Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Squirter, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Squirter

    Squirter LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Messages: 172


    I live in central Indiana and I'm trying to come up with a fert/re-seed plan that makes some sense for me and my little 8,000 sq. ft' (established 4 yrs. ago) lawn. But first, please know I'm 'just a homeowner' who enjoys DIY when it comes to making my lawn look good. I guess it's a self-satisfaction thing. However, I need some advice.

    While I know it's a bit early to judge, vast majority of my lawn (perennial rye / kbg) seems to have survived last summer's drought with minimal damage...thanks to my irrigation system and lesco fert plan/material. I do, however, have some relatively small spot repairing (re-seeding) to do where I don't think the grass part, due to fungus. Other than the isolated damaged areas, my lawn is quite thick with about 15% (spotty areas) needing to be thickened. Over the past 2-3 yrs, I have had very little broadleaf weed problems (spot treated w/speed zone) and zero crabgrass. So, I'm toying with the idea of skipping my spring pre-m ap's (2 ap's of 19-0-11 w/dimension) so I can grow some new grass this Spring.

    Here's my dilemma. My neighbor's entire lawn (about 3,500 sq/ft. in the front only) is mostly trash. Weeds, crabgrass, and toasted due to neglect. Last summer's drought just smoked most of what little (15% ?) 'good grass'e grass they had and encouraged huge broadleaf growth. It really needs a complete kill and renovation/re-seeking and'm the lucky guy elected to fix it. While I know Fall is a better time to do it, I'd really like to do the front yard only THIS SPRING, otherwise, it's another 1/2 year of ugly-ness...weeds entering my nice lawn, etc. It's a total waste of time and material $$$ to apply fert/broadleaf/crabgrass control.

    Here's my thought: Forget about the spring pre-m (dimension) on MY lawn so I can re-seed the areas (or even the entire lawn) needing thickened/repair. Somehow, I'll deal with any crabgrass that may find a place to grow. If I go forward with this approach, I would like your thoughts on a good fert/weed control plan in the absence of my spring pre-m/feedings AND given the new grass I'm trying to grow. As for my NEIGHBOR'S lawn, I'd like to kill it with something (round-up) and slice seed. However, given all the weeds (left-over from last year), I'm almost afraid I'll need to till it order to prepare a good 'seed bed'...but, there's no way I'll have the time/energy. I know I'll have a 'boat load' of weeds/crabgrass to deal with since they will have a perfect breeding ground...but I'm hopeful I'll produce a good stand of new grass along with it.

    So, my question is, how/when/what is my best approach to getting this entire job done THIS SPRING? Timing? Materials?

    Thanks for your help!!!
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I never use pre-m personally... except on driveways and gardens... never turf...

    I would not be afraid to overseed in the spring, just work your seed into the bare/thin areas with a rake or garden weasel, and soak it good with compost over the top of it...

    It is generally best to fertilize after 2 or 3 mowings, as opposed to early spring. Grow your grass higher 3-4 inches, during the heat of summer and you shouldn't have a problem with CG...

    BTW, you can continue to overseed yourself all summer long, unless the heat is just too much...

    DIY lawns are much easier than what pros have to deal with, especially when we see them once a month or so... :)
  3. Squirter

    Squirter LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Messages: 172

    thanks small. now i'm really confused. you say you never use pre-m on turf??? perhaps i've ignorantly used the "pre-m" term incorrectly? perhaps we're talking about two different things. when i used the term pre-m (correctly or not), what i'm referring to is pre-emergent for crabgrass control. i thought EVERYBODY used a pre-emergent in the spring (unless you're trying to seed)??? i've been doing it most of my life...and thought everybody else was too. now you're saying you don't use it on turf? ever? are we talking about the same thing?

    in addition, what would you recommend i use to kill the neighbor's lawn (mostly weeds) in its entirity??? when should i use it? how soon, thereafter can i seed? what do the soil temps have to be for germination to occur for a perennial rye/kbg blend? is it possible i'm looking at re-seeding in may.....when the dandelions are in full bloom....or will i be able to do something sooner?

    geez...i hope after killing the neighbor's lawn (weeds), i'll be able to prepare a proper seedbed by simply using a slice-seeder to cut through the dead weed/grass material. hmmmmmm
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    You are correct in your meaning of pre-m... You are also corect in that EVERYBODY uses it... The right question is:

    "Is it necessary?"

    Of course my answer is NO, but that is risky for some people...

    What I find is that a strong stand of grass that is healthy and thick, not cut too short, will not let CG grow, Period...

    I would just run the slit seeder through the dead bodies of the weeds, b4 they they green up in the spring, and deal with broadleaf weeds once your grasses have established. Continue overseeding through out the summer until it gets too hot to do so... :)
    You can always spend the money on Pre-m that doesn't hurt the good grasses, if you don't feel confident that your lawn can withstand CG...
  5. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    I have a neighbor who every year seems to fail at trying to grow something new...and once he gives up his plot becomes crabgrass heaven. I went over and wacked it down before the seedheads became ridiculous.

    Bottom line imo is you cannot fight nature and you cannot fight what others do or it will drive you crazy. Suffer some weeds that blow into your yard for now and get your seed planted and established, later you can put down a broadleaf killer on YOUR yard and keep your plot nice. Short term you may have some weeds, long term you don't, but you have to protect your sanity and trying to control other people's yards is not an effort worth fighting as you cannot win unless you do all the work for them...don't do it!
  6. tombo82685

    tombo82685 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 288

    This is how i would tackle it if it was my lawn. First the way how pre emerge works is it creates a barrier on the soil surface. The crabgrass seedling actually germinates underground, but do to the chemical it can't penetrate the soil surface. They say for crabgrass seeds, they lay active in the soil for 7-10 years, once past that timeframe they damper out. So if a home owner applies pre emerge for 7-10 straight years i would say the following year maybe skip it, then hit it again the next year. Since you're only at yr 4 this doesn't apply to you.

    This is what you can do though. Apply the pre emerge down to the whole yard. Then the areas that you would like to seed, break up the soil, thus break the pre emerge barrier which will allow your seed to grow, while the rest of your lawn is controlled.

    I'm not really sure of your climate, but this is how i approach it from my area. I know your area is a little colder than mine so adjust the date ranges as needed.
    In terms of a fert/weed program i would go like this

    Dimension with potassium filler, analysis 0-0-7
    come back in late april/ early may quick release fertilizer applying .5 or less lbs/1000
    late may/early june another shot of fertilizer with atleast 30% percent of slow release in it and some potassium(unless you are going to spoon feed, then do another shot of quick release around .25 lbs/1000)

    late august .75-1lb of nitrogen quick release
    late sept .75-1 lb of nitrogen quick release
    then after your first freeze/lawn stops growing, mow it one last time and apply .5-.75lbs of nitrogen with atleast 50 percent slow release and a good amount of potassium.

    In terms of weeds/insects

    merit around late june

    2 shots of post emerge weed killer one shot in early june the other shot in late aug/early september
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Baloney... this description is why no one seems to understand what pre-m actuall is...

    Pre-m is a ROOT INHIBITOR... Plain and Simple...

    It is a chemical that must be dispersed across the surface of the ground so that every... Every root in that soil ingests...

    Ingests the chemical, the AI of your Pre-M.. and is affectected by it...

    Let's Review... The AI of your Pre-m must be ... ??

    Ingested... Period...

    Now can anyone explain WHY, they analogy of "BARRIER" would be used by SCOTT'S and Others to describe what is ACTUALLY happening when you dump this stuff on the surface???
  8. tombo82685

    tombo82685 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 288

    Ummm what is baloney about the statement? For it to be a root inhibitor it has to form roots, which means it has to germinate. As soon as it pops the radicle out it doesn't jue die right away it has to translocate throughout. In this process it does form the plumule that grows upward towards the soil surface but once the chemical fully takes over it's done.

    I believe my statement was the seed actually germinates, which it does...and tries to grow towards the surface but can't, do to the absorption of the chemical through its roots. Its the samething you said just worded different.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,794

    Tombo suggested a good plan. Except for one thing. Convince your neighbor to get professional care--it will save you both a lot of problems. A small local company can give him the best quality. They will probably add crabgrass control now --kill the weeds a couple times during the summer. Slit seed in late August.

    For your own lawn, be sure to include about half top-quality Kentucky bluegrass seed, as it withstands heat better and it can creep to fill in thin spots. Perennial rye cannot creep--and it is disease prone particularly if temps exceed 90 and humidity is high. Be sure any perennial rye you plant is resistant to red thread, rust, dollar spot, brown patch, and gray leaf spot. If it says disease-resistant on the package that means resistant to one of the above--you want all five. Scotts Silver Dollar is a good start--you want something as good, or better.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We can agree on the idea that the chemical is in the soil, and if it is absorbed by the plant, it stifles the root which in turns kills the babies...
    What makes no sense with that idea in mind was your explanation as to how breaking up the "Barrier" will allowyou to plant seed:
    To quote your post,
    "This is what you can do though. Apply the pre emerge down to the whole yard. Then the areas that you would like to seed, break up the soil, thus break the pre emerge barrier which will allow your seed to grow, while the rest of your lawn is controlled."

    So the question is : How does breaking up the soil, get rid of the chemical? Isn't the chemical still there, only restirred in the same soil?

    Also pre-m can still kill seedlings even after theyv'e produced leaves above ground. That is why you need to allow your good seed to mature enough to withstand the pre-m b4 applying for CG...

    Not trying to be a pain, but the mythology of the barrier thing just makes it almost impossible to speak logically about spring seeding... :)

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