New to seeding & fert need some advice

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Ridge Home Renovations, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Ridge Home Renovations

    Ridge Home Renovations LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I mow 9 lawns as part of my business, last fall I had a customer ask for me to do some spraying for weeds and fertilize.
    So, This customer who had a horrible crabgrass problem. Last fall I sprayed it all, half the yard died(all crabgrass). There are now gaping holes of dead CG. One side of the yard by the neighbors who's entire yard is crabgrass about 1k sq ft is all dead. Upon request by the customer(was told by Do It best employee) I reseed, In late september, I didn't think anything would happen, advised to wait till spring, and nothing did happen.

    I just aerated the property today, will the seeds germinate or am I going to have to reseed and start fert?

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If you seeded in September, you should have had geass established b4 winter... If nothing germinated, and nothing grew, it is probably becuz of what you used to kill the CG... What did you use?
    And What grew last fall?...
    Is there anything now?,
    when does seed germinate in your neighborhood?... :)
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    Get your spray license. Or hire a pro. If you seed now, crabgrass will probably come up also. Best seeding date is probably about Sept 1st, but be sure you have about 6 weeks before frost. You can seed in spring when temp hits about 60, but crabgrass comes up when air temp hits about 80. Not likely you can get the new seed up and strong enough to withstand crabgrass control (applied by a pro) within that time frame.
  4. Ridge Home Renovations

    Ridge Home Renovations LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I used ortho weed b gone(end of hose attached kind) then raked out most of the dead CG, I didn't want bare soil. I did not buy the seeds the homeowner did, I think they were scotts turf builder sun & shade seeds with a coating on them. I'm not sure what type of grass seed it was maybe fescue thinking 2 week germination.

    Nothing grew at all then and now, its still almost bare on the one side of the driveway. I found the invoice, it was september 30th when I seeded and 2 week before that I sprayed.

    Too late in season?First frost is usually beginning of november here. Ortho? will they possible still germinate?

    Right now high temps are from 55-60. I was going to wait to seed. I was thinking 1st week of April usually by then its in the 60s range. If I do reseed I was going to use a ryegrass blend form local ag plus store, to get quick germination(I have been reading alot on here today ;) ), so I can get some pre-m on in early-mid May hopefully. Does this sound like the best possible solution?

    The home owners are a older couple in there late 70's, they have gotten quotes from pro's, but said they were to high. They asked me to do it. I told them I would figure it out, and they trust me. There not fantatical about the grass looking perfect, they just want it to look decent without crabgrass. I can spot treat each week when I mow if needed, if crabgrass does reemerge.

    thanks for the advice any more is much appreciated
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Take a garden weasel and work the top 1/2 inch, spread the seed over the area, use the garden weasel again to be sure the seed is buried, then soak it down... Let it grow tall and mow it high to help keep the CG at bay... and of course mulch mow... Stay away from chemical herbicides until you get your liscence and realize how they impact your seeding... Do not put down "CG Preventer" for fertilizer... You'll screw up your grass again, and will be breaking the law... :)
  6. Ridge Home Renovations

    Ridge Home Renovations LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks smallaxe, I may look into spray liscence after this season or maybe during. 2 of my lawns have asked if I do extra services(fert, aeration, seeding). I'm kind of experimenting with the idea of offering more services.
    I think I am sold on aeration though.
    So, I will probably be surfing around on here quite a bit for the next couple months.

    Thanks all
  7. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    I keep reading "spray chemicals" You should check the pH of your soil. Fix the imbalance in the soil and the stuff won't grow!!!
    Read the Homeowners Assistance forum for more information.

    In Canada we are waiting for the Federal Government to pass a law very soon prohibiting the cosmetic use of pesticides in every province, except for
    Quebec. I believe there is a law suit going on there where one of your very large chemical manufacturers is suing the government
    Your lawn needs a pH close to 7. That is also what a human's pH is.
    In western Canada where we have alot of rain, the soil get acidic and the pH
    goes low. We sweeten it up with lime. In the east I understand they use gypsum
    to lower the pH.

    I just started getting involved on the site. I am curious, I see people fertilizing alot
    but do you not have to set up the pH with a lime or gypsum also (a week to ten days earlier?)(I know the lime will deplete the nitrogen content in the lawn fertilizer if we use them too close togeather here.)
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Have you collectted rain water and dipped a pH strip in it? What was the reading for your rain water?
  9. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    I've never tested the rain water. I wonder if the tsunami damage will effect it and our grass will glow in the dark?

    The soil is what we test. We take samples from all over the effected area, mix them in a sandwich bag. The test shows an average of all of the nutrient levels and the pH. It costs about $120.00 from a private lab.

    I've used kits that allow you to test the samples yourself. Buy them at H.D. or a garden store...You can set up the test on your tailgate and the client watches you from a distance.
    Maybe it's a selling point, but I've found having credentials to be more impressive.

    Mostly, clients don't want to pay the extra for a test or any-thing. I've had many people call who don't say "hello." Literally their first words are, "you give me a deal?"

    You get to a point where you can read the turf and its problems. Weeds are indicators of site problems, so you just
    adjust accordingly and monitor over time.

    We aerate, lime, overseed, fertilize. I don't like to power rake. I think it is too stressful on the grass plants and usually unecessary. If you have more than 1/2 inch of thatch, you know... it's from too much nitrogen.

    I've seen pH as low as 5.4 here, usually it's a bit higher. We are shooting for 7.0
    The lime raises it.

    For our lawns, it is generally a safe bet to lime and use a quality slow release fertilizer
    at label rates, about a week to ten days apart. Fertilze three to four times a year here with the fall/winter application being the most important for the next season.

    I use a fertilizer with 2% iron in it. This makes the lawn look a darker green, and it controls a bit of the moss.

    If we have a really mossy area, there are higher concentrations of moss killer that we can put down.

    We grow alot of acid loving plants in our gardens like Rhododendrons, Pieris japonica....but there are also Palm trees growing here in Vancouver.
    ...and it doesn't rain all the time. I'm wearing shorts again this morning!

    Perhaps I will test the rain water when it rains again.
  10. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    O.K., the rain water test: Alkalinity is 40ppm the pH is 6.9 Our water is great

    I bought an npk test at the H.D. Twenty dollars for a single test. Ouch
    I used to buy ten tests for fifteen dollars.BTW it's call "The H.D." up here
    for some legal reasons.

    I tested the soil in the "lasagna garden" that I planted for vegetables last year

    pH is 6.0, Nitrogen medium, phosphorous low and potash is low.

    A private testing company would have charged about $120 and
    shown alot more detailed information for the macro and micro nutrients,
    and trace elements.

    I am 35 miles east of Vancouver.

    A "lasagna garden" lay down newspaper, (even over the lawn) then a layer of compost,
    a layer of soil, a layer of compost, a layer of soil etc. just like lasagna. no wooden sides ,let the soil slope down.
    The compost heats up the roots of the vegetables. Last year I had zucchini 3 feet long.
    Huge tasty vegetables. So, I will do this again and ammend the soil with compost.
    I won't use any fertilizer, but I will add lime.

    I didn't test the soil under the lawns at the shop. It's a sandy loam and I don't do any-thing to it. I'm on farm land so, I let it grow four feet high. ha ha

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