Lawn renovation - nutsedge, sod worm, clover, walnuts

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by WinterDeere, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. WinterDeere

    WinterDeere LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    I just purchased a property with a 4-acre lawn that needs a little work. Here's the status:

    1. Shallow tractor tire ruts in front lawn, putting a lot of wear and tear on the Z-trak mower (and my internal organs) due to bouncing over them when mowing.

    2. Nutsedge. It is very dense in some areas, but mostly localized to various patches in the front 2 acres.

    3. Clover, dandelion, and broadleaf weeds, mostlly localized to rear and side yards. Very dense in side yard (~1 acre), but otherwise just interspersed with the grass.

    4. Dead patches, all very localized / not wide-spread. Someone who knows a lot more about lawn care than I reported this as a sod worm, suggesting pesticide treatment.

    5. One area where septic was dug up requires re-seeding. Other ares (sod worm, heavy clover, etc.) could use an over-seeding, once the associated problems are solved.

    6. pH measures 6.50 to 6.75 in most areas, but dips to 6.00 to 6.25 under walnut trees.

    7. Thatch is roughly 1/2".

    The steps I have in mind are:

    1. Roll the lawn later this week. It's been raining like hell, so it's probably a good time for it. Hopefully my 400 lb. roller is enough, but if not, I can pick up a 900 lb. roller locally.

    2. Spread granular herbicide for clover, dandelions, etc. Could possibly lay down pesticide for the sod worm at the same time?

    3. Nutsedge? What to do? I don't have a liquids sprayer, but could rent one.

    4. Plug aerate, then over-seed. I was going to dethatch, but was told this is not necessary if plug aerating. Is this true? Should I invest in a slit seeder (might be useful for yearly over-seeding each fall), or settle for the plug aerator and spreading seed behind it?

    Is my order of activities any good, or would you change it up? Think I can get it all done before the first frost hits around Halloween? We're in Pennsylvania.

    One lawn service who came to inspect the property spreading lime. Not sure why you'd want to lime a property with pH ~ 6.5. What am I missing?

    Thank you for any or all answers you can provide.
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Rolling established and long settled ground while it is saturated is the perfect thing to maximize compaction problem forever... unless you have sand... todressing is probably the better solution, after an intense plugging process...

    B4 going to far into strategies, find out what kind of soil you got and whether it is compacted or not... I would kill the nutsedge areas I don't like and reseed now...
     
  3. WinterDeere

    WinterDeere LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    The soil here is pretty good. This property has a drain field septic, and was also approved for a micro-mound, so it is not too clay heavy and drains very well. I figured any compaction I create by rolling would be easily undone by aerating afterward, but I could be wrong / not really an expert on these things.

    Thanks.
     
  4. Please_Be_Green

    Please_Be_Green LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    Get sedgehammer for the nutsedge...

    At this point of the season you maybe able to knock it down a little but I'd imagine mature tubers... if that's the case it may take a season or two to really knock it out. 2-3 tiller are more easily managed.
     
  5. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,251

    For a 4 acre lawn, to do this right you need to spend the next year working on all those different problems and then seed with a quality seed in the fall of 2012.
     
  6. WinterDeere

    WinterDeere LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Yeah... I figured it's probably going to take a few years to get it to where I'm happy with it. But, seeing as it's a good time of year to get some fresh seed down, I still want to do what I can right now, to get prep'd as best as possible for next year.

    It seems a good time to put down the dandelion / broadleaf control, and perhaps the sod webworm control, if I can find the right products and a few days with no rain. That should still leave me a few weeks to seed and grow before the first frost hits around Halloween.

    Any suggestion for an overall schedule, both for the remainder of this year and next?

    Thanks.
     
  7. Please_Be_Green

    Please_Be_Green LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    It's cutting it very close to put down a broadcast weed killer and still planning on putting seed down. Not saying it won't germinate but residual could affect germination rate and if we have an early frost on newly germinated grass... it's all for naught.

    Personally, i'd throw the seed down. Get as much seed germination and grass as possilbe and start next year with your PRE applications.

    Let nature take care of this years weed crop and deal with just upsetting the germination cycle next spring.

    How big of an area are you dealing with the nutsedge? Can you hand spray it? Mature nutsedge will take a few years of sedgehammer to really kill it off.

    Sounds like anything you do from this point through 2012 is really for spring 2013.
     
  8. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,251

     
  9. WinterDeere

    WinterDeere LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Thanks for the advice! It sound like I have a plan, then. Forget the weeds, and just focus on the seeding. I'd still like to deal with the sodworm, if possible, but I know we're late in the year for that as well. Any word on this?

    I assume running the plug aerator around the yard, followed by a broadcast spreader is the way to go when dealing with 4 acres? I've looked for slit seeders to tow behind my garden tractor, but have only found walk-behind self-propelled units. Not sure a slit seeder is necessary, and definitely don't want to use a walk-behind unit on a property this large.

    The nutsedge is in localized patches scattered around the front 2 acres. It's been raining almost every day recently, so I haven't been able to measure it, but I'm guessing total nutsedge coverage is only 10,000 - 15,000 sq.ft.

    Thanks!
     
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Its hard to say just how much much damage the grubs will do before they go to sleep for the winter, and whether the 'cide will even affect them anymore...

    Unless you have compaction, thatch or large barespots I don't see the benefit of aerating to do an overseed... I would simply broadcast the seed and let the dead clippings mulch nurse it to germination where its needed...

    if it is thick enough in some areas don't waste the seed at all... This is the time for fertilizing lawns and should be more effective in thickening the turf than more seed... thin areas can always use more seed and perhaps need to be stitched in...
     

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