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  #1  
Old 07-16-2009, 11:16 PM
Main Main is offline
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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New Homeowner Needs Yard Help

We bought a new home a few months ago and the yard is pretty bad and we are now ready to start getting it in order. The yard has a ton of Dandelions and clovers. I have already tried to start getting rid of the Dandelions with a little luck using Weed-B-Gone Max. I just got my soil test results back but I would like to get some information on what to do now.

Soil Report


I can see that I need to need to put down some lime first and what type of fertilizer I need for the front as well as the back. My question is how and when. I know that there really isnt a lot to do right now because of the time of year. A lot of the lawn is bare dirt that looks to be mostly clay/sand. Should I just rent a tiller and turn the soil (It's not that huge where I can't be done in a couple hours)? When should I lay down the lime? How much time should I let pass before I put down the fertilizer? At what point can I actually put down some seed? I am deciding between Tall Fescue, Zoysia, Ryegrass. Any help would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 07-17-2009, 07:03 AM
RAlmaroad RAlmaroad is online now
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I know Raleigh very well and still am over there several times a year. Without seeing the yard--How much grass is there? Is the lawn irrigated? What type of grass do you have now? If there's none to very little grass, spend some time of the soil. Lime it as the test suggested with pellet lime AND a lot of Organic matter (Compost, Cow Manure) then till in all of this. Without proper soil--nothing is going to grow.
Then--think about Bermuda sod. A lot of folks around Garner put Bermuda on the new homes. Its a good sod that is somewhat drought tolerant and can tolerate more traffic.
Zoysia is very expensive and just forget Ryegrass--it dies in the heat. Fescue is good the right soil and temp. It seems to sorta lag in the heat and won't even grow on the coast because of the salt air.
After you decide a plan of action, your fertilize will be easy to answer. More times than not you'll only need Nitrogen and Potassium. Nitrogen will deplete in the soil and air and the grass needs potassium to thicken and produce roots.

That soil test is a little hard to reason out for me. Why is there two (2) different analysis? Is the the potassium level 14 or 7. Generally, I take several spot samples in the lawn at about 25' intervals in a checkerboard fashion with latex gloves in a clean 5-gallon bucket about 4" deep. Mix all together for several minutes and take (ONE)-a quart jar to the office for analysis.

Let us know.
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  #3  
Old 07-17-2009, 09:06 AM
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benjammin benjammin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAlmaroad View Post
Why is there two (2) different analysis? Is the the potassium level 14 or 7.
2 samples: Front and back (FRLWN & BKLWN)
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  #4  
Old 07-17-2009, 09:46 AM
Main Main is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benjammin View Post
2 samples: Front and back (FRLWN & BKLWN)
Yep. When I was gathering information from the people performing the actualy test I was told to take a sample from the front and a seperate sample from the back. I bought a new shovel, 2 buckets and gloves and took 6 seperate samples (in a checkerboard fashion) from the front and mixed and took some for a sample and then did the same for the back yard.

bermuda grass is fine with me as I am not extremely picky on what kind it is as long as it looks nice and doesnt struggle. The front and back yards are predominately dirt with mostly crabgrass, clovers and dandelions. There doesnt seem to be much actual "grass" there so there isnt much to salvage.

Oh yeah, the lawn is not irrigated.

Thanks
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  #5  
Old 07-17-2009, 10:29 AM
RAlmaroad RAlmaroad is online now
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This may hurt your feelings: Get it irrigated or hardly any chance for any sod to survive. Lawns are viewed as a crop. They cannot be watered every now and then, and must be on a regular schedule of water, fertilize, fungicide. I'd spend on having a well put in to irrigate the yard then till, compost and sod. Fall temps when the weather is cooler is another element to consider when putting down sod. It doesn't stress it so much.
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  #6  
Old 07-18-2009, 07:47 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
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Do southern grasses die w/out irrigation or just go dormant?

Up here if there is no irrigation we just don't dump fertilizer on it, in July/August heat. The lawn goes dormant then bounces back in the fall. No problem.

Can Southern grasses do that as well?
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Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
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  #7  
Old 07-18-2009, 12:05 PM
RAlmaroad RAlmaroad is online now
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Originally Posted by Smallaxe View Post
Do southern grasses die w/out irrigation or just go dormant?

Up here if there is no irrigation we just don't dump fertilizer on it, in July/August heat. The lawn goes dormant then bounces back in the fall. No problem.

Can Southern grasses do that as well?
More inland like ours in TN does basically the same...goes dormant in the heat but does revive. In the SC properties, they just dry up and die. The sand base in 115 degree heat will not hold any moisture or very little at best. It lets the grassroots dry out because of the strong leaching. Couple that with the chlorine in the air from the ocean, then you've got a handful. We've found that a daily watering cycle of about 1/2" in the early morning will keep the lawns beautiful. When you start to slack off from that to every-other-day, our test showed the lawns to becoming stressed, would not use the fertilize. Properties with some live oak shade trees did better because of the filtration but there was a problem there as the grass just thinned out--even the St. Augustine. I've had so many beach properties over the years and planted all kinds of grass, dug wells for freshwater and watered them every day--They did OK but nothing to write home about. The more inland (even 1/2 mile to 1 mile or if estuaries were close by, they faired better.
Away from the coast say 50 miles or so then the soil becomes more clay and the the dormancy in the heat takes over. Of course, those irrigated or receiving normal rainfall seem to stay green.
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  #8  
Old 07-18-2009, 06:32 PM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAlmaroad View Post
More inland like ours in TN does basically the same...goes dormant in the heat but does revive. In the SC properties, they just dry up and die. The sand base in 115 degree heat will not hold any moisture or very little at best. It lets the grassroots dry out because of the strong leaching. Couple that with the chlorine in the air from the ocean, then you've got a handful. We've found that a daily watering cycle of about 1/2" in the early morning will keep the lawns beautiful. When you start to slack off from that to every-other-day, our test showed the lawns to becoming stressed, would not use the fertilize. Properties with some live oak shade trees did better because of the filtration but there was a problem there as the grass just thinned out--even the St. Augustine. I've had so many beach properties over the years and planted all kinds of grass, dug wells for freshwater and watered them every day--They did OK but nothing to write home about. The more inland (even 1/2 mile to 1 mile or if estuaries were close by, they faired better.
Away from the coast say 50 miles or so then the soil becomes more clay and the the dormancy in the heat takes over. Of course, those irrigated or receiving normal rainfall seem to stay green.
Interestting ... thanks.
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Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
*
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2009, 07:58 AM
Main Main is offline
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That does suck to hear but on average what would an irrigation system cost me?
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2009, 08:19 AM
RAlmaroad RAlmaroad is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Main View Post
That does suck to hear but on average what would an irrigation system cost me?
Main: I have some close friends in Garner; I'll write Chris and ask what his well cost. However, I do know that the cost is by the foot and an extra $1400 for the deep well pump, tank and 220 connections. Most well people run about $12/ft. Assuming they go 300 ft or so--that $3400+1200=$5000. Then if you rent the ditchwitch and dig your own trenches, buy and install the heads with controller--you could get by with about $1000 for about 200' of install. I suggest Hunter equipment especially their Pro-C controller. It has the capacity of adding modulars later. Of course all of this is pure guessing. You could call around and find out the prices. Lowes has a decent price on PVC 1" line in 10'sections at about $2.40. You'd need elbows, 45-degree, couplers etc. This a totally do-it-yourself. I'd be willing to stop by on my way to New Bern if you'd like, design your layout, explain a few things at a reasonable cost if you're interested. In what area are you located
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