Pac. NW lawn renovation...

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Dellinger327, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Dellinger327

    Dellinger327 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8


    The usual...long time lurker and first time poster.

    Unbeknown to the forum, you helped with the purchase of a Stihl FS250R. Awesome trimmer for my 13 acres.

    Anyway, to the chase...

    I'm a year into my 'new' purchase of home and some land. I have sufficiently repaired all dry-rot to my home and its foundation (short sale) over the past year and have now started focusing on the neglected lawn.

    What I'm dealing with...

    1" thick, heavy moss
    POA-type grass in large, round sections
    heavy infestation of dandelions
    some clover
    various other types of weeds & weed grasses

    What I've completed...
    Iron solution- Moss Out, liquid applied at 3 oz. per gallon
    Dethatching- pull type
    Aeration- non plug type, spike aerator, that my father built. A pretty good spike aerator that holds about 20 gallons of water, when full, to give the unit some weight in compacted soil.
    Sweep- pull type, to pick up the thatch, moss, and pine needles.
    Soil sample- sent off last week, expect it back @ end of this coming week.

    Size of immediate lawn- approximately 25,000 squ. ft.

    After dethatching and moss treatment, not much is left regarding 'good' grass. Looks like rye and fescue. The moss + POA concentrations in places has absolutely devastated quite a bit of the lawn. I just have raised, dead islands of POA after the moss and thatch has been removed. The pull behind thatcher isn't the most practical but "its what I have." I have even went behind, in places, and hand thatched left over moss that wasn't removed.

    I'm a bit overwhelmed with what to do. Every avenue to 'correct' things has a down side and with such a large lawn (in total probably 50K squ. ft. plus) I feel like my hands are tied. Yeah, I removed some moss but now that's just open space for dandelions to seed. Sure, I could spread some seed but not all the moss is out and will my thatching and aerating be enough to get the seed to stand. If I put out a fall fertilizer, will it even matter. So, I turning to this site for some feedback. I know I'll probably need some lime application but I'm waiting for the soil sample to come back on the Ph.

    I'm worried most about the dandelions. I've got two adjacent fields that are just a dandelion haven. Long-story-short... some of the property is in timber and it was just logged 4 years ago, with no re-plant of trees. So the open ground just became a cesspool. So I'm not even sure a healthy and hearty lawn will be able cope with the 'snows' of 'lion seeds when the wind blows.

    So, in addition to any good natured suggestions or blatant statements that, "'re screwed," I would like some help/ answers on the following.

    1.) Where do you find grass seed at a decent price? I've been by my local farm store/ co-op, nursery, ect... but the best price I've found is a rye/fescue blend at Home Depot. 50 lbs. for $99.

    2.) Regarding a pre-emergent. Can anyone list one, that I can buy in some bulk? (I'm almost to the point of buying a 250 gallon 3pt. mounted sprayer with boom arms to Round-up the fields and re-sowing them.)

    3.) Where should I start, in the grand scheme of things, for this lawn renovation? Seed, 1st? Lime, 1st? Fertilizer, 1st?

    P.S.- I sprayed the Moss Out (Iron solution) about 2 weeks ago and according to the manufacturer, I should not seed until 3 weeks have pased. I'm located near Vancouver, WA, across the river from Portland, OR.

    Many thanks for your time and feedback,
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    First step is "Why do you have moss???" Is this a shade lawn with compacted soil???
  3. Dellinger327

    Dellinger327 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8


    No, there is plenty of sun light able to hit a majority of the lawn. There are relatively few fir trees in the immediate lawn adjacent to the house. I couldn't imagine the adjacent fir trees having such a drastic impact on the Ph. However, this is where the majority of the moss is concentrated. Also, the immediate lawn slopes away from the house, except for one small area in the back. Also, there is just as much moss in the south facing yard as the north facing yard.

    The extended lawn that follows the paved driveway out to the main road has various evergreen and broadleaf trees shading the majority of the grass and there is relatively little moss growing in this area.

    I can only assume a few things at this point...

    A.) Maybe fill dirt was brought in from another location to elevate the original build site and it has a different makeup than the native soils that are further from the home site, which do not show overly abundant moss growth.

    B.) Maybe the immediate lawn was originally sod? Is sod grown in a clay-type soil?

  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Around here sod is grown in mostly muck soils as opposed to loam, but generally Only the Thatch layer comes up and the soil is not removed from the field... so is a non-issue...

    What kind of soil do YOU have??? especially important is the soil's top 3" , or so... If you are growing moss in sunny turf, then the next thing to look at is "Too much water and/or Compacted soils"...[/b] generally weeds grow up in vacant spaces between grass roots but perhaps the herbicides and the water only leaves moss capable of surviving those circumstances...

    There is no magic bullet, therefore find out the limitation THEN you have knowledge about the best fix for that purpose...
  5. Dellinger327

    Dellinger327 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    The native soils around in my county are loam and some hydric (spelling?) soils.

    According to my local GIS, loam is present on my acreage.

    I guess it could be heavily compacted... would a plug aerator be 'better', if this scenario is true, than a spike aerator? I would assume so.

    Too much water is certainly true but there's not much I can do to change that in the Pac. NW. It rains from late Sept. to early June. Apart from death and taxes... you can count on heavy rainfall also as a certainty also if you live here.

    I'm sure the soil analysis will reveal some interesting tidbits to aid the situation as well. I will report back on these findings when they come in.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Good,,, now we've gotten to the bottom of why you have moss... Do you mulch mow??? and yes go ahead and plug aerate and see if it helps with drainage,,, Spike aerators increase a compaction zone around the perimeter of the hole...
    Do you mow short this time of year???

    Rather than just imagining what the regional reports mean,,, why not go out and open up a piece of ground and look at it to see for yourself how drainage is going... :)
  7. Dellinger327

    Dellinger327 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I do not mulch when mowing... A.) because I have an older Deere LX178 that does not have the mulching deck B.) I don't think there is a chute block off for the model deck either.

    I 99% of the time keep the deck on the highest cut setting, in the spring/ summer, because I read that taller grass prevents weeds. I did mow it pretty short the last time only because I was going to thatch and spread some fertilizer. There's not much of a mowing season in the Fall here.

    By "see how drainage" is going, you may have to elaborate. As far as I'm concerned, if water isn't standing on top of the's draining. I can only guess that I should be looking to see 'how deep' the water is reaching from a shovel sliced piece of lawn?

  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Yes, just push a spade into the ground and wiggle the handle enough to see the dirt below... you can also learn the Texture of the soil by grabbing a small amount into your hand...

    So you have rain all winter, but the grass doesn't grow much... Does moss grow well during your winter??? Do you irrigate during the growing season,,, if so ,,, How much???
  9. Dellinger327

    Dellinger327 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    When using a spade... the first 2" is 'ok' to penetrate, below that it becomes a chore. Texture is crumbly, brittle...below that is breaks off in large clumps.

    Moss grows very well in winter.

    I do not irrigate in summer. I haven't had the change to install a sprinkler system. Grass, for the most part, dies. Except in shade. (We have little-to-zero rain from July to mid-Sept. Usually.)
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Plug aeration when the soil softens up with water from the rainy season... spike aeration actually causes compaction around the holes...
    But I don't know what you're hoping to accomplish with rain all winter and no growth, and drought all Summer with no growth... I would probably go with the moss if it were me...

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