'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Discuss how to and whether you should renovate your lawn
Masbustelo
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Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
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'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » January 11th, 2020, 5:29 am

In several weeks I take possession of this house with 24,000 feet of lawn. The photos from last year don't show much grass, more weeds. My plans are to do a soil test in April, set height of cut at 3 inches, develop a fertilizer plan, and spot spray for weeds through out the season, and properly rake and mulch leaves. Yesterday I bought 30 pounds of Mustang 4 and Falcon 4 TTTF that I plan to dormant seed in two weeks.
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andy10917
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Location: NY (Lower Hudson Valley)
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by andy10917 » January 11th, 2020, 9:52 am

Congrats! You probably want to update your profile - that's a big change from the previous lawn size.

I'm not a big fan of dormant seeding - I find it hit-and-miss, and it becomes tougher to determine when the germination occurs. That means that it's also tougher to determine when you can use herbicides too. Is this an overseed or spot seed or what? 30 lbs of seed doesn't go very far on 24K of lawn...

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
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Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
Grass Type: Green Haze Mazama Rear, Trivialis front
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » January 11th, 2020, 12:17 pm

Andy From what I can see in the pictures I posted the rear yard was largely weeds and crabgrass. Meaning that this spring it will be mostly dirt. They ran a couple of big dogs out there that together with the big shade tree wiped out the grass. Also it had a new septic field two years ago and it is weeds there too. Germination wise I've had good luck with dormant seeding.I know the 30 pounds of seed isn't a lot, but it fit yesterdays budget. I'll have to use it where it seems to be needed the most, but it will probably go down over snow. At least I can get some real grass started. I don't plan on blanket spraying herbicides, rather spot spraying as the year progresses. I'll have to see how it plays out. No leaves were raked or mulched, so the entire lawn is being choked out at the moment.

edslawn
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by edslawn » January 12th, 2020, 10:02 am

Masbustelo,

Looks like a great project! I'm sure you will get it looking great in no time. One thing I didn't see you mention is pre-M...I'd want to put down a pre-M, like Prodiamine, in the spring. Maybe even hold that seed for the fall and get the weeds under control first with a simple triangle approach in addition to the pre-M and also work on the soil improvement after testing.

Kent

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
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Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
Grass Type: Green Haze Mazama Rear, Trivialis front
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » January 12th, 2020, 11:03 am

Hi Kent I think my thing with pre-emergents is that I have avoided chemicals as much as possible my whole adult life. I had planned on getting a degree in turf management at one point but left the field because of all the chemicals. I had another yard that was a weed patch, it came around nicely in one year by raising HOC, fertilization, and spot spraying for weeds. Also with pre-m I don't want to run into overseeding complications in the fall. By spot spraying individual weeds I shouldn't have problems with new emerging seedlings, thinks I. I know there are conflicting thoughts on all of this.


edslawn
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by edslawn » January 12th, 2020, 8:45 pm

Masbustelo wrote:
January 12th, 2020, 11:03 am
Hi Kent I think my thing with pre-emergents is that I have avoided chemicals as much as possible my whole adult life. I had planned on getting a degree in turf management at one point but left the field because of all the chemicals. I had another yard that was a weed patch, it came around nicely in one year by raising HOC, fertilization, and spot spraying for weeds. Also with pre-m I don't want to run into overseeding complications in the fall. By spot spraying individual weeds I shouldn't have problems with new emerging seedlings, thinks I. I know there are conflicting thoughts on all of this.
Understood... now that you mention this, I do remember this from your other posts.

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
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Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » January 26th, 2020, 5:30 pm

This week I over seeded 6 inches of snow with 7 million Tall Turf Type Fescue seeds and 15 million bluegrass seeds of an unknown variety. The seed came from C.D.Ford and Sons, so I'm sure it will be fine for now. I had a large bare area last spring that I over seeded weekly with perennial rye. Starting April 1st, for six weeks I applied Milorganite and seed, finally rains came and warmth and it really took off. I might do the same with this new lawn, only with TTTF. It was a pretty good workout, the yard is fairly hilly. I put the bluegrass in front and the TTTF in back.

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
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Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
Grass Type: Green Haze Mazama Rear, Trivialis front
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » March 19th, 2020, 7:07 pm

I took my soil sample today, and the tomorrow plan to send it in to Logan Labs. I walked around and took a look at the lawn. It looks like there might be fair amount of mature bluegrass turf. It looks like the previous owner had somehow been mowing it at 1/2 an inch and somehow hadn't been able to kill it. I'm sure it hasn't been fertilized in years. It will be kind of interesting to see where it will be in 6-8 weeks. The soil sample sample has nice color, so even though it is originally a timber soil, maybe after 60 years of being grass it will have a decent organic matter content. It was never raked last fall, so I have to rake it immediately. Weather and health permitting I will do it over the next few days. I had wanted to mulch the leaves, but they seem way to wet. I think I'll just stock pile them. I also have some trees to take down and trim up to allow more light in.

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
Joined: September 14th, 2018, 10:56 pm
Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
Grass Type: Green Haze Mazama Rear, Trivialis front
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » March 20th, 2020, 4:56 pm

I got my soil sample mailed off, and some raking done. It was windy and 35 degrees so I didn't stay out too long. I'm going to try to hit the places where the leaves are blown deep against fences etc., first. It's a big yard. Seems a little daunting, but if I do a little here and a little there, I should get it under control in the next couple of weeks.

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
Joined: September 14th, 2018, 10:56 pm
Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
Grass Type: Green Haze Mazama Rear, Trivialis front
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » March 24th, 2020, 6:47 pm

Image I had a bad chainsaw moment and dropped a pear tree right onto my fence. :x I bought a 21 inch Lawn Boy mulching mower last fall for $50. I sharpened the blade, changed the oil, put a new air filter on it. I raked some wet leaves out of a culvert and tested it out on leaves in a ditch, just pulverized everything. Lots of power, really a nice little mower.

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
Joined: September 14th, 2018, 10:56 pm
Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
Grass Type: Green Haze Mazama Rear, Trivialis front
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » March 25th, 2020, 9:17 am

I don't know if it is of interest to anyone or not, but I forgot to mention that the little Lawn Boy mower has a 6.5Hp Honda engine on it.

TimmyG
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by TimmyG » March 25th, 2020, 10:35 pm

Nah, I'm far more interested in the "bad chainsaw moment" and why your pear tree looks nothing like a pear tree, structure-wise and bark-wise. But, yikes. I was entertained, though, by your seamless transition between the catastrophe and the purchase.

Masbustelo
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » March 26th, 2020, 1:19 am

Timmy The tree had to come down, and I figured I could fix the fence, but I was hoping it wouldn't go that way. I do think it was a pear tree, actually two trees planted about four feet apart. It was never pruned, and went straight for the sky. One I topped at about five feet, it has lots of water sprouts. We'll see what kind of leaves show up, but my thinking is to graft known cultivars on it next spring, if I'm correct. The bark reminds me of a pear tree my grandfather had. We'll see, you might be right. So I spent all day hauling and burning the small limbs, and sawing up the tree. If it's not a fruit tree, I don't know what it is, very high quality firewood. Later on I'll build a wood fired pizza oven, to use the wood. Also I dropped an ash, very hard wood as well.

TimmyG
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by TimmyG » March 26th, 2020, 12:02 pm

Sounds like it was a good idea to remove the one when the two were so close together. Many ornamental pears (non-fruiting) in particular are very columnar (reaching straight for the sky). But one thing I've found with both fruiting and non-fruiting pears is that heavy pruning never ends well as it triggers a never-ending cycle of watersprouts. With pears, it's important to prune judiciously from a young age. Of course, if you really just want to pollard every year after blooming, do experiment, but I challenge you to find any success story of pollarding a pear. And, yes, I understand that's not your plan. Grafting on a mature tree? Interesting and ambitious challenge, but that's way outside my wheelhouse. I can't even imagine how that would work. I know it's not the focus of this reno thread, but do share if and when you have any success with the grafting. A lawn is boring without trees!

Masbustelo
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » March 28th, 2020, 5:59 pm

Hi Timmy If this is indeed a pear tree, I plan to do something called 'top working' to heal the main cut, then next year choose the proper water sprouts and do simple grafting of known cultivars onto the water sprouts that should emerge this year. It is much easier than it might sound. Then you remove the water sprouts you don't desire. Constant summer pruning is a good way to keep it all under control. Tie the new limbs down parallel to the ground, and you will soon have a nice tree. I transplanted a cherry and two semi dwarf Winesapp apples I grafted last year, this week. Tomorrow I plan on grafting about a dozen apple trees, some to keep, and some to give away. I also have 50-60 blackcurrant shoots sprouting. These trees semi and full dwarf will be placed around my lawn for 'landscaping'. I'm planting cider varieties.

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
Joined: September 14th, 2018, 10:56 pm
Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
Grass Type: Green Haze Mazama Rear, Trivialis front
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » March 29th, 2020, 7:14 pm

This is Andy's analysis of my soil test. While I agree with Bernstem that the soil test results look good with a quick glance, a deeper dive shows a couple of challenges that can be addresses. Your soil with a TEC of 15+ is the beginning of "heavy" soils, and heavier soils can present drainage issues sometimes. But it's the TEC of 15+ combined with a Calcium:Magnesium of slightly less than 4:1 that adds complexity to the situation - soils that have that tend to be "tight" and "hard to work". I'd be interested in hearing your input on that.

The OM% is excellent and helpful in keeping the soil loose.

In the cations, I see a soil that has a relatively small Calcium shortage, and an abundance of Magnesium. This can be addressed by applying Gypsum, which has a tendency to flush Sodium from soils and also can displace Magnesium while adding Calcium. This is done without raising the pH farther. It's a good idea to do this if the budget allows. Since Magnesium has more pH effect than Calcium (per lb), there is a chance that there might be a small decline in pH (that's good for you). I have found the Sta-Green Rapid Gypsum to be very effective and cheap. Apply at the "heavy rate" every 60 days if the budget allows. Encap also makes a good Rapid Gypsum product, but it is more expensive. "Standard Gypsum" products may seem cheaper, but they're not - they're applied at much higher application rates.

The Potassium level is somewhat low. Get and apply Sulfate of Potash ("SOP", 0-0-50) (not easy to find) at 2 lbs/K monthly April - September, but try to keep it away from the Gypsum application if possible.

The situation with the cations is driving the pH, which is not a huge problem with the exception of making Iron unavailable to the grass. You have plenty of Iron, but it's not really available.

Phosphorus is fine.

In the micronutrients, Boron is short and that's it. Address in 2020?

Your Nitrogen source is up to you, unless you request help...

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
Joined: September 14th, 2018, 10:56 pm
Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
Grass Type: Green Haze Mazama Rear, Trivialis front
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » March 30th, 2020, 9:14 pm

On the front yard (8,000 K) I put down my first drop of Sta-Green Lowes Gypsum, picked up branches, and logs etc. Stacked fire wood. Met my neighbor.

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
Joined: September 14th, 2018, 10:56 pm
Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
Grass Type: Green Haze Mazama Rear, Trivialis front
Lawn Size: 20000-1 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » April 2nd, 2020, 9:50 pm

A week ago I put down Menards natural Milorganite imitation at bag rate on the front lawn, Today I did it again. Hopefully tomorrow I can clean up felled trees in the rear yard. (But it's supposed to rain.) Also planning on transplanting rhubarb tomorrow.

Masbustelo
Posts: 241
Joined: September 14th, 2018, 10:56 pm
Location: Western Illinois, parallel to Lake Michigan.
Grass Type: Green Haze Mazama Rear, Trivialis front
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by Masbustelo » April 8th, 2020, 9:25 pm

Today I applied the Sta Green Gypsum on my rear lawn at one bag per 2,500 square foot rate. As far as I can tell I am the only one buying this product at my local Lowes. They have one pallet with ancient bags, so I know no one else is using it. Odd in a community of 100,000. As soon as I have some time I'm going to round up some SOP and urea for the rear lawn. It's been unseasonably dry, with no rain for two weeks. We're supposed to be in for a cold spell until next Thursday with daytime highs in the 40's. That will slow down spring greenup.

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andy10917
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Re: 'New' House old lawn Restoration 2020

Post by andy10917 » April 8th, 2020, 9:43 pm

Very few people know the value of Gypsum. It's a wonderful product in certain situations. But most people think everything is all about pH (it's NOT).

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