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need a good "spoon feed" fert plan

6152 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Squirter
first off, i'm a homeowner (central indiana) who really enjoys working to get the best looking lawn in the neighborhood. i hope this doesn't offend you pros trying to make a living. perhaps some free advice?

i have a really nice looking / thick lawn of kbg (80%) and perennial rye. the lawn was established about 3 yrs. ago an is about 8k sq. ft. of turf. i also have an in-ground irrigation system (watering 2-3 times/wk. @ 5:30 a.m.) and a walker mower with the grass handling system which collects my clippings. i have been using lesco (jdl) granular fert since the establishment of my lawn. i also have a backpack sprayer to spot-treat broadleaf weeds (very few).

for the last 3 yrs, my lawn has been beautiful in the spring and fall....but summer, not so much. mind you, it's still the best lawn in the area, but not up to my high-standard. seems i struggle with things like red-thread, brown patch.

as for my fert schedule, i usually apply every 7-8 wks starting yesterday with my first ap of pre-emergent/fert (i think it was 25-2-5 w/10% dimension). i'll probably apply again around memorial day using whatever my jdl guy suggests (seems this has been 23-0-11 ???) and use the same stuff for my 3rd and 4th ap (july 4th & labor day). in early november, i'll winterize with 35-3-5 (i think).

my thoughts are that i'm throwing away money and nutrients by collecting my clippings (walker mower). i'm not worried about the money but the discarded nutrients could be a problem given my past fert habits/schedule.

so, i'm looking to improve the lawn this year so that it looks great all season. i have a feeling i could get the desired result if i were to fertilize more often using less fertilizer material per application. i'm open to your suggestions if you would be so kind to weigh-in. thanks in advance!!! please offer a schedule i can follow along with any change in the fertilizer i'm using. thanks again for helping me take my lawn to the next level.
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wow.........thanks guys. lawnsite has been berry berry good to me. i'm sure you've all provided GREAT feedback. the problem is, am i smart enough to figure out what to do with it. seems i'm getting a bit over my head...especially when it comes to understanding some of your comments about the different types of fert. since i'm 'just a homeowner', i've tried to leave my lawn care (fert recommendations) decisions up to my jdl dealer, who has probably done a great job helping me. he can only do so much.

one of my objectives (right or wrong) has been to increase the kbg through overseeding. i've done this the past 2 years in the fall right after aeration. i'm also interested in thickening my lawn as i still have some spots that are bare or thin. i've always believed that one of the best ways to prevent weeds/crabgrass is to have a really thick lawn and i think i like the looks of kbg over perennial rye. so, i've used 100% kbg but haven't really had the best results w/ fall overseeding. while i'm not a complete failure, it seems i just don't have a 'green thumb' when it comes to getting seeds to germinate. HOWEVER....after reading one of the replies (above), perhaps i should reconsider trying for more NEW kbg. it makes sense NOT to put all my 'eggs in one basket' and wipe out an entire lawn when/if bad things happen.

another comment y'all have made is to try reducing the humidity of my lawn. wow, that makes perfect sense as i reflect on my watering habits. i've tried to water in the early morning when it is less windy. in fact, most people seem to prefer early a.m. watering. however, as i think about it, the areas of my lawn that seem to suffer the most (in summer) is where it gets the least amount of MORNING sunlight. i think i'll try to delay my a.m. waterings until around 9-10ish. also, watering deeper (less frequent) makes simple, but great sense. i think my past watering schedule (2-3 times/wk) has NOT helped me develop a good root system as i've probably been guilty of using shorter cycles.

enuf rambling...........keep those thoughts coming and i'll try to do more reading than writing.
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thanks rodney.

i'm going to jdl today to inquire about a post emerg broadleaf granular....which is unrelated to my initial post. it's just one of those never-ending springtime lawn issues. seems the "early warm up" (temps in the high 70's and low 80's) here in indy has the broadleaf stuff popping up. i have a backpack sprayer to do redzone/speedzone for my lawn (spot treat) but probably need a granular to get take care of (blanket) the neighbor's weed infested lawn.

while at jdl, i'm going to ask my guy to recommend a fungicide and the proper time to apply. hopefully he'll have something. i think i see some value in what you have suggested....which was that addressing the fungus/disease could produce my best lawn in many years. that approach, coupled with a slightly different approach to watering (let it dry out more and reduce humidity of turf), could be all i need. additionally, i'm going to do a spoon feeding approach (more aps, less fert/ap) this year since i'm collecting my clippings.

i doubt i've got the guts to try removing the perennial rye and incorporating all kbg. i'm really not complaining THAT much about my existing turf to justify all the possible headaches of "starting over". as i've said, my lawn is really quite good as it is. what i probably will do is the soil sample sometime in august??? maybe the results will reveal how i can make a fall aeration w/over-seeding of 100% kbg more successful than past attempts. i like the thoughts of riggle on getting to know more about the good kbg (northstar, alpine, etc.)
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