What would it take to fix this yard?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by illini85, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. illini85

    illini85 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I live in central IL just south of Springfield (home of the Simpson's). I don't have unlimited funds but would like to make improvements to my back yard and am looking for your recommendations on how to approach the job. I'm not interested in putting in an irrigation system as our water rates are high around here and about to double, but I'll do watering till it's properly established.

    My two pet peeves with the current yard is that it is quite rough (I use a toro recycler and when walking across the yard it is very hard on my feet and ankles) and there is a variety of grasses.

    The yard itself is about 16 years old. I've lived here for six summers, the first 5 of which I had a lawn service take care of the fertilizer/weed killing tasks. This past year I did the Scott's pro thing myself with similar results. The lawn has not been aerated the last 2-3 years. This past year from mid-july-Thanksgiving was very dry and hard on the lawn. Since then we have had the 4th wettest winter ever plus more rain after March 1...hence the yard is nearly a sponge at the moment.

    I've posted pics here that I took about 10 days ago for your review. They are posted here... http://picasaweb.google.com/wilabe4/Yard

    Do I aerate, apply top dressing, seed, slit seed, ...?? Any recommendations and approximate costs (for me to do the work or have it done) would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Lawncop26

    Lawncop26 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    The lawn is approx. 16 years old, and hasent been aerated in three years, I would aerate the heck out of it now, spread some topdressing and powerseed, the lawn is fairly thick now so using a broadcast spreader may not be good enough. You had the lawn treated by other companies, they concentrated on growth and color most likely and not the soil. The frequent mowings from the fast growth has also compacted it as well. The past winter, has there been alot of snow? a few of those pictures may be from snowmold damage. Also, if the yard is soft from the water, try to stay off until it absorbs the water, otherwise you may make divits which would make it feel uneven. When you seed, dont forget the starter fert. Good luck.
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    You've got a mess there. It is all in what you want....I mean do you want a decent lawn, or do you want a Primo lawn. Right now, you have a so-so lawn. your lawn is full of tall fecue..and it's not a good type. It is K31. That is that wide bladed stuff that grows in clumps, and grows 2 inches taller than all the other grass 2 days after you mow it. If you are ok with that stuff,...that's cool...Alot of people don't mind it,...but if you want a show lawn..one you can talk about because your friends will be commenting on it when you're having company over or having a barbq, you can do that too. Let me know what you want, and we'll go from there. Don't bother doing any aeration at this time, as it may end up being a waste. Not a total waste, as it never is (unless in sand), but it could be an unnecessary step at this point. If you'd like, I can walk you through this, and give you a lawn that will blow your mind. I've done it with a FEW members on here, and they end up taking that to their friend's house, or passing it on to their father's lawn or something. I'm (we're - as in all of us) am/are glad to help.
  4. illini85

    illini85 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I'm not after the absolute primo lawn, but one primary type of grass that is uniform looking and relatively healthy is the goal. The tall fescue is like a nasty wart ... quite unsightly and something I would like to get eliminate. Also, smoothing the lawn is as important if not more so as I am pretty sore after mowing each time and until the summer heat sets in I am usually mowing 2-3 times a week to keep it from getting too tall.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If you are mowing that much there is a possiblity that too much water and too much fert. are your chief concerns.
    Pull a plug or 2 and tell us what the root system looks like and the type of soil you are dealing with.
    Do You bag the clippings or put them on the lawn?
  6. illini85

    illini85 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I've never watered the yard since I've been there. IMHO, grass in this area grows quite fast in the spring when we have warm days, cool nights and sufficient moisture. Plus I mow my yard at the highest setting on my Toro Recycler. If the grass is too tall I will bag it, but for the most part I drop the clippings. Currently I am out of town for a few days so I will not be able to take any more pictures till this weekend. Thanks for the input and keep the ideas coming.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The clumpiness could have been caused by the grass being too long and laying on the neighboring plants for sufficient time to suffocate. Perhaps try shorter cutting since you seem to be in a good grass growing region. Usually we cut long to conserve moisture during the summer.
    Did you cut it down short last fall before the snow came?
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Reduce the square footage of turf to something more manageable and landscape the rest of it. :)
  9. illini85

    illini85 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I mow long during the growing season...in october and november I gradually lower it to around 2".
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Sounds like you should have good turf. Do you have any thoughts about what might be the problem? A fungal disease, perhaps?
    Another possibility - The lawn care service may have put down too much fert etc., during times when the lawn needed water - not stimulation. Do you have irrigation that runs 2 or 3 times a week?

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