new lawn renovation

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Roachy, May 1, 2011.

  1. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    I have 2 lawns that I just picked up that are in poor shape. Both houses are about 2-3 yrs old so the lawn is what the contractor originally put in. The problem is not bare spots, but the lawn seems like its all matted down and doesnt seem like its growing. Its a real light green or yellow color and maybe about %20 of the lawn seems like its growing straight up. It's kinda weird because theres a number of houses in this new neighborhood that seem to have the same problem. Just wondering if you guys see this a lot and what you normally do. I know sometimes new houses will have top soil put in if nothing can grow. I figured I would try and dethatch this guys lawn and then put fertilizer and hope that boosts the growth. Recommendations??
  2. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,531

    This is what happens to land when they build houses. They probably prepped all of those lots at the same time with a bulldozer. All the topsoil is now fill somewhere around there. Those yards might need all the help they can get.
  3. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    Post a pic sometime. Were they seeded or sodded?
  4. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Pull a soil test ASAP, find out what is going on in there and then plan on topdressing w/compost if you can find a good supplier. You take these and make them showcase lawns, you'll have the neighborhood.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    What is different here, than other lawns this time of year. I have been over a lot of turf in the past few weeks with a blower... I see the best and the worst of our common mix of KBG, Per Rye and Fescue...

    The matted down stuff with the straight up 20% stuff is likely the KBG... In time it will look like we would like it to look... That is if La Nina ever let's us warm up enough for that to happen... Be patient...

    Make your complaints and your judgements when the soil and the air are fit for life... :)
  6. 1993lx172

    1993lx172 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,305

    In my opinion I don't think it will do much good. I have a yard like this and I feel that the issues are caused by the lack of top soil and compaction. When I get done with classes for summer break, and when I get the go ahead, I'm going to Harley rake the yard, bring in top soil, and re-seed it.

    I don't know what you are dealing with in terms of conditions but I would try to aerate it (go over it three or four times) then fertilize it then go from there. I wouldn't suggest doing what I am going to do (the job is a 95% go at this point, just waiting on that last 5%) right off the bat, unless it's that bad. I've been trying for the last few years to get results but it's to the point where it's time to try Plan C.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    So this is what you feel... Not much of a selling point to a client that is supposed to give you money to act on your feelings...

    A simple plug or 2 will let you know EXACTLY the amount of topsoil and the range of compaction, without a lot of unknown feelings to sort out... So why bother with feelings at all?
    BTW, What is topsoil? And please, spare me your feelings and just explain objectively and scientifically what topsoil is...
    You know, a definition of topsoil... or... as you feel, an interpretation of topsoil... :)
  8. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    Not sure whether they were seeded or sodded. Im sure I could bring in top soil and do a whole renovation, but not every home owner wants a bill for that much money. I would love to have these 2 lawns as showcase homes because their neighbors have terrible lawns also.

    Do you guys think dethatching will help with this, or is aeration and dethatching going to be much better.

    I dont have much experience with buying and spreading compost. Please educate me on this: how it is spread and typically price per yard.

    I would rather not run this guys bill up and then have it not work, only to have to get topsoil. I will post pics when I get a chance. Still unclear as to the best possible solution for the problem right now.
  9. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    I wish this were the case. It has been in the 70's around here. I asked both homeowners how their lawns were last year and they said awful, so I cant image the grass would just shoot up when its warmer out.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Depending on what the soil actually is, you may be very successful with a topdressing of compost... the only difference beteen dirt and topsoil is the amount of humus...

    Having a showcase yard in a rundown neighborhood, becuz you threw a bunch of money at it, is not nearly as impressive as; creating the perfect lawn with a few simple ammenities and wise cultural practices...

    Has anyone pulled a plug yet to determine what we are actually dealing with here?

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