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  #1  
Old 04-15-2012, 10:56 PM
stslimited84 stslimited84 is offline
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First Spring with new lawn

Hey all,

This is my first spring at our new house. The lawn is needs some work (pics at end of thread).

I've been doing research and it seems Lesco is the route to go. I was hoping you could recommend an application schedule and what lesco products to use. I'm in the Philly region.

I will be going to my local extension office this week for a soil test but was hoping to get started in the mean time. I need a spreader and was consider these two:

http://www.amazon.com/Earthway-C22HD...4456841&sr=8-8

http://www.amazon.com/Earthway-2150-...4456841&sr=8-4


Thoughts on those or other recommendations?

Im a beginner when it comes to lawn care but want to get it right so I can have a nice lawn. I have 3/4 acre of lawn and these pictures are good representatives of the condition of the entire lawn. Weed be gone liquid spray was applied 2 days ago to the front lawn.

Pictures:











What do you think? What Lesco products can i get started with and what kind of schedule should i follow?

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2012, 11:46 PM
TooMuchClay TooMuchClay is offline
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I live no more than probably 45 minutes from you, so we are in the same region and climate. We also have the same grasses. I cant see for sure in your pictures, but it looks like you may have a thatch problem. If there is about 1/2 of an inch or more of thatch then it needs dethatching.

You check this by digging your finger into the soil, and if you dont hit soil in the first 1/2-3/4 of an inch, but instead you find a layer of non-decomposed organic matter that is dense, then you have thatch. Test many different areas all over the lawn, as one area might not have thatch, anotheer may have it bad. Some people misidentify thatch as the loose stuff laying on top of your grass, but thats not thatch. Thatch, if too thick will make it difficult for moisture to get through, it will choke out your grass, prevent it from spreading, etc. It has to go! You cannot seed over it, or into it if it is too thick(over 1/2")

It would need to be dethatched and you can either rent a dethatcher from Home Depot for about $100 per day($75/4 hours) or hire someone to do it. But when you dethatch, you loosen and break up all that garbage and you then have to rake it up and get rid of it! There might be a lot.

Then you must re-seed the lawn with a good grass mix that will do good in sun, which it looks like you have plenty of. I'd go with a good improved
Tall Fescue mixture. But by the time you get that done this season, it will be May, then it will get hot and dry in 1 month, possibly killing off the new grass seed, so maybe its best to wait til Fall.

However, if you dig down and find you dont have over 1/2 inch if thatch, then you need to fertilize for now, and then powerseed in fall.

Either way, if your soil is the typical clay we have in this region, and hasnt been topsoiled in recent years, it would be best to topsoil with GOOD QUALITY topsoil. Good quality being the operative words, as much of the topsoil around here is just sifted clay! But seed in fall.

As far as a lawn service in the mean time, buy a BROADCAST spreader, and put down an application of granular fertilizer with pre emergent crabgrass control.Buy a pump sprayer(or preferably a backpack pump sprayer), buy some lawn broadleaf weed control concentrate, mix according to label instruction and spray your broadleaf weeds. You could get away with using granular weed control, but right now you need to use a fertilizer/crabgrass mix, not the fertilizer/weed control mix. So do the weed control with liquid as it works better. Plus that way you can put it down on every service as needed, regardless of what the granular fertilizer is or isnt mixed with.

In summer, apply grub control(preventative) in June or so, then a surface feeding insect control if necessary in July or August. Spray your weed control as necessary.

In fall, use an early fall fertilizer in mid september or so, (spray weeds), and a winterizer in late October/November. Seed in mid september, or when ever the hot dry summer weather ends.

If not power seeding, then do a core aeration in fall(not spring or summer after pre emergent is added). This will help loosen the compacted soil. Take it for granted your soil is low in ph, as it ALWAYS is around here, so lime is always good. it can really be put down any time, but most pros put it down in fall for scheduling reasons. You can rent an aerator for $75 at Home Depot. Get a Classen or Blue Bird. With lime, always use the granular or preferably pelleted/pelletized lime, NOT the messy, powdery pulverized lime! Unlike the powdered lime, you wont even be able to tell you applied the pelletized after your done cause its brown, and not very dusty.

Keep an eye out for lawn diseases in Spring and summer mainly, if you see spots or brown patches, buy Ortho Daconil or a similar broad spectrum fungicide and apply by label instructions.

Thats it, simple huh?
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Last edited by TooMuchClay; 04-15-2012 at 11:54 PM.
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  #3  
Old 04-15-2012, 11:48 PM
Ware Ware is offline
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Congrats on your new home/lawn. As a do-it-yourself'er, you may not get much help here, but check out the forums at bestlawn.info. Good people.

Last edited by Ware; 04-15-2012 at 11:52 PM.
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  #4  
Old 04-16-2012, 09:44 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is online now
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Thatch is what this website says it it...
http://urbanext.illinois.edu/lawnchallenge/lesson5.html
"Thatch in lawns is often misunderstood; both its cause and control. Some lawns have serious thatch problems while others do not. Thatch is a layer of living and dead organic matter that occurs between the green matter and the soil surface"

Brown undigested grass blades, only means you don't need more N as much as you need to digest what already there first...
The stuff that "PROS" want you to spend money on to get rid of(misnamed thatch) is more valuable as fodder for soil structure and up to 25% of you N returning to the nutrient cycle... good luck...
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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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  #5  
Old 04-16-2012, 12:59 PM
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RigglePLC RigglePLC is online now
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Looks like a bit of a thin spot near the front door. Otherwise its fine, pale, thin, but fine. It looks like there is a high percentage of perennial rye. Your first job is to add a top-quality turf fertilizer with a good crabgrass control included. Make sure it includes a good percentage of coated slow release nitrogen. Spot spray the small number of weeds. Plan to feed regularly with a slow release nitrogen containing fertilizer, the goal being to thicken the grass and restore the dark green color. Keep watering on a regular basis just as soon as the weather turns warm and dry. Plan on a weed/feed as the clover and other summer weeds appear. Plan on a weed/feed in the October to combat chickweed and the winter annuals. Give it plenty of fertilizer the first year to build density, but cut back in future years as there is no need once you have the density and green color about right. If needed, overseed thin spots about August 28th. Use better quality seed.
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  #6  
Old 04-16-2012, 01:03 PM
TooMuchClay TooMuchClay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallaxe View Post
Thatch is what this website says it it...
http://urbanext.illinois.edu/lawnchallenge/lesson5.html
"Thatch in lawns is often misunderstood; both its cause and control. Some lawns have serious thatch problems while others do not. Thatch is a layer of living and dead organic matter that occurs between the green matter and the soil surface"

Brown undigested grass blades, only means you don't need more N as much as you need to digest what already there first...
The stuff that "PROS" want you to spend money on to get rid of(misnamed thatch) is more valuable as fodder for soil structure and up to 25% of you N returning to the nutrient cycle... good luck...


I dont know if you are disputing what I said about thatch, it seems so, as you said that the "pro's" will try to tell you you need them to get rid of it for you. Well, first off, I live 45-60 minutes from this guy at least. So I wont be making ANY money off his lawn care. That means I took 30 minutes of MY time to give him FREE advice.

Secondly, if you think that 1-2" of thatch (actual thatch, not just dead grass clipping laying on top of your lawn) is a good thing, then you couldnt be more wrong! You seriously need to check your sources. Because your sources are wrong too. Ask anyone who truly knows their butt from a grass blade whether more than 1/2 - 3/4" inches of thatch is a good thing.

If you get 1-2 inches of thatch, then your grass CANNOT spread and fill in weak areas on its own in fall. It also prevents moisture from easily getting through it. It acts as a great place for Chinch bugs to live in while eating your lawn and killing it.

If you want lots of thatch in your lawn, thats OK, but dont disagree with people on facts when your not really sure yourself. I started doing lawn service 24 years ago, and I've easily done over 15,000 separate application to separate lawns in the late 80's and 90's alone...........

If you read my OP, you'd see that I told him he would only need to dethatch IF he had over 1/2 inch or so. I also explained clearly what thatch is.
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Last edited by TooMuchClay; 04-16-2012 at 01:07 PM.
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  #7  
Old 04-16-2012, 09:02 PM
stslimited84 stslimited84 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by TooMuchClay View Post
I live no more than probably 45 minutes from you, so we are in the same region and climate. We also have the same grasses. I cant see for sure in your pictures, but it looks like you may have a thatch problem. If there is about 1/2 of an inch or more of thatch then it needs dethatching.

You check this by digging your finger into the soil, and if you dont hit soil in the first 1/2-3/4 of an inch, but instead you find a layer of non-decomposed organic matter that is dense, then you have thatch. Test many different areas all over the lawn, as one area might not have thatch, anotheer may have it bad. Some people misidentify thatch as the loose stuff laying on top of your grass, but thats not thatch. Thatch, if too thick will make it difficult for moisture to get through, it will choke out your grass, prevent it from spreading, etc. It has to go! You cannot seed over it, or into it if it is too thick(over 1/2")

It would need to be dethatched and you can either rent a dethatcher from Home Depot for about $100 per day($75/4 hours) or hire someone to do it. But when you dethatch, you loosen and break up all that garbage and you then have to rake it up and get rid of it! There might be a lot.

Then you must re-seed the lawn with a good grass mix that will do good in sun, which it looks like you have plenty of. I'd go with a good improved
Tall Fescue mixture. But by the time you get that done this season, it will be May, then it will get hot and dry in 1 month, possibly killing off the new grass seed, so maybe its best to wait til Fall.

However, if you dig down and find you dont have over 1/2 inch if thatch, then you need to fertilize for now, and then powerseed in fall.

Either way, if your soil is the typical clay we have in this region, and hasnt been topsoiled in recent years, it would be best to topsoil with GOOD QUALITY topsoil. Good quality being the operative words, as much of the topsoil around here is just sifted clay! But seed in fall.

As far as a lawn service in the mean time, buy a BROADCAST spreader, and put down an application of granular fertilizer with pre emergent crabgrass control.Buy a pump sprayer(or preferably a backpack pump sprayer), buy some lawn broadleaf weed control concentrate, mix according to label instruction and spray your broadleaf weeds. You could get away with using granular weed control, but right now you need to use a fertilizer/crabgrass mix, not the fertilizer/weed control mix. So do the weed control with liquid as it works better. Plus that way you can put it down on every service as needed, regardless of what the granular fertilizer is or isnt mixed with.

In summer, apply grub control(preventative) in June or so, then a surface feeding insect control if necessary in July or August. Spray your weed control as necessary.

In fall, use an early fall fertilizer in mid september or so, (spray weeds), and a winterizer in late October/November. Seed in mid september, or when ever the hot dry summer weather ends.

If not power seeding, then do a core aeration in fall(not spring or summer after pre emergent is added). This will help loosen the compacted soil. Take it for granted your soil is low in ph, as it ALWAYS is around here, so lime is always good. it can really be put down any time, but most pros put it down in fall for scheduling reasons. You can rent an aerator for $75 at Home Depot. Get a Classen or Blue Bird. With lime, always use the granular or preferably pelleted/pelletized lime, NOT the messy, powdery pulverized lime! Unlike the powdered lime, you wont even be able to tell you applied the pelletized after your done cause its brown, and not very dusty.

Keep an eye out for lawn diseases in Spring and summer mainly, if you see spots or brown patches, buy Ortho Daconil or a similar broad spectrum fungicide and apply by label instructions.

Thats it, simple huh?
First and foremost, thank you for all of the replies. Here are some more pictures of the lawn. The ones with the finger in the picture are up close so you can see if there is thatch. I'm not sure..if there is i think its small, but judge by the pics. sry for the blurr. The other pics are more of the lawn, including from the back yard which i didnt previously post. In some of the up close pics i used a rock to dig down a bit to see.

Clay, I'm working on getting my soil test done this week, but in the mean time can you suggest a good fert meeting the requirements you outlayed. I was leaning towards lesco just b/c it seems to be highly reviewed around here. What do you think and recommend?

As far as broadcast spreaders, are the ones i linked from amazon quality pieces of equipment? The reviews seem to indicate they are.

oh yeah, and whats the recommended weed application to get as well?

also, how do i tackle watering 3/4 acre of grass?

Thanks























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  #8  
Old 04-16-2012, 09:13 PM
stslimited84 stslimited84 is offline
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Can you tell what kind of grass I have as well?

**i would have edited this into the last post but didnt see that function
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  #9  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:21 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is online now
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Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 9,986
A high dose of N in an untimely manner produces a lot of green growth... mowing becomes a problem for a few weeks, if there's water as well, and if the clippings aren't bagged, there is suddenly a lot of dead plant material lying on the turn, which eventually dries and settles to the ground like a layer of mulch around the base of the individual rootzones of the grass plants...
If this dead plant material builds up excesseively, that usually means that the N applications are excessive and the microbial activity is insufficient to keep up... The smart thing to do is lighten up on the N apps, using a slow-release fert, and adding something that stimulates the microbial activity to get your clippings recycling process on a sensible track...

If your problem is having grass roots grow above the surface and tangling with stems, that is a different issue and handled a little differently as well... investigation of a cross-section of turf will let you know what's up... comparing that cross-section with the pix in the IL Ext. site will give you an idea, what you're actually dealing with...
__________________
*
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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  #10  
Old 04-17-2012, 09:32 AM
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Snyder's Lawn Inc Snyder's Lawn Inc is offline
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not from your area but I see you need to thatch the lawn then slit seed the lawn
Then apply slow-release fert cut rate in half
Put half down after the dethatch and slit seeding is done and in2-3 weeks put other half down
This system works best with slit seeding To much fert the grass will shade out the new seedlings

Once a year thatching is best thing for a lawn Some my lawns I can thatch apply no fert and in cpl days ppl thinks I applied fert This on fescue and bluegrass lawns
Been doing this since 1981 and still works
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