Please Critique my Lawn Renovation Plan

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by cgotten, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. cgotten

    cgotten LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Hello All,

    We've recently moved into a new house on about 1/3 acre lot in Durham, NC. The lawn looks to be about 50% grass, 40% weeds, 10% bare spots. I plan to renovate this fall, and I wanted to see what you pros think of my plan. Here goes:

    1. August 01: Get soil sample and send off for testing
    2. August 08: Apply selective herbicide to kill weeds
    3. August 15: Recieve soil test results, amend soil as recommended
    4. 1st Weekend of September: Planning to make 2 passes with power rake to remove thatch and scarify to soil a bit, them remove clippings from lawn. After that I will aerate with plug aerator. Next top dress with a good compost and level and low spots. Then I will overseed and rake in with the back of a rake.
    5. Next 3 Weeks: Water twice a day, and hopefully see some growth

    Let me all know what you think of my plan, and if I have forgotten or messed anything up. I'm not sure what type of seed I'm going to use, thinking of tall fescue just because I like the look of it, but if you all have other advice, I'm all ears. Also, what type of watering set-up would you guys recommend. I only have one spigot on the outside of the house, and would like to avoid moving sprinklers 5 times a day.

    Thanks in advance for all your help!
  2. GrassStitcher

    GrassStitcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    I would start your process sooner.

    Get what grass you have in as good a condition as possible - fertilize and eliminate weeds now, get soil test A.S.A.P. - begin soil adjustments right away, especially soil PH (lime)

    It stead of removing all that, I would just slice through everything with a slice seeder, leave the dead grass on top but make sure not too thick blow around to make a thin blanket over all the seed, this will act as mulch. Compost is very good also to cover seed and fill in low spots. You can aerate also, but might be a little overkill, I would aerate and overseed next year.

    Then water twice per day until it germinates and back off to once per day until ready to mow.

    If any bare spots afterwards, grab a Grass Stitcher (www.grassstitcher) to touch up.
  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    I have to disagree with just about everything you said GrassStitcher.

    1) Start the process in the fall when air temps are averaging in the 70's - low 80's and you have at least 1.5 - 2 months of growing season left.

    2) I do agree with getting a soil test now .... but not with the lime suggestion. Lime may be needed if the soil is excessively acid and/or acid with a need to adjust Ca:Mg ratio. pH may not even need to be adjusted.

    3) If there is a layer of thatch, depending on how thick it is, it needs to be dealt with.

    4) Compost should never be used to correct grading problems. That said, compost is probably the best amendment you can add to just about any soil, and more likely than not, will be needed.

    5) Aeration is not over kill. There is no way to make the call on the need to aerate with the provided information, therefore it is safer to assume it does need it rather than not..... especially in the Durham area.

    6) Water at whatever frequency is required to keep the seed moist.
  4. GrassStitcher

    GrassStitcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    I meant to start the lawn care process sooner, not the seeding. It's best to get what lawn you have in shape now instead of battling excessive weeds when you have to renovate and better to begin soil adjustments.

    I did not say to lime, only to get going on it sooner than later, if required by test, because it takes years to adjust.

    Not sure what the thatch layer is but some thatch is normal, increasing soil microbial activity is a much better way to deal with, hence compost amendment. The slice seeder will pull up excessive thatch, leave it if not too much to protect seed, I guess I should have said to remove excess.

    You are right about soil for deeper ruts though. Tough to get micro accurate without more detail / photos

    I said core aerating maybe overkill, its nice but a slice seeding is more thorough and will give a better renovation and will deal with the thatch.
  5. tomas21

    tomas21 LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Messages: 26

    What are you going to use to kill your weeds / grass?
  6. GrassStitcher

    GrassStitcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    FYI - You can buy your Grass Stitcher at any John Deere Landscapes service center, if you don't see them in the store ask them to order some.
  7. assemblage

    assemblage LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    Find some help to do the manual labor.

    This may help with the watering, It looks like it hooks up to the hose bib. It comes with two valves, but you can add 2 more for a total of 4. Add four hoses and sprinkler to each. Lowes or HD also sells 1 to 4 manifolds that each have a manual shutoff if you want to manually control.

    But if you're doing that much work on the ground, you might want to consider installing a sprinkler system. It's not that difficult really, just study some and take time to plan. Read as a good starter. My system is branced right after my meter. One branch goes to the house and the other to the sprinkler.I'd have a plumber do this, but you could dig it so he can get to it and it might save some money. You'd also want to contact the county and/or city to see what the regulations are. Mine has special requirements for the anti-backflow valve.

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