fetilize before or during seeding / lawn renovation

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Bob E, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. Bob E

    Bob E LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    I'm tired of looking at the weeds and clover. I've been reading up here and have some questions about renovating my lawn.

    We have 1 acre that is mostly weeds and clover. I did a soil test (with the local county extension office) The soil test recommends 1.5# of nitrogen per 1000 ft2. They recommend I use a balanced 1:1:1 ratio fertilizer this year and just nitrogen the next two years, then do another soil test in 3 years. According to the test I do not need any lime.

    Since I'm going to roundup the entire yard this month, when do I need to put down this much fertilizer, before I do the roundup, or at seeding time?

    Is this enough nitrogen to harm new seedlings?

    Assuming that the first of September is the best time to plant new seed, I will need to roundup this week, right?

    I plan on rent an aerator when I seed to get some of the seeds into the ground, is this a good idea?
  2. blaze347

    blaze347 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    -wait a couple weeks
    -add your fertilzer
    -till to about 3"
    -let the ground settle a bit (hopefully you will get a rain or two)
    -seed before Sept 7th
    -I dont believe in aeration when establishing a new yard, simply because you will have weed seeds that get "planted" . I like to aerate once I get the lawn established and have a grasp on the weed control.
  3. Bob E

    Bob E LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    At the risk of sounding like a lazy homeowner.

    How do I till an acre of ground?

    If I rented a roto-tiller I would be out there for 3 years wouldn't I?

    I spoke to a rental company today and they recommended a HARLEY RAKE on a bobcat. I would probably be dangerous on this. Plus a 2 day rental with delivery is about $400.

    I do have some mounds that could be leveled out by doing this, but I could do more harm than good not being familiar with the bobcat. These mounds could be leveled witha roto tiller and a rake (not very large).

    I have called at least 6 different lawn care companies that have "finish grading" in their yellow page listing, all of them promise to come out and give me an estimate, but none have showed up or called back. I refuse to call them back and 'beg" that they take my money. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they decided not to come out after I told them that I wanted to reseed the lawn myself, but they should have the professional courtesy to at least tell me that. So it look's like I'm on my own.

    Any suggestions would be helpful and appreciated?
  4. simplicityjeff

    simplicityjeff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5


    The BobCat would do the job and cost as much as a company coming out to do the work. Iwould get the bobcat for one day, tear up the lawn, spread some soil, and then seed for your climate xone. When you do seed, use PennMulch instead of straw/hay. PennMulch will help keep the ground moist for proper germination. Ive used it with great results.
  5. TSM

    TSM LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 707

    Bob, let me add to the mix of possabilities. You must have some turf?? I mean it cant all be weeds??

    I'm a strong believer in working with what you have, rather than starting all over (chances are after starting all over you will end up back to where you are now)

    If it were my property I'd go about it like this:

    1) Fertilize now (as per your soil test)
    Also include a broadleaf weed control with the fertilizer (broadleaf weed controls are best applied in a liquid formulation, but you can achieve fair results with granular weed controls if done properly--read the product label)

    2) aerate with a 'core' aeration machine in mid sept. then broadcast a desirable seed for your lawn (shade vs sun etc.). Once seed is bradcast i'd go over the area once again with the aerator. Best to mow the lawn extremly short before aerating/seeding, you will want to NOT mow the lawn until the new seed has had a chance to germinate...a mower will disturb the seed to soil contact and germination will be affected.

    3) water daily until germination

    4) in October fertilize again (no weed controls this time)

    5) plan a schedule for next season of fertilizer/ weed controls / insect controls.
    Your lawn will be the pride of your neighborhood and you will have pride in knowing you did it yourself.

    I have over 20 years involved in the lawncare industry. I have seen MANY folks chose to start over from scratch. This is costly and time consuming....then they all end up right back where they started.

    Whichever method you chose....good luck to ya
  6. Bob E

    Bob E LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60


    My back yard is probably 70% clover 15% weeds and 15% grass, so there isn't a whole lot of turf there. My old philosphy was "weeds are green too" so I never paid much attention to the back yard. The front yard is mostly turf, but I made the mistake of buying what ever seed was on sale to overseed, so I have a mix of fescue, bluegrass rye grass and (I think) bermuda. All of which are differnt textures and different colors.

    It sort of looks like one of picasso's paintings with the mixture of colors.

    I really think my best bet is to start over. I have much better personal outlook on the look of my yard now, and I promise I won't let it get this bad again.

    By the way if any one has a reccomendation on which seed to use I will take it. I've been looking on www.seedland.com and think I have it narrowed down to "Plantation" for the front yard and "eviro-shade for the back", or I might possibly go with "Rebel Supreme" in both front and back. My back yeard gets more shade than the front, but it still get 3-4 hours of direct sun per day. I do have a large dog so I need a resillent grass for the back yard.
  7. mc1169

    mc1169 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55


    Have no fear. In the Spring my lawn sounded pretty much like yours. It was infested with clover and everything else. TrueGreen ChemLawn came out and did there thing...and I have to say that in only 3 apps plus one spot treatment they eliminated 90% of the weeds and my lawn is looking much better.

    Next year I will take over the program myself, however I needed a pro to put me on the right track.

    Take a look at my thread "Heavy Clover Problems"-- should be near the top of the homeowner Forum...

  8. BCSteel

    BCSteel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    I'll agree with TSM, most of the time it is not really necessary to start over again.
  9. Bob E

    Bob E LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    Well, I've been stood up again by two more people to come look at this job. I don't know what the probelm is, when I talk to them on the phone and tell them what I want done all of them say that they can do it and have done it before.

    All of them say that they will be out to look at the yard and give me an estimate but none of them have showed. I know I have talked to at least 10 if not 15 different people.

    So it looks like I'm going to tackle this myself since time is running out.

    Here is my plan.

    -August 14 (this weekend) 1st application of round up

    -August 21 (next weekend) 2nd application of round up on whats left alive

    August 28 Have "dingo" delivered with 42" harley rake (since I have no experience on bobcat) with small load of topsoil. I will have the dingo for the weekend so I should be able to get everything leveled out. ($300)

    Sept 4 Fertilize according to my soil test and seed with Lesco TriGold transistion belnd (fescue).

    Some questiosn are. Shoudl I use slow release fertizer or not? I was looking at the 19:19:19 (granular) that Lesco sells, but it has no time relase nitrogen in it. Should I use a different ratio of fertilizer?

    Shoudl I rent a power seeder to plant the grass seed? ($35)

    I read a few posts here about spreading peat moss over the seed (as a mulch), is this okay to do? I have an Earthway 2170 spreader and I think peat moss will feed okay through it, so it should be "easy" to apply. Any idea how far a bag will go?

    Shoudl I plan on spreading a pre-emergent weed control later this fall? if so when?

    I assume it would be useless to areate after the harley rake, so shoudl I plan on areating in the spring?

    Any contractors from Louisville, KY area that may be reading this are more than welcome to contact me about doing this, I can do the roudup and seed it myself. This job shouldn't be more than 4-6 hours worth or work for someone who knows what they are doing.
  10. hamsey

    hamsey LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 123

    Use a starter fert. when seeding. Next app. (October) use straight fert. Both available @ Lesco. If you put down a pre-emergent fert. it could prevent the grass from coming up (that hasn't already).


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