Lawn and Landscape

RobMcBee

Slow n easy when you're not gettin greasy....
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Location
Fort Mill / Indian Land SC
Started talking about grass seed and stuff on another thread, figured I'd start another so not to hijack the OP.


Any tips tricks or suggestions for getting a great lawn?
 

6BangBronk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Location
Durham
How about, I got a Scotts Seeder that was used for about an hour and has sat behind my shed for 3 years I'd sell for $10 or a good 6 pack??? Think they are $25-30 in stores???
 

ponykilr

Guest
If it's the little green broadcast type (not the drop Spreader) I will take that deal.
 

ponykilr

Guest
Well I cut and pasted my comment from the other thread.

I am going to preach a little about big box stores and seed. Don't do it.

Many times it is old. All of it is low quality with an assumed "price point" attractive to homeowners and their desire for convenience.

It really isn't "cheap" and certainly isn't good seed. It is not a custom product for this climate but a compromise.

Name brands mean nothing. Pennington is among the worst quality.

Weeds, weeds, weeds...the seed at box stores is full of weed seed. Says it right on the label. even tiny % of weed seed is thousands of seeds.



Find a place that sells first quality seed as it's business. I recommend Southern Seeds in Middlesex NC.

I get their Triple Threat blend, all of the seeds in it were developed in this area for this area and did very well in NC State University turf trials over many years.

It has ZERO% weed seed. Is $75 for 50 lbs. This is MUCH cheaper than the box store seed. Last I looked, Rebel seed was over $45 for a 20lb bag. Rebel Elite was $60

Southern seeds carries chemicals you can't get at Lowes. Tenacity and Barricade chiefly which make crabgrass and weeds a thing of the past.
 

ponykilr

Guest
You need to over seed every year with cool season grasses (even bluegrass and perennial rye) to keep a nice lawn.

Also, every few years you may have to kill a fescue lawn and start over. They tend to decline with no way to fix it. New cultivars come out regularly with improved characteristics so it's good to go with improved varieties. Alternately you can just over seed with better varieties if your lawn is doing well.

A mix of different cultivars and species usually will perform much better than a single grass.

Cool season grasses are easier to keep up generally than warm season, but any grass can sort of be OK with little care. A really nice lawn is work regardless of which type of grass.

Crabgrass pre and post treatment and broadleaf control are easy with good chems, hard with crap from Lowes.
 

drkelly

Dipstick who put two vehicles on jack stands
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Location
Oak Ridge/Stokesdale, NC
I like to use a drop spreader for grass seed and a broadcast spreader for fertilizer. I own one of each type.
 

RenegadeT

no shirt,no shoes,no dice
Moderator
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Location
Stokesdale-Greensboro
I've busted my ass for years, tried many different good seeds from both box stores and local feed/seed stores, used preemergents, weed/feeds, lime, aerate/overseed. I'm sick of it and have changed my view...the past few years I've put most of my work into mowing frequently. Whatever grows always looks nice and trimmed. I continue to aerate/seed every fall, I'm hit and miss on preemergents, and lime occasionally in late fall. I was actually ramping up my applications of weed killer spray (2,4-D) and found a good concentration to wipe out clover, but halted that with the addition of 2 puppies this year.
 

shawn

running dog lackey of the oppressor class
Administrator
Joined
Mar 13, 2005
Location
Raleigh, NC
I have about 16 ksf out in front of the house that's equal parts bermuda, centipede, nutsedge, spurge, and clover. The "right" answer is to kill the whole fawking thing and slit seed it next spring, but not sure I want to commit the time or money to it.

We just spread a bunch of tall fescue out on the front corner and in the back yard a week ago. If it's going to come up this fall, the weather has been perfect.
 

R Q

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Location
Charlotte
Here is some info I pass along to people so I don't have to stand there and tell them and waste my time. I started at #3 because the first two steps time has passed. You can all Google John Deere Landscapes and find a store that sells seed and fert and buy all of your supplies there. These are high quality products. They also carry all of the ferts with pre-emergents for the spring and summer.
If you've never done a soil test, you need to. John Deere can do them or they are free most of the year with the NC Dept of Ag.

3. Between September 15th and October 15th is the optimum time to reseed. If it is still

very hot and dry, wait, but get it done before Oct. 15th.

4. Before aerating, mow lawn down very low, not to the dirt, but

close.

5. When seeding time comes you should prepare your yard by wetting it thoroughly

before aerating it. This will ensure that the aerator will penetrate the soil effectively.

Any totally bare spots should be tilled or dug up by hand to create a seed bed.

6. Aerate your lawn aggressively and make double and triple passes.

7. Seed immediately after aerating with turf-type fescue (we use John Deere/Lesco Blue Tag Certified or

Transition Blend seed), at a rate of 5 lbs per 1000 square feet of lawn area. (measure

length times width of lawn areas, do not include beds, buildings or sidewalks)

8. Fertilize with starter fertilizer, 18-24-12 (or equivalent), at the rate on the bag.

9. Lightly straw any bare areas with wheat straw. (be sure to add a little extra seed to

these areas) You can also use PennMulch or peat moss rather than straw. (less weeds)

10. Water the first time for a long time to be sure the seed gets enough moisture to

germinate. After that, water 10 to 15 minutes per area daily until grass is at least 3

inches tall. After that, keep watering two to three times per week to keep it looking

good.

11. Thirty days after you seed, apply slow release winter fertilizer. We use John Deere/Lesco 28-0-5 (or equivalent, the mixtures vary each year)

at rate on bag.

12. Keep leaves off of lawn by blowing, not raking them. (you damage

seedlings by raking)

13. Mow lawn when grass is 4" to 6" tall. Remove any clumps of grass by hand that are

caked on the ground. Use only SHARP mower blades. Mow at 3.5-4" inch height

14. If any areas don't come up, scratch with a rake and reseed and straw.
 

RobMcBee

Slow n easy when you're not gettin greasy....
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Location
Fort Mill / Indian Land SC
@R Q , that's a lot of good info! I'm hoping to be able to get my new seed down by next week. All this rain has kept me from doing so. I want to let it dry out a little so I can re aerate the front yard. My backyard just needs to be raked back out since nothing but weeds grew after my kill n till.

What are your opinions on the pennmulch? I was gonna get some to use in the front of my house along my walkways where I don't want to use straw.
 

drkelly

Dipstick who put two vehicles on jack stands
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Location
Oak Ridge/Stokesdale, NC
@R Q , that's a lot of good info! I'm hoping to be able to get my new seed down by next week. All this rain has kept me from doing so. I want to let it dry out a little so I can re aerate the front yard. My backyard just needs to be raked back out since nothing but weeds grew after my kill n till.

Did you put down any chemicals for the 'kill'? If so, nothing will likely grow there for a few months. You may be stuck waiting until the spring to seed.

Many years ago I was going to plant a garden in the area beside my shed. I sprayed the whole are with round up, then tilled it up really good. Then about a month later planted my garden. Nothing grew, LOL.
 
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tkeaton

Master Velocipede Alchemist
Joined
Mar 20, 2005
Location
Chattanooga
My house is downhill from an old slaughterhouse.

We get our fertilizer from the bottom up.

I never need to buy seed or fertilizer, but what money I would have spent on those things, I've had to spend on a bigger/faster mower.

#firstworldproblems
 

Fabrik8

Overcomplicator
Joined
May 27, 2015
Location
Huntersville
I have about 16 ksf out in front of the house that's equal parts bermuda, centipede, nutsedge, spurge, and clover. The "right" answer is to kill the whole fawking thing and slit seed it next spring, but not sure I want to commit the time or money to it.

If it's green and keeps the soil from washing away, I'm happy with whatever grows. I'm not very good at being a lawn-obsessed competitive suburbanite.

A nice lawn would be cool, but that takes time, money, and water, none of which I'm willing to waste on grass. It's too much resources to grow something I can't eat.
 

trailhugger

Human Resources
Administrator
Joined
Mar 19, 2005
Location
Raleigh
If it's green and keeps the soil from washing away, I'm happy with whatever grows. I'm not very good at being a lawn-obsessed competitive suburbanite.

A nice lawn would be cool, but that takes time, money, and water, none of which I'm willing to waste on grass. It's too much resources to grow something I can't eat.

Our old house had two small lawn areas, one in front and one in back, and we had a lot of planting beds and a lot of shade. We were able to get sod for pretty cheap through a landscaper friend of mine and install ourselves. I'm working on a landscape master plan for the new house to start implementing in the spring. We've only been here a few months and want to relocate some things and add perennials (bulbs, especially) that are sorely missed from our old house. I'm planning a 'lawn' area but I'm perfectly fine with the dogs shitting and the kids playing kickball on WTFever is willing to grow where I'm not willing to drag a hose. :lol:
 

ponykilr

Guest
I have about 16 ksf out in front of the house that's equal parts bermuda, centipede, nutsedge, spurge, and clover. The "right" answer is to kill the whole fawking thing and slit seed it next spring, but not sure I want to commit the time or money to it.

We just spread a bunch of tall fescue out on the front corner and in the back yard a week ago. If it's going to come up this fall, the weather has been perfect.
Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure LOL

Starting over is not as hard as fighting sedge and crabgrass that has gotten out of control. It's too late to start killing now though(bermuda takes weeks to kill and will be going dormant soon) and seeding cool season grass in the spring is always a wrong move. If you want bermuda again or centipede, spring is perfect for scorched earth but seeding either requires watering 3 times per day for 12-15 days. I did it years ago successfully but it's tough to do it. Cool season grasses are easy by comparison.

You could over seed with annual ryegrass and then nuke it all in the spring.
 
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ponykilr

Guest
Here is some info I pass along to people so I don't have to stand there and tell them and waste my time. I started at #3 because the first two steps time has passed. You can all Google John Deere Landscapes and find a store that sells seed and fert and buy all of your supplies there. These are high quality products. They also carry all of the ferts with pre-emergents for the spring and summer.
If you've never done a soil test, you need to. John Deere can do them or they are free most of the year with the NC Dept of Ag.

3. Between September 15th and October 15th is the optimum time to reseed. If it is still

very hot and dry, wait, but get it done before Oct. 15th.

4. Before aerating, mow lawn down very low, not to the dirt, but

close.

5. When seeding time comes you should prepare your yard by wetting it thoroughly

before aerating it. This will ensure that the aerator will penetrate the soil effectively.

Any totally bare spots should be tilled or dug up by hand to create a seed bed.

6. Aerate your lawn aggressively and make double and triple passes.

7. Seed immediately after aerating with turf-type fescue (we use John Deere/Lesco Blue Tag Certified or

Transition Blend seed), at a rate of 5 lbs per 1000 square feet of lawn area. (measure

length times width of lawn areas, do not include beds, buildings or sidewalks)

8. Fertilize with starter fertilizer, 18-24-12 (or equivalent), at the rate on the bag.

9. Lightly straw any bare areas with wheat straw. (be sure to add a little extra seed to

these areas) You can also use PennMulch or peat moss rather than straw. (less weeds)

10. Water the first time for a long time to be sure the seed gets enough moisture to

germinate. After that, water 10 to 15 minutes per area daily until grass is at least 3

inches tall. After that, keep watering two to three times per week to keep it looking

good.

11. Thirty days after you seed, apply slow release winter fertilizer. We use John Deere/Lesco 28-0-5 (or equivalent, the mixtures vary each year)

at rate on bag.

12. Keep leaves off of lawn by blowing, not raking them. (you damage

seedlings by raking)

13. Mow lawn when grass is 4" to 6" tall. Remove any clumps of grass by hand that are

caked on the ground. Use only SHARP mower blades. Mow at 3.5-4" inch height

14. If any areas don't come up, scratch with a rake and reseed and straw.
This is solid. Lawns aren't hard, just work and timing.

@drkelly roundup is supposed to biodegrade once in soil in less than a few days. This has been my experience. I have sprayed the last treatment (bermuda is HARD to kill) before and seeded in a week with great results. Especially if it has rained or I watered. What do you think caused your garden to fail? Was it roundup tilled into soil and somehow didn't break down? Was it an especially strong mix? Always curious about chems and growing.
 

ponykilr

Guest
If it's green and keeps the soil from washing away, I'm happy with whatever grows. I'm not very good at being a lawn-obsessed competitive suburbanite.

A nice lawn would be cool, but that takes time, money, and water, none of which I'm willing to waste on grass. It's too much resources to grow something I can't eat.
I think a mistake people make is trying to make too big of an area a perfect lawn. It is hard work and an effort with no tangible return. I totally understand where you are coming from.
 

drkelly

Dipstick who put two vehicles on jack stands
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Location
Oak Ridge/Stokesdale, NC
This is solid. Lawns aren't hard, just work and timing.

@drkelly roundup is supposed to biodegrade once in soil in less than a few days. This has been my experience. I have sprayed the last treatment (bermuda is HARD to kill) before and seeded in a week with great results. Especially if it has rained or I watered. What do you think caused your garden to fail? Was it roundup tilled into soil and somehow didn't break down? Was it an especially strong mix? Always curious about chems and growing.

I thought the round up was the root cause of the failure. Knowing me, I probably sprayed it super heavy with a super heavy concentration. I then tilled it all up. I can't remember if I tilled it the next day or a couple of weeks or more later. I just remember putting very healthy looking plants in the ground and they just sat there and withered away despite regular watering.
 

drkelly

Dipstick who put two vehicles on jack stands
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Location
Oak Ridge/Stokesdale, NC
If it's green and keeps the soil from washing away, I'm happy with whatever grows. I'm not very good at being a lawn-obsessed competitive suburbanite.

A nice lawn would be cool, but that takes time, money, and water, none of which I'm willing to waste on grass. It's too much resources to grow something I can't eat.

I used to feel that way, then I became old and a bit obsessed with having a nice lawn. I live back off the road in the woods so no one else can even see my grass.
 

6BangBronk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Location
Durham
I used to be afraid of Roundup when it first came out for what it did to the grass and what I thought it was doing for the environment (especially my drinking water) until I found out it is only sodium.:shaking:
 

jeepinmatt

At least half the people are dumber than the rest
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Location
Stanley, NC
I used to feel that way, then I became old and a bit obsessed with having a nice lawn. I live back off the road in the woods so no one else can even see my grass.
I'm the same way, just not old yet. I have to cut grass, and I only like cutting grass if it looks good, therefore...
 

Fabrik8

Overcomplicator
Joined
May 27, 2015
Location
Huntersville
I used to be afraid of Roundup when it first came out for what it did to the grass and what I thought it was doing for the environment (especially my drinking water) until I found out it is only sodium.:shaking:

It's not sodium. It's glyphosate, which is an acid, which is sometimes bound to a basic chemical to form a salt for handling. A salt happens when you combine an acid and base (slightly more complex than that, but keeping it simple). The salt used to bind the glyphosate in the brand name Roundup (there are other formulas) is isopropylamine (I looked it up), which has nothing to do with the sodium chloride in table salt. There's also surfactants which are used to help the glyphosate stick to things and coat without beading up.

Pretty recently (earlier this year?), there's a lot of research that looks like Roundup might be classified as a carcinogen... I still use it on my gravel driveway, and that's about it. I use it sparingly because I don't really like to make chemical runoff if possible. I think it has about a 2 month half-life IIRC.
 
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Ron

Dum Spiro Spero
Moderator
Joined
Apr 16, 2005
Location
Sharon, SC
If it's green and keeps the soil from washing away, I'm happy with whatever grows. I'm not very good at being a lawn-obsessed competitive suburbanite.

A nice lawn would be cool, but that takes time, money, and water, none of which I'm willing to waste on grass. It's too much resources to grow something I can't eat.


This is where I'm landing these days.
We have just over 4 acres of grass that we mow now.

When we bought the place there was no grass just red dirt, run off and deep ruts across the front yard.
I spent...well too damn much installing a yard (20 dump truck loads of fill/top soil, tons of seed, acres of straw...you name it.)

Then every year for 3 years or so, I'd bring in an aerovater (not an aerator), overseed, soil sample, fertilize to sample, pre-emerge, yada, yada, yada.
Literally spent a few k per year. My yard was very nice.
A solid 8/10.
But anyone who knows me know Im not an 8/10 guy. I wanted 10/10.
Wasnt willing to triple the expenditure. Then work over ran me one fall and I did nothing, weeds crept in.
But come summer my yard was OK. maybe a 6.5/10 and as nice as any in the neighborhood.

I decided a free 6.5 was better than an expensive 8 I wasnt satisfied with. So I just accept it as is now.
Id love a 10/10 yard of the month but Im not rich enough nor have enough time to make it happen.
 

Fabrik8

Overcomplicator
Joined
May 27, 2015
Location
Huntersville
I'd plow that few $k per year into the house or landscaping instead of the dirt.

I'll let the densely packed neighborhood down the street with the dead brown sod worry about curb appeal.. Mine has plenty, and my house isn't beige either.
 
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