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The Lawn Care/Home Improvement Thread


SaveByRichter35
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So is anyone else out there nutty about their grass?  Warm season or cool season, Fall is rapidly approaching and its almost time to get everything in gear again coming out of the summer.

Let's talk about anything and everything grass, fertilizers, chemicals, organics, liquids, granular, and equipment!!  Free to post pictures too.

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I pay someone to cut my lawn. I have aerated and over-seeded last fall and this spring and my lawn has improved greatly. I didn’t give two hoots about this stuff until I got my large, 60 year old pin oak cleaned up, as sun could get to my yard and it was a weed garden! My grass hardly grew as there was no sun. 
The key is to plant grasses native to your area or hybridised for your geographic area. Mail order grass seed doesn’t always do the trick. Soil analysis is key, as well. Your yard may have completely different requirements than even the fellow down the street. And for goodness sakes, Don’t cut your grass too short unless you have a sprinkler system that operates twice per day!

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7 hours ago, bunnyman666 said:

I pay someone to cut my lawn. I have aerated and over-seeded last fall and this spring and my lawn has improved greatly. I didn’t give two hoots about this stuff until I got my large, 60 year old pin oak cleaned up, as sun could get to my yard and it was a weed garden! My grass hardly grew as there was no sun. 
The key is to plant grasses native to your area or hybridised for your geographic area. Mail order grass seed doesn’t always do the trick. Soil analysis is key, as well. Your yard may have completely different requirements than even the fellow down the street. And for goodness sakes, Don’t cut your grass too short unless you have a sprinkler system that operates twice per day!

You're speaking my language, Bunny!!!  I always wanted a nice green lawn but never cared enough to put all the effort into it.  I had a landscaper that cut but I always did my own fertilizer applications.  Last year with no hockey because of the lockdown I needed a hobby to keep myself occupied so I turned to the lawn.  Followed some YouTubers and away I went.  Learned all kinds of stuff that made everything so much easier to comprehend and execute.  Last fall I dethatched, aerated, and overseeded.  I was very happy with the outcome.  This fall I am just going to dethatch and do a round of fall pre emergent.  

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14 hours ago, SaveByRichter35 said:

You're speaking my language, Bunny!!!  I always wanted a nice green lawn but never cared enough to put all the effort into it.  I had a landscaper that cut but I always did my own fertilizer applications.  Last year with no hockey because of the lockdown I needed a hobby to keep myself occupied so I turned to the lawn.  Followed some YouTubers and away I went.  Learned all kinds of stuff that made everything so much easier to comprehend and execute.  Last fall I dethatched, aerated, and overseeded.  I was very happy with the outcome.  This fall I am just going to dethatch and do a round of fall pre emergent.  

Once you can get lots of grass growing, the weeds disappear. I am actually thinking of getting a full on sprinkler system. My lawn isn’t that big, but the dispersal is more even. You can disappear into a rabbit hole in the quest for a perfect lawn.

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I have a buddy that I refer to as the 'lawn father'. He's a retired police officer, so he spends more time than a normal 50 year old dude should on his lawn. That said, he's my go to pro on the subject.

My yard is like sod. 

I use a lot of Milorginate (poop in a bag). I only use a pre-emergent in the spring to keep the crab grass at bay all summer. I did well this year.

image.jpeg.e5b8b7abd87d536baf51563da260dde7.jpeg

I removed a few big long needle pine trees. I then ground the stumps out and re-graded the area with top soil. I was able to grow a lush as hell lawn in the entire area using Jonathan Green black beauty seed. Ace hardware has it and Milo. My buddy suggested it and I saw it work.

image.jpeg.cae412fa8e78c7ed0638f179046e700c.jpeg

I've used every seed out there at the box stores. Been to turf places for seed. But the black beauty was solid.

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The last 2 photos were taken in the early spring.  Summer time I tend to hand water the lawn with a hose, as that is allowed under Summer Water Restrictions.  It really allows me to target the areas that need it, and also limits the amount of wasted runoff water.  Plus a nice way to unwind and have a couple beers, usually chatting with the neighbours while doing it.  In Victoria BC for regional reference.

Grass1.jpg

Grass2.jpg

Grass3.jpg

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10 minutes ago, chile57 said:

Peeps - what the scoop on approaching overseeding? What kind of prep, application (when?), after the fact things do I need to be considering? Do's/don'ts - whatever you got I'm all ears.

I followed this advice, to great success.  It also is pretty much exactly what the Greenskeeper at my favourite golf course told me.

https://www.scotts.com/en-ca/library/grass-grass-seed/best-way-overseeding-reseeding-lawn

 

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1 hour ago, Naz said:

I followed this advice, to great success.  It also is pretty much exactly what the Greenskeeper at my favourite golf course told me.

https://www.scotts.com/en-ca/library/grass-grass-seed/best-way-overseeding-reseeding-lawn

 

Thanks @Naz both for chiming in and the helpful link. Seems pretty straightforward. So you didn't dethatch or aerate or anything prior to overseeding? How much time to let pass before you went over things with the lawnmower? I'm on an acre with pretty clearly defined front, side(s) and back yards so I'm thinking the best approach might be in stages (?) so its easier to manage. Great idea? Awful idea? Anybody want to do it for me? 😆 Should also throw out the fact that I'm on pretty heavy clay just below the top soil - no sand to speak of.

 

PS - your lawn is looking lush - niiice. 

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49 minutes ago, chile57 said:

Thanks @Naz both for chiming in and the helpful link. Seems pretty straightforward. So you didn't dethatch or aerate or anything prior to overseeding? How much time to let pass before you went over things with the lawnmower? I'm on an acre with pretty clearly defined front, side(s) and back yards so I'm thinking the best approach might be in stages (?) so its easier to manage. Great idea? Awful idea? Anybody want to do it for me? 😆 Should also throw out the fact that I'm on pretty heavy clay just below the top soil - no sand to speak of.

 

PS - your lawn is looking lush - niiice. 

Nope, no aerating or dethatching, just scraped it lightly with a leaf rake.  Mind you, my ground/soil was already fantastic.  Because the initial cut is quite low, I cut it once the new grass was established, and cut the whole thing on a high setting on my mower, it may have juuuuuuust trimmed the new grass.  Be sure your mower blade is VERY sharp for this cut, otherwise it will just rip and tear at the new grass.
I did mine in the fall for the reasons stated in the link.  As for doing it all at once or in stages, depends on if you want to get a start on the first section in early fall, second section late fall.  Not sure where you are located, so a lot depends on your seasons, first frost etc.  If there are any turf farms in your area, you can always call them for advice.

Thanks for the compliment :)

 

Edited by Naz
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Thanks for all the tips @Naz - put these on my tab. For the initial low cut - what did you go with? I normally cut mine at 3.5". I'll make sure to slap on my freshly sharpened set of blades for this round too.

I'm in the midwest USA PS. More specifically - the mitten (AKA Michigan) where we get all the seasons... just not necessarily in the order you'd expect them to unfold... and have been know to go backwards and forwards randomly.

Edited by chile57
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On 9/5/2021 at 10:07 PM, MTH said:

I have a buddy that I refer to as the 'lawn father'. He's a retired police officer, so he spends more time than a normal 50 year old dude should on his lawn. That said, he's my go to pro on the subject.

My yard is like sod. 

I use a lot of Milorginate (poop in a bag). I only use a pre-emergent in the spring to keep the crab grass at bay all summer. I did well this year.

image.jpeg.e5b8b7abd87d536baf51563da260dde7.jpeg

I removed a few big long needle pine trees. I then ground the stumps out and re-graded the area with top soil. I was able to grow a lush as hell lawn in the entire area using Jonathan Green black beauty seed. Ace hardware has it and Milo. My buddy suggested it and I saw it work.

image.jpeg.cae412fa8e78c7ed0638f179046e700c.jpeg

I've used every seed out there at the box stores. Been to turf places for seed. But the black beauty was solid.

Love me some Milo!  I don't use it exclusively but I do use it every now and again.  I also use Jonathan Green seed.  My defensive fall strategy is getting a change and I will now be doing a lot of seeding.  I did an overseed last fall.  This year I am going to have to be doing a lot of repair seeding due to some construction that is FINALLY happening.  New back paver patio, new front paver stoop, and new blacktop driveway.  I'm having a large mound removed from in front of my front stoop.  The yard won't be perfectly level but the mound will be much less drastic.  If that makes sense?  So between that and all of the tracks and ruts that'll happen due to the skid steer I will have plenty of seeding to do.

You should also consider a fall application of pre-emergent(preM).  It will help against winter and early spring weeds.

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14 minutes ago, chile57 said:

Thanks for all the tips @Naz - put these on my tab. For the initial low cut - what did you go with? I normally cut mine at 3.5". I'll make sure to slap on my freshly sharpened set of blades for this round too.

I'm in the midwest USA PS. More specifically - the mitten (AKA Michigan) where we get all the seasons... just not necessarily in the order you'd expect them to unfold... and have been know to go backwards and forwards randomly.

I did the pre-trim all the way down to 1 inch.  Make sure the weather forecast for the week after that trim is not too warm, I did mine when the max daytime temp was 18 celcius (70F).

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3 minutes ago, chile57 said:

@SaveByRichter35 all good - I just figured Naz was dusting you and leveling up to lawncare grandmaster. Appreciate anything you might throw out there.

We're now officially our dads. Got to get some striped tube socks and some cutoff short jorts. Maybe grow some wicked mustaches... just don't park your white truck on the lawn.

Growing up, I was not allowed to play on the front lawn, that was the "show lawn".  I could play on one of the side lawns or the back lawn.  The funny thing, now my Dad doesn't really give a shit about his lawn, lets it go brown in the summer.

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26 minutes ago, Naz said:

I did the pre-trim all the way down to 1 inch.  Make sure the weather forecast for the week after that trim is not too warm, I did mine when the max daytime temp was 18 celcius (70F).

1"? Damn - that's a military cut for sure. Have to check the dial on the Gravely and see how far it goes. Might scalp a couple spots.

My pops recruited me into mowing the lawn (and the lawns of the neighborhood) when I was in grade school. Did it all the way up through college. Hated most every minute of it - my friends were always doing something fun and I was jockeying from lawn to lawn all summer long. Sure did establish an appreciation for a nice looking lawn though. 

@SaveByRichter35 what do you use to dethatch by the way? A rental or something?

Edited by chile57
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If you're overseeding I would recommend to at least dethatch so you can get better seed to soil contact.  Do you have to?  No, clearly its working well for @Naz.  Most would recommend you you aerate as well.  Especially with that clay soil you have up there.  You want to poke LOTS of holes in that soil and introduce lots of organic matter into that clay to help improve your soil content.  

Here is the plan that I follow, I'll post pictures from last year's events a little later.

  • cut the lawn low but not too low, you don't want to scalp it. 
  • Mechanical dethatch by way of a power rake, clean out all that dead shit. 
  • Mechanical aeration, poke lots of holes, pull lots of plugs.  Take the aerator across your lawn in every which direction...north/south, east/west, go diagonally across those paths as well. 
  • Throw down seed. 
  • Throw down starter fertilizer.  The starter fertilizer I use has a preM in it to help keep weeds at bay while the new grass is growing.  Lots of weed seeds that had been laying dormant in your soil is going to be brought to the surface after the aeration and they're going to be brought into the perfect situation for them to now germinate.  The preM in the starter fertilizer is going to help keep those weeds from germinating while allowing your grass seeds to germinate.
  • Throw down some kind of soil amendment.  Carbon, calcium, sea kelp, etc.  
  • Cover everything with peat moss to protect the seed from runoff and from animals.  It is also very good at holding moisture in to keep the seeds moist.
  • Water water water.  You want to water lightly several times a day.  You don't wanna soak it to the point that you get runoff but you also wanna make sure to keep everything moist throughout the day.  You don't want it drying out.  Keep watering multiple times a day for a short time for 2 weeks.
  • Throw down starter fertilizer again two weeks later and again two weeks two weeks after that.  This is why you want to cut your grass low before starting this process, its going to get bombed with all the Nitrogen needed for the new seedlings.  Its going to start to take off, its fine, let it grow.  At this point you can start watering once a day for a longer period of time.
  • Don't cut the new grass until its about 2-3 inches tall, wait as long as you can.  This is going to vary in time depending on what grass you are seeding.  Rye germinates and grows faster.  Kentucky Blue takes significantly longer to germinate and start growing.  Use a push mower if you can.  Try to avoid heavier tractors and zero-turns.  Cut the old grass down on the highest setting your mower goes without taking off too much of the new grass.  Bag your clippings the first time.  Cut it quick and get off of it.  If you must use your larger mowers then try to make all of your turns off of the grass if possible.
  • After your first cut you can start watering deep and infrequently again.  Say 30-40 minutes per zone, once every 2-3 days.
  • After your second cut your grass should be hardened off enough to make it through the winter. 
  • Cut it as much as you can as tall as you can.  More than once a week.  The more you mow the more it will grow.  Its going to grow up and down(roots). MAKE SURE YOUR BLADES ARE SHARP!!  CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.  Cut it tall for a few cuts and then you can start gradually taking it down.  Don't cut it at 4" one day and then 4-5 days later cut it down at 2".  You never wanna cut off more than 1/3 of the grass blade, especially at such a young age.
  • At this point you can go back to a regular fertilizer.  Keep it high in Nitrogen though.  Keep pushing the growth.  The more you have to cut it before winter the better.  Get those roots established. 

Edit - 

If your grass is already plush and thick and you don't need to do an overseed then don't.  Keep throwing down high Nitrogen fertilizer and pushing growth and mowing.  Highly recommend a fall application of preM. 

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55 minutes ago, chile57 said:

1"? Damn - that's a military cut for sure. Have to check the dial on the Gravely and see how far it goes. Might scalp a couple spots.

My pops recruited me into mowing the lawn (and the lawns of the neighborhood) when I was in grade school. Did it all the way up through college. Hated most every minute of it - my friends were always doing something fun and I was jockeying from lawn to lawn all summer long. Sure did establish an appreciation for a nice looking lawn though. 

@SaveByRichter35 what do you use to dethatch by the way? A rental or something?

Yes I rent a power rake from either local hardware store or Home Depot.

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These are pictures from last fall’s overseed project. 

These first two pictures were taken 9/13/20, before I kicked everything off the following day.  Your quintessential "before" pictures lol.
4183678F-0621-4F51-A5B6-915BD837BBC4.jpeg

0F49F45A-A4B2-4099-8498-D7040B451D65.jpeg

This one was taken on 9/14/20 after dethatching.  All that shit came out from under my grass.  This is why you should dethatch before you seed.
7E9C073F-A710-4073-AFE6-937DF49883A8.jpeg

These next few are after mechanical core aerating the ground.  Look at all those holes.
AC78BC46-EDB5-477F-85E1-793E6661E9A5.jpeg

B44E9D4F-A025-4AFE-A264-C7D8A6202DE4.jpeg

These next two were taken 3 weeks later, 10/5/20.  Everything growing thick and shaggy.
9EF5C24C-934F-4DE4-AEFB-95689C09DAD6.jpeg

09540EEC-753A-4264-B568-EC38106A13C4.jpeg

These last few were taken on 10/18/20, after its second mowing.
CFBD5ACB-7BB1-4E64-9FE7-776825815B41.jpeg

8477E8C4-5C12-44AE-A527-8284EB232586.jpeg

B5C60AC2-8158-4A86-BE38-FD26CD56CDE3.jpeg

036A7AB7-1F46-48EC-AEA3-DA830ADD2B9F.jpeg

Notice the big mound in front of my stoop?  I'm hoping to have a big chunk cut out of the top of it so it isn't so drastically tall and round.

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