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View Full Version : Help a newb pick a grass type.


mitsuman47
04-05-2003, 05:24 AM
First post...

I live 60 miles east and about 15 miles south of Dallas, right on the edge of the piney woods, and I'm wanting to start all over with my yard.

I moved into the house two years ago, and I honestly can't tell you what type of grass I have. I think it is the same type of grass that is in my field, it has just been mowed lower. No joke, I really think it is. I had a watering and fertilizing schedule that I religiously stuck to last year, and the grass didn't respond well at all.

I need help picking a good grass for my area. I like the look of KY bluegrass, but I'm not sure if it would stand up to the 100+ degree summers here.

I also like the look of the fescues, but again, I'm not sure if they could stand the heat.

Around here, everyone has either a St. Augustine or bermuda lawn, and zoysia seems to be the getting popular. But, I'm looking for something a little different, something that not many people have around here. I guess I just need to find out if any cool season grasses will work around here at all, because they have the 'look' that I'm going for. I'm going for a tall (2 1/2-3 in.), thick, deep green yard, as apposed to the pale yellow, scalped **** that everyone esle seems to like.

My yard is about 20,000 sq. ft and has two HUGE oak trees in the front yard (which is only about 6,000 sq. ft), and the back yard only has two small trees.

I've thought seriously about starting off with just the front yard, to see how it goes. As you can see, I'm a newb, so any help is appreciated. Sorry this is so long.

Mr.Stripey Lawn Care
04-07-2003, 02:38 PM
My research has indicated that it isn't so much the heat, it is the amount of light that affects the grass, and the amount of water.

Water may not be an issue, maybe you have a well, or don't care about your city water bill.

The bag of seed will tell you amount of sun it needs, what it's drought tolerance is, and sometimes what soils it does best in.

Don't belive that watering in the middle of the day is harmful either. It actually cools the grass, and doesn't cause it to burn like most people think. It will evaporate quicker.

Good Luck!:)

mitsuman47
04-07-2003, 07:58 PM
Thanks a lot.

I've been trying to learn all I can, but there's so much info I start to go :dizzy: .

I'm just taking a stab at this; but for where I live, would this be ok?

http://www.scotts.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=productGuide.productDetails&partnerId=99999&poeSiteId=10926&strCategoryId=23639&strProductId=101530&dsvs=CB4549E8-D13F-43AC-BDA9-9FC62F701314,x,x

Wow, thats a long link.

It says that it prefers full sun to light shade, so I'm guessing that by what you told me it would work. Believe me, it will get it's fair share of sun! I like the look of Tall Fescue, but if this isn't so good for my region, what other grass looks like TF, but can survive here.

Also, I don't know what you Pros think about scotts. Is it good stuff? It seems to have a pretty good rep from what I here.

Thats all the ?s I can think of right now. Thanks again.
:)

Green Pastures
04-07-2003, 08:23 PM
I don't think that now is the time to start over with your lawn, especially when wanting to use Fescue type grass. Fall is the best time to renovate or start over.

The problem is, the grass will come up, but when that hot Texas summer hits it, the immature grass will wither and die. You stand to lose 1/3 - 1/2 of your lawn. Doesn't really matter how much you water either.

IF, you're going to use fescue......

Do you have a sprinkler system? You'll want one, in Texas for fescue.

Are you willing to fertilize a few times a year? You'll want to.

Are you willing to mow at 3" and higher? Fescue will do better and look better in Texas if you do.

Just some thoughts.

mitsuman47
04-07-2003, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by Green Pastures
I don't think that now is the time to start over with your lawn, especially when wanting to use Fescue type grass. Fall is the best time to renovate or start over.

The problem is, the grass will come up, but when that hot Texas summer hits it, the immature grass will wither and die. You stand to lose 1/3 - 1/2 of your lawn. Doesn't really matter how much you water either.

IF, you're going to use fescue......

Do you have a sprinkler system? You'll want one, in Texas for fescue.

Are you willing to fertilize a few times a year? You'll want to.

Are you willing to mow at 3" and higher? Fescue will do better and look better in Texas if you do.

Just some thoughts.


So, maybe not this year, but next.

No, I don't have a sprinkler system, but I am home in the mornings, and don't work weekeds, so it can get plenty of water when it wants/needs it.

Yup, I plan on fertilizing 3 or 4 times a year.

Yup, I'll be mowing at 3" or just a little above.

Is there anything I can do right now or later on this year to get a jump start to help my grass 'mature' before next summer gets here?

Thanks again.

:)

Green Pastures
04-07-2003, 10:18 PM
Fertilize and pre-emergent. Aerate and overseed this coming fall.

mitsuman47
04-07-2003, 10:35 PM
What about seeding this fall? (Is that what you meant all along? :D ) I could seed it around early-mid Sep., and it wont get really cold util probably mid Jan. Then, in the early spring (mid march I could overseed and all that good stuff. Is this way off, or does it actually sound half way correct?

Only problem is that, here in Texas during the late fall, it could be 70 degrees one day, and 40 the next. I guess I'm just tired of looking at my POS lawn, and want to do something about it.

Thanks again for all the help. Please don't give up on me.:D

Green Pastures
04-08-2003, 05:42 PM
Read my above post again.

Fertilize and put down pre emergent now. Only one treatment of pre emergent this year, do it now. Fertilize again every 6-8 weeks throughout the summer months. Pre emergent is a non selective herbicide that stops germination from happening. Non selective means it does not differentiate between grass seed and weed seed, it stops all germination. This is why you use it in the early spring and again in mid spring, but no later. Use it later and you run the risk of stopping your fall seeding from germinating.

Mow as high as you can all summer if you have a fescue lawn. Use a liquid/ spray weed killer for any weeds you have now and throughout the summer.

Then aerate, overseed (seed heavily) and fertilize in the fall of this year. When you overseed, normally the only seed that will germinate is the seeds that make good contact or are actually buried in the dirt. Seed thrown on bare dirt will roast in the sun and not germinate. I use the "Garden Weasel" or a "rock rake" to rough up bare soil prior to seeding. The better you prepare the soil, more and quicker germination will result.

Then EARLY next year use pre emergent with fertilizer to stop weeds from germinating. You can put down 2 applications of pre emergent next year if you start early. 2nd. application 8 weeks after the first.

If your lawn is not as thick as you like it by then, aerate and seed again every fall till it's the way you like it.

You can seed in the spring BUT, IF you seed in the spring you can't use pre emergent, and you WILL have more weeds without pre emergent than with pre emergent.

Don't make it so hard.

These are easy rules to follow for a nice lawn.

Pre emergent + fert in the spring early before anything is germinating.

Pre emergent + fert again 8 weeks later

Cut at no lower than 3" in spring and summer. Only cut lower than 3" if you have excessive leaves to clean up. Avoid cutting lower than 3" at all costs. Every single homeowner account I've EVER taken over has been routinely cut too short. 3" minimun for fescue!!!!!

Change your mowing pattern weekly. / one week, \ the next, | the next and -- the last week, then start over.

Lower the nitrogen in your summer months fertilizer. To much Nitrogen in the summer can burn or cause fungus. Raise the Phosphorus and Potash in the summer and fall, to promote root health.

Water longer twice per week rather than short watering daily. Water in early morning, NEVER after 10am. This is extremely important.

Aerate, seed and fert in the middle fall months.

You might even want to have a soil sample tested. Find out what your soil is telling you. Get your Ph level balanced for fescue. Don't put down a fert that has alot of what you already have an excess of in your soil. You get the idea. It's all simple, if you approach it the right way. There are 3 numbers on fert bags for a reason. You can juggle those numbers for what your lawn/soil needs, this way you dont have to much of one number and not enough of another.

To me a soil test is paramount. I will not treat a property with any fert, till the customer pays for a soil test. It makes no sense for me to treat a lawn with fert when I have no idea what is already in the soil.

I'm not giving up on you just listen to what I'm telling you and don't alter it...........
God bless you.

blafleur
04-29-2003, 07:46 AM
You have another choice where you live. I'm guessing you are in he the Canton/Tyler area, centipede will work there. It looks somewhat like St. Augustine but not as many problems. I really dont recommend fescue in our area of Tx, it wont live through our summers except in shade, and it will thin out and clump up there. Another choice for a darker green look but will only work in sunny areas is Texturf 10 bermuda. It can only be sodded. It can be overseeded with perennial rye in the winter for a really dark green look.

Green pastures is right on with the care, but I really think fescue will be a waste of your time and money.

Bryan

BigDave
04-29-2003, 09:10 AM
Green Pastures, some more very valuable posts! I've got a couple of questions now for you if you don't mind. :)

1. You mentioned a Garden Weasel and Rock Rake, and seemed to imply that they should be used on bare ground when preparing to seed. But how about on ground where grass already exists if you want to prepare that area for seeding so that the grass will be thicker? Can you use the GW / RR there to, or will it tear up your existing grass?

I found the GW on the web, but not the RR. Is there a particular vendor that makes a RR that you would recommend?

I aerated early this Spring and seeded, and found the grass only germinated in the aerated holes! I'm thinking one of these tools can help. But the GW doesn't seem to cover much ground. Would love a slit seeder, but can't justify the cost.

2. When you say pre-emergent + fert., is it OK to combine a bag of each in a spreader?

Thanks very much.

syncom2
04-29-2003, 02:11 PM
Mr. Scott Green Pastures…
I have always appreciated your faithful sharing of many words and wisdom with those of us who are still in the infantile stages of learning the dos and don'ts of proper lawn care.
In saying that, I am curious as to what for lawn chemicals (manufacture/type) you have chosen to apply to your accounts. Is what you apply available for the general public to purchase over the counter?
In particular interest to me is the non-selective herbicide pre-emergence program you've employed over the years. Question; If you have a thick stand of grass growing, do you still sock-it with the full dose of pre-emergence material that maybe a more thin/barren area of a lawn would have? If so, would that be for both spring applications, or one over the other? Being I've never used a pre-emergence material on my lawn, I can see where maybe taking the time to employ these additional step(s) would aid me with the seemingly never-ending battle of weed control.
Thanks, and may God abundantly bless you, mom… and your business beyond your wildest dreams here in '03!
mb

mitsuman47
05-03-2003, 12:20 PM
Blafleur-

You're right. I'm 10 minutes SW of Canton. Straight down Hw 47.

Anyhoo, that Texturf 10 bermuda looks ok, but the down side is that you said it can only be sodded. I have a pretty big yard, so that could get pretty expensive. Do you have a round about price for ~16,000 sq/ft?

I guess if it's too expensive I could do just the front yard this year and then the back yard next year.

Green Pastures
05-03-2003, 04:08 PM
Originally posted by BigDave
Green Pastures, some more very valuable posts! I've got a couple of questions now for you if you don't mind. :)

1. You mentioned a Garden Weasel and Rock Rake, and seemed to imply that they should be used on bare ground when preparing to seed. But how about on ground where grass already exists if you want to prepare that area for seeding so that the grass will be thicker? Can you use the GW / RR there to, or will it tear up your existing grass?

It will tear up the grass only to the extent that you allow it to do so. Be a little gentler in the areas with grass, but remember that the seed you put down will only germinate if it comes in contact with the soil. Similar to what you mention later in this post, where the grass only grew in the aeration holes.

I found the GW on the web, but not the RR. Is there a particular vendor that makes a RR that you would recommend?

I aerated early this Spring and seeded, and found the grass only germinated in the aerated holes! I'm thinking one of these tools can help. But the GW doesn't seem to cover much ground. Would love a slit seeder, but can't justify the cost.

2. When you say pre-emergent + fert., is it OK to combine a bag of each in a spreader?

There are fertilizers available with the pre-emergent already pre mixed. When I say rock rake I just mean the type of rake that has the short hard tines used in smoothing out gravel driveways. Anything to rough up the bare smooth soil.

Thanks very much.

You're welcome, sorry it took so long for me to get back to you.

Green Pastures
05-03-2003, 04:18 PM
Originally posted by syncom2
Mr. Scott Green Pastures…
I have always appreciated your faithful sharing of many words and wisdom with those of us who are still in the infantile stages of learning the dos and don'ts of proper lawn care.
In saying that, I am curious as to what for lawn chemicals (manufacture/type) you have chosen to apply to your accounts. Is what you apply available for the general public to purchase over the counter?

I use Lesco products when it comes to bagged fertilizer and pre-emergent. Lesco weed control products. It is available to the general public here where I live. But different areas may require certain licenses to buy and apply products in certain areas.

In particular interest to me is the non-selective herbicide pre-emergence program you've employed over the years. Question; If you have a thick stand of grass growing, do you still sock-it with the full dose of pre-emergence material that maybe a more thin/barren area of a lawn would have?

I apply fert + Pre-emergent evenly at the recommended rate over the entire lawn. I will not use any fert on a property without first having a soil test done to determine WHAT the soil needs. I usually re-test every other year.

If so, would that be for both spring applications, or one over the other? Being I've never used a pre-emergence material on my lawn, I can see where maybe taking the time to employ these additional step(s) would aid me with the seemingly never-ending battle of weed control.

Normally pre-emergent is applied EARLY in the spring before the soil temp is high enough to allow seed germination. This will prevent the early season weeds from coming up. I apply it again 6-8 weeks later depending on rainfall for the summer weeds and undesireable grasses.

Thanks, and may God abundantly bless you, mom… and your business beyond your wildest dreams here in '03!
mb

God bless you too. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I just haven't been in this forum for a while.

blafleur
05-04-2003, 08:30 AM
I hate too say it, but you may be out of luck on the type of look your looking for. The Texturf 10 is the closest to that look that I am aware of but besides the cost, it doesnt take shade well. Centipede can be seeded and does well in our area, but looks somewhat like St. Augustine. Common bermuda can also be seeded, but again, doesnt meet your look requirements and wont grow under those large trees.

I really think your only choice if you want that dark lush green look is to overseed perennial rye and enjoy it from November to May, and put up with bermuda or centipede during the summer. Our summers dont make our plant and lawn choices very broad.

If you want to talk about it more, my home number is 479-0188, I'll be there Monday and Tuesday evening.

Good luck,
Bryan

mitsuman47
05-04-2003, 11:50 AM
Hey, thanks a lot. I'm usually out monday-wednesday, but if I get a chance I may give you a ring.

ThreeWide
05-13-2003, 06:07 PM
Also, keep in mind that Centipede and Bermuda don't handle shade very well. They will decline over time without adequate sunlight.

Zoysia does somewhat better, but St. Augustine is best for that scenario.

Since bermuda and zoysia have similar appearances, you might install bermuda sod in the sunny spots and do zoysia in the shady areas. Most people would think it is the same grass. As mentioned above, you can overseed them in the fall with rye for year-round color.

Fescue takes a summer beating in just about any part of the south, especially where you are.

If you only want to establish the lawn with seed, your options will be very limited, because most of the grasses that work for us in the South are only established with sod.