soil for grass, with soil test results
I'm trying to get my yard in order and need some help! Husband and I purchased home last March (2013) and have really only "maintained" the yard since. By that I mean that he mowed the lawn regularly and finally removed the large yews in front that I hated, and I weeded (and weeded and weeded) and planted some things in the backyard. We've done nothing to the front but now it's time. I'll be posting for help with the garden bed as well as the grass but this one is for the grass.
We want pretty grass. Doesn't everyone, right? What we have currently is full of weeds, all kinds, and also several large bare spots. The previous owners said they never gardened and they weren't kidding. If I'd have really taken the time to look around at the amount of weeds and consider what kind of work was ahead for us, I probably wouldn't have bought this house. But anyway.
What I've done so far is collected soil from all around and had it analyzed, as well as applied the fertilizer that was recommnded to us by the same place that sent off the soil sample. The fertilizer was a "13-0-4" with Prodiamine (a pre-emergent for crabgrass?) and was applied a week ago, right before the torrential downpour that flooded part of our basement, ew. So I'm hoping the fertilizer wasn't washed away. Oh, and he de-thatched the lawn before applying the fertilizer, as per video instruction from the website thisoldhouse.com. People have since told us dethatching might not have been the best idea but it's too late. It all looked pretty cool to us, but who knows.
Today I picked up our soil sample results. Apparently we are very low on lime, and the store sold it for $3.99/bag (covers 1,000 sq ft). The store in question is a farm supply store that is somewhat highly regarded in these parts, albeit more expensive than most places. So I did not buy the lime from them. We have about a third of an acre of grass so if I'm doing the figuring correctly, that's about 15 bags we would need at around $60 and that seemed too expensive for me. Especially after having spent $75 last week on fertilizer.
My question is... "does all of this sound right?" This is our first time doing anything like this so I have no idea. Maybe having nice grass really does cost this much?? And this is only the first step, I should say. The regimen we are planning to follow from the farm supply store recommends a different fertilizer at the end of this month, then a different one in September, plus a grub control (I'm not sure what "lots" of grubs would be but I dug 2 of them when I took my 12 random spadefuls for my soil sample), plus of course grass seed in the fall. And the lime.
Whew. Last question on this topic is, "Is this an annual expense?"... Meaning, once we get our lawn in order, will it be easier/cheaper to maintain or is this a process I have to do every single year? I was hoping it was a one time thing, and then I could find a chemical-free upkeep of some sort. Our next-door neighbor uses a propane torch to kill weeds in his lawn bc he doesn't like the chemicals and says it works better, but that doesn't seem totally safe either. Certainly smells up the neighborhood each time he's out there, and I can't say his is even near the best looking lawn around. Not the worst either though.
I haven't figured out how to post more than one picture at a time so I will post a few more after putting this through.
Oh and we are located in Harford County MD, about 25 minutes outside of Baltimore, if that helps. Thanks in advance for any insight..