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Advice on this lawn.

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by ps6fsu, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. ps6fsu

    ps6fsu LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Hey all,

    I am a newbie to this site as well as the business. I have already learned alot from reading through the forums but I was a bit unsure of what to do with a specific customer and was wondering what all of you might say. I have attached some pictures of the lawn. Keep in mind we just had alot of snow melt and recent rain so the lawn is saturated. In our area (DE/NJ) it is currently between 40-50 degrees daily but we do occasionally get a 60 degree day here and there.

    Here is the situation... This customer wants his lawn to look as good as possible this summer b/c he has a few things going on (graduation parties, bbq's, whatever...). He has alot of bare spots as well as a decent amount of weeds. Im usually applying the normal weed preventative now (next couple of weeks) and then continuing with regular weed and feed treatments. Then in the fall I would dethatch, aerate, overseed. However, under these circumstances, should I dethatch and seed now (skipping the pre-emergent) and then try to control the weeds after they emerge? I don't think I have enough time to allow for both pre-emergent and seeding. Is there a pre-emergent that will not effect the seeds?


  2. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,896

    Definite snow mold - is the damage in that first picture due to snow mold?

    Does the property have dogs rooting it up? If this is some kind of pet damage, your whole discussion is moot and the homeowners will just have to live with a mediocre lawn.
  3. ps6fsu

    ps6fsu LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    It does look like snow mold to me. The back doesnt get nearly as much sun as the front of the house so while the front has mostly dried up the back yard is still a mud pit. We just had about 20 inches of snow melt in past couple of weeks combined with an entire day of rain yesterday. Soil here is mostly clay so water doesnt drain too well. Not sure about pets. I will find out.
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,215

    It is a mess. Looks like clumps of tall fescue between patches of bare dirt in the back yard. Looks a little better in the shade--I suspect heat burnout from last year. Which means he didn't water enough--could happen again. Is there any sign of dead crabgrass or did they tell you of any crabgrass last year? If so, you canot risk omitting crabgrass control. Tupersan can be used for crabgrass control in new seed, but its really expensive and not long lasting. I am thinking a high-quality disease-resistant rye like Silver Dollar might work if you sowed it early, almost like a dormant seeding. Cold temps would cause slow germination. With luck it would be strong enough to withstand crabgrass control in 6 weeks. Very tight schedule--if conditions are perfect--it should work. If not, you will be applying quinclorac for crab control--repeatedly. Not sure if pre-germinated seed would help or not (see other info on this site). At least you could pre soak the seed inside at warm temps, 80 degree water would hurry things along. Plan on plenty of fertilizer, and at least two weed control treatments in the first 2 months. A battery-operated sprinkler timer would be worth its weight in gold to keep it well-watered, especially as new seed arises.
  5. ps6fsu

    ps6fsu LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Thanks for the respons Riggleplc. There are definite signs of burnup from last summer especially in the middle of the lawn where it got the most sun. Of course all of the bare areas became overgrown with crabgrass. Thats why I wasn't sure what to do. It really needs seed but also needs pre-emergent. Im not sure I can wait 6 weeks to put down crabgrass products. It was 70 degrees this weekend and will be in the 60's again by the end of this week.

    Maybe I could use Tupersan with seed and then re-apply a cheaper & longer lasting pre-emergent in 6 weeks. It obviously would be more expensive but it seems like the best option. The whole lawn is only about 6k square ft so 1 15lb bag should do the trick. What do u think?
  6. tombo82685

    tombo82685 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 288

    Just my two cents... I dont really sense the urgency in putting down seed and what not right now. Research it more. Just because we are getting some 70s and 60s doesnt mean much. Grass growth is dependent on soil temperature. Even though the air temperature is in the 60 or 70s a couple days the soil temp is still in the low 40s, which is still to cold for anything to get going besides poa annua and winter annuals.

    If that was my yard and i was dealing with parties and wanted the best overall appearance. I would put down the pre emerge, then go back to the bare spots and really tear them up and break the barrier created by the pre emerge. Once this barrier is broken you will be able to grow the seed. But only do this to area that are bare or very sparse. Then seed it, put down some starter fert. After that has taken see if you get any infestation of crabgrass or what not. If you're a license applicator go back and hit it with acclaim or drive try and get it in the early tiller stage. When you fertilize the entire lawn in spring, don't put more than a half pound of nitrogen down.
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,215

    I think you are on the right track. Seed and Tupersan (siduron) now. You are on the border of 50 to 55 degrees soil temp. Season coming fast.

    Suppose the Tupersan fades out after 30 to 45 days. There is no way to know if it is gone, but possibly you could then sock on Dimension about early May. This assumes the rye is mowable and the crab is small or not visible. You want to have your heavy -duty crabgrass control applied by early May. Your average weather data shows this is possible.
    In fact, it may be wise to seed first and then wait and apply the Tupersan about a week before crabgrass germination is expected (when temp hits about 75 for 2 or 3 days). Expect crabgrass to appear when air temp hits about 80.

    Or better yet--kill it and resod--less risk for you--better results, instant green, happy customer.
  8. tombo82685

    tombo82685 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 288

    I dont want to start a battle or challenge your expertise, but i totally disagree with the seed now option.
  9. tombo82685

    tombo82685 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 288

    I live the county north of him in pa, there is no way you are getting any seed growing. The only grass growing right now is poa annua. Sure you can put it down but you would have double your rate do to mortality and it getting eaten by animals only to see it germinate in april. I was just out doing soil samples for the golf course and the ground still has some permafrost in it. I would throw the seed down in early april, when you get sustained soil temps of 50 degrees or higher, not just for a day or two.
  10. ps6fsu

    ps6fsu LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Thanks for the advice guys. Im not sure which route to go because I agree with both of you. I really wanted to get some seed down but Tombo is right... it is a bit early. The high today was just above freezing. I was shooting more towards the end of the month for seed. So basically my 2 options are...

    1) Put seed down in 2-4 weeks with tupersan and possibly re-apply in 4-6 weeks which would be expensive. I dont think I would be abe to safely use a product like dimension or barricade until mid to late may which may be too late.

    2) Skip the seed and apply dimension in next couple of weeks ad just seed in fall. I know Tombo suggested being able to seed the bare spots after agitating but that would be alot of elbow grease that im not sure I am willing to do by hand. Currently, there are alot of bare spots.

    My one question (regardless of which route I take) is should i still run the power rake over it? It has not been dethatched in years and I was thinking it would help remove some of the dead weeds also. Obviously I would need to do this before I apply pre-emergent.

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