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Old 09-03-2013, 11:20 AM
 
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Ok, so I'm new to lawn care. We moved into this house last year with a decent sized lot. Over the summer I felt like I did everything to take care of my lawn but it's currently in pretty bad shape especially the backyard. I have patches of brown or dormant grass which looks like thatch to me (but I don't know any better). I put pre-emergent in spring. Fertilized in June and applied weedkiller in August. I have a sprinkler system which I have set to water 3 times a week. The only mistake I did is that I mowed my grass too short. Now it's not looking good.

I'm thinking of having someone come in to dethatch, aerate and overseed sometime this month. I would like to know how much it would cost for 0.5 acres. Also, is that the right thing to do? And weather I can do it on my own?
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:37 AM
 
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Now is the time to aerate and oversee fescue lawns. Typically it is best to do between Labor Day and the end of October. Earlier it is too hot, and later it starts to get too cold before the grass has time to establish.

You can hire sombody or rent an aerator from Home Depot or Ace Hardware. It is easy to do but can be a pain if your property has a weird layout or if you don't have a vehicle to transport the aerator.

I'm not a pro, but my advice - Don't fertilize your fescue lawn in Summer (June). Fertlize your lawn Around Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and one last time around Valentines Day. I never fertilize my lawn between March and the end of August. It is just too hot and stresses the grass.

Put down pre-emergent and broad leaf weed killer in February and again in May. I avoid it during the summer months again because that combined with the heat will stress the grass.
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:42 AM
 
2,459 posts, read 7,706,983 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee2 View Post
Ok, so I'm new to lawn care. We moved into this house last year with a decent sized lot. Over the summer I felt like I did everything to take care of my lawn but it's currently in pretty bad shape especially the backyard. I have patches of brown or dormant grass which looks like thatch to me (but I don't know any better). I put pre-emergent in spring. Fertilized in June and applied weedkiller in August. I have a sprinkler system which I have set to water 3 times a week. The only mistake I did is that I mowed my grass too short. Now it's not looking good.

I'm thinking of having someone come in to dethatch, aerate and overseed sometime this month. I would like to know how much it would cost for 0.5 acres. Also, is that the right thing to do? And weather I can do it on my own?
Aerating and overseeding is virtually an annual event here for cool season grass. You can rent core aeration machines and DIY. Some probably aerate less frequently, but it really depends on your soil. You can also get a soil analysis done to check nutrient levels and pH. Lime is another annual requirement for most people. Cut your grass at 3 inches. Some/most years lawns get stressed by fungus born disease (i.e. brown patch). Make sure you water in the AM. Not to discourage you, but this was an easy summer for grass.

Unfortunately we straddle the cool season/warm season grass boundary. Pros and cons to each in this climate, but full sun areas really do better with a warm season grass. The maintenance requirements for warm season grass (i.e. bermuda, zoysia) vs cool season grass (i.e K31, tall fescue, bluegrass) are different so make sure you know which you're dealing with.

Good info here:

http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/



Frank

Last edited by frankpc; 09-03-2013 at 11:58 AM..
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankpc View Post
Unfortunately we straddle the cool season/warm season grass boundary. Pros and cons to each in this climate, but full sun areas really do better with a warm season grass. The maintenance requirements for warm season grass (i.e. bermuda, zoysia) vs cool season grass (i.e K31, tall fescue, bluegrass) are different so make sure you know which you're dealing with.

Good info here:

TurfFiles - Turfgrass Information for North Carolina
The link to the great Carolina Lawns doc is
http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/PDFFil...lina_Lawns.pdf

As noted, warm season grass does better here. After too many years of doing the annual dance with reseeding Fescue, I started seeding with a warm season grass this year. It's hard not to go out and fertilize every Feb, Sept & Nov.
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:33 PM
 
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That isn't thatch it's just your grass that died

This year fescue did pretty good all considered, some years it's dead by July
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by North_Raleigh_Guy View Post
Fertlize your lawn Around Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and one last time around Valentines Day. I never fertilize my lawn between March and the end of August.
One lawn expert recommended to me to fertilize Valentine's Day (with pre-emergent), Memorial Day (with weed control), Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:52 PM
 
360 posts, read 352,702 times
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thanks everyone. I found another helpful post on city data

//www.city-data.com/forum/ralei...er-heat.html#b
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Marlborough, MA
871 posts, read 2,898,897 times
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In the past I have had some brown patches in my fescue lawn and I cut a dinner plate-sized chunk of the lawn out, flipped it over and (not surprisingly) there were half a dozen grubs snacking on the roots. That's another whole program than fertilizing.

I also borrowed a few tips from lawn guru Jerry Baker, and bought a hose end sprayer (for liquids, as opposed to for granules) and dumped a bottle of ammonia in the thing and covered my lawn with it. It's full of nitrogen and greened up the lawn nicely in days.

The fertilizing timetable mentioned above (on the 4 holidays) is valid and advisable. Some people think more is better and just keep feeding the lawn more than it can handle. My beautiful fescue lawn was destroyed by a landscaper's installation of sod patches where my irrigation was installed, and just a few little sprigs of "wire grass" (Bermuda) brazenly took over from a few square inches one year ( thought I killed it) to at least 70% of the front lawn, encroaching on all the flower beds. I killed the whole lawn one year to start over, but no use. It's nuclear-proof.

See if you can find any Jerry Baker info on Youtube or the web and see if anything interests you. You can also test your soil for the proper Ph and adjust accordingly (most likely you will need to add lime once a year due to the acid soil here).

I also top-dressed my lawn with peat moss now and again before aerating it. It provides nutrients for the soil and greatly enhances moisture retention.

Good luck!
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:17 PM
 
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Some fescue is also prone to damage by fungus, especially if there's been a lot of rain. That's what killed my last fescue lawn. Next time, it's zoysia all the way. If you don't keep fescue on life support all summer in these parts, you can pretty much kiss it goodbye.
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee2 View Post
I have patches of brown or dormant grass which looks like thatch to me
are you sure your neighbors trespassing dogs aren't just peeing all over it?
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