Register free!
Search
 
     

The Green Industry's Resource Center


Click for Weather
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-17-2011, 11:56 PM
mgurmgur mgurmgur is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Livingston, NJ
Posts: 2
Complete newbie questions

I recently bought my first house in Livingston, NJ - always lived in large cities. Never ever cared for a lawn in my life. My goal is to have plush, green lawn on which my young kids and the rest of my family can enjoy next summer.


The total size of my land property is 0.4 acres, split 1/3 - front lawn, and 2/3rds backyard.

The front lawn gets a lot of sun and is in decent shape however far from perfect. The grass is nice and green, and there are almost no weeds however overall it is not as dense as I would like it to be. Not plush, either.

The backyard is a mess. There are tall trees everywhere surrounding my lot, and there is almost no grass around them - just moss. The areas that do get some sun, have somewhat decent grass, the rest of the areas are a patchy, unhealthy looking mess. There is weed, too.

Questions:

1. First I dethatched the backyard with a regular large garden rake like this one http://amzn.to/r26aBs - should I rent a professional tool, or as long as I don't mind spending three hours dethatching, I am ok? Should I get something like this instead? http://amzn.to/oDnIoc I pulled out a LOT of dead brown grass that day

2. I just purchased my first lawn mower - Toro (Honda engine) 20192 Super Bagger based on good reviews on this site - should I bag or mulch in my case?

3. Based on the advice from the local lawn store (I brought them pictures of my lawn to show) they recommended to spread a starter fertilizer kit and apply lime, as well - did both using recommended spreader settings on the bags. Do I need to winterize the lawn with Scotts Winterizer, or do I need to wait until spring, get the soil tested, and go from there?

4. Do I mulch fall leaves, or should I blow them away?

5. Could you recommend special seed for shady areas, or should I simply buy Scott's seed instead?

6. What is your opinion of the (incredibly) expensive EZ seed by Scott's?

7. Any other tips, recommendations? I realize I am asking you for advice while you haven't seen my lawn / results of the soil test - however any advice would be truly appreciated.

Thank you all in advance.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-18-2011, 12:19 AM
knox gsl's Avatar
knox gsl knox gsl is online now
LawnSite Gold Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: knoxville, tn
Posts: 3,656
Stay away from scotts, overpriced crap. Find a professional turf supply center. I like JohnDeereLandscapes, they are a hit or miss depending on your area but way better than scotts. Take them a soil sample and they can set you up on a good program.
Posted via Mobile Device
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-18-2011, 09:38 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is online now
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 9,826
The simplest way to care for a lawn is to add some N-P-K that is N and K w/out the P, for this time of year... Don't wreck what you've got in the front with too much fert in the wrong time of year and a constant barrage of herbicides....

Mulch mow the grass [/b]always[/b], mulch mow the leaves according to what kind they are... go easy on the fert and irrigation under the trees... getting grass there is going to be difficult and follwing "Conventional Wisdom" in lawn care will ensure disappointment...
__________________
*
Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
*
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-18-2011, 10:58 AM
JDiepstra JDiepstra is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Posts: 1,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgurmgur View Post
I recently bought my first house in Livingston, NJ - always lived in large cities. Never ever cared for a lawn in my life. My goal is to have plush, green lawn on which my young kids and the rest of my family can enjoy next summer.


The total size of my land property is 0.4 acres, split 1/3 - front lawn, and 2/3rds backyard.

The front lawn gets a lot of sun and is in decent shape however far from perfect. The grass is nice and green, and there are almost no weeds however overall it is not as dense as I would like it to be. Not plush, either.

The backyard is a mess. There are tall trees everywhere surrounding my lot, and there is almost no grass around them - just moss. The areas that do get some sun, have somewhat decent grass, the rest of the areas are a patchy, unhealthy looking mess. There is weed, too.

Questions:

1. First I dethatched the backyard with a regular large garden rake like this one http://amzn.to/r26aBs - should I rent a professional tool, or as long as I don't mind spending three hours dethatching, I am ok? Should I get something like this instead? http://amzn.to/oDnIoc I pulled out a LOT of dead brown grass that day

Dethatching is usually a waste of time.

2. I just purchased my first lawn mower - Toro (Honda engine) 20192 Super Bagger based on good reviews on this site - should I bag or mulch in my case?

Mulch

3. Based on the advice from the local lawn store (I brought them pictures of my lawn to show) they recommended to spread a starter fertilizer kit and apply lime, as well - did both using recommended spreader settings on the bags. Do I need to winterize the lawn with Scotts Winterizer, or do I need to wait until spring, get the soil tested, and go from there?

What would the starter fertilizer do if you are not putting down seed? Use caution when taking advice from a store that sells product.

4. Do I mulch fall leaves, or should I blow them away?

What do you mean blow them away? Like into the street or the neighbors lawn? I wouldnt do that. I mulch almost all of my customers leaves but it sounds like you will have a very hard time doing that in a thin backyard with lots of leaves so maybe you should bag them.

5. Could you recommend special seed for shady areas, or should I simply buy Scott's seed instead?

No I can not but I would suggest cutting off the lower limbs of the trees and maybe even thinning the upper part of the tree to allow more sun to get through to the grass. Grass just will not grow without sun.

6. What is your opinion of the (incredibly) expensive EZ seed by Scott's?

No idea.

7. Any other tips, recommendations? I realize I am asking you for advice while you haven't seen my lawn / results of the soil test - however any advice would be truly appreciated.

Thank you all in advance.
Mow the lawn high. 3" minimum. It will be more healthy and choke out weeds. The rule of thumb is never mower off more than 1/3 of the blade at a time but that is not always realistic. Don't use too much water in the shady areas. It really weakens the turf.

Pictures of the back yard would be nice and allow us to help you more.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-18-2011, 06:30 PM
agrostis agrostis is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Winston-Salem NC
Posts: 1,689
If you want a dense, plush lawn then you need to start with a irrigation system on the front anyway. All the above suggestions are good but a nice stand of grass start's with water. The back with the moss sound's like it has too much shade. Maybe you could do some tree work and improve that situation. This could be a big investment for you. Are you sure that's what you want to do?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-18-2011, 06:48 PM
JDiepstra JDiepstra is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Posts: 1,512
I disagree. Cool season lawns can thrive without irrigation. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is overwatering.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-18-2011, 08:39 PM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 7,990
Hire a professional and watch what he/she does
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-18-2011, 09:26 PM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is online now
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 9,826
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDiepstra View Post
I disagree. Cool season lawns can thrive without irrigation. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is overwatering.
Irrigation can be useful for a number of things in cool season grass land, but you are correct... the abuse outweighs the benefit...
__________________
*
Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
*
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-19-2011, 05:04 PM
WestminsterFJR WestminsterFJR is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Westminster, MA
Posts: 24
A soil test is the first place to start. That way, you'll know what's missing and how much of what to add. After that, a seed mixture with a high % of creeping red fescue is best for the shady area.

Rent a slice seeder to address the backyard. It doubles as a detatcher so it's 2 tools in one. Run it once without seeds to detatch the yard. After cleaning up the thatch, run it again (this time with seeds).
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-19-2011, 05:23 PM
JDiepstra JDiepstra is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Posts: 1,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallaxe View Post
Irrigation can be useful for a number of things in cool season grass land, but you are correct... the abuse outweighs the benefit...
I would say with a yard that small all he needs is a hose and a sprinkler.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
basic advice , basic lawn care , newbie

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump





Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1998 - 2012, LawnSite.comô - Moose River Media
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:02 PM.

Page generated in 0.11835 seconds with 7 queries