Serious lawn problems (long post)

Kentucky bluegrass, Fescue, Rye and Bent, etc
starpartyguy
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Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by starpartyguy » September 11th, 2019, 10:26 pm

Hi. New to this forum but had been on one other lawn forum. I moved in 2017 from a house with a beautiful, well kept lawn, to one neglected and surrounded by lawns that are virtual weed farms!

We hit a cool period in the 3rd week of August so I started on killing weeds. I killed a lot of nutsedge in the front. Killed clover front and back. And used T-zone for wild violets in front and back.

I live roughly 10 miles west of Lancaster, Pa. my lawn is all fescue sloping slightly from back of property to front. Its clay but former farmland. Development is 50 years old.

I have 10-11,000 sq. Ft.

The lawn is clear of weeds for the most part.

I dethatched last week with a tow behind dethatcher. Got a cubic yard out. Got it piled on driveway.

My bare ground amounts to 2000-2500 sq. Ft. Lawn looks bad.

I sprayed grass on Monday with a gallon of humic acid using a hose end sprayer. Also watering lawn, what’s left for 30 minutes a day in prep for seed.

I didn’t core aerate. The lawn has been beaten up enough.

I got 35 lbs of TTTF from Hancock seed.

I’m planning on having 2 scoops of mushroom soil delivered to lightly cover the seed. Then I was going to use the thatch I pulled out of the lawn as straw.

Am I doing this right?

I added a few pictures of my front lawn. The back is worse!

Thanks in advance for any help offered.

Starpartyguy




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HoosierLawnGnome
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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by HoosierLawnGnome » September 12th, 2019, 8:25 am

End of the window for dropping seed in PA.

I'd drop seed, roll it well, and top dress with peat moss. Ditch the mushroom compost and thatch.

Then keep it watered well. Hopefully the herbicides wont impact germination.

It's hard to say what's going on in those spots.

Then do light high N fertilizations with urea now until first frost weekly on established areas. Like 1 lb urea per K a week for 3 or 4 weeks. winterize with 2 lbs per K on the while thing including new seeded area when top growth stops but roots are growing late fall.

Next spring donansoil test and get a while year fertilization plan.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by starpartyguy » September 12th, 2019, 8:34 am

Yea, I think you're right. I'll pass on the Mushroom soil and get a couple bales of peatmoss.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by starpartyguy » September 12th, 2019, 8:39 am

Can you offer a few good sources for urea fertilizer? And wouldn't starter fertilizer work better for the bare spots?

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by andy10917 » September 12th, 2019, 8:47 am

There is no magic in Starter Fertilizer. It just contains Phosphorus. Without a soil test, there is no way to know if your soil is deficient in Phosphorus, and many states restrict Phosphorus applications without a soil test indicating a deficiency.


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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by HoosierLawnGnome » September 12th, 2019, 9:00 am

starpartyguy wrote:
September 12th, 2019, 8:39 am
Can you offer a few good sources for urea fertilizer? And wouldn't starter fertilizer work better for the bare spots?
Best sources will be something like an farm co op tractor supply, rural king type store.

Water irea in well afterwards or before some rain as it can burn.

That little program will pump up existing turf this fall and prep it well to take off in the spring.

Mow that established turf regularly enough to take off one third or less of the blade per cut.

Then read up.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by mobiledynamics » September 12th, 2019, 9:08 am

---re: the comment on couple bales of peatmoss---

Maybe it's just me, but I try to avoid peatmoss like the plague in my entire garden
Not for the eco-issues that seem to be the big fuss about it.

It's unavoidable when I buy racks of annuals in the spring from the nursery - that I cannot control.
If the root systems are healthy on the annuals, I actually will root-was some of the peat off , before I transplant it.

I do use some a little of it when I make my bark potting mixes.

Peat just doesn't play well with my clay soil...

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by starpartyguy » September 12th, 2019, 9:40 am

Thanks. I have a Tractor Supply here. I can check with them. I've been reading all the material on the forum's site. I did the triangle approach on the weeds before I knew there was such a thing. I used Roundup for lawns on the clover, T-zone on the wild violets and any remaining clover, and sedgehammer on the nutsedge. Problem was that some areas of lawn had no grass on them at all because of the weed cover. I've got 1 area in the front yard roughly 20x30, one in the back 20 x 40, and another area in the back 15x15. Otherwise my lawn has a bit of a clumpy look with bare spots between. I just thatched and some areas were a bit thick. We had a nice rain overnight and the grass looked better this morning at daybreak.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by starpartyguy » September 12th, 2019, 10:03 am

Tractor supply didn't have it. A search found that Walmart sells 46-0-0 Urea for $62 for 50 lbs. Be here in a week.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by starpartyguy » September 12th, 2019, 1:27 pm

I think I'll be planting Saturday.

All Summer I renovated the inside of my house with new paint, floors, baseboard, and stairs.

Fall we'll be planting grass and perhaps put in a tree out front. Previous owner butchered a 30 foot evergreen and planted a Japanese maple 8 feet from the house. Both had to go unfortunately. Thinking dogwood or flowering cherry.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by HoosierLawnGnome » September 13th, 2019, 9:42 am

starpartyguy wrote:
September 12th, 2019, 10:03 am
Tractor supply didn't have it. A search found that Walmart sells 46-0-0 Urea for $62 for 50 lbs. Be here in a week.
I totally get that when you need it you need it. Do some shopping when time isn't so pressing you can find it for 20ish a 50lb bag.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by TimmyG » September 13th, 2019, 10:17 am

When you absolutely have no choice but to mail order 50-lb bags, Pestrong.com is often a good choice:

Urea https://www.pestrong.com/312-urea-46-0- ... 0-lbs.html
SOP https://www.pestrong.com/878-sop-sulfat ... 50-lb.html

But at $60 a bag for urea, you may want to look into other high-nitrogen fertilizer options from brands like Expert Gardener at Walmart or Sta-Green at Lowe's. Plus, there are lots of sales going on at this time of year. You can really score with clearance at Walmart.

With time, though, as HLG said, keep looking for a local source of urea. Feed stores. Farm co-ops. Being in PA, I would think those would be common than coffee shops.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by starpartyguy » September 13th, 2019, 1:42 pm

I'll keep that site in mind. They are selling the same as Walmart. But yea, I want to find it cheaper.

I have 2 scoops of leaf compost coming today. Will use on the worst spots to help retain moisture.

Did I hear right? Do you guys suggest I put down 1 lb urea per thousand to use as a starter fert? Most people say to use starter fert because the the high middle number to promote root growth. There are various starter ferts available from the box stores.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by andy10917 » September 13th, 2019, 3:09 pm

That's not what I was trying to say - the "best" way is to have enough Phosphorus already IN the soil at seed-down time. Second best is to use something like Milorganite at seed-down time - it's gentle, has some Phosphorus and isn't very prone to promoting top-growth during the Sprout-and-Pout stage when roots are supposed to develop and top-growth stalls for a bit (naturally). Pure Urea can be used AFTER the Sprout-and-Pout stage is done, and I've had people insist that my grass was a Sod lawn at Day 60. So how do you know if you already have enough Phosphorus? Only a good soil test can tell you that. If you already have enough P, then more is both wasted money and can be a pollution (surface/groundwater) issue. Just thinking that more P will make more root growth happen is wrong.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by starpartyguy » September 13th, 2019, 3:37 pm

Andy,
I get what you’re saying. But I got a lot of bare ground right now and by the calendar, 8 weeks of growing season left. Typically by 2nd week of November, I don’t have to mow anymore. There’s one other thing. This lawn was not cared for very much. Previous owner let weeds grow rampant. Surprised I have any grass. I would think it’s in need of everything. I applied weed and feed during the 3rd week of July during a cool streak, and another in early May.

I can get a test kit to send out from Ace hardware.

Do you think I can plant but hold off on fertilizer until the tests
come back?

FYI, I can get Milorganite at HD and it’s in stock. Would it make sense to put that down at seeding?

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by andy10917 » September 13th, 2019, 4:11 pm

A test kit from Ace isn't worth a bucket of warm spit.

You do what you have to do, but just understand that you are increasing risk with practices that aren't optimal. I get where you're going and I understand.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by TimmyG » September 13th, 2019, 4:27 pm

SPG, even a property that hasn't been cared for could naturally have an excess of phosphorus. Phosphorus doesn't leach as much as, say, potassium, and it isn't consumed and doesn't need to be frequently replenished like nitrogen. Without a good soil test, you just don't know whether your soil needs phosphorus. Andy's second recommendation of Milorganite is a way to hedge your bet without the knowledge obtained via a soil test while also not applying a synthetic form of phosphorus that may pollute in the event that you already have an excess of phosphorus.

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by starpartyguy » September 13th, 2019, 4:38 pm

Thanks. I think you’re right. I’m going to find where to get a good soil test. County extension maybe?

We have a couple gardening centers that are reputable. Maybe them?

Or do you have any other suggestions?

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by andy10917 » September 13th, 2019, 5:43 pm

If you do it with Logan Labs and post the results in the Soil Forum, we will interpret the results and build an annual plan for you. We limit the interpretations to Logan Labs because different labs do different tests and test suites, and we can't know them all. There is no relationship between Logan Labs and AroundTheYard, other than they provide the right data and right test suites for our needs.

Read the "Sticky" thread at the top of the Soils/Compost forum for details...

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Re: Serious lawn problems (long post)

Post by starpartyguy » September 13th, 2019, 5:50 pm

I’ll do that. Cool!

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