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Old 05-16-2008, 02:25 PM   #1
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Help me win contest against Husband


My husband and I are having a contest to see who can grow the best lawn. I have the area up front and to the side of the house, he has the backyard. We agreed to this only because I think he's messing it up.

He has sprayed this yellow oily stuff on the lawn that's supposed to break up the clay. No problem. Then he put down starter fertilizer and grass seed. In the bare spots I can see that he way overseeded the areas that needed it (putting seed down by hand) and he didn't cover it. We had one hell of a rainstorm so the seed went everywhere we didn't want it to.

I still have a bunch of compost/topsoil mix from other projects. My thinking is that I'll slightly rake up the bare areas (which will also break up the seed), and put a little of the compost/soil on top. Will this work, or should I just leave the seed sitting on top of the soil? In some areas he put down a little bit of mulch right over the seed to keep the birds from eating it. I figure I'll have to rake all that up - doesn't mulch PREVENT stuff from growing, or was this actually a good idea?

Also, there is a natural easement in our side lawn. After the major storm we got, the runoff 'dug' an approximately 4" wide by 2" deep curved trench down the length of the side yard for the water to flow to the street. That means most of the seed in this area went right into the curb/gutter with the rain.

What should I do about this? Should I go ahead and rake a little, put down more seed and cover with the soil? We are expecting rain for most of the weekend, although probably not as severe as we've had recently.

Thanks for any help. I did my own lawn when I lived at a townhouse and it looked great, but now that I have to actually 'answer' to someone who thinks he knows it all, I figured I'd get some advise before kicking his @ss in this contest.

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Old 05-16-2008, 08:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by kimberland30 View Post
He has sprayed this yellow oily stuff on the lawn that's supposed to break up the clay. No problem. Then he put down starter fertilizer and grass seed. In the bare spots I can see that he way overseeded the areas that needed it (putting seed down by hand) and he didn't cover it. We had one hell of a rainstorm so the seed went everywhere we didn't want it to.

Not familiar with the "yellow stuff", but always try and break the surface of the existing soil prior to adding seed or do as you said below and apply some compost/topsoil, apply the seed and rake into the broken up soil and cover lightly with a "pennmulch" we used to use a product called "seed starter" (basically a water absorbing material with fertilizer added) you can also find a similar brand at the home center


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Also, there is a natural easement in our side lawn. After the major storm we got, the runoff 'dug' an approximately 4" wide by 2" deep curved trench down the length of the side yard for the water to flow to the street. That means most of the seed in this area went right into the curb/gutter with the rain.

What should I do about this? Should I go ahead and rake a little, put down more seed and cover with the soil? We are expecting rain for most of the weekend, although probably not as severe as we've had recently.
If its 4" wide and 2" deep you could dig an addinal 2-3 inches and add a perforated drain tile w/sock to the trench, install a catch basin where the flow starts from and let it go to the gutter. Add soil over the drain tile and seeed. Just an option, i would waste time trying to seed the washout, it will just keep occuring after every rain.

Hope it helps and good luck in the "contest"

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Old 05-16-2008, 11:55 PM   #3
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I cannot help but tell you my most favorite way to grow grass. I call it instant green, and some people know it as sod. It is really great stuff, you roll it out, cut it a bit, and BAM!!! you got grass. Some watering, and watering, and it is good, thick, weed free grass. Unless I had some serious land, I would never go the route of seed, you still have to water it alot, but it seems to me like it would take years and years to get a good lawn out of it.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:49 AM   #4
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Swade: The yellow stuff is a real product, I just can't remember the name of it. Last year hubby tilled the entire yard, so the soil is okay. From what the landscaping guy said, the spray stuff would help "till" the area without really tilling it - if that makes sense. I noticed last night that we do have grass growing in some areas, but it's mostly the larger areas that hubby seeded. I'll definately take your suggestion though, and rake it up a little bit, spread the seed better and cover with a light layer of the compost. I'm not so sure about digging a trench and adding a drain. We didn't have this problem when there was grass in that area . My daughter parks her truck there since it's next to our 1-car driveway, which has killed all grass. That area has a lot of shade thanks to our neighbors huge pine tree near her house. Next year we plan on concreting that whole area and making a 2-car driveway leading to our backyard, where eventuallly we'll build a 2-car garage.

Sevver: I think we are going to sod some areas in the back. We had 3 huge trees taken out last year that left large craters. Hubby is filling in the holes with the compost and is really thinking about sodding those areas. He planted grass in some of the smaller places and it seems to be coming up okay, even though he mulched over it.

I will win, I will win!!

Thanks for your advice!
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Old 05-18-2008, 12:45 PM   #5
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Easy way to grow grass; 1).Obtain some QUALITY topsoil with lots of organic matter,it'll look dark and loamy. 2).Obtain some quality grass seed that is compatible with your area.Talk to local people who know such as your county co-operative agency or GOOD landscapers. 3). Mix generous amount of grass seed with the topsoil in a wheelbarrow or yard trailer. Spread on areas to be seeded and rake level.4).LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER. When you think you've watered enough,water some more. Using this technique eliminates the need for the back breaking raking(nice rhyme,huh?) Two options that are not necessary if you water enough;also mix starter fertilizer(Scott's) with the seed and soil and the seed /soil could be slightly compacted with an empty lawn roller. Lastly,remember that there is no substitute for rain,and that although grass loves to grow in cool weather it needs at least60 degrees to germinate. Good luck. P.S.-I've used these methods for many years with great success,including repairing from last summer's drought which required eight yards of topsoil and 50 lbs. of grass seed .No raking ,and it looks like a carpet this spring.
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:41 AM   #6
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Easy way to grow grass; 1).Obtain some QUALITY topsoil with lots of organic matter,it'll look dark and loamy. 2).Obtain some quality grass seed that is compatible with your area.Talk to local people who know such as your county co-operative agency or GOOD landscapers. 3). Mix generous amount of grass seed with the topsoil in a wheelbarrow or yard trailer. Spread on areas to be seeded and rake level.4).LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER. When you think you've watered enough,water some more. Using this technique eliminates the need for the back breaking raking(nice rhyme,huh?) Two options that are not necessary if you water enough;also mix starter fertilizer(Scott's) with the seed and soil and the seed /soil could be slightly compacted with an empty lawn roller. Lastly,remember that there is no substitute for rain,and that although grass loves to grow in cool weather it needs at least60 degrees to germinate. Good luck. P.S.-I've used these methods for many years with great success,including repairing from last summer's drought which required eight yards of topsoil and 50 lbs. of grass seed .No raking ,and it looks like a carpet this spring.
This is exactly what I did yesterday. I hadn't planned on working in the yard because of looming rain, but it held off enough. I was going to spread the topsoil/compost blend (very rich soil), then the grass seed...but figured I'd skip a step and just mix the seed and soil together. I raked the entire yard, then patched the bare areas with the seed/soil mix, and spread it throughout the yard. I also raked up the areas where hubby had put mulch down, and soiled/seeded those areas.

For the side yard, I dumped a ton of seed/soil and created a better slope for water run off. The first layer I just put down soil and compacted it with a 12"x12" hand compactor. Then I spread a layer of the soil/seed mix. I had the sprinkler going on the areas I finished while I worked on other areas. I did a nice deep watering with the sprinkler, then went back with the hose and watered again. The soil held and it didn't look like it was running off into the street.

We had one hell of a rain storm last night, and when I looked at the soil in the side yard this morning, it was still intact.

I'll have to take some before and after pictures to PROVE that I'm the winner (because I just know this will work)!

Thanks for the help everyone!
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:31 PM   #7
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WOW! You are a working fool,my kind of person! Sometimes we workers learn tricks and shortcuts and don't have to beat ourselves into the groud needlessly! Good luck with your grass.let us know how you do, and don't forget; New grass loves water.
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:51 PM   #8
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WOW! You are a working fool,my kind of person! Sometimes we workers learn tricks and shortcuts and don't have to beat ourselves into the groud needlessly! Good luck with your grass.let us know how you do, and don't forget; New grass loves water.
Well to be honest, if it weren't for my daughter's upcoming outdoor graduation party, I don't think I'd be doing as much. Everytime I turn around I'm doing something else for the yard. Just last weekend - in addition to what I did in the front - I also potted two new hibiscus plants. I just can't get enough of the 'pretties'.

I've been a watering fool. I watered it last night, and this morning we had rain. It just started raining again so no need to water tonight unless we only get a little bit. Thankfully I only work a mile from home so I can go home during lunch and turn on the sprinkler and have it run. I need to get more grass seed for rthe side yard to replace what got rained away, but I think there was still enough left to at least get a good start.
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:30 PM   #9
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Would this "yellow stuff" be liquid aerator?
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Old 05-21-2008, 04:12 PM   #10
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Would this "yellow stuff" be liquid aerator?
Yes, that is exactly what it is. Jees, for the life of me I could not remember what it was.

I honestly don't think that it worked all that great though.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:03 PM   #11
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I guess I am late in responding, but here are my thoughts. I am thinking of having a great and not a so so lawn. It is easy to do, you just have to do it when it is due. Here are my thoughts from Buffalo, NY

To get a new lawn seeded or to seed bare spots: Buy the best seed you can find for your site, pay attention to if you have sun or partial shade. If too much shade go with a ground cover or shade garden instead of grass.

Before you put the seed down, place the seed in the box or bag in the refrigerator over night. This is a trick taught to me by an old landscaper. Grass is a cool season plant and it "thinks" it went through the winter in the frig. This supposedly makes the grass sprout quicker and more uniformly. Once the seed is down spread out a starter fertilzer, if you are seeding in the Spring make sure to use a fertiilzer with crabgrass control that has tursban or another chemical that allows grass but not crag grass to grow. THEN, THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP, apply mulch over the seed. Lowes and I think Home Depot sells this, use it. Lightly spray the area and keep lightly spraying it a few times a day until you cut the grass. Gradually increase the length of time you spray

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My thoughts on routine lawn care

Aerate the soil twice a year. In the mid to late spring use the liquid aerator, in the late summer get a core, not spike, aerator

Spread one quarter of inch of compost over the lawn once it is core aerated. One trick here is to dump piles and use a push broom to move it around.

Test the soil for pH and other needs

Fertilize on the Holiday Plan. When forsythia bloom put down pre-emergent crab grass preventer. Hit it with a full throtlle fertilzer, broad leaf weed control and grub control in mid to late May (by Memorial Day) and give another half dose between Flag Day and July 4th.

As you approach July 4 move the blade on your mower higher and higher. Put it on the top level from Mid July to Mid August

Water for 30 minutes or more two to three times per week

Core aerate the lawn before Labor Day

On Labor Day apply a full dose of fertilizer with broadleaf control, start lowering the blade on the mower

Apply winterizer fertilzer on Halloween
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:51 AM   #12
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Thank you for that schedule, I've printed it out on now it's on the fridge. Seems pretty easy to remember since it's around holidays.


I have another general question. We put down weed and feed about a month or so ago. It's killed all the crab grass that was growing, but now we have patches all over the lawn. When using a metal rake, I have to really apply a lot of pressure to get the dead grass out, and that only gets some of it.

Can I just put down soil over the dead grass, add grass seed and soil lightly on top, or do I need to dig out the dead grass to reach the soil underneath?

And...how long after putting down grass seed can I put down weed and feed again? The grass is coming up great up front (minus a few bare spots - thanks to the rain storm we got - that I'll touch up again this weekend). We haven't mowed the front yard in about two weeks so some weeds - mostly clover and dandelion - are coming up.

Thanks!
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:18 PM   #13
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If you put down crab grass preventer then you do not want to rake the lawn at all. If you do you destroy the chemical barrier that stops crab grass from sprouting.

If you put down crab grass preventer, or weed and feed, be patient with reseeding. That stuff will kill your grass seed. If you are trying to do right then the way to go is to dig out the area you want to seed, mix in two parts of the soil with one part of compost, then seen the area. Keep the grass seed in the frig over night to get it to sprout

Best to give Cooperative Extension a call for more localized input

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