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Boise new lawn establishment

Posted: September 18th, 2020, 9:58 pm
by micvog
My wife and I are closing on a new home in Boise, Idaho at the end of October; first frost is typically mid-October. Obviously it is way too late to establish a KBG lawn from seed, and the only sod available is either a KBG/PR-mix or a NoMix, so I am looking for suggestions on how best to position myself for establishing a KBG lawn from seed next year.

The front yard has already been sodded by the builder with NoMix but the back yard will be "final" graded - leaving "1-inch of fine - containing no rocks or strata larger 3/4-inch in diameter and not composing over 5% of the finish soil - raked by machine or hand and ready for planning. High and low areas in the lot will be changed to meet local building authority grading requirements".

I will maintain the front yard until nuking it next year, but what should I do with the backyard?

My current thought is to breakdown the moving boxes, spread them over the yard, soak them with an inexpensive local product containing sugar cane, molasses, rock phosphate, alfalfa, and magnesium sulfate, and then cover with compost (primarily to hold the cardboard in place).

Irrigation water is free, and the area is small enough, that I would attempt a new lawn establishment in the Spring. Worse possible case is that it turns into a dry-run for doing it again in the Fall.

Any thoughts?

Re: Boise new lawn establishment

Posted: September 18th, 2020, 11:04 pm
by bpgreen
I'm not sure whether the cardboard will break down enough over the winter. The microbes don't really do much when the temperature is below 40. I think I'd skip that.

Have you considered doing a dormant seeding? That can give you a jump start since the seeds will germinate as soon as the soil is warm enough. For a dormant seeding, you put the seed down just before the first good snow. The freeze/thaw cycles help bring the seed into the soil. In stone areas, it's best to wait until early spring, but in the intermountain west, once we get a good snowfall, it's likely that will have snow on the ground until spring.

Re: Boise new lawn establishment

Posted: September 19th, 2020, 7:51 pm
by micvog
Thanks bpgreen. I'll have to give that some thought. Fencing and hardscape wouldn't go until the Spring so I hadn't considered dormant seeding. Maybe I could use the packing paper instead of the moving boxes?

Looking at the NTEP data, I didn't see results from anywhere in the Intermountain west. Any recommendations on KBG cultivars? I am looking for a monostand, probably leaning towards Bluebank or Mazama just for something new (had a Bewitched-Everglade-Midnight blend previously). On paper, Bluebank seems hard to beat.

Re: Boise new lawn establishment

Posted: September 20th, 2020, 6:52 pm
by bpgreen
I'm no help on kbg cultivars. I've been planting native grasses and moving away from more traditional lawn grasses.

Re: Boise new lawn establishment

Posted: October 7th, 2020, 10:33 am
by micvog
I ended up ordering some Grand Slam GLD and the Scotts Starter with mesotrione for use as a cover crop. I am not sure if I will be able to get the PR established before winter but it will be fun trying, and hopefully it will be "good enough" to get me through next Spring and Summer before the Fall reno. Who knows, maybe it will be a PR reno instead of KBG. :razz:

Re: Boise new lawn establishment

Posted: May 10th, 2021, 10:15 am
by micvog
So the dormant seeding was a bust due to a hard frost the weekend following putting seed down (wasn't forecasted, but given the time of year wasn't really unexpected either). I did get a fair amount of germination late Winter/early Spring, but only enough to be a nuisance.

So far this Spring the following has been completed:

- used a sod-cutter to remove front yard builder-installed sod
- lots of rocks removed (would have filled two large trash cans)
- brought in 9 cu yds of a 50%-50% mix of compost and top soil for leveling
- rear sprinklers (front already had been installed), landscape fabric, rock mulch, and concrete curbing installed
- 2 weeks of shallow watering and Round-up to kill grasses and weeds

I am a little further into Spring than I had hoped, but I am going to proceed with a spring KBG seeding. Tomorrow's plan is:

- seed 4.375# of Mazama KBG ("gold tag") over 1750 sq. ft. (2.5# per 1000)
- bag-rate of a local humic acid/sulfur/iron product (Zamzows HumaGreen)
- bag-rate of Scotts EveryDrop (granular wetting agent)
- bag-rate of Scotts Starter Fert w/Tenacity
- bag-rate of Scotts GrubEx1 (billbugs later in the year are the big issue in these parts)
- 9 cu ft of Peet Moss to cover seed (~ 1/8" by my calculations - basically a "dusting")
- 1G of a local BLSC-KH equivalent (mixture of Zamzows Thrive and Zamzows Chicken Soup)
- roll lawn for seed contact
- water!

Not sure where I read/heard about it, but I put the Mazama in the freezer overnight to help speed up germination. As I understand it, the freeze-thaw cycle helps soften up the outer shell of the seed.

Pictures to follow later this week.