Fall maintenance

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by bperl, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. bperl

    bperl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    I live in Ashburn, VA. I've recently purchased a home and trying to bring my lawn to a good health. I have Tall Fescue.
    I've got estimate from a Lawn maintenance company and they gave me an estimate of about $3,000. They suggested following has to be done to my lawn.

    1) Weed & Feed
    2) De-Thatching
    3) Aeration
    4) Lime Application
    5) Seeding
    6) Top Dress
    7) Starter Fertilizer

    Since its out of my budget range, I was planning to do it myself.
    Could you please let me know the following:

    a) Should I work on the items in the order listed above?
    If so, what should be the timelines. Since Summer ending / Fall is soon approaching, what should be the timetable. (Like Aug 3rd week - Remove weeds and Dethatching; Aug last week / Sep 1st week - Aeration & overseeding etc..)

    b) Where can I rent the lawn equipment like aerator and slit seeder in my area cheaply?

    c) Where and which Top Dresser should I get?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    Where do you live?

    You need to find a supplier for the materials you need (someone besides the big box stores). They'll have a program you can follow.

    If it were me, I'd go ahead and put lime down. You can do that at any time. You'd be applying, now, for results your lawn would benefit from in a few months.
  3. bperl

    bperl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    I live in Ashburn, Virginia.
    How soon can I do aeration and overseeding after I spray the herbicides.
    I want to be sure that the herbicides wont effect the overseeding.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. ernieknows

    ernieknows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    How many sq feet of turf? At least 3 weeks between liquid weed control and overseeding. How much thatch depth?
  5. bperl

    bperl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    about 7,000 sqft of turf. I'm not sure about Thatch. Never did De-thatching myself. Its been about 6 months since I bought the home. I can upload few pictures of the lawn if it helps.
  6. ernieknows

    ernieknows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    1) Grass seed will die unless you can water it heavily daily.
    Do you have that ability to do your whole lawn?

    Depending on the soil type, watering may be required for multiple times daily in order to keep the top inch or two of soil moist (not wet) for the seeds and seedlings (germinated seed plant) to grow.

    2) Either weed control first and soon, or next year. Many herbicides harm new seeds so read the product label looking for the waiting period or hire a professional and tell him/her you intend to over-seed. Price both out. Keep WRITTEN RECORDS detailing what why when price.

    3) Does your turf need aeration? Is the ground so hard you can not push a pencil 4-6 inches deep without breaking it or your hand? Price out rental vs hiring someone to double aerate. How much lead time does the pro need?
    Aeration penetrates better if the ground is wet, can you water your yard the days before?

    4) Seed grows in soil, not on top of existing grass or thatch. Thoroughly power-raking thatch is loosened and removal exposes the soil for fresh seed. Collecting loose thatch is a lot of work.

    5) Address any drainage, gully, slope or grading issues. Now the hard part.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Much of that $3000 stuff is likely unnecessary... I would learn the soil that you're dealing with and focus on growing grass rather than killing weeds...
  8. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    agreed. If the thatch layer is not terrible i.e less than one inch, then a good aeration will do the trick. If the thatch layer is greater than 1 inch then i would power rake, not dethatch. Put the tines on the thatcher low enough that its getting the thatch out, but not so deep that your ripping up the entire yard.

    Topdressing can be beneficial to the yard, but it isnt always needed. You can get good results with out doing so.

    As far as weed control goes. If you spray with trimec, you want to spray about 3-4 weeks before you seed. Then after you seed, you should mow your lawn at least 3 times before you spray for weeds again. At this point in the year you can still get a good two weed control applications down.

    If it was a property of mine I would do the following (number of weeks after last service): Balanced Fertilizer and Weed Control (NOW), Aerate, Power Seed, and Starter Fertilizer (4-6 weeks), Balanced Fertilizer and Weed Control (4 weeks), Winterizer Fertilizer (4 weeks).

    Overseed rates for tall fescue is 3-5lbs/k. If the yard is pretty weedy, I would go at a 4-5lb/k rate and do a split application meaning 2-2.5lbs n/s and 2-2.5lbs e/w. A seeder should have somewhat of a setting to guide you, but if not measure out 1 k of your lawn, measure off about 2-2.5lbs of seed put it on a setting and test it out, if you run out of seed your to high, have seed left over your to low.

    Also remember too that you can reduce the amount of weed control needed over time by mowing your lawn higher. When your grass is higher it drowns out the weeds, thus reducing the amount of weed control needed. At my properties that we mow, we generally do 3 full weed control apps per year and the rest is spot spraying. And one of those full apps is crabgrass preventer so really were only doing 2 full post emergents. Good height is 3-3.5 but the best height is 3.5-4.
  9. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    You can over-seed a couple weeks (some say sooner) after a postM app..
  10. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    to late to edit my last posting. You generally want about .5 inches or less of thatch. So if you have 1 inch or less of thatch, I would aerate now and again in the spring tme and that will get it down to less than .5 inches then just aerate yearly after in the fall. But if you have 1 inch or more of thatch I would power rake, aerate now, aerate again in the spring and then every fall there after.

    Aerating is much better than power raking which i like to avoid at all costs. PR is bery stressfull on the lawn and takes out a lot of good grass too. aerating will reduce you thatch, reduce your soil compaction, allow more water, air, and nutrients to reach the roots of your lawn where the pr only allows those benefits to reach the soil level. By reaching the root its forcing the roots to grow larger and deeper which will provide you with a much healthier lawn.

    Be sure to when you aerate, to water your lawn about 1 week before hand 2x so the soil is nice and moist and you get good deep plugs. Then once you seed be sure to water too so the seed will germinate, no sense in overseeding then letting the seed die becasue you didnt water. Generally speaking you should try to water 2 times daily, enough to keep the top layer of soil moist until the new seed really takes off (generally about 14-21 days) then just continue with your regular watering about 1 inch per week.

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