Starting a brand new lawn...

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by drmax, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. drmax

    drmax LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Hello. I'll have a new house finished this May '07. My house is situated on a virgin wooded area, complete with all type of the weeds, vines, etc that grows in the mid Indiana area. There will be a part of the 3 acres plot that I will leave natural. What I need to know is, how to tackle the preparation for new lawn? I have a new conquest lawn/garden tractor, so if it is recommended I need an attachment to make this easier, then I'm listening.
    There are a few very large trees I've left standing, so there will be 50/50 sun and shade. Not really too sure what to put down to kill any berry vines or any type woodsey type weeds. Wasn't sure but if all of this should be tilled and then rolled, then seeded.

    By builder will be putting down some type of grass seed towards the end of the project. I'm leaning towards something mixed in with a fine fescu.

    Thank you for any direction on my upcomming project.
    DM
     
  2. The Rookie

    The Rookie LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 296

    Sounds like a mixture of turf type fescue Falcon iv 50%, Creeping red fescue 30%, and Kentucky bluegrass 20% would be a good all around mixture for sun and shade. I used this mixture in my yard and I am still enjoying a pretty dark green yard this Christmas.
     
  3. drmax

    drmax LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Just wanted the smaller fine fescue for it's thickness. I hate the type of fescue that looks like clumps of crab grass.
    Do you have a take on my main question of my post? Thx
     
  4. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    May is going to be tuff getting a cool season lawn established. Are you installing irrigation. I suggest that you get your soil sampled now and start working in the required amendments so that you are ready come May for the seed. Are they bringing in topsoil. If so, have it tested as well. Rototil the topsoil and existing soil to a depth of 6 inches, remove any large stones , rake smooth and then seed. Keep soi moist until the seed germinates and then start watering less frequently and more deeply. be careful trying to add to much high nitrogen fertilizers or you will endup with fungus problems. If fungus problems do appear, treat immediantly with a good fungicide. If you wait until the fungal patches are large, you will probably endup reseeding the entire lawn. Use slow release forms of nitrogen fertilizer and pay close attention to your watering schedules to reduce the chance of fungus.
     
  5. rider

    rider LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Posts: 152

    this time of year nothing will kill the vines, till it deep. rake the dirt out, seed. than roll. as for seed type, the tall fescue such as Compact or Transition blend will probably do well, not the thick bladed "weed " tall fescue you are thinking of. You could also try a blue/ rye mix , need four hours direct sunlight to grow, Premium Athletic is a good mix. You should have a Lesco near you, they can help you out.

    oh yeah, starter fertilizer is very important, and you will need to feed the heck out of it the first couple of years
     
  6. The Rookie

    The Rookie LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 296

    A good soil to seed contact is one of the most important things in the germination process. The grass seeds I listed are finer bladed. They also mix good with bluegrass and make a thick lush year round turf. Mudstopper is real good with soils and ph. I have never dove that deep into growing a yard from scratch but it would help tremendously amending your soil now and getting a head start on seeding. Fall seeding is better but if you go ahead amend your soil, adjusting ph level, now, you should be able to start you yard this spring.
     
  7. drmax

    drmax LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Hello. Lots of good stuff here. Thank you all. I don't own a tiller and around
    1K or better for one for a 36" unit for the back of the mower. I may go ahead and get this attachment. Have not decided. I probably will not be able to afford top soil halled in. There is presently some clay in this ground.
    I will get a sample of soil off to someone to analyze.

    So would you all agree that the best way to get going would be to till up this ground?

    Also, there will not be inground irrigation.
     
  8. The Rookie

    The Rookie LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 296

    I would say you could till it up or this. Buy a pull behind core aerator at lowes or somewhere. It will cost under 300 dollars. Find around 100 lbs to put in the tray. Core aerator the entire area as many different directions you can imagine. There is no such thing as aerating too much. Spread the seed on the newly aerated area. Go over area a couple of more times with the aerator. Then apply more seed. I would do this in late February or early March.
     
  9. drmax

    drmax LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Aerator would be cheaper and used every year. I won't be able to do anything to the area until May or so. Is this too late to mess with this year?
    The builder is required to put down seed when he's finished. Hopefully this won't be a waste of seed and money. I'll do some more research as I closer to the finish of construction. Thx
     
  10. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    You dont have to buy a tiller, Rent One. Get your soil tested now. Post the results and you will get help with the proper amendments and amounts to add. Once you have the information needed, apply all the amendments and rent the tiller and till it into the soil before applying any seed. If you get the soil nutrient levels in their proper ranges, you wont need the areator either. No use planting a lawn knowing you are going to have to redo it. The only attachment you might need to buy for your tractor is a broadcast spreader to use to apply the amendments and seed, and for future fertilizations or topdressings.

    I can almost guarantee that your building contracor isnot going to do a soil test or add the proper amounts of nutrients before he seeds your lawn. my guess is he will use a contractor mix of seed, usually fescue and rye, ( which you will probably endup killing off with roundup) and maybe some fertilizer, and he will apply this to the top of soil that has been leveled and compacted with a skidsteer, farm tractor or other heavy piece of equipment and the results are going to be less than desireable. You can let him level the area if you want to, but then you really need to apply the correct soil amendments and rototill them into the soil, to a depth of at least 6 inches, before applying any seed. Its like the Fram oil filter commercials, Pay a little now or a lot later. You are the one that is going to benefit from doing it right the first time.
     

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