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In a turf war!

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by dogsluvtrux, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. dogsluvtrux

    dogsluvtrux LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    In a semi-secret turf war with my neighbor down the road....I call it "semi-secret" because I'm not sure my neighbor knows about it. :laugh:

    My current program is mowing at 3.5 inches, fertilize 2x per year with 12-12-12 at 8# per 1000 and spot treat with 2,4-D. I want to kick it up this year.

    I'm waiting for soil test results from the fertilizer dealer and will try to determine fertilizer from there. I have aerated the lawn (once last fall, went over it twice in opposing directions this Spring). I'm waiting on my three point spreader to get in so I can overseed (aerate before and roll after?) and get my first fertilizer app for the year on.

    Topdressing with compost shows some great results, but on 2.5 acres its not very feasible. Has anyone used pelletized compost? Could I get the same results from 15# per 1000 of Milorganite? Or do I skip the biologicals all together and use 2# per 1000 of ESN (44-0-0)? Or an application of each? I want the lawn that makes everyone else jealous and am willing to put the time into it. With 4 kids, working on the lawn is about the only quiet time I get!
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Spring aeration is a waste of time and creates problems with damaging roots when the should be expanding into the soil as it warms... the best thing for you turf is to put down a layer of compost after seeding in your bare spots... your 12-12-12 fertilizer is also a waste of time in that N is adquate for lawns an the PK of the NPK are useless in most cases... make use of your soil test to REINFORCE that idea...

    Too much fert and too much water are the 2 things that make "The PERFECT Lawn",,, amatuerish trash...
    The first fert should NOT be applied in cool season turf until AFTER the 2nd mowing...

    Rolling the ground usually causes compaction... IF you're serious about the best lawn then it would be wise to achieve the best soil...
  3. dogsluvtrux

    dogsluvtrux LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    I guess my thought behind the roller was to try and get good seed to soil contact since it would be broadcast from a three point spreader.....

    As far as the aeration goes, I need to go back to find the article I read. It was from either the U of I or Purdue, that said the soil structure greatly benefitted from being turned over every 10-15 years and core aeration was a way to do it...my aerator pulls 4 plugs per square foot and they are 5/8" diameter, so I guess I was figuring that running the aerator through the lawn 4x per year, I would be completely turning each square foot every 14.5 years....
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Building soil structure has a lot of different factors involved... Right now after being frozen and saturated(for the most part) for months,,, and now warming and drying as Spring progresses, soil structure is building itself,,, IF we stay off of it when it is wet and there is plenty of OM for microbes to form aggregates with,,, as they feed...
    I SUPPOSE Spring aeration might be a good idea if your are dealing with a serious thatch problem,,, but as a general rule of thumb,,, it is more akin, to being woke up from a sound sleep to take a sleeping pill...

    How bad is your lawn NOW,,, that you want to overseed the entire thing,,, anyway???
  5. dogsluvtrux

    dogsluvtrux LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    The lawn is pretty thin right now. We bought the place 4 years ago from an elderly woman that didn't drive anymore, so she moved to town.

    There was a significant issue with violets, white clover, dandelions and crabgrass. The broadleaf weed issues are under control, at least acceptable, but the existing turf is pretty thin. I did not use a per-emerge, since I was going to try to overseed and wow, the crabgrass really likes this weather! So now I need to kill it off too...
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    There are post emergents and pre-emergants that allow turf grasses to be seeded and should germinate... even in IL it is odd that CG is germinating under these circumstances,,, but I can't know that from where I'm sitting...

    Got PIX of the CG on your lawn???
  7. dogsluvtrux

    dogsluvtrux LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    No, but I know it's getting time....the blooms are starting to come off the forsythias, my redbud and weeping cherry are in full bloom. And it looks a heck of a lot like crabgrass.

    If we hadn't had 4" of rain in the last week, we would still be planting corn. We're 72 degrees today....with a chance of flurries Friday night! If you don't like the weather in Central Illinois, give it a day or two...it'll change.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Forsythia blooms do NOT indicate the timing of CG germination around here, but does occur a couple of weeks before most of the broadleaf bloom around here...

    If your lawn is thin,,, why are you not seeding???

    For a thin lawn the only priority for decent turf is seeding, then some more seeding, kill weeds as they appear with spot spraying , then do some more seeding... keep it up all Summer and finish it off in the Fall...
    Your grass should be growing well enough that CG never gets started...

    Your abuse of chemicals and fertilizers are going to hurt your lawn, not help it...
  9. dogsluvtrux

    dogsluvtrux LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    Blooms are coming off the forsythia, they started back in March.....my neighbors have dandelions in full bloom!

    Anyway, I am going to overseed this year. And I would hardly call 2 applications of 12-12-12 and spot treating with 2,4-D abuse of chemicals....but back to my original questions....is pelletized compost essentially the same as topdressing with compost? Will milorganite give me the same type of result?
  10. cecropia11

    cecropia11 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 103


    What kind of grass do you have, if you have a cold season turf I use 6 lbs. of ESN per 1K and it does really good as long as it stays somewhat moist and is applied early in the spring for the diffusion process to occur, It lasts a good 3 to 4 months.

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