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Old 10-21-2012, 08:58 PM   #1
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Need some help with my Lawn. Help!!


Hi All,

I just bought a house in the Boston MA area. The previous owners did not take care of the lawn or landscaping at all. What is the best way to get to a nice green, weed free lawn. Also what type of grass would you recommend for New England weather and when should I plant.

This is what it looks like right now

http://i48.tinypic.com/2ce5efp.jpg

http://i45.tinypic.com/29x865e.jpg

Thanks!

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Old 10-21-2012, 09:24 PM   #2
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Need some help with my Lawn. Help!!


I've seen worse. You're not going to get a perfect lawn before the snow flies this year, but you can prepare for action next spring. Give the yard a low mow and a good raking to clear debris.

This would also be a good time to get a soil sample to an agricultural extension for analysis. UMass-Amherst aggie has a good program here http://soiltest.umass.edu/, costs something like $10 and they email you the test results. Don't skip this - if your soil is bad then all your other efforts will be in vain. They can tell you what amendments are needed in the soil. If your soil analysis recommends lime, you can apply that this fall or winter. For everything else, I would put down the recommended soil amendments in late winter / early spring and get seed down as soon as the weather permits.

Then I would just do everything I could to get the seed established using good watering and mowing practices. I like the guidelines provided by this website with regard to weed control (http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp)
It does work if you stick to it.

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Old 10-22-2012, 08:07 AM   #3
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I agree. I would focus on your soil test and correcting anything that shows up in that for what you have left of this year. Then be ready to pounce in spring with overseeding, feeding and weed control. You will have 15' of snow in another week or two? And lots of cold angry lobsters?

In spring you should be able to buy nice fresh seed in bulk to make a special blend. It will be cheaper (although it will not come with a pretty picture on the packaging) than packaged seed that guesses at your needs. You will want to determine your sun/shade conditions to make a wise choice and be first in line for best selection.

As Thunder Chicken suggests, give it a closer haircut than usual and rake as much debris from the surface as you can inn preparation for next year. It will be easier to work with now than when partially decayed in the spring.

Last edited by user1007; 10-22-2012 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:39 PM   #4
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Need some help with my Lawn. Help!!


ThunderChicken thanks for those links!! I will work on getting the soil tested.

The yard is 18,000 sq/ft. The lawn is mostly sunny. I would say it gets about 10% shade.

sdsester - where would be the best place to get the type of seed you are talking about(Without the pictures)? Those bags are all I see around here, at homedepot and stuff. Getting it online would be a better idea?
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:19 PM   #5
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Feed and seed places will have bulk seed. I haven't bought any in awhile but real hardware stores in Central Illinois used to have bins full of fresh turfgrass seed in the Spring. A real nursery of size should have bulk seed as well. Online is always a possibility but you cannot smell or feel it ahead of time. Fresh seed will have a nice, rich earthy smell to it.

18,000sf is a lot of turfgrass to maintain. Are you sure you want that much? It costs quite a bit to keep it up so look for fertilizers and weed control products in bulk also. Again feed and seed stores usually have it. Get some tight rubbermaid type containers to store it.

You might think about replacing some of the turf with groundcovers.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:57 PM   #6
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You're right. Maybe I should look into designing and laying out the backyard.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:06 PM   #7
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You're right. Maybe I should look into designing and laying out the backyard.
Not a bad idea to scale it out and commit it to paper for lots of reasons. It makes material take-offs a lot easier if nothing else. You can play with design over the winter.

I think replacing some of the turf with more draught tolerant plants like groundcovers would serve you well. Obviously a soil test is still key before sinking to much money into plantings and food of any kind.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:33 PM   #8
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Feed and seed places will have bulk seed. I haven't bought any in awhile but real hardware stores in Central Illinois used to have bins full of fresh turfgrass seed in the Spring. A real nursery of size should have bulk seed as well.
I know what you are describing, but these sorts of places are really scarce in this area. I've never seen bulk seed available loose from a bin, even in Western MA which is more farm country. We're mostly stuck with box store offerings, particularly out here in Eastern MA. Aubuchon stores carry Hart brand seeds which have good local seed mixes appropriate for New England.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:44 PM   #9
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Now is the time to clean up.....yank out the dead stuff....weed....etc. Don't try to get stuff to grow.....it's winter....spring is when you want to plant seed....anything you put down now will just be food for the birds.

And yes....work on the plan....one important thing to remember....unlike the HGTV shows, lawns are not made in one weekend. It has taken us about 10 years to get our yard somewhat where we want it.....plants grow slow....weeds fast....
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:18 AM   #10
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And yes....work on the plan....one important thing to remember....unlike the HGTV shows, lawns are not made in one weekend. It has taken us about 10 years to get our yard somewhat where we want it.....plants grow slow....weeds fast....
Which brings to mind one of the components of landscape design that made my clients squirm a bit. I forced them to really be honest about what they were willing to commit in time, money to landscape maintenance. I think my own landscapes through the years have looked spectacular but no thanks to me and my personal commitment to maintaining them. I had to hire people to keep them from going jungle.

And do come to grips with the fact that unless amazingly wealthy and able to plant full size specimens you are going to have to be patient as a landscape design matures.

None I talked into reducing the amount of turf they had to maintain have ever come back to complain. I was a turfgrass manager concurrent with practicing landscape design so like it but do know its cost.

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