A better regimen for next year

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by CW-DXer, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. CW-DXer

    CW-DXer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Hello all,
    For the last 6 years I've been fighting a losing battle with the lawn, for one reason or another. I'd been seeding in April but with no pre-em, weeds were taking over in July, consumer-grade weed killers (Weed-B-Gon) in 80-degree August meant die-out by September, followed by more hit-or-miss treatments. Starting this year I'd like to do it properly, but I have more questions than viable answers.

    I had a great afternoon's chat with the gents at my local Lesco (JDL) and they provided me a decent tentative maintenance schedule but what it doesn't seem to take into account is what products to use when I need to overseed.

    I've just sent a soil sample for analysis and should hopefully know the results in a week or two. Assuming average-for-the-area conditions, they've tentatively suggested the following, and I'd greatly appreciate any feedback. Note that I'm in northern NJ, near NYC.

    • 55-degree average soil temp, hit it with Dimension+Fert, then again in late-April/early May.
    • Eliminate Herbicide at the same time and again early September (*).
    • Allectus .225%+Fertilizer late-June
    • 24-0-11 mid-September (**)
    • 30-0-10 mid-November
    • Lime in August (??)
    • Aerate and spot-seed in April and September as needed. In my case, I'll probably need more than spot seeding for a couple of years until the lawn really come in better than it is now (very sparse).

    I had the 10k SqFt. lawn core-aerated professionally and Lesco Parks & Athletic mix was overseeded on top of the plugs, along with a grub killer a couple of days ago. I'd put down Home Despot's fungicide a week prior. After seeding I applied Scotts starter fertilizer. They clued me in to Lesco after they'd done the work and, after all that, is when I went up and got their recommendations.

    (*) (**) Per Lesco's recommendations, how can I spot-seed in the spring and fall if I'm using combination products like Dimension+Fert (Lesco 084176) and 026538 in the fall? My understanding of both these products is that they'll kill any seedlings.

    My main lawn nemesis is plantain in the hot weather and crabgrass around the curb lines, oniongrass in the spring and what looks like bentgrass (very bright green broadleaf grass) coming in by air from two nearby golf courses, again, in late-summer. Until now, my lawn is the Lesco Parks & Athletic in the front, where there's a lot of sun and Scott's Deep Shade Mix of fescues and Ryegrass for the shady back yard and north side of the house. Very little Kentucky present.

    I have an irrigation system that I run typically every 3 days for 30 minutes per zone in a normal summer (though in 2011, with the weather we've had, I've used it less than 8 times all summer since 2-3" of rain a week has been commin in 2011). I cut to 3" in the summer and about 2-3/4" spring and fall, ensuring sharp blades always.

    That's about all I can think of. I know it's a lot of info (probably too much), but I confess to knowing almost nothing about doing lawn care the correct way and frankly I'm tired of just winging it and getting poor results over the long-haul. I would be extremely grateful for any constructive advice in unlearning old bad habits and in learning to do things right.

  2. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,542

    Hire a competent company and enjoy the nice lawn without all the headaches of trying to wing it on your own.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. CW-DXer

    CW-DXer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    That's one option but I'd like to learn how to do it myself. I actually enjoy it for some odd reason. I'm certainly willing to hire the pros for application of restricted pesticides or to do the kinds of back-breaking labor that I just can't do any more. Saving well over a thousand dollars a year is a nice side-benefit, too but that's not the primary objective. I just like the satisfaction of doing a hard job correctly. Personal satisfaction and all that :)
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,676

    You are correct about seed after crabgrass control. Do not seed in spring; seed in fall 6 weeks before frost--that is--this week, probably. Include starter fertilizer. Next year apply crabgrass control, and 6 weeks later apply again if crabgrass was severe the previous year.
    Weed killer in spring; Weed B Gone Max is ideal. Late spring 24-0-11. Allectus in June.
    24-0-11 in Sept. Also weed control in Sept. Winterizer in October.

    Familiarize yourself with red thread--one of the common diseases in NJ. Common in hot humid weather. Get a pro to spray it.

    Do not power edge the lawn for 12 weeks after crabgrass control--edging cuts into soil and destroys your crabgrass protection.

    You need a pro to identify and control bentgrass.
  5. CW-DXer

    CW-DXer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Good to know about Red Thread. I'd never heard of it before and I'll make sure I get it looked after. My guy uses Q4 which I'm lawfully allowed to use in NJ without a license (according to the Lesco guys) but frankly scared to death of putting down myself without a thorough understanding of what is does and how it works.

    But I'm confused about something. You say to overseed right around now but you also say to use 24-0-11 and weed control in September. Is this not an either-or situation? Either seed OR use these products but not both? How can I safely do a general overseed job as well as fertilize/weed control in Sept?
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We spot-spray broadleaf after Memorial Day and that typically is good for the summer...

    CG, Pre-M can be applied after the Spring seedlings are large enough to withstand the "Root-Inhibitor" that kills the seedlings... that is how pre-m works... (but here is now a CG seedling killer that does not affect cool-season grasses)

    In the late-summer begin the over-seeding process, and begin building soil fertility for the winter... If you've access to compost you have an almost foolproof method of seeding... seeding is a big mystery to professionals that follow a "One Size, Fits All" formula, but with a compost covering, very little effort is required for late summer renovations...

    Then you may want to spot-spray perrenial broadleaf weeds as you move into fall... spot-spraying is better because all herbicides have ill-effects on grasses of one extent or another...

    Believe it or not, grass is the easiest thing in the world to grow... it grows naturally all over the world as the most common ground cover... we tend to screw things up as we sell ferts and 'cides, rather than grow the stuff... :)
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,676

    Correct CW, IMHO, exception: applying weed control to new grass is risky. So postpone weed control until your new grass has been mowed twice. Once you have thick grass, then weed control in spring and every fall is a good idea, as it eliminates winter annuals and dandelions which would come up in spring if not treated in the fall, (begin in 2012). Skip the Q4, as its expensive, and there is no point in killing crabgrass at this late date, even if it would actually work on mature crabgrass. Fertilizer (like 24-0-11) in early September and late October is a good idea, (it won't hurt seed) but do not overfertilize by using it on top of starter fertilizer. Hurry frost is coming soon. Send us pictures if you don't mind. And stay away from cheap seed, OK?

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