New here, new to lawns, and have some pictures

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by wheelsup, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. wheelsup

    wheelsup LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    Hello all,

    I'm new to the homeowner thing, having just bought my first house. Prior to that the last time I mowed a lawn was a decade ago, in my teens making money in the summer.

    Suffice to say I have no idea about how to take care of a lawn, and where to start. I've taken some pictures of my lawn, wondering what you all think I should do?

    I live in Raleigh, NC with average temps now in the 90's and high humidity. The lawn was getting a lot of water, it rained quite a bit over the last few weeks, I was hoping that would make the entire yard green, but it doesn't seem to have helped the spots at all. They seem to be getting more frequent.

    Pictures 1 shows the "spotting"

    Picture 2 is a close up of the spots

    Picture 3 shows (relatively I think) healthy grass, showing it's possible

    Picture 4 another view of the spots

    Picture 5 is the side, showing nasty grass coming from the neighbors yard, who really don't care about their lawn...how do I stop it in its tracks? HELP!!! :waving:

    1.jpg

    2.jpg

    3.jpg

    4.jpg

    5.jpg
     
  2. Real Green

    Real Green LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 389

    Powerseed the lawn this fall, put down a starter fertilizer, and follow strict watering instructions. Best of luck to you and your lawn!
     
  3. fastcat

    fastcat LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 799

    that is more than like from the drought last year. check your water restrictions in the fall and do what ^ he said.
     
  4. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,167

    You may want to consider "hiring" a Lawn Care Company to help with the fertilizer and weed control. Stay away from the big "National" Companies. Look for a small local Co that can give you a more personal service. They will help you with mowing and watering suggestions. It will cost you the same if you were to use the same products. You also have someone to go to if things don't look right.

    Also think about aeration this fall (early) and over seed at the same time.
     
  5. fastcat

    fastcat LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 799

    may want to dethach also
     
  6. Newt*

    Newt* LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    Wheelsup, I tend to take a different approach. Fertilizing with synthetics feeds the plant and not the soil. If you improve your soil the roots of your grass will love you for it. If this were my lawn I'd rake the areas where the grass is dead, core aerate every fall (that usually takes care of the need to dethatch), topdress with 1/8" to 1/4" of compost and seed. Maybe this will help.

    Aerate and thatch:
    http://www.american-lawns.com/lawns/aeration.html
    http://www.homeandgardenmakeover.com/lawnaeration.html
    http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/lawnchallenge/lesson5.html

    Maintain organically - it's less expensive and better for humans and the environment.
    http://www.organicgardening.com/feature/0,7518,s1-5-18-142,00.html
    http://www.nwf.org/backyard/chemicalfreelawn.cfm

    One other item I noticed. It appears your tree is either planted too deep or has too much mulch around the trunk. Check to see that the rootflare is showing.
    http://www.mortonarb.org/deeptreeroots/index.html
    http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/Garden/02926.html
    http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/trees_turf.aspx
    http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/mulching.aspx

    Newt
     
  7. fishinpa

    fishinpa LawnSite Senior Member
    from SE PA
    Posts: 293

    Everyone above combined has your complete answer.

    When YOU KNOW the fall rain is coming FOR SURE: cut it short, de-thatch first(heavy raking), core aerate, seed & fertilize. Top dressing less than an inch is a good idea as it's not enough to kill off what you already have, but allows you to enrich your property. I'd add that throwing some broken up peat moss, just before the top dressing would take this whole project 1 step farther.

    Just be sure to research and decide what seed is best for you. Some grasses brown when they go dormant in the winter and others do not. Others are drought 'resistant' whereas some others require constant watering. (Ask yourself what you want your lawn to look like in the winter) Try to find a local feed-mill and talk to them about grass seed varieties and tell then what you are hoping for you yard to look like. They know the region and hopefully the right seeds for you.

    Don't buy those tiny bags of seed from the box stores. The feed mills get most of their seed in 50lb bags and most are willing to weigh you out smaller quantities. I buy the 50lb bags and almost never go through the whole thing at once. Just fold the top closed and keep it in a cool dry place... it'll still be good for next springs touch up spots!

    You are off to a great start here, good luck!
     
  8. Newt*

    Newt* LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    With no disrespect to Fishinpa, I would not recommend the use of peat moss, especially as a top dressing, even if you are going to put compost on top of it. Once peat dries it is difficult to rewet. Ever forget to water one of your houseplants, and then when you water, the water just sits there? Peat has a low pH which makes it on the acid side, it's low in nutrients and will wick water away from the soil if put on top.
    http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/orgmatter/#peat
    http://www.kew.org/ksheets/peat.html#help
    http://www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/facts/peat.htm

    Newt
     
  9. wheelsup

    wheelsup LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    OK thanks guys for your time and help! I hope to have a nice looking lawn next year. The homes with nice grass have 100x the curb appeal of our home.

    Also, how do I stop that crab grass from encroaching into my lawn? Or can I?
     
  10. wheelsup

    wheelsup LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    Also will I need to rip up the old lawn and start again with just dirt?
     

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