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Old 08-13-2012, 10:58 PM   #1
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Seeking comments on proposed lawn care


My lawn is in decent shape but there a few things I haven't done before that, now that I have the time, I want to try doing. I live in the Maryland suburbs just outside of Washington, DC., and have a small-size front and back yard. In prior years I used the Scott's 4-step program. This year I switched to using Turf Trust fertilizer, and Greenlight Portrait (weed preventer) Dimension (crabgrass preventer) and Arena (grub killer), and mowing higher (3"), and my lawn has been happier even during high heat and low precip.

I've never done a soil test, and that's next on my list. Once I get those results I'll make any recommended amendments.

I bought a Greenworks electric dethatcher and plan on dethatching myself in September. I'll then have the lawn core aerated by a service (equipment too heavy for me), then I will overseed (planning on using Turf Sense Yellow Jacket), top dress with to inch of Leafgro compost using a broadcast spreader, and fertilize.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on what I'm planning, the order I'm doing them, and the timing. Thanks very much.

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Old 08-14-2012, 03:56 AM   #2
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Sounds OK to me but I am just a lowley painter

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Old 08-14-2012, 06:52 AM   #3
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Sounds great to me and I used to be a turfgrass manager in a past life. Only thing to think about and perhaps irrelevant for a small residential lawn or two? There is somewhat of a shift away from pre-emergent crabgrass control. Not sure how I feel about it but it does make some sense not to treat an entire yard---for cost and environmental reasons---if you only have spots of crabgrass.

See if you can find a soil lab that will explain how to best take and package your samples and make sure you get them from different places in your yard. Some soil labs will have corers they loan out. Especially in housing developments, land was often scraped and the original topsoil never returned to where it came from so soil analysis from say front or backyards can be very different.

If you can, find a soil lab that will not only do the analyses for you but also suggest any amendments and adjustments that would be beneficial.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:14 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Sounds great to me and I used to be a turfgrass manager in a past life. Only thing to think about and perhaps irrelevant for a small residential lawn or two? There is somewhat of a shift away from pre-emergent crabgrass control. Not sure how I feel about it but it does make some sense not to treat an entire yard---for cost and environmental reasons---if you only have spots of crabgrass.

See if you can find a soil lab that will explain how to best take and package your samples and make sure you get them from different places in your yard. Some soil labs will have corers they loan out. Especially in housing developments, land was often scraped and the original topsoil never returned to where it came from so soil analysis from say front or backyards can be very different.

If you can, find a soil lab that will not only do the analyses for you but also suggest any amendments and adjustments that would be beneficial.
Thanks for the suggestions. For soil testing I'm working with the University of Maryland Extension (http://www.hgic.umd.edu/content/SoilTesting.cfm), which has a list of recommended labs (see last page of http://www.hgic.umd.edu/content/docu...tLab1_2012.pdf), and they do provide recommendations. It describes how to take multiple random samples across the area. I do plan on submitting separate samples for the front and back lawn. I'm getting a stainless steel soil sampling tube, so that's covered. -- Rav
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:00 PM   #5
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Make sure you follow instructions on the pre-emergents regarding time between applying and re-seeding, and vice versa. Be a shame to kill all that seed before they become gay young blades. (Vice versa, that's Latin for dirty limericks)
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:46 PM   #6
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I use Dimension. It's a good product. I need to look into Arena because I discovered grubs recently.

Your plan looks good to me. The very best thing you can do for a lawn is test the soil. For fescue, 3-4 inches in height is good because it helps kills weeds by depriving them of sunlight and it helps retain moisture and helps keep itself cool.

When core-aerating, it's best to have the holes about 3" from each other so you get more de-compression of the soil, more oxygen exchange for the roots of the grass and gives your new seed more places in which to get deeper in the ground with better soil contact.

Sounds like you will have a 'lawn of the month' on your hands in no time
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:46 PM   #7
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Update: Got the lab results for the lawn soil tests today. Front lawn has a pH of 5.6, back is 5.8. The magnesium is optimal so I will use pelletized calcite lime to bring it up to their recommended 6.2-6.5.

They recommend adding 50 lbs per 1000 sq ft in front, 30 lbs per 1000 in back.

I have a Scott's Edgeguard Mini broadcast spreader. A guy at Scott's help line says that for the front 50 lbs to set the dial at 7 and go over the area 3 times. For the back 30 lbs, he says set it to 10 and go over it once. He said the setting makes no difference whether it's Pelletized or not. Do those settings make sense?

Is it OK to lime and fertilize at the same time? In web searches some people say they interfere with each other and to separate by a day or even 2 weeks, some say the same time is fine. I had hoped to put both down right after core aerating so that both would have a chance to go into the holes, but if I have to apply separately only one will get that chance. What do people here think? (I will also be overseeding and top dressing with Leafgro compost at the same time.)

Thanks again -- Rav
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:07 PM   #8
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It's a good idea to wait a day or two but my goto nursery has told me its fine to apply on the same day. I always play it safe and wait at least a day. Lime takes a while to leach into the soil anyway.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SingleGuy
It's a good idea to wait a day or two but my goto nursery has told me its fine to apply on the same day. I always play it safe and wait at least a day. Lime takes a whe to leach into the soil anyway.
Is it better to:

1. Aerate, overseed, fertilize, top dress, wait a day, lime on top of top dressing, or

2. Aerate, overseed, lime, top dress, wait a day, fertilizer on top of top dressing.

(I didn't think a third option of top dressing on the second day would be a good idea, since I want to keep the seed moist and away from birds from the get-go.)

I'm guessing #1 so that the seed is with the fertilizer, but want to be sure. Tnx.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:33 AM   #10
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I'd go with #1. Birds generally aren't a problem btw. The amount of seed recommended to throw out takes into account for what birds might get. If you water properly during germination, the birds have less chance of getting your seed. Top dressing is primarily to help keep the seed moist and levels out your lawn somewhat.

Be sure to get QUALITY seed so you improve your chance of germination too.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #11
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I'd also check with your extension office and see what they recommend as far as the timing of lime goes.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:29 AM   #12
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I wanted to follow up with the group about the results of my lawn renovation. I had a soil test done, dethatched, core aerated, top dressed with Leafgro compost, fertilized, overseeded, watered over the following month, and applied lime per the soil test. I did everything myself except the core aeration. The results look great so far and I've attached two pics below (there are a few leaves on the lawn). Thanks to everyone who gave advice! /Rav
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Seeking comments on proposed lawn care-grass1.jpg   Seeking comments on proposed lawn care-grass2.jpg  
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:02 PM   #13
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Looks great! Amazing what a little Ph tweaking and feeding will do for a lawn!

Do keep an eye on your Ph with a home kit or meter to see if you need to add more lime in 6-12 months.

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