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Old 04-08-2009, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Autumn Cove, Lake Wylie, SC
393 posts, read 1,131,312 times
Reputation: 284

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There seems to be a lot of lawn questions this time of year, so I figured I would share my lawn care schedule with you all (or is it y'all?).

All I have ever wanted was a nice lawn for my new home. I had sod installed and quickly realized I had no idea how to care for it. It soon died and was overrun by weeds. So I decided to start fresh and learn everything I could about lawns so I could someday have the nice lawn I always wanted. Well, I now do, and the neighbors are jealous!

My lawn:
Tall Fescue. This schedule will work for other cool-season lawns like Kentucky Bluegrass and Ryegrass. It will NOT work for warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass or St. Augustine. How can you tell if you lawn is cool or warm-season? If it turns brown in the winter, its a warm-season lawn.

My Schedule:

Mid-February: Once the outside temp hits 65 degrees for five consecutive days, I apply Scotts Turfbuilder with Halts Crabgrass control. Just follow the directions on the bag.
What you want is your soil to be over 55 degrees over five days, so a good measure is if the outside temp is over 65-70 for five days, your soild temp is most likely over 55 for five days. You can check the soil temp for your area here: Soil Temperature Maps
Another good measure to tell if its time for crabgrass control...once forsythias start to bloom, its time.

Early April: You have two options here. If your lawn has a lot of weeds, you can apply Scotts Turfbuilder with Weed Control. You want to put this down when weeds are growing.
If weeds are not too bad, or you have none, apply Scotts Southern Turf Builder with Iron. The Southern Turfbuilder has a lot of potassium, which protects the lawn from drought and disease. Good for the long hot summer. Spot treat any weeds with a liquid weed killer. I like Ortho Weed-b-Gone. Again, follow the directions!

May - August: Do not fertilize. Fertilizing now will do more for weeds than your lawn. Grass growth slows in the summer. You do not need to fertilize.
I like to put down insect killer now, usually every 6 weeks, for ants, bugs, moths, and grubs. Any all-in-one granular bug killer will do. I like Ortho Max. Follow the directions on the bag!

Water!!!! Water your lawn deeply and infrequently. I water 2 times a week for about an hour in each zone (front yard, back yard, side yards). This puts about an inch of water down. If you were dumb like me and didn't get an irrigation system installed, get a quality sprinkler and hose. I like Gilmour sprinklers and Craftsman black rubber hoses. Get a sprinkler that will cover your entire yard (or zone) or you will play the "time to move the sprinkler" game all summer.

Late August-early September: Once the temps cool to under 80, I like to give a light feeding of regular Scotts Turfbuilder. Just a little snack for the lawn to help it recover from summer stress. If weeds have become a problem, you can use a light feeding of Scotts Turfbuilder with Weed Control. Just watch the temp outside. Fertilizing over 90 will do more harm than good.

Late September: This is the time to repair and renovate. If you have crabgrass or weeds that just won't die, get some Roundup Weed and Grass Killer with Glyphosate. This will kill anything it touches, so be careful! Wait for the rouge grasses to die completely before moving forward.
Rent an aerator from HD or Lowes and aerate your lawn. (hint: go in with a neighbor or two and split the cost. Rent it for a whole day and take turns using it.) Aerating will remove tiny cores of soil and allow the roots to grow deeply over the winter. I say go nuts with this thing. More holes equals more room to grow. Rake the cores to break them up after you are done to create a "topdressing" on the lawn. Make sure all the weeds in your lawn are DEAD before you aerate!
Overseed. Get some quality seed. You get what you pay for. Look for seed that is what your lawn is. For example, if you lawn is Fescue, get seed that is all fescue, not a mix of bluegrass and fescue. Look for 99.9% weed free. If you have a lot of bare spots, seed as if it were a new lawn. Otherwise, seed at half the rate for a new lawn. Cover barespots with a little bit of fresh topsoil after seeding.
Once the seed is down, apply starter fertilizer and water. Water, water, water. Dried out seed is dead seed. Keep the lawn watered lightly twice a day until you can see the new seedlings (about 2 weeks), then water deep and infrequent like you do in the summer.

Thanksgiving: Apply Scotts Winterizer. This will help the lawn build up strength for the winter and store food for the spring. You're good to go until February.

Other tips: Mow your lawn as high as your mower will go, at least 3 inches. This will help prevent weeds from rooting and lets your roots grow deep.
Mow at least once a week in spring and fall and let the lawn grow a little longer in the summer to protect it from heat and drought. However, you want to mow so you only are removing no more than one-third of the grass blade.

Follow this schedule and you will have a thick full lawn by spring! Hope this helps!

Post any questions.
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:00 AM
 
1,253 posts, read 4,513,953 times
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Best post ever on CD! Thank you!

Question: I have weeds and bare spots in my yard so I am trying to grow grass now (spring time). I am affraid to use weed control products since that may harm my attempts to grow grass. True?
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:01 AM
 
1,253 posts, read 4,513,953 times
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Also, what are some good high quality seeds? I heard Lesco is good.
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Autumn Cove, Lake Wylie, SC
393 posts, read 1,131,312 times
Reputation: 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankTheTank2 View Post
Best post ever on CD! Thank you!

Question: I have weeds and bare spots in my yard so I am trying to grow grass now (spring time). I am affraid to use weed control products since that may harm my attempts to grow grass. True?
True. You don't want to use weed control products until after the 4th mowing of new grass. Its best to plant seed in the Fall so it has all winter to root and take shape before summer heat stresses it.
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Autumn Cove, Lake Wylie, SC
393 posts, read 1,131,312 times
Reputation: 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankTheTank2 View Post
Also, what are some good high quality seeds? I heard Lesco is good.
Depends on the type of grass. Lesco is fine. For fescue, I like Rebel the best. I've had good results with Scotts too.
Stay away from Kentucky-31 Fescue. Its an old verity and newer turf-type fescues are far superior.
Just look for 99.9% weed free and seed that is all fescue (with no bluegrass or ryegrass in it).
Again, its best to seed in fall. Seed now and it most likely won't survive the summer heat.
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:00 PM
 
72 posts, read 201,239 times
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Good info OP
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Indian Trail
539 posts, read 1,430,349 times
Reputation: 267
I have a request. How about a thread on the best way to plant trees and shrubs in this clay soil. Thanks.
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Autumn Cove, Lake Wylie, SC
393 posts, read 1,131,312 times
Reputation: 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by car421 View Post
I have a request. How about a thread on the best way to plant trees and shrubs in this clay soil. Thanks.
Dig a hole as deep as the rootball (the pot it comes in), but twice as wide giving roots an easy path to grow.
Make a mix of 50% native soil (clay) and 50% organic compost/topsoil (they sell this at HD or Lowes).
Remove from pot, place plant in the hole. Cover, but don't cover the rootball completely, leave about an inch of the rootball exposed. Tamp out air pockets. Cover with mulch. Water.
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Huntersville
415 posts, read 1,084,476 times
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Super post with great information, thanks very much.

I'll be moving into a house this summer (new construction). Front yard will be sodded, but backyard will be seed and straw (probably planted in June, I would expect).

Any suggestions on taking care of a newly seeded lawn, especially in summer? I wonder if application of weed killer would hurt the newly sprouted grass.
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Autumn Cove, Lake Wylie, SC
393 posts, read 1,131,312 times
Reputation: 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Comfort Food View Post
Super post with great information, thanks very much.

I'll be moving into a house this summer (new construction). Front yard will be sodded, but backyard will be seed and straw (probably planted in June, I would expect).

Any suggestions on taking care of a newly seeded lawn, especially in summer? I wonder if application of weed killer would hurt the newly sprouted grass.
Tell them you don't want it sodded until Late September/Early October. It will die very quickly if it goes down in the heat. Same deal with the seed in the back. Follow the tips I listed for Late September before and after you sod. If they do seed it, keep it moist until the grass starts to grow.

Yes, weed killer will kill the new grass. Don't use it until it has been mowed at least 4 times. It is pretty safe after that.
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