Problem Lawn

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Doogiegh, May 2, 2003.

  1. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    I have a prospective customer that I need some advice on what to do with.

    The front lawn has been re-seeded and looks terrific.

    The back lawn is horrible. It is thin, sparse growth, most of which is grass, but weeds are mixed in. Problem is that it gets alot of shade during the daytime. There is also a HUGE, and I mean HUGE Oak tree on the neighbors property but it totally overhangs this backyard. Trimming the tree enough to get more daylight into the back yard is not possible. The soil is rock hard, I bet you could bounce a basketball on it. And to top it off, the guy wants to do everything at a minimal kind of cost.. He just wants to make it 70% better.....

    The guy proposed to roto-till the ENTIRE back yard, 65 feet by 25 feet and tear everything up and plant all new seed and see what happens.

    I think that's a ton of work, much of which will be tearing up good patches of good lawn and that all he really needs is seed and lots of it..

    I've heard of a "Slit" seeder, but never used one. Is that KIND of like a pizza cutter but many of them in a row, all space out by about an inch so that the lawn/dirt gets sliced up in grooves and then you can put seed down, almost like farmers do when planting?

    Any other ideas on how to make this lawn better?

    Oh yeah. one more thing - when the leaf drop from this oak happens, it's a HUGE drop in a very small area and chances are the lawn gets buried under leaves for more then a few days at a time in November.. so I think he's up for a re-peating problem over and over and it's not going to get much better.. And if it's not the leaves, then the acorns..

    The lawn is currently CRUNCHY from shells from acorns from last fall..

    Help. <G>

  2. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,732

    aerate, topdress, seed/overseed/fertilize and tell him for a fee you will keep the leaves off or he needs to or he's throwing cash away.
  3. bastalker

    bastalker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 965

    Might want to throw in about a ton of lime on top of what mike said! A slit seeder will work good, but with what you are describing he has a ton of shade. A slit seeder is exactly how you described it. It cuts a row of grooves and drops the seed in. The problem will be the lack of sun. Slit seeding is great in the fall when the soil is warm, but now the soil is not more that 60 deg in your area. I woud imagine that the seed will be pretty slow in coming around. Deal with the weeds in the fall, or next spring.
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Just how much shade is IN this backyard? There may just not be enough light coming through. To any extent, make sure that you plant a fescue of some type that is shade loving and tolerant. If the front is in mostly sun, and it is thriving, there is a good chance that what was done, was all the same type of seed was planted, as it was probably purchased together. This is all too common. Also, something to consider, is the fact that the neighbors oak tree overhangs this yard. Old oak tree, several years accumulation, equals acid, acid, and more acid. Do a test, and make the right adjustments, and I'll bet you can grow grass there.;)
  5. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    Thanks for the replies guys. Any idea what a fair estimate would be to do this yard and slit-seed it? 60 by 30, roughly 1800 square feet?

    To slit seed, do you have to rototill and aerate it first or just rent a slit-seeder and run it all over the yard and that's it, done?

  6. lawncare3

    lawncare3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,981

    Time for The Lawn Paramedics

  7. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    dont put the cart before the horse. get the atmosphere in order first, then plant your lawn. if soil conditions arent correct, u may be able to grow grass, but will it pass the test of time? probably not. unfortunately, this is a cycle that alot of people repeat year after year.spring= plant grass, minor success, then it dies, fall=plant grass, not bad, then it dies, and so on and so on. it will cost this guy more $ to keep up the cycle, than it will if he just has it done right. good luck
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I'd tell him...

    "Let's do this thing right and shoot for 100% because when all is said and done 70% is about what you'll get out of it. That way I'll know you'll be happy with the job and money spent and hey if it turns out more than 70% that's just icing on the cake for you!"

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