died this year, and the existing grass that I didn't touch stayed green and came out of the dormant phase this summer with no problems.

I just don't want to give this guy the same thing he had before, just to have bad results next year.

I'm also wanting to get away from the BG, as I feel it's not as well suited for our area, unlike conventional thinking.

White Gardens
11-02-2010, 10:35 PM
Almost finished with the tilling. Should have only taken 3 hours, and I've got 5 hours in it and another 2 to go.

I don't think I've ever encountered a lawn this compacted, or had to go so slow tilling.

For the first time ever since owning my mini, I wish it was a walk-behind instead of a stand on. The bouncing from the hard earth is horrible.

White Gardens
11-05-2010, 08:08 AM
Job is done. If I get any germination, I'll take pics and keep this thread updated.

JD2320
11-05-2010, 07:57 PM
Ultimately I've explained it to him that there is no guarantees. Even in my service contract I put a disclaimer stating that, " Due to the nature of this job being done in late fall, there is no guarantees and a follow up will happen in the spring to address any spots that might not have germinated completely."

That sure sounds like a guarantee to me.

White Gardens
11-05-2010, 09:33 PM
That sure sounds like a guarantee to me.

It was included in the pricing. I just told him there is no guarantee of fall germination.

JD2320
11-05-2010, 10:54 PM
It was included in the pricing. I just told him there is no guarantee of fall germination.

Well I hope it works out well. I'm not a big fan of dormant seeding for obvious and already mentioned reasons. But I'm curious to see how it pans out for you and your customer.

White Gardens
11-07-2010, 09:37 PM
I'm hoping at least the annual rye is going to germinate.

204245

RigglePLC
11-07-2010, 10:55 PM
Not sure if your soil temp will be OK.
http://www.greencastonline.com/SoilTempMaps.aspx

It reads as 35 to 40 degrees--but temps have been warm in last few days. And more warmth to come. I hope it works for you

White Gardens
11-07-2010, 10:59 PM
Not sure if your soil temp will be OK.
http://www.greencastonline.com/SoilTempMaps.aspx

It reads as 35 to 40 degrees--but temps have been warm in last few days. And more warmth to come. I hope it works for you

I hope so too.

My only advantage is that the front lawn is on a slight slope directly facing the south, so I might get lucky with the sun hitting the soil and warming the seed up enough to germinate.

RigglePLC
11-08-2010, 09:03 AM
http://www.enviroweather.msu.edu/run.php?stn=cnt&mod=w_sc

Here is the soil temp at 2 inches deep and other data from the nearest weather station I could find. Mich, Indiana border. Temp of soil varied from max of 44 to low of 40 on November 7. I will try to check my local soil temp--very warm weather expected in next 3 days. However what is considered a good seed successful "take"? Would you say 2 inches tall? New grass blades no more than 2 inches apart? Both?

RigglePLC
11-08-2010, 07:11 PM
Soil temp in my yard in Grand Rapids is about 41 degrees. (Nov 8, 2 inches deep, 9am, sun, thick turf--natch.)
Air temps are expected to be around 65--15 degrees above normal for next 3 days.

CHARLES CUE
11-08-2010, 08:25 PM
Almost finished with the tilling. Should have only taken 3 hours, and I've got 5 hours in it and another 2 to go.

I don't think I've ever encountered a lawn this compacted, or had to go so slow tilling.

For the first time ever since owning my mini, I wish it was a walk-behind instead of a stand on. The bouncing from the hard earth is horrible.

Glad to see you got it done. All the ground i have ever tilled in the past has always been hard. Unless it was a garden that gets tilled every year.

I got a 40 hp JD tractor and a tiller and it's always bang bang the first time around.

I planted seed about 3 weeks a go it just came up the end of last week just rain to water it. good luck and a job well done.

Charles Cue

White Gardens
11-09-2010, 09:23 AM
Thanks again Charles and Riggle.

We are still seeing a warm fall, so hopefully I'll get some results. Like I stated earlier in the thread, the HO understood that there was no guarantee of fall germination, but from a professional standpoint I'd like to see at least something come up, and not be 100% bare dirt over the winter.

We'll see, I'm waiting at least 10 days before I go back over there and see if there is any results. If there is I'll take pics.