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Old 04-13-2009, 09:01 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
13,159 posts, read 13,187,659 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uber_bwnage View Post
My lot is a about the same size as yours. I buy a large bag (the one that covers 15,000 sq. ft.) of each type of fertilizer. That will get me two years per bag.

The average cost is about $20 per application of fertilizer (plus $20 one-time to buy a spreader if you don't have one). Seed is dependent on your need ($50 at the most once a year) and an aerator cost about $60 to rent for one day but you can split the use with a neighbor or two and each pay a piece. (I have 4 neighbors that I rent an aerator with so it cost us about $20 each a year to aerate our lawns).

I though about Trugreen myself, but the cost was much less for me to do it myself. The toughest part of DIY is the timing of when to apply the fertilizer. My advise would be mark on your calender when the Trugreen by comes. Then just copy the timing for your lawn, or just follow my guide in the first post.
Most of your advice is pretty much dead on, but I'd like to suggest that you are overdoing the aerator.

My father was a salesman & for many years a regional manager for an ag chem company. I grew up with this & had contact with many national experts.

In the fall, just using a hard rake will de-thatch your lawn quite well. Compost the thatch if you want. You shouldn't need an aerator more than once every 5 years & less than that if you put a lot of energy into nthe de-thatching.
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Wouldn't you like to know?
8,521 posts, read 10,379,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southbound_295 View Post
Most of your advice is pretty much dead on, but I'd like to suggest that you are overdoing the aerator.

My father was a salesman & for many years a regional manager for an ag chem company. I grew up with this & had contact with many national experts.

In the fall, just using a hard rake will de-thatch your lawn quite well. Compost the thatch if you want. You shouldn't need an aerator more than once every 5 years & less than that if you put a lot of energy into nthe de-thatching.

SB I'm going to have to respectfully disagree w/you on this.

I've both core aerated and thatched (w/a commercial thatcher) and I think aerating by far has more benefits. If you core aerate, you go over the lawn once and your done. You leave the "plugs" on the lawn and move on, while if you thatch, you have to rake up all the thatch left behind. Its a royal Pain in the a** if you have a decent size lawn. Also, hard raking is much more backbreaking that using a core aerator (IMO).

I think its a huge investment to get 3 or 4 of the guys in your neighborhood and chip in the $15-$20 to all use the core aerator for a Saturday.....

Just my .02...
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:55 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
13,159 posts, read 13,187,659 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CouponJack View Post
SB I'm going to have to respectfully disagree w/you on this.

I've both core aerated and thatched (w/a commercial thatcher) and I think aerating by far has more benefits. If you core aerate, you go over the lawn once and your done. You leave the "plugs" on the lawn and move on, while if you thatch, you have to rake up all the thatch left behind. Its a royal Pain in the a** if you have a decent size lawn. Also, hard raking is much more backbreaking that using a core aerator (IMO).

I think its a huge investment to get 3 or 4 of the guys in your neighborhood and chip in the $15-$20 to all use the core aerator for a Saturday.....

Just my .02...
To each his own, Jack. I don't mind the hard raking, &, in fact, enjoy it. If you're going to overseed, dethatching is a big plus. Aerating has a purpose, but not the same as dethatching. Like I said, I grew up with this.
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:47 AM
 
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I think aerating at least every other year, if not annualy, is a must if you have compacted hard red clay soil. I've aerated 2 out of the past three years and it has done wonders for my lawn. It is amazing how those little seeds that fall down the hole do so much better sending up shoots when they have direct soil to seed contact!
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:05 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Raleigh_Guy View Post
I think aerating at least every other year, if not annualy, is a must if you have compacted hard red clay soil. I've aerated 2 out of the past three years and it has done wonders for my lawn. It is amazing how those little seeds that fall down the hole do so much better sending up shoots when they have direct soil to seed contact!
Dethatching provides the direct soil contact for the seed. Now, if the ground is compacted, aerating is necessary.

A common practice in South Jersey (planting zone 7 & clay) was to mow the lawn while wearing shoes with cleats once a year or in alternating years, depending on how compact the soil was.

If the yard does not need overseeding, there's no need to dethatch the yard annually, howver, the thatch should not be left permanently. It can harbor insects & promote certain diseases.

Honestly, I dethatched my yard where overseeding was needed annually & totally dethatched every other year. Then I composted the thatch.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:04 AM
 
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What kind of grass was used in Jersey? I'm thinking you had at least some bluegrass, which was probably the cause of the thatch you had up there. Tall fescue, which is the most common cool-season grass here in NC, doesn't generate nearly as much thatch (if any at all), which is why it's more common down here to use an aerator to get direct soil contact for seeding and to open up the soil. NJ clay is no comparison - golf cleats may have worked there, but it's not really going to do much for typical NC clay soils.

Dethatching is also much harder for clumping grasses like fescue to recover from, which is another reason aeration is preferred.

If you're going to rent something to use for overseeding, a slit-seeder would probably be a better choice unless you know for sure that you have a thatch problem. Decomposing grass on top of your dirt isn't the same thing as thatch, for example, and is actually beneficial, so make sure you really have a problem before trying to fix it.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uber_bwnage View Post
Don't bag'em. Grass clippings are a free source of high-nitrogen that will make your grass greener.
Aerating cures any thatch buildup, so if you aerate annually in the fall, thatch will never be a problem.
Don't forget about alfalfa pellets. They can be bought at your local feed shop and spread with a spreader.

Primarily a plant source of nitrogen, Alfalfa Pellets also contains trace minerals and triacontanol, a plant growth promoter. Broadcast 25-50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. before planting, or apply as a side dressing later in the season for plants requiring additional nitrogen.

Also, don't forget the benefits of earthworms.

The presence of earthworms in the lawn is an indicator of healthy soil, it is when they make their presence known that they become a problem. Most of the time worms are unseen, conditioning the soil and living their lives deep in the root zone. During the spring and fall, or other periods of extreme moisture, earthworms tend to migrate to the surface and leave their castings on the lawn. Worm castings are small mounds or bumps on the lawn which are basically worm excrement. The excretions are nutrient packed remains of digested plant matter and soil which is extremely beneficial to the lawn. Earthworms help in breaking down thatch, increasing decomposition and creating usable nitrogen in the soil. In fact, five or more earthworms per square foot of soil provides the lawn with 25% of its seasonal nitrogen requirements. The worms' movement through the soil profile acts as natural aeration, helping air and water move from the surface throughout the root zone.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:48 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
13,159 posts, read 13,187,659 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCfromNC View Post
What kind of grass was used in Jersey? I'm thinking you had at least some bluegrass, which was probably the cause of the thatch you had up there. Tall fescue, which is the most common cool-season grass here in NC, doesn't generate nearly as much thatch (if any at all), which is why it's more common down here to use an aerator to get direct soil contact for seeding and to open up the soil. NJ clay is no comparison - golf cleats may have worked there, but it's not really going to do much for typical NC clay soils.

Dethatching is also much harder for clumping grasses like fescue to recover from, which is another reason aeration is preferred.

If you're going to rent something to use for overseeding, a slit-seeder would probably be a better choice unless you know for sure that you have a thatch problem. Decomposing grass on top of your dirt isn't the same thing as thatch, for example, and is actually beneficial, so make sure you really have a problem before trying to fix it.
In South Jersey, fescue & rye was preferred. Most property was clay.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Indian Trail
533 posts, read 854,116 times
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I thought that I read some where that pelletized gypsum will help break down the clay and improve drainage without affecting the ph of the lawn. Any comments on this?
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:03 AM
 
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i have four acres with much of it being crab grass and bare, i did seed in late march and covered with straw. is there any way to save the seed i have layed and can i still use a crab grass killer?
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