My Life Support Rescue Plan - Starting Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by cardkid2331, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. cardkid2331

    cardkid2331 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    Hey guys,

    I'm fresh out of college and just moved into a rental house in Greenfield, IN. I am an entrepreneur and one of the things I am starting is a lawn service company. I'm going to mow, but I would also like to offer lawn treatment - aerating, fertilizing, etc. Thing is...I know nothing about that aspect so I've spent the last week researching (Purdue's turftips, etc). I don't have a license yet for herbicides, etc. so I'll just be using retail stuff on my own lawn, but I figured this will give me some experience.

    So, since this is a rental, the yard is basically the worst thing I have ever seen. The yard is 20% grass, 30% crab grass, and 50% weeds or bare. I figure I can't make anything worse. From my research, this is what I've come up with. Can you guys tell me if I'm on the right track, what you would do differently, etc? Don't worry about hurting my feelings...I know I'm brand new to this.

    TOMORROW: Mow yard to 1.5'' and AERATE! The yard is packed hard. Following Purdue's advice, 20-40 holes per sq. ft.

    2. Tomorrow: Lay down start fertilizer high in phosphorous. 1 lb at least per sq. 1000ft.
    - I'm looking at either of these - thoughts?

    3. Tomorrow: 100% Kentucky Bluegrass Seed at 2lbs per 1000sq. ft.

    4. Light and frequent irrigation for the next few weeks

    5. Four weeks after germination, apply 1.0 pound of nitrogen per 1000 ft2 of lawn using a fertilizer containing N, P, and K.

    6. Second fertilizer application (urea) after the last mowing of the year, but while the turfgrass is still green (rate of 1.0 to 1.25 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 ft2 of lawn)

    7. An application of a broadleaf herbicide containing 2,4-D MCPP, and dicamba in mid-October

    So, what do you guys think? Will this work alright?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    With such a poor stand of grass I would aerate several passes over the ground to the point of chewing it up to appear as it has almost been tilled... Toss down a bunch of seed and perhaps drag the plugs around to level the ground as well as cover the seed...
    Soak it down thoroughly first time then keep it moist until it germinates, then back off watering so as to let the roots grow deep...
    BTW, I'd put down your starter fert before the massive aeration to get it evenly spread in the top 3" of your soil,,, and be sure that your ground is soft enough to get the full 3" plugs...
    Do not remove the grass clipping from the scalp mowing as this lawn debris is useful for the seed cover and long term health of the soil...
  3. Mike A

    Mike A LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    If it were me I would kill it all out with roundup first. This way u start with a "clean slate" so to speak. And u shouldnt have to spray much 24D which could harm the new seedlings this fall. Is the ground just hard because its dry? It's been my experience that a power seeder works a hell of a lot better than aerating and overseeding does. (Much better germination rate)
    But as small axe suggested if you drag it after aerating and seeding, that would help tremendously.
    I would also go with the lowest N starter fert u can find. The new grass needs phosphorus not nitrogen. Then hit it with fall fert after two mowings.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Good Point... the ground being hard and needing aeration,,, is a lot different than being hard when its dry... If that is the case and there is no real reason to aerate,,, then slit-seeder all the way...

    But I'd still sow seed now and spot spray broadleaf weeds later, let the frost take out the CG at this point... :)
  5. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,940

    2# KBG seed/M is light. It will take a long time to germinate, much less establish. It could be as much as 28 days but under the best circumstances you could see some germination in 12-14 days. This is the time of year broadleaf weeds begin to grow. You will likely have much more weeds than grass a month from now. With no experience you should play the percentages and get a high quality mix containing some perennial rye (30% or more) and some KBG (50-70%). If you use a mix containing PRG, use more pounds of seed per thousand square feet - the seeds are much larger.
  6. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Posts: 5,206

    Should we not figure out why the grass is not thriving in his lawn first?
  7. cardkid2331

    cardkid2331 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    Thanks for all the feedback. Reason for such poor shape would be years of's a rental. No one has treated for weeds, and it was probably never aerated or even watered when needed. If the previous renters did not know how to mow properly, they may have waited a long time between cuts, or not at the right height.
  8. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Posts: 5,206

    None of that matters. Leave a balanced field to itself and guess what takes over? Grass.... 90 percent of my lawn are 100 untreated and not water yet look immaculate because they are not lacking. I'd be checking your ph on your lawn.
  9. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Posts: 5,206

    Also are you sure you want KBG? I think its going to be labor intensive on your lot from what you say. I fins KBG likes solt, moist, sun filled lawns. Rye can deal better with soil compaction and dry spells. My fescue lawns like shade more and need more attention to stay a healthy green. I find people who plant KBG also choose the wrong areas and it dies off and they can never figure out why.
  10. CuttingEdgeLandscapes

    CuttingEdgeLandscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    I would use a sports mix of fescues rye and kbg it will make your yard more disease tolerant and keep it from going completely dormant during the drought months.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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