Keeping it green...

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Please_Be_Green, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. Please_Be_Green

    Please_Be_Green LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    I purchased a new home in March. It was a stretch for me... Previous owners had professional landscapers, fertilizers... everything by a professional... My new yard was the envy of the neighborhood I unfortunately, can afford it all, especially in these economic times. I had the first two "professional" applications of Fert & Pre-Emerg and a second application with a "weed killer". After writing a check for $250.00, and spending over $220 a month in gas to get to work, something had to give... Unfortunately, the fertilizer company had to go...

    Realizing that I had to stay on top of the yard, I attempted to keep up with Ferts from Home Depot (Scotts). A few weeks after the 2nd application a fungus set in. I didn't know what I was dealing with... That's when the obsession set in. I haven't stopped doing research on lawn maintenance, weeds, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, etc. etc... All, which I'm sure you professionals do to keep the lawns looking pristine.

    On the other hand I'm a DIY type of guy and when I normally do something I do it 110%.

    Not sure if your all willing to help out a residential guy, learn some trips and tips. (I'm not sure if I was a professional in this business, I'd be so willing to post on a public forum to a home owner.)

    I guess my first question would be about Fertilizers. As I mentioned I've been using Scott's 4-step program, but I can't say I think its very good. The house across the street is using the same Fert company that my house used to use, and their lawn looks great compared to mine and they don't do a damn thing. I've been looking into Green View, but have also found the local Lesco's.

    How about these products Dimension, Armand, and Acclaim pre-emerg, fungicides and weed killers? I had the early season pre-emerg and I've decided that it's definitely starting to wear out. While I don't have a lot of crab grass, I do see, more and more spots starting to prop up. Can a home owner get hold of these products and apply it? Or are they strictly for professional.

    I've done some research and it seems as though there is an applicator license one can get in the state of NJ. Which would allow me to applicate on my own property. In your experience do certain home owners do this? Could I then purchase this stuff from Lesco's for self application?

    I have so many questions, and I'm trying so hard to keep my lawn green.
  2. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,942

    Hey dude -- the most important key is proper mowing. Any idiot can get a "license". If you have a descent spreader for granular fert, and a spot sprayer for liquid weed killer....your'e good to go. (unless you have a huge lawn). My opinion only.
  3. Please_Be_Green

    Please_Be_Green LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    I'm trying with that too... I have about 15000sqft of turf to cut... I'm using a 10 year old snapper push mower. I'll mention in my old home I never once took the blades off to sharpen them, but have done it twice this season so far.

    My wife is starting to think I'm really crazy about the lawn.

    PSUTURFGEEK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    The license your'e referring to is a NJ state private applicators license which isn't really a must to have for what your'e trying to do, as said earlier keep your mowing height up and don't over water, just start with that and see where it takes you. Alot of DIY's seem to set the mower to number Dirt.
  5. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Yes you can buy stuff at the lesco as long as it isnt restricted use. Most of what you would use isnt. You will pay retail pricing so it may be easier just to keep paying someone to do it. I see my customers pay top dollar for their own products only to get marginal results mainly due to improper calibration and application.
  6. Frank Fescue

    Frank Fescue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 713

    If you can show a picture of your lawn.
  7. Please_Be_Green

    Please_Be_Green LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    That's what I'm starting to think... I mean I think I could pay a little less for certain things, but I don't get any experience. ie. I probably could spray, but to get a quality sprayer and the product and my own time to do everything... Probably cheaper to just get someone to do it...

    On the other hand, over the long haul, it's probably cheaper if I enjoy learning, researching and experimenting and am willing to not have the best lawns.

    I'll see if I can take a pic in the morning... It will show the fungus damage, but it is coming back, since were having some cooler weather. i.e. it was mostly red thread, but there could have been some p.blight going on there also. I put two applications of Scotts Fungus control, but looking back I shouldn't have waited as long before I put the first application down, or wait a month in between the second.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,454

    Red thread is everywhere in early summer. Extra fertilizer is often a better cure than fungicide. Much cheaper, too. Do not water at night if you have red thread. In fact, try watering twice a week, only more minutes--to reduce the average daily humidity.

    Red thread should disappear as night temps come down. It will reappear about next June 15th.
  9. group501

    group501 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 174

    I have found that most professional services are price only slightly above what you would pay to do it yourself. I was in a costco the other day and saw a 50# bag of Scott's weed and feed for $47.00. Although there is 24d weed control in the bag this is really not an effective way of applying it and would probably have marginal at, at best results. An "Industry Standard 5 service program" consisting of pre emergent crabgrass control, post emergent weed control, fertilization and surface feeding insect control will probably be in the $80-$95.00 range per application depending on where in NJ you are located.

    The one thing that I would advise is to educate yourself as much as possible, Lawn Site search should prove to be very useful tool. After educating yourself, interview some companies that specialize in lawn applications. With all of your knowledge as to what constitutes a sound program you will be able to make an educated decision as to what the real difference between doing it yourself and paying a pro to do it really is. Just make sure that you also do some research on the companies you interview.

    Remember, there are certain things that happen during the year that are out of even a pro's control and require a special service call to correct. Most companies offer a guarantee that if a service does not achieve the desired results free service calls to correct the problem will be provided. A good lawn care provider will set a fair price and provide exceptional service. When you do it yourself and a service does not provide the desired results you are kind of on your own.
  10. benjammin

    benjammin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Contact your local Ag Ext.
    Get a soil sample before you put down anything else. Here's the Rutgers/Ag Ext web page for soil sampling and anylsis:

    I'm a first time home owner with a new lawn and my wife says I'm obsessive too. Just relax and change your perspective. Look at your yard from across the street, I'll bet it still looks as good as your neighbors. You can do it your self, but not in a day or two.

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