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Old 04-24-2007, 09:14 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
1,508 posts, read 5,382,823 times
Reputation: 1418

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Any advice for a new home (happy) owner? I plan on going the DIY way. I'm paying for is lawn cutting. Our mower is old & rusted so we can't handle the acre of grass cutting. I'm wishing for a ride-on mower but during the interum I'll have to pay for the cutting.

God gave me two good legs & my Dad gave me the "spreader" so I'll handle the fertalizer (kinda like on City Data)

My questions are:

What type & brand of fertalizer works best?
What step do I follow to get the best looking lawn?
Any tips & tricks?
Where do I start???? My lawn looks brown & patchy & bald in spots kinda like my old Uncle Al. LOL

thanks in advance-
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Old 04-24-2007, 10:29 AM
 
Location: a primitive state
9,536 posts, read 19,402,289 times
Reputation: 11407
You need to call your county cooperative extension agent. They can give you all of that information for your area - for free! That's their job.
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Old 04-24-2007, 11:06 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
1,508 posts, read 5,382,823 times
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Default Huh?

I can't say that I've ever hear of a "County Cooperative Extension Agent".

Does every County in NJ have one? How would I locate this department?

Sorry but the title does not even sound like ti has anyting to do with Lawn Care??? If the word "Enviromental" was in the title then I could believe it....

UPDATE: Forget everything I just wrote !!! I Googled my County Extension Agent & Wahhh Laaaa I HAVE ONE !!
COOL !! thanks for the scoop
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Old 04-24-2007, 12:00 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,354,094 times
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We have found over time that by the time you buy everything you need to fertilize your lawn it is as much or more then hiring a lawn service to do the work. You might want to price them and the chemicals needed before you do anything.
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Old 04-24-2007, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,164 posts, read 57,274,608 times
Reputation: 52030
If you fertilize the lawn, it will just grow faster. I'll never make that mistake again.

Organic fertilizers made out of corn are best; really, the best fertilizer is to leave the clippings on the lawn, and to not cut the lawn too short.
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Old 04-24-2007, 12:54 PM
 
Location: NE Florida
17,835 posts, read 29,403,652 times
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ohiogirl said it best. for nitrogen leaving your cuttings is like an extra does per year.
the most important thing is keep you lawn mowed to the correct height. the only time I bag is if I let it get to long you don't want the cuttings laying on the grass.
I would give my right arm for a riding mower lol but we really don't have a big enough yard not to mention my hubby would be afraid he woudl come home and I would of mowed everyones lawn
I agree with golfgal it worked out better for us to hire someone to do the treatments . I do suggest going with a smaller company than the larger ones that way you get someone who has a vested interest. not just a "$8 hour put the stuff down guy."
your extension office is a great resource. I know here we have master gardeners that man the phones to answer home owners questions. We lovingly call it "the confused homeowners hot line"

karla
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Old 04-25-2007, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,164 posts, read 57,274,608 times
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I'll elaborate a little on why the length of the grass is important -- the longer the grass, the greater shade it provides to the soil surface. This prevents weeds from sprouting; therefore, even if you do choose to use chemicals, you don't have to use quite so much.

The only weed I don't like in my lawn is dandelion, which I dig out by hand before the seed head develops. Everything else is OK -- clover, violets, bugleweed, etc. Most of the time it's healthier-looking than the grass!

My lawn is patchy and brown in spots, too -- most likely, chafer and Japanese beetle grubs are doing the damage. There are organic and non-organic resolutions for the grubs. Right now I'm electing to leave it alone, and transplant grass and clover from areas where I'm digging out for gardens, shrubs and trees.

A really great source for organic lawn and garden care is Gardens Alive!, a mail order outfit in Indiana. gardensalive.com, I think.
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:19 PM
 
9,558 posts, read 26,408,859 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
We have found over time that by the time you buy everything you need to fertilize your lawn it is as much or more then hiring a lawn service to do the work. You might want to price them and the chemicals needed before you do anything.

Really? I bought a hand held spreader for $10. And a Bag of Scotts Fertilizer for $9 that will get me two applications on my .10 acres lawn. Where I live the average lawn service will charge you $35 per application. So I am looking at a cost of $19 vs. $70 and the spreader was a one time cost.

Sure, if you have a larger yard you will need a larger broadcast spreader to push that may run your $30, but you can still buy the chemicals cheaper than paying the markup through a lawn company. I can't think of any way a lawn service would be cheaper when it comes to fertilizing your yard. Now with maitenance yes, buying a mower, weedwhacker, edger ect.... can add up, but you will save money if you fertilize yourself.
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Old 04-25-2007, 06:29 PM
 
284 posts, read 1,541,463 times
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First, determine what kind of grass you have. If you don't know, take some blades of grass to a local nursery. (Ask people in your neighborhood who have beautiful lawns for advice, especially those that you know actually do their own work. Most people are thrilled to share their expertise because they are so flattered by someone noticing their yard.) When you know what kind of grass you have, you will be able to determine exactly what it needs and what not to put on it. For example, St. Augustine is a wide blade grass that can be harmed by certain weed killers. Always read the back of any product that you put down to see if it is safe for your grass and other plantings. When I read "brown patches", my first thought was grubs or lack of iron, but you really should ask locally. Nursery workers should be able to help you because they may know if there are any diseases or bug problems in your town this year.

Second, I am a huge fan of edging. If a lawn is neatly mowed and edged, this attention to detail will compensate for any problems that the lawn may be having. Mow on a regular basis. If you let it get too high between mowings, you will "burn" it when you mow it. A good edging also helps keep water from running out of the lawn.

Third, putting down pre-emergent at the end of the growing season (ask locally when is best) will prevent weeds from germinating over the winter. We also had to put it down again in the spring because our neighbors didn't put any down, and their weeds were blowing into our yard. Yuck! We didn't have weeds initially, but they sprouted a little while after our neighbors' started blowing around.

Fourth, follow all instructions on products exactly as directed. If it says to water thoroughly, do it, or you will have a burned yard.

Finally, enjoy your yardwork. It feels so good to have a beautiful yard that you have worked so hard on. If you are consistent, staying on top of mowing, edging, weeding, watering and adding nutrients, etc. as needed, you will soon be one of those people whose yard people drool over. Happy gardening!
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Old 04-25-2007, 09:49 PM
 
22 posts, read 97,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Raleigh_Guy View Post
Really? I bought a hand held spreader for $10. And a Bag of Scotts Fertilizer for $9 that will get me two applications on my .10 acres lawn. Where I live the average lawn service will charge you $35 per application. So I am looking at a cost of $19 vs. $70 and the spreader was a one time cost.

Sure, if you have a larger yard you will need a larger broadcast spreader to push that may run your $30, but you can still buy the chemicals cheaper than paying the markup through a lawn company. I can't think of any way a lawn service would be cheaper when it comes to fertilizing your yard. Now with maitenance yes, buying a mower, weedwhacker, edger ect.... can add up, but you will save money if you fertilize yourself.
This is my 2 cents worth.... I can't remember the specifics, but several years ago we used a commercial lawn spraying service that came every few months and sprayed. It was NOT cheap and our lawn never looked very good. We had always done our own pre-emergence, weed killer and fertilizer and had a very pretty lawn. We didn't renew the service and started doing our own treatments again. This spring we have had a LOT of rain and everyone has a LOT of weeds. We decided to have a lawn guy mow the lawn the first time and he also sprayed for weeds. We now have "puny" looking weeds - NOT dead and our lawn looks stressed.

We have found that the guys at our local garden centers are very knowledgable and very willing to help. IF you enjoy doing lawn work and are physically able I think you'll get a lot of satisfaction out of doing the mowing, etc. yourself. If $$ is a concern, you might look at yard or estate sales for lawn equipment.

I think this was more like 50 cents worth! Good luck to you!
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