Can I fert my lawn for less than TGCL?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by harryhomeowner, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. harryhomeowner

    harryhomeowner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 140

    20K SF of grass. TGCL ferts for $85 visit.

    I want to do fert myself but, fear I may do more harm than good and that TGCL can do it cheaper than I can.

    Would Lesco help me out or talk down to me? I know I need to fert for the fall, I just thatched and put down some seed and I know I have grubs - I fear that I may end up killing my new seedlings.

    The question simply stated is can I do it cheaper and how many applications do I really need?

    This board often states fert 4-5 times a year, TGCL is at my house 6-8x/yr

    Thanks in advance.

    One last thing - I called five fert companies over the past two months and only TGCL showed up.
  2. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Posts: 688

    True green will always be able to do it cheaper than you. they buy in bulk and they really don't use a lot of slow release products. That being said, you can treat your own property but cheaper isn't always better. I'd take a soil test to dictate your fert program for next year. Couple of questions here:How deep did you DETHATCH? did you put down any starter fert prior to seeding? Have you been keeping the lawn moist? What type of grass do you have? Why didn't you aerify? What type of seed did you put down? All of these are important to get a good picture of your prop.
  3. harryhomeowner

    harryhomeowner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 140

    Excellent questions, I should've stated that info too:

    1 - Yes, I did core aerate, I have a residential - tow behind aerator so, it took a few passes.

    2 - Tall fescue is my grass type

    3- Typically cut at 3.5 - 4" tall

    4 - Deep watering 1x/wk

    5 - I dethatched w/a detchatching rake ( and my back is feeling really good this AM....

    6 - No, I didn't put down any fert., I simply dethatched, seeded and watered.

    7 - Another good point about cheaper isn't necessarily better! But, if they can do it for 1/2 of what I can do it...they get the work - I can always have them come out again

    8 - I did find grubs in the lawn while I was doing this, will a grub killer harm my seedlings?
  4. ATVracer

    ATVracer LawnSite Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 346

    WOW. $85 for less than half an acre! The product I would use costs about $9 for that much area if it is fertilizer only. You can do it way cheaper than that. Go buy a rotary spreader(not drop) and do it yourself. Go to the nearest farm store like a CO-OP and get your fertilizer. TGCL comes 6-8 times per year because they break down the fertilizer into less product per application and charge you probably the same each time. You only need to fertilize 2-4 times per year depending on what you put down.
  5. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Posts: 688

    no, merit will not harm grass. BE VERY CAREFULL putting this stuf down. You will have to buy the scott's product unless you are licensed. next time before you renovate, get the lawn pumped up on starter fert and go to work. Those new seeds need to stay saturated, or else germination is difficult. Make sure the eithier you or true green does a dormant feed on the property.
  6. harryhomeowner

    harryhomeowner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 140

    I wouldn't buy the Merit, I would use whatever Home Depot/Lesco had available for residential use.

    I think this is the schedule I will use:

    Early spring - March – 2nd weekend:
    Fert and Pre-emergent
    Grub Control

    April – 2nd weekend Seed

    Late spring/early summer May – 2nd weekend:
    weed and feed

    Late summer July – 2nd weekend:
    fert (must be less than 90 degrees)
    Grub Control

    Early fall Sept – 2nd weekend:
    fert (must be less than 90 degrees)

    October 1st weekend - seed

    Late fall/early winter - November 2nd weekend
    fert - Winterizer
  7. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,346

    $85/visits X6 visits a year is $510 dollars.
    Go to Lesco and buy:
    1 Lesco spreader (the best there is) $350
    2 bags pre-emergant weed control. $45
    4 bags of fertilizer ( 2 rounds) $80
    2 bags fert/merit $160.
    Also buy a decent sprayer, either a hand can for $35-$40 or a backpack for $90. Buy whatever Lesco recomends for your area for herbicides and use this to spot spray any weeds. Crabgrass killer can be bought too. I like Acclaim.
    Use other products as needed. If you do not have a history of chinch bugs, etc., then don't treat for them. If it ain't broke, do not repair.
    That's about what it will cost you to maintain your lawn yourself. Buy a good spreader. DO NOT BUY A CHEAP ONE. The Lesco is lot more, but will last you forever. I used to wear tire tread out on mine. Abuse it and you will get 10 years. Take care of it and leave it to your kids in your will.
    Continue aerating, test soil every year. Maintain a roughly 6.8 pH. Your cultural practices sound good to me, you just need to get some real fertilizer on it. Oh, and when you go to Lesco, be nice. They don't always like home owners. Be patient, as they tend to wait on their commercial accounts first.
    You are looking at a larger cost initially, due to equipment, but it will eventually cost less. You will be using better products which will last longer than TGCH. They use all quick release, you will be buying alot of slow release. 4 or 5 applications instead of 6-8, for a healthier lawn in the long run. Plus, you will know the fun of seeing jaws drop when you use terms like "Poly-plus sulfur coated urea", "Muriate of Potash", and "Iron Sucrate".
    Good luck, Grasshopper
  8. turf_toes

    turf_toes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14


    Truegreen may be able to do it cheaper. But I'd suggest you go to this site:

    You can find many similar sites just by googling "chemlawn burned my lawn" (without the quotes)

    I'm sure most of their customers are happy. But before you pay someone else to do the work, it sometimes help to talk to or get feedback from folks who have used the service.
  9. gardenkeeper88

    gardenkeeper88 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    Sorry I disagree. You may get a good quality fert from the local co-op but in our area I have not found that to be the case. Most of our farm type stores do not carry much slow release. After selling or applying fert the best 2 brands for the homeowner are #1 scott top of the line ( they sell 2 kinds ) and fertiloam.
  10. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Posts: 688

    milorganite???3x per year??

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