Newbie needs some advice

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by DonM, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. DonM

    DonM LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Last march I bought a new house and begun the renovation on my new lawn. Ripping out trees, and large shrubs and bushes, so that I can seed in the fall.

    September came and I tilled my front yard and raked out all the dead grass and weeds. Planted Scotts pure premium along with some starter fertilizer in early Oct. A little late I know, but it was a very mild fall and winter for us here in NJ. The seeds germanated and came in fairly well. There was a few spots that didnt come in and for the most part very thin. Not sure if I did something wrong or it was do to all the small stones and rocks that were in my soil? In Dec I put down the Scotts winterizer at recommended rate along with some lime. Grass was thin but green. :) Got compliments from everyone.

    Now, this past wednesday I put down some Scotts Pro Step 1 with crabgrass preventer.

    Seems like Scotts is very high in N and this scares me. Id like to continue with their products, simply because their products are so widely available. Plus is seems to give me some good results so far. Now i've spent some time on the Scotts forums and got some contridictive advice.

    One of my buddys has a beautiful lawn and buys all his products from Helena chemical company. He's says granual twice a year and liquid fert in the summer months when it's hot. Scotts has the 4 step program using granual, even in the summer. I've seen people burn their lawn to a toast even half ratting granual fertilizer.

    I was thinking about using scotts step 1, and step 4. While using a liquid fertilizer in between called CoRoN. Which my buddy swears by and I've seen the results, near perfect lawn!! He is married to his lawn btw.

    Now he puts down CoRoN every two weeks in the summer months along with fungicides every other week, which I was told isn't needed by the guys over in the Scotts forum.

    Im just looking to have a beautiful lawn and dont mind the time and spending a little money inoder to have it.

    What is some good advice and rules to follow inoder to have that beautiful lawn?

  2. lilmarvin4064

    lilmarvin4064 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    see if you can find a lesco near you. go to store finder and enter your zip code. They can sell you better products than you can get at the hardware store.

    Do a soil test on you lawn. One reason your lawn may have come in thin is because of a low pH (acid soil). Your lawn might need a significant amount of lime to correct this.

    Personally, I would only consider using Scotts products in the fall. Yes, their ferts are high in N, and low in K, and usually only 23% slow release. Your lawn will have a better chance of survival in the summer if you add some K (last number).

    NO, don't use liquid ferts in the summer unless you plan on spending extra money on fungicdes. The only fert I would consider spraying in summer is chelated iron or iron sulfate.

    Some fungicides need to be reapplyed every week, but the good ones will last 3 to 4 weeks.

    Since you already did Scotts step 1 (Halts) you need to do it again toward the end of April for good crabgrass control. See if you can get a bag of Pre-M or Dimension (pendimethalin or dithiopyr) with a 50% slow release.
  3. DonM

    DonM LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Thanks for the advice. I'll look into the lesco products.

    As far as fert goes, you use the dry stuff? Im not familar with the pre-M or dimension with the "pendimethalin or dithiopyr" W/ 50% slow release. Im assuming lesco's makes a product.

    I still have a 1/2 of the Scotts Pro step 1 with the crabgrass preventer. This stuff, no good? Should I half rate it again in late April or go with the regular rating of application?

  4. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    When you find a Lesco dealer, you will have access to all the information you will need. If they are not busy at the time of your visit, the Lesco folks can be very helpful in recommending which products to use when. You really should get a soil test done if you want to do things properly and responsibly. All the counties have Rutgers Cooperative Extension offices and have a kit available to have a soil test done for you. It is not very expensive and is reasonably quick.

    By using a half rating you may be decreasing the nitrogen to a better level, but your preemergent effectiveness will also be decreased. Maybe you have a neighbor or friend that may be able to use it. Your application of crabgrass preventer was a bit early and may not be effective for this area. A general rule for applying crabgrass preventer is when the Forsythia bloom. The soil temperature needs to rise enough for germination while the preemergent is still active. A better way is to follow Growing Degree Days, GDD, but not as easy as flowering indicators. A big question is what type of grass are you growing? Different grass has different needs for irrigation and fertilization, and what about the soil preparation.

  5. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    First of all let me say that We are happy to help you and appreciate the homeowner that likes his lawn to look nice and has the determination to do a proper job.

    Scotts makes a fine basic product for the homeowner. All products will perform as their label specifies as long as you follow the labeled recomendations. Professionals prefer products from Lesco because it is a cleaner more uniform, more adaptable product.

    You have already done Round 1 so it will have to stick...Round two, since it is still early, apply your round 1 product again with a liquid broadleaf weed control. For round 3 I suggest a product with Merit grub control (Imidicloprid), Round 4,5,6 I suggest a balanced fertilizer one of them being organic. All fertilizer ratios should be determined by a soil test. This is where Lesco comes in handy as they are selling products that are appropriate for the area they are in. Scotts makes the same product for the entire country.

    Now for liquid vs granular...the plant doesn't care what form the nitrogen comes in. I strongly suggest NOT spraying liquid Fertilizer in the summer. I care for about 20 million sq feet of turf and have completely eliminated the liquid fertilizers from the program and the liquid fertilizers I can get are superior to the liquids you can get. It is a question of economics, the liquids are more expensive to purchase, store, and apply. Granulars are more adaptable, easier to store, and quicker to apply. Whether you use them is up to you, your lawn doesn't care.
  6. DonM

    DonM LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Thanks for the opinions and advice guys. I have a Lesco dealer about 30min away. I'll stop up and see them some time next week and get the ball rolling.

    It's very important for me to have a nice lawn. Everyone has a nice lawn in April and May. I want a nice looking lawn from April till September. I realize how difficult having a nice green lawn in July and August is. But Im not afraid of a little hard work, time and money that it may take. :)
  7. fishinpa

    fishinpa LawnSite Senior Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 293

    I don't know why, but I feel it internally important to have a lush and beautiful lawn also. If your going to do it all by yourself, remember that there is no magic ointment to make it appear in the first year. You'll defiantly see improvements, if you do it right, but it'll take a few (several) years to get it REALLY nice, lush and healthy. I have not reached that point yet myself, but I'd like to think I'm on-the-way there!

    My supplier of choice is a local "Feed Mill" and one of the ladies there always says to me... "You have to remember that nature reseeds itself in the fall"... so I guess I'm trying to say that you should not get excited about any "spring germination" you get. Just stay diligent and keep at it.

    I bought my house a little over a year ago and for me, the yard is far from there, but all the neighbors have commented something like... "I don't know what your doing, but your lawn is defiantly responding."

    For now I have to accept that as good enough. Good luck with it and THINK PRE-EMERGENT!

    PS: I personally perfer to stay as far away from Scotts as possible. I use mostly Lebanon products.
  8. DonM

    DonM LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Hi, thanks.

    If you dont mind me asking, Id like your opinion about scotts and why you stay away from it? Just curious I quess. :)
  9. fishinpa

    fishinpa LawnSite Senior Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 293

    I have several friends and family member say they've tried it and didn't like it.

    I also notice that for the cost of a bag of their product that cover about 2500 - 5000 SQ FT, I can go buy a 50lb bag of the Lebanon product that covers about 10 to 12k of footage.

    Another note is when I went buy a friends and he was applying the Scott's, it was inconsistent in size and was VERY dusty. 1/2 the bag broadcast and 1/2 the bag fell right out of the spreader. I guess I've been very lucky getting good bags of fresh product.
  10. lilmarvin4064

    lilmarvin4064 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    Scotts ferts aren't too bad in quality, i mean, they have some good nutrient sources, but like I said before, here are the cons.

    1. Usually only 23% of the N is slow-release. Too much quick N, to use in late spring or summer in the transtition zone. Might be o.k farther north or farther south

    2. Not enough K for some regions. Too bad they don't sell a bag of 18-0-18 in the hardware store.

    3. For each of their "steps" there really is only one formulation for the northern regions, and one for the Southern regions (ex. Bonus-s). In reality there is no one "cure-all" fertilizer product that you can use across the country.

    4. It is expensive. You are paying for the name and the pretty bag.

    If you like Scotts products, you should check out some of Lesco's Polyvex ferts, they are the bomb.

    used to work for Scotts

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