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bcdinh 06-18-2012 02:59 PM

Grass growing HELP?

I just bought this 1950 house and it has all kind of crazy grasses growing everywhere so I really want to grow new grass. Can someone please help me with the procedure? For instance, should I plow it up and let it dry out or cut all the crazy grown grass and plow it ect....and what is an estimate cost for about 2500 - 3000 sqf of land.

Thank you so much everyone in advance!

chrisn 06-18-2012 03:53 PM

Depends on about a million different things.

First off, are you in Alaska, Hawaii,Florida, England, Australia,Brazil,Canada,China?

bcdinh 06-18-2012 08:15 PM

I live in the midwest so the weather is really hot now.

user1007 06-18-2012 08:57 PM

If you can, and unless you can automate irrigation and put a lot of water on the new lawn? Wait now to plant until fall. You know what could happen to us in the Midwest heat and humidity wise from now through mid-September! Establishing new turf is doable in hot weather but it adds to the challenge.

You could think about applying herbicides that would kill the weeds and weed seeds you have now this summer. I honestly do not know which of the general and non-selective soil preparation chemicals are available here. You can also RoundUp spray the existing weeds but you have a fairly large plot of land.

You should get a soil test so you know what you need to add come fall to balance out your soil.

In late summer or fall you will want to till the existing soil and fold in any amendments indicated by the soil test. You can rent a heavy rototiller for a day or hire someone to come in with one or a small tractor if you have access. You will have to get estimates to see what the going rate is.

Make any grade changes needed to improve drainage. Pull out any rocks, weed clumps, etc and level the seedbed off nicely. Install an irrigation system if you plan to do so but leave the sprinkler heads above grade.

If you plan to seed or sod the new lawn, you should lay down a starter fertilizer according to package directions. If you plan to hydroseed, which I highly recommend, the fertilizer will be in the slurry.

Now if you are going to use seed you will distribute the seed evenly, top dress and roll with a half full landscape roller so seeds make firm contact with the soil. Keep evenly moist until it germinates. Use a good seed mix of perennial (not annual) rye, bluegrass and fescue. Rye will germinate in about 7 days and the bluegrass and fescue may take 14-21 or more depending on moisture and temp.

If you are laying sod. Make sure the sod is fresh harvested and no more than a day old. Get it delivered the same day harvested if you can. Water it as you install it---don't wait until you are finished! When all is installed, roll it with a half full landscape roller to put the roots firmly in contact with the soil. Remember sod is a transplant product and you will start off watering just to keep the cut layer alive. Don't over water or you could drown it. Slack off and shift to watering longer and less frequently as it establishes.

As mentioned, hydroseeding is a great alternative to planting turfgrass. It is a fraction of the cost of sod and will establish faster than either a seeded or sod lawn. It adheres nicely to slopes and grade changes. A slurry of fertilizer, seed and mulch is sprayed on the prepared seed bed to form a crust. All you have to do is keep it moist until the seeds have germinated. Look in the phone book for hydroseeding contractors and you can go ahead and get on a fall schedule. If you want to try to plant a lawn this summer, hydroseeding is definitely the alternative I would try.

When your turf starts to establish mow it at the tallest setting. Among other things, tall thick turf is your best defense against weeds. With young, still shallow rooted grass shoots you want to make sure your mower blade is sharp or you can literally yank the grass blades out of the ground.

Once the turf has started to establish and the ground has settled, lower your sprinkler heads to grade.

As mentioned, gradually increase your watering schedule longer and less frequent to encourage deep root growth. In the industry we sought to provide the equivalent of 1" of rainfall per week. Never water later in the day then grass can dry out. Insects lay eggs and fungus spores take hold in damp, dark turf.

If you plant in the summer or early Fall you will want to start on an annual feeding routine with the late Fall fertilizer application. Then start your feeding and herbicide program again in the Spring. Having been in the turfgrass industry the cost of the Scott's program always causes me a double take but I guess the pretty pictures on the packaging are worth it. It is rather foolproof though and you cannot go wrong following it.

cleveman 06-18-2012 10:30 PM

The previous post was right on.

I seeded in July last year against my better judgement. I figured I had water and could make it work. But water can't make it 65 degrees. The problem is not only does it not come in very well, but what do you do then?

Seed around Labor Day. 25x100 is a small area and you should have no problem. I would prepare the soil by roto-tilling it all up, then raking smooth, then seeding, spread straw on top, and roll it. Then I would put some starter fertilizer on it and prepare to water.

I've seen it where in two weeks, you are well along to a nice lawn.

I think the straw and the rolling is the key. The straw will help keep the seed from blowing away, probably protect it from birds somewhat, keep the moisture in, keep the heat out during the day. It will also keep the heat in at night. It will prevent erosion and you will be able to walk on it if you must.

I have to pay $7 for a bale of straw here. There probably won't be any harvesting of beans by Labor Day, but if you can go out in a field and rake up a bunch of bean straw, I have used that with luck. You can probably use at least 4 bales of straw. Put it on plenty thick.

user1007 06-19-2012 12:15 AM

Straw is a great top dress. It is dense so holds up but also decomposes pretty fast. The only problem with it is if it was grown with lots of weeds mingled in. Usually this is not a problem with straw but you should never use hay because it has too many seeds you do not want.

When I was in the business wood mulches were easier to come by then straw so I just got used to using them. Peat moss is another possibility but be careful because it tends to hog water itself.

OP, I know you posted separately that you live in the Midwest but you might want to upgrade your profile you we know next time.

bcdinh 06-19-2012 07:19 AM

thank you for all the info guys! i don't think i can spray this compressive layer on my grass b/c some of the weed are like 4 feet talk..not sure what kind of weed but it has i'm planning to chop it all down and let it die first.

gregzoll 06-19-2012 08:02 AM

What do you mean by crazy grass? It is too late to put down per-emergent, which would have killed off the crab grass. All you can do at this point, is tend to the yard, and when late Summer/Early fall comes along, do the winterizing and throw down some winter seed, then in late Winter next year, put down pre-emergent. Once it does its job, then you can fertilize with Weed & Feed, to help along, to do a further job of thickening the lawn.

biggles 06-20-2012 07:42 AM

pull the weeds long roots and all out then right into a lawn bag...don't carry them across the lawn seeds will drop off and reappear next year.then just mulch the exsisting lawn middle setting/and or one higher setting on mower into Labor Day and seed it up for winter.water each section at dusk for 30 minutes mid week if rain is limited out there...cutting high shades the roots so the sun doesn't cook them and turns the lawn OFF and goes brown:wink: throw around couple of bags of top soil spread some lime and let it ride till spring 2013

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