Question for soil gurus

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by n-green, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. n-green

    n-green LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    Hey guys and gal, I have a new customer with sparse turf (Tall Fescue) and moss covering the rest of his lawn. Gets 4-5 hours of sun, its level and not wet, and should get plenty of air flow. I did a regular $15.00 soil test and the pH is 7.0. Has surplus P but the tested minors are in line. Any ideas on how to proceed? I will aerate and seed in the fall.
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Can you tell us the SOM level?
    What does the age of the property look like. I mean is it a newer neighborhood or older. quick estimate would help

    Nice that the micro's are in line

    The fall plan is great, can the customer wait or will you lose them if the lawn isn't pristine right away?

    I am just north of you in Columbia MD and the lawns are just starting to come out of dormancy, soil temps (after this quite chilly and drizzly week) are probably in the low 50's maybe high 40's

    properties look sparse right now, soon there will be more lawn than you can cut
  3. n-green

    n-green LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    Thanks for the response Bill,
    I didn't test organic matter. The property is old, probably forty years and on the edge of the woods but gets enough sun and air to support turf. The owner says it has never been great so he doesn't expect miracles but I would like to at least have a plan for improvement before seeding. You are right about the DC weather; still cool and cloudy.
  4. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    sound like you need a heap of compost and some extra areaton. are there any worms in the dirt?
  5. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 795

    If he doesn't mind seeing mushrooms (edible) in his lawn look into seeding Shaggy Mane mushrooms. I'm willing to bet with some organic matter input (compost, leaf mulch) his lawn would be naturally beautiful in a couple of years.

    check out

  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I would rake up the area removing the moss, scratching the surface, then put down seed. Cover with compost and keep moist.
    Busting up tree roots with an aerator only simulates more tree root growth and greater competion for your grass.
  7. n-green

    n-green LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    Thanks for chiming in,
    This guy has got considerable moss coverage. I think if I just plug and seed with compost added it will look troll doll heads all over the lawn. Would you rake it out in spring exposing all the bare turf or wait until seeding time in fall?
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    When dealing with shady areas you want to consider the time of the day that your grass receives the sun (and heat). Morning sun with a shady afternoon is the best of course, but if you are exposed to sun in the afternoon it will burn out more quickly.

    Not sure how your season is going in VA - but here - we have no problem seeding in the spring at all. As long as there is water we do equally well with spring or fall.

    Cheap fescue for the side of a woodlot is worth a try IMHO. Replacing the moss with compost for the summer alone, would be better than nothing. Expect to possibly germinate weeds if you don't add grass seed.
    Even using annual rye for a cover crop to keep the weeds down is a possibility. There are places that annual rye every spring is the 'only' thing will be a little green for a while.

    Up here we can often do perpetual over seeding throughout the growing season. We never know when 10 consecutive days will be ideal for germination. :) The way this past year has been; it is doubtful we'll get 'too' hot for very long, in July/August. lol.
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Proper water management never hurts. :)
  10. Tom Jaszewski

    Tom Jaszewski LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    :dizzy: huh? not all of us have irrigation.....;)

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