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Old 09-10-2011, 09:31 PM
 
1,226 posts, read 2,287,859 times
Reputation: 1870

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I've been looking over some old threads, and have been trying to take note of your advice. My lawn is a mess also, full of weeds, soil very compacted, looking to fix it. Unfortunately, I don't have a previous owner to blame. Here is my game plan, based on mostly your posts, let me know if I am missing anything or if you have further recommendations, from you or anyone else that wants to weigh in:

-spray crabgrass with Bayer/ other weeds with Roundup. probably going to do this twice in September.
-cut lawn very short
-aerate and seed with short fescue/perennial rye in mid/late october, at least 3 weeks after last spray. buy at the tractor supply store rather than Home Depot/Lowes.
-water everyday for first 2 weeks, then only weekly after that.
-mow lawn frequently, but keep long.
-apply preemergent weed killer in early spring
-reseed if necessary3-4 weeks later (currently lots of patches, probably more once weeds are killed), maybe just in patches.
-I'm not sure what I do in the summer, I assume just keep spraying.
-then repeat in fall

Am I missing anything?
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:06 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
23,806 posts, read 32,705,680 times
Reputation: 10247
Quote:
Originally Posted by cc0789 View Post
I've been looking over some old threads, and have been trying to take note of your advice. My lawn is a mess also, full of weeds, soil very compacted, looking to fix it. Unfortunately, I don't have a previous owner to blame. Here is my game plan, based on mostly your posts, let me know if I am missing anything or if you have further recommendations, from you or anyone else that wants to weigh in:

-spray crabgrass with Bayer/ other weeds with Roundup. probably going to do this twice in September.
-cut lawn very short
-aerate and seed with short fescue/perennial rye in mid/late october, at least 3 weeks after last spray. buy at the tractor supply store rather than Home Depot/Lowes.
-water everyday for first 2 weeks, then only weekly after that.
-mow lawn frequently, but keep long.
-apply preemergent weed killer in early spring
-reseed if necessary3-4 weeks later (currently lots of patches, probably more once weeds are killed), maybe just in patches.
-I'm not sure what I do in the summer, I assume just keep spraying.
-then repeat in fall

Am I missing anything?
Bayer & Ortho both have a spray that kills crabgrass & weeds (Only Bayer had the crab grass killing ingredient last year. RoundUp kills grass & weeds. I use it for specifice purposes but not as a general purpose weed killer.

Last fall I brought back a bag of Pennington short fescue & rye mix that I got in DE, to try. I wish I had brought back more. I got the seed out a bit late (well, a lot late) & it came through the summer perfectly. (Plus I did not go out of my way to water it.) It had a bit of browning late in the high heat & is coming back just fine. Of all of the seed that I've tried in the front yard, this was, hands down, the best. This was labeled as a northern mix. I tried it on a lark. (I have a theory that if it says that it will grow in DE, MD, &/or VA it will grow here.) I'll have to check the Pennington website, but I want the same or as close as possible this fall. I can order it through my local True Value hardware even though it's not what they will be ordering. I did see a Pennington mix that included tall fesue with the short fescue & rye locally, either at Home Depot or Lowes.

Do not seed after applying a pre-emergent. It will not sprout.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:22 PM
 
8,402 posts, read 23,206,875 times
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I can't speak for a lot of the details, but I can say I dabbled in getting a decent lawn for several years. Then I killed all of it, dead, gone, all brown. had the yard tilled up to loosen the soil, seeded, and 2 years later I have a pretty good looking lawn, except for the middle of summer, when I simply won't spend big $$$ to keep it green. My lawn isn't Better Homes and Gardens cover-worthy, but it is one of the better patches of grass in my neighborhood when it's green.

One problem I have, and many people have, is that if everyone in the neighborhood isn't on the same page when it comes to lawncare, it's more difficult to maintain a good lawn. Go to better (high dollar) neighborhoods, where all the grass is the same and everyone is paying for pro lawncare, and all the lawns look good. In my neighborhood, there are those who do nothing, some who pay a bit for a limited service (like me), some who do it all themselves, and a couple who go all the way with a pro. Consequently there is a wide variance of lawn appearance.
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Lansing, MI
2,948 posts, read 6,779,875 times
Reputation: 3266
My $.02 based on experience on rebuidling a crummy lawn ....

We treated the law with a product called "Pasture Pro" from Tractor Supply (also available at Southern States). This is a formula designed to not kill the grass you want but to take out the weeds you don't want. Considering it is for pastures, and good pastures rely on good grass. It has a very long list of items it takes out, and is an affordable solution that works within days.

Next, any patches of sparse / dead grass (especially after taking out the weeds), we raked up the dead growth and disposed of. Then, hand seeded the patches for good coverage. The raking helps create soil contact. Once seeded, covered the patches with potting soil. This, again, creates soil contact. Less seed lost to the birds or wash out, good fertile soil being added for nutrients and overall stimulating growth. We then watered about 30mins each day that we didn't see significant rainfall. The clay down here is extremely lacking in nutrients, so every bit helps.

Additioanally, you need to be on a reguarly weed & feed schedule to fertilize the good and hinder the bad. It is best to apply when significant new growth in weeds (early-mid spring) and when not too hot out. Ours is early spring, early summer, mid fall. Do not apply to fresh seedling growth. Liming is also important, and we lime 2x per year.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:34 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
23,806 posts, read 32,705,680 times
Reputation: 10247
Quote:
Originally Posted by southbound_295 View Post
Bayer & Ortho both have a spray that kills crabgrass & weeds (Only Bayer had the crab grass killing ingredient last year. RoundUp kills grass & weeds. I use it for specifice purposes but not as a general purpose weed killer.

Last fall I brought back a bag of Pennington short fescue & rye mix that I got in DE, to try. I wish I had brought back more. I got the seed out a bit late (well, a lot late) & it came through the summer perfectly. (Plus I did not go out of my way to water it.) It had a bit of browning late in the high heat & is coming back just fine. Of all of the seed that I've tried in the front yard, this was, hands down, the best. This was labeled as a northern mix. I tried it on a lark. (I have a theory that if it says that it will grow in DE, MD, &/or VA it will grow here.) I'll have to check the Pennington website, but I want the same or as close as possible this fall. I can order it through my local True Value hardware even though it's not what they will be ordering. I did see a Pennington mix that included tall fesue with the short fescue & rye locally, either at Home Depot or Lowes.

Do not seed after applying a pre-emergent. It will not sprout.
OK, I called Pennington today. The One Step Complete sun & shade mix, northern blend is what I used. This year's mix is essentially the same. You can get it by going to the True Value website or going to your local True Value store. The store will be happy to order for you, because then they get their cut & credit for selling it. If you order it through the website it will be delivered to them anyway, for you to pick it up. If you are killing stuff off & replacing in patches, this is the way to go. Just for the record, the mix has a bit of bluegrass. Don't expect it to pull through the summer. I didn't expect it to & it didn't. If it comes back in the fall, I'll be amazed.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Salisbury,NC
16,050 posts, read 7,296,780 times
Reputation: 7799
I tried bug b gone late July and that worked out. Didnt lose much grass after that.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Susquehanna River, Union Co, PA
885 posts, read 1,461,447 times
Reputation: 1154
Quote:
Originally Posted by chance2jump View Post
My $.02 based on experience on rebuidling a crummy lawn ....

We treated the law with a product called "Pasture Pro" from Tractor Supply (also available at Southern States). This is a formula designed to not kill the grass you want but to take out the weeds you don't want. Considering it is for pastures, and good pastures rely on good grass. It has a very long list of items it takes out, and is an affordable solution that works within days.

Next, any patches of sparse / dead grass (especially after taking out the weeds), we raked up the dead growth and disposed of. Then, hand seeded the patches for good coverage. The raking helps create soil contact. Once seeded, covered the patches with potting soil. This, again, creates soil contact. Less seed lost to the birds or wash out, good fertile soil being added for nutrients and overall stimulating growth. We then watered about 30mins each day that we didn't see significant rainfall. The clay down here is extremely lacking in nutrients, so every bit helps.

Additioanally, you need to be on a reguarly weed & feed schedule to fertilize the good and hinder the bad. It is best to apply when significant new growth in weeds (early-mid spring) and when not too hot out. Ours is early spring, early summer, mid fall. Do not apply to fresh seedling growth. Liming is also important, and we lime 2x per year.

This is pretty much what we did. It's very labor intensive but it works.

We don't use any chemicals other than frequent organic processed nitrogen - no weed killers, we weed by hand. We also get annual fall applications of mushroom soil (1/4") before aerating bcause it's cheaper than compost and we need the organic material (we had clay dirt, not soil, too.)

Our lawn is 100% KBG - pure vanity, I know! . We are in zone 6. Your seed mix sounds like a good one! Good luck!
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:48 AM
 
73 posts, read 319,438 times
Reputation: 47
We are getting our lawn aerated soon. Our soil is very compacted. The red clay feels like cement. Does anyone know if it is good idea to have a load of top soil spread over the hard red clay before we aerate so the seed will take? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:18 AM
 
1,226 posts, read 2,287,859 times
Reputation: 1870
Quote:
Originally Posted by southbound_295 View Post
OK, I called Pennington today. The One Step Complete sun & shade mix, northern blend is what I used. This year's mix is essentially the same. You can get it by going to the True Value website or going to your local True Value store. The store will be happy to order for you, because then they get their cut & credit for selling it. If you order it through the website it will be delivered to them anyway, for you to pick it up. If you are killing stuff off & replacing in patches, this is the way to go. Just for the record, the mix has a bit of bluegrass. Don't expect it to pull through the summer. I didn't expect it to & it didn't. If it comes back in the fall, I'll be amazed.
Thanks Southbound, I will certainly call them and order it. It's funny, some of the seed we had planted last fall that never made it through the summer, I was surprised to see full grass this weekend. I had given up on it. Makes me think there is some hope after all.
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:12 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
23,806 posts, read 32,705,680 times
Reputation: 10247
Quote:
Originally Posted by cc0789 View Post
Thanks Southbound, I will certainly call them and order it. It's funny, some of the seed we had planted last fall that never made it through the summer, I was surprised to see full grass this weekend. I had given up on it. Makes me think there is some hope after all.
There is hope. Keep one thing in mind. You will have some browning during the highest heat with a short fescue & rye lawn. I'm used to that from South Jersey. I don't care. You have a green lawn for 10 1/2 - 11 months of the year.
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