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Old 03-19-2010, 08:47 PM   #1
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Default Calling all Lawn Gurus!

Last summer I purchased my 1st house! In doing so, I realized I know nothing about grass care other than mowing it... Right now I have a relatively crappy looking lawn and I'd like to fix that this summer. It's patchy, has crabgrass and mossy spots in some areas. It's a small yard with one large tree that provides more shade than sun... Can someone help me understand where to start, what to put down and when to get a nice looking lawn?

Thanks!

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Old 03-19-2010, 08:54 PM   #2
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First. Take a handful of your grass leaves to a Nursery to determine what kind of grass you have.

Then, Just google how to care for it.

Knowing the grass type greatly mitigates frustration of wrong cut height. Otherwise, Scott's brand fertilizers are generally pretty good if not pricey. It's the really cheap ferts that you have to be wary of. Not that all are bad but many don't stack up.

Beyond that tere is all manner of rabbit holes to fall into to improve the soil to make grass happy. Ironite, Gypsum, Lime, aerating, proper water covereage, frequency of mowing, maximum cut of grass blade per mowing, dethatching, thatching, overseeding, insect treatments, fungus treatments, blah, blah, blah.

Regardless you have to know what tytpe grass you are starting with to proceed. As well as "helps" to know the soil composition, pH, and mineral content.

And it's like brewing. You start thinking it'll be cheap and then realize it "can" cost a fortune every year.

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Old 03-19-2010, 08:58 PM   #3
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Scott's usually puts out lawncare booklets (thinly disguised sales manuals) that lay out the basics of lawncare & the need for different applications for different areas & climates. Look for one online or at your local homecare/hardware store.

Also, my own personal experience would be that you should mow early in the morning, and let your blades sit up at LEAST 4" from the ground. Scalping your lawn kills the grass more than anything. Keep the blades sharp.

I'm sure there's more information out on the interwebs than I could ever give, but the advice above is what got me going when I bought my first house & starting looking at a lawn as something I wanted to be proud of, vs. something that needed to be killed, maimed, or tamed.

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Old 03-19-2010, 09:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XXguy View Post
Scott's usually puts out lawncare booklets (thinly disguised sales manuals) that lay out the basics of lawncare & the need for different applications for different areas & climates. Look for one online or at your local homecare/hardware store.

Also, my own personal experience would be that you should mow early in the morning, and let your blades sit up at LEAST 4" from the ground. Scalping your lawn kills the grass more than anything. Keep the blades sharp.

I'm sure there's more information out on the interwebs than I could ever give, but the advice above is what got me going when I bought my first house & starting looking at a lawn as something I wanted to be proud of, vs. something that needed to be killed, maimed, or tamed.
I am inclined to agree with yuou so long as the grass species is NOT Bermuda. Most, if not all Bermuda species are better kept no taller than 1" to 1.5" in that cut higher it tends to slow down it's spread and weave which therefore provides places for weeds to grow through.

Watering to a depth of 1" per week forces the root system to go deep into the soil therefore promoting better health of the lawn with less frequent watering.

Furthermore, one should not cut any grass more than 1/3rd of the blade short at any mowing for optimal health.

And keep your mower blade sharp to prevent fraying the end of the cut grass blade for better appearance.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:31 PM   #5
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You probably have Kentucky Blue grass or some type of fescue since you live up north only certain grass suited for cold weather will grow. Get a sample of your soil and it will tell you much Nitrogen to put down and when and what you need to do about the PH like adding lime. Also know when to start weed control i.e crabgrass dies in the winter but another type of weed grass grows in the winter. When you mow dont bag as the clippings will decompose and add N back. There are forums out there just like HBT but more for grass or landscapers. Good Luck

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Old 03-19-2010, 10:07 PM   #6
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You don't have bermuda grass, way too far up north for that.

You said you have patchy spots. If you're thinking about reseeding let me say I recommend NOT doing that unless it's really bad. 2 reasons for this. 1. A lot of times, (depending on your type of grass) these spots will recover themselves naturally if the grass is taken care of. 2. A better time to reseed would be this fall.

Other than that, I think the guys already said all you need to know unless you want to get Hank Hill crazy on your lawn.

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Old 03-20-2010, 06:17 AM   #7
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Pretty much all good advice above, but to get you off quickly to a good start I would do the following:

1. Get the Scotts lawn care booklet and start the 4 step program. Apply the Step 1 stuff now which is fertilizer and a crab grass preventer.

2. Sharpen your mower blade and keep it sharp. Depending on the size of your lawn, this may be required several times or more per season. A lot of people only do it once a year if that and this is a big mistake. Perform any other mower maintenance such as tune up and oil change.

3. Hold off on seeding until you have a chance to evaluate the lawn after you have given it some basic care and feeding. Sometimes that's all it will need. Fall seeding is a good idea, but you can seed most anytime or seed only the areas that appear thin.

4. Should the lawn appear to not be thriving within a few weeks after fertilizing and proper moving it, you might consider aerating it. You can hire someone to do this for you or you can rent a machine and DIY. Whether aerating would be worth the trouble and expense depends a lot on the type of soil you have. Clay type soils benefit the most from aeration.

5. Someone mentioned a product called Ironite above. This is basically an iron supplement and it can work wonders on a lawn that is deficient in iron. Iron helps the plant utilize the nitrogen in the soil. Most good fertilizers contain some iron, but depending on your soil, your lawn may benefit with more.

6. Having a soil analysis is not a bad idea, but I wouldn't worry about the nitrogen levels. Nitrogen is quite volatile and it gets used up, washed away and even evaporates from the soil over time. It never stays around long for one reason or another. That's why fertilizer is mainly a regular dose of nitrogen. The other two key components are phosphorous and potassium, which are also very important, but the big guy is nitrogen.

Maintaining a healthy lawn or even restoring a neglected one is not all that difficult. Just give it some love and care and it will undoubtedly flourish. Good luck with it!

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Old 03-20-2010, 01:47 PM   #8
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All great suggestions! Thanks for helping me understand where to start! I'll go check out the Scotts booklet this weekend.

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Old 03-28-2010, 07:40 PM   #9
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Can anyone ID this white flower thing? Its pretty much all over my yard. I am hoping that its grass that is blooming? Please dont tell me its a weed!

grass1.jpggrass2.jpg

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Old 03-28-2010, 08:24 PM   #10
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Looks like a weed to me. The small bunches of leaves at the base are a dead giveaway. tell the kids you will give then .5 cents per bunch they get.

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