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Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Posted by chitra0828 CT (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 10:04

Hi: we moved into our newly constructed home this spring and could only seed the topsoil in april 2014. We hydroseeded. Since then we've had some good growth with the following observations:

1. The lawn in most parts is around 2-4 inches. A little thicker and slightly taller in other places. We are not clear tho if we shd be mowing the lawn yet. Opinion of garden chaps seems divided. Any thoughts?

2. We do have some weeds developing. We have a patch of Nutsedge. Addly, we have what is either crab grass or a thick multi-stemmed weed growing up isolated, but steadily around the lawn. We have done one round of picking by hand (painful) but are now wondering if we shd be spraying something to control the stuff. But we are keen not to hurt the young lawn. Again opinion seems divided. ANy thoughts on what we shd and can do from a treatment perspective?

Thx Chitra

This post was edited by chitra0828 on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 10:44


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Do you know what type of grass you seeded? That's very unusual that the turf is only 2-4" tall this long after seeding. Are you watering? How often and how much? Any fertilizers applied? Normally, it is fine to mow 2-3 weeks after germination.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Mix of Kentucky Blue Grass and Rye Seed. yes we do have an irrigation system. we did have to seed in the spring whihc i am told isnt a great time to seed. not sure what happened really. it was being watered every day for the 1st month or so.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Something seems amiss. I would suggest you play it safe and limit your applications to an organic fertilizer like Milorganite and hand pull the weeds until the end of summer, then you can use an Ortho product targeted for the specific weeds you have.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Set your mower to the highest setting and mow. That won't cut anything but the most mature grass.

The question is, how are you watering now. With spring seeding you're going to have to water more frequently than we would normally recommend here. Normally we would suggest once per week, but you might have to do it every 4 or 5 days to keep it from drying out. The new roots do not take easily to summer heat.

I agree with yardtractor about fertilizer. Only organic in the summer heat.

Kentucky bluegrass and rye is a terrible blend to get started. The reason is the rye comes up in 1 week while it takes a full 3 weeks for KBG to sprout. What often happens is the owner sees all that new grass and assumes it is both kinds of seed. When the rye gets sort of tall, the KBG still has not germinated. The owner sees the tall grass and starts to taper off on watering leaving the KBG too dry right at the germination stage. But if that did not happen for you, then you should have a mostly KBG lawn in a couple years.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Thanks for all the replies.

1. Prior to seeding, we were aware of the differing germination rates of Kentucky Blue Grass and Rye Grass, so we have run the irrigation system continually. Initially every day and after about a month, switching to every 3 days.

How often should we run it now? We are interviewing landscapers to maintain the property, and the general consensus has been every other day during the hot summer months. This is more frequent than the once in 4-5 days that dshall_san_antonio recommended.

2. I should clarify on the lawn height. In places it is higher than 2-4 inches (maybe more like 5-6 inches). But the height varies and in some spots the grass didn't grow well (there was heavy rain which prob washed the seed away). So does it make sense to mow the grass to an even height of (say) 3-4 inches? Will the heavy mower damage the new lawn at all?

3. Re. Lawn weeds, we can hire someone to pull out the larger weeds, but I believe they would have to do this by hand, so for a large lawn it could be several hours' labour. To double check, is there no weed control application that can be used without risking damaging the lawn?

4. In addition to the larger weeds, we also have Nut Grass, which we cannot realistically pull out by hand. I believe there is a nut grass spray that we can use, but again is that ok to use on a new lawn?

5. How often should we be fertilizing? I see a couple of recommendations of organic fertilizers only. Leaving aside environmental considerations, could you please explain the rationale for that (ie why should we not use chemical fertilizers at this stage)?

Many thanks for the advice!


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

i am surprised.. the peeps who hydroseeded.. didnt give you specific and precise information on how to deal with such ...

and if not.. cant you track them down thru the builder????

if it were me.. i would forget about weeds ... they can be dealt with next year.. right now.. all you need work on.. is growing the grass ...

ken


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Ken I wasnt sure what you meant. Do you mean the hydroseeders shd guide on the watering/fertilizing? pls clarify.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Many of the issues would be minor if seeding was done in the fall, unfortunately, sometime circumstances dictate and adjustments need to be made.

The vast majority of seed should have germinated by the end of May, a month ago. Go ahead and mow at a height greater than 3", but try not to dig in your toes or heals and don't drag the mower's wheels when making turns.

Deep and infrequent watering will work pretty well for an established lawn, but for a new lawn with shallow roots, there isn't much to be gained by keeping the soil that is over an inch bellow the roots wet. More frequent watering for a sufficient time to keep the top 2" moist is a better allocation of resources. Once you get the grass though this first summer, switch over to deep and infrequent watering.

Depending on the product, many herbicides recommend that they not be used until after x number of mowings. (always read and follow directions). They also often have temperature restrictions. Although, I'd avoid them until the end of summer, based on your comfort level and how invasive the weed,that call is for you to make.

Synthetic fertilizers contain salts that aren't especially advantages during the heat of summer, especially with new grass. That's not to say they can't be judiciously applied and there are important advantages to the phosphorus and potassium that they can contain. A low first number and high second and third number fertilizer can be beneficial to new grass. Organics don't present that problem. When in doubt, they are practically fool proof. They can also help insulate the soil and preserve soil moisture.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Yardtractor1: that;s awesome advice! let me mull over with my hubby. your comments on watering were what i was thinking about as well...do you have a recommendation on teh organic fertilizer that perhaps we could apply ourselves? perhaps we should get a reel mower and mow ourselves you think just for this summer?


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Yardtractor1: one more question, when you say more frequent waterings, would something like 20mns a zone every day or every 2 days or 3 days? would appreciate your thoughts...


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

I would suggest Milorganite, mostly because I'm familiar with it. Organics need a micro-organisms to process them. You want micro-organisms. They provide lots of benefits to the turf, but they are likely to be in short supply in a new lawn. Milorganite contains a percentage of fast release fertilizer that can feed the grass while nature is working on making the rest of the product's nutrients available. Additionally, I like that Milorganite contains phosphorus and I believe at least some decent amount of potassium (even if it isn't high enough to be listed).

I'm really tempted to suggest a half rate application of a starter fertilizer for the P&K considering your ability to water, but I'm not going to do that due to your inexperience with fertilizers and spreaders plus the heat.

May I ask why a reel mower?

Watering. There isn't a simple answer. I wish there was. There are so many variables. Ideally, you want to replenish the water taken out of the root zone (evapotranspiration, if you want to research it. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to calculate it unless you have access to environmental data like humidity, long and short wave radiation etc or want to keep a four foot pan in your yard and take measurements.) Now as to schedule. That will depend on the depth of the root zone and soil profile. Shallow roots and sandy soils need water to be applied more often and less quantity. Deeper roots and clay soils, less often but at greater quantity.
Got all that? :)
In the real world, what we have is a really ballpark estimate that turf water use is kinda around 1" a week, a better than nothing estimate.
As to frequency, allow your circumstances (new lawn with shallow roots plus your familiarity with your soil characteristics) and your eyes be your guide. If you see the turf show signs of turning blue-grey (or god forbid, purple) or wilting-rolling of the grass blades, the turf isn't getting enough water and with new turf you need to take action quickly and increase the frequency and/or volume.
Better to start with a little too often and back off frequency and proportionately increasing the volume while adhering to the 1"-1 1/2"/week "rule".

Edited a term due to prior brain fart.

This post was edited by yardtractor1 on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 15:53


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

i was just at Home Depot and saw the exact fertilizer you mention. But being a novice i didnt understd your comment of "suggest a half rate application of a starter fertilizer for the P&K considering your ability to water". I guess i am inexperienced! Do i just follow the instructions adn put down via applicator? But what setting shd i set the applicator dial to? I could ask a professional to do this, but wondering if we're better off just doing ourselves. So then question is how often do i do the application? every 4 weeks maybe or is that too often given we're now definitely in roaring summer. Should mention we are in Fairfield county, CT.

I just thought maybe a reel mower would be lighter but we do have a light weight gas mower so we can use that at highest setting.

On color of grass it isnt blue-ish but rather looking a little yellowish to be honest. we were a bit worried about fungus etc but i dont think thats an issue. I can buy a sensor to measure how much water we're putting into the lawn. the soil is clay-ish for sure and retains water more, but as you mention the roots are shallow. i will take some photos and post!


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

On watering: watch the temperatures and humidity. If you get a hot spell with temps in the 90s and low humidity, you might have to water every other day for a few days. The idea with spring seeded lawns in the north is to keep the grass and roots cool for that first summer. On the flip side of this is weeds. Weed seeds need nearly continual water to germinate. What you'll see is more weeds sprouting during those hot periods. This is a balancing act that you incur when you seed in the spring. Fall seeded grass is normally mature enough by the following summer to go on a more normal weekly watering schedule.

Half rate means half the rate shown on the bag. I the bag tells you to use a 7 setting on your spreader, then use a 3 or 4 setting.

If you were talking about an unpowered push type reel mower, then definitely do not use that on new grass. Those rely on friction of the wheels to turn the blades. That friction can tear out your new seedlings.

Unless you are often out of town for more than a week, then you will always be better off doing this yourself. Here is the general lawn care guide once the grass is mature: Water deeply and infrequently. Deeply means one inch all at one time. Infrequently means monthly during the cool months and gradually working up to once per week when the temp is in the 90s. Mulch mow at the mower's highest setting every week. Fertilize once in late spring (Memorial Day) and twice in the fall (Labor Day and Thanksgiving). Easy.

If you decide to use a professional for mowing, ask them to mow at the highest setting. Many will simply refuse to do that. Fire those guys and get someone who will listen to their customers. If you think about hiring a professional to apply fertilizer, just get that thinking out of your heat. They invariably try to use liquid fertilizers which have almost no fertilizer value. Liquids can be used, but they have so little NPK that you have to use them every week. If you decide to use someone for fertilizing, it should be that cooperative guy who is doing the mowing. You buy the fertilizer and let him apply. If you let him buy it, he will buy the cheapest stuff he can find. Again, this advice is for mature lawns - your lawn next year.

For this year on a brand new lawn a few applications of the Milorganite is fine. Look for deals on Milo starting now. My favorite organic fertilizer is alfalfa pellets (rabbit chow), but the all work.

Your yellowing could be from too much or too little water. Can you stick a screwdriver into the ground where it is yellowing? How deep does it go and how hard was it to push in? How does that compare to the green parts of he lawn? Can you post a close up picture of the grass at the margin where it is both yellow and green? Preferably take the picture in the shade or with a cloud overhead to eliminate the high contrast of the sun or flash. Or if there is no distinct edge and the entire lawn is yellowing, then take a picture from a distance.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

I hope I didn't offend you by using the term "inexperienced."
I assumed by your posts that you have and in-ground watering system and thereby are more likely to water which would diminish the hazards of applying a synthetic starter fertilizer. Most starter fertilizers are aimed at homeowner use, so they list settings for the most common applicators/spreaders. A half rate would be cutting the bag recommended setting in half so you are applying only half the recommended amount of product. This would cut the nitrogen in half as a safeguard against the ill affects of synthetic N. (hope that helps to claiify)

The rotary mower is fine, besides most reel mowers wont be able to cut grass that is taller than 4" and few can be adjusted to cut grass at the 3+' height.

What type of applicator do you have? Brand and model? All you need for the short term is a Scots Edgeguard brodcast spreader (less than $30 at HD or Lowes).

The nitrogen and iron (if you don't have a ph issue) in the Milorganite should help the yellow issues. However, over watering can result in yellowing. You do not want to keep the soil wet/saturated. To much water can be an invitation to disease. Especially for new grass. Watering is kind of a balancing act, kinda like Goldilocks.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Just awesome advice Dchall and Yardtractor!. Let me work on the screw driver test and the photos and revert asap. Couple other points:

1. Definitely not offended Yardtractor1! I'm a novice and there's no getting around that. Just grateful you all are willing to advice!

2. Re: milorganite i dont know what brand was available at HD, but i will look online as you suggest Dchall.

3. On applicator actually i dont own one but i had seen the scotts applicator in HD and i had seen a landscape guy use it so i thought maybe that's what i should buy (duh!). So i'll work on your description Yardt.

On yellowing i was concerned about too much watering, What i can tell you is that where the lawn slopes the ground looked a bit cracked if we havent watered for a couple days. But let me do teh screwdriver test to verify. My gut was that it was missing some fertilizer to be honest. For now we've got the sprinkler on every 2 days, but if it's very hot then i do run it on the off day at 2pm to take the heat off the system. We had a very wet spring - torrential rains which is why we lost some seed, and then it's suddenly a very dry hot yet humid spell here last few weeks.

Yes agreed on fall v spring. Everything went great with the house construction but the seeding was one thing we couldn't get done bfore it got too cold :(.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Cracked soil? Can you take a pic of that, too?


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

yes i will. when we did the site grading we walked extensively and measured the depth of top soil, it was a rich black soil that was put on top and depth measures were taken. Altho landscapers are now saying the topsoil wasnt put on right, i have difficulty believing that given we were already in the house when teh site grading was done adn it felt pretty cleanly done. There is a gentle swell and slope to the property and where it slopes there are bald patches that havent taken seed very well. again teh torrential rains we had in april didnt really help much
:(


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Not done right must be referring to grading. Can't wait to see the pictures.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

nope. the landscapers were commenting on quality of top soil. The grading is done correctly. again we spent a lot of time on it and the architect was onsite almost constantly and picked up errors that engineers had missed. so i felt good about that piece of it. water level is high where we live so getting water away from foundations was quite an important metric, and definitely there is no water stagnating when it rains. only one section that is very flat and the soil being clay-ish has a tendency to get saturated so we irrigate there very little... for sure will upload this evening/tomorrow morn once back from work.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Excellent! Because even very poor soil can be restored with organic fertilizer and possible soil testing.

We have to stop meeting like this...


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

When you post the pics, could you post the square footage of the yard? I have a feeling that may become useful.

Still debating a starter fertilizer in addition to the Milorganite, but I forsee a recommendation for a triple NPK for this fall and next spring. Check to see if you have a "feed and seed" store in your area.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Yardtractor: From the thread (and not seeing photos), I tend to agree with you here. A half rate app of starter would be a great idea, and only target 0.3 pounds of N or so. It sounds like it needs a boost, and that's not so much P it would throw the soil off even if it's already at optimal.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Maybe wait for pictures and see? A quick search shows that the HD in Fairfield, CT. carries Lesco 18-24-12. What do you think about a triple 10, if the OP can find a local Feed store that carries that?


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Hi so here are some photos for you to peruse. also a diagram that shows the property. as i walked it yesterday, the yellow zone which slopes was more sparse and the soil felt dusty there despite watering that morning. then the area marked blue was still moist and the grass was thick and quite lush. photo in this post is where the grass is quite good. i hope the photos are clear.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

This photo is now of areas where the grass is sparser, where the property slopes gently.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

this is part of the front lawn where i am capturing a bit of the blue area which is well grown and a good deal of the space that is sloping gently away and parallel to the house.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Finally a scanned picture of the property to show how the grass seems to have grown, the sloping of the property and rough dimensions..


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Finally, I am sorry but everyone lost me after the conversation got technical on starter fertilizer and a triple NPK. For feed and seed stores i think you are asking me to research landscape supply companies in my vicinity right? i will look into this. There must be such stores but i have to look around a bit and maybe ask someone. The feed and seed search was pulling up bird feed stores and that cant be it LOL.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Bird seed is commonly sold at feed and seed stores as well as horse and rabbit feed etc.--so you might have hit on one. Try calling and asking if they carry fertilizer. A sure sign you found one is if they carry 50# bags of 46-0-0 urea or a Triple 12-12-12.
Feed and seed stores a good sources because they usually carry a much greater variety of fertilizers in large bags at cheaper prices than you can get at big box or lawn centers. Of coarse this is only important it you want to be a DIYer or supply the fertilizer for your lawn caretaker.
We can explain the mumbo jumbo later.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

oh too neat. I had no idea. ok i will do a search then for the seed and feed places!


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

chitra,

Those sporadic taller, lighter green, wider leafed grasses are neither rye nor KB. They are either a barnyard grass or wild fescue. Whichever, they are weeds. I really don't see any yellowing of the turf grasses and I suspect there has been more rye germinated than KB, especially in the backyard. I'd like to see what dchall and morheuspa have to say.

It looks like you have about 3/4 of an acre of lawn. I'm impressed that you have a sprinkler system for that size property. Before we get in too deep, I'm afraid I (we) may be (making unfounded assumptions) pushing you into something you are not interested in. Is this something (fertilizing and mowing) you are interested in doing yourself. If so, I know the folks can help you do that. On the other hand, If you prefer to hire someone to do the work, people here can also advise you as to what you should have them do, with what and when, just not with all the additional tutorial for the DIYer.
What are your expectations of quality of lawn? Best in the city? Just not an eyesore? 35000 sq feet is going to require some substantial expense. One application of Milorganite is going to run about $200. What kind of budget where you wanting to stay in?

This post was edited by yardtractor1 on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 15:29


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

i think the longer sporadic grass are nutedge aren't they? we've been kinda pulling out by hand. Seriously you think the kentucky still hasnt germinated? What the... . When it is planning to to anyway?

On your calculations, i think we're probably more like a 0.5-0.6 acre of lawn i think, because the whole property is about 1acre. I will be honest, I wasnt planning on doing it DIY long term. BUt currently since we're mid-season we're a bit cautious about giving it to anyone adn thought maybe we could do the right stuff ourselves and then hire someone for the fall seeding and then move into some kind of program from spring. Now I hadnt however realized that one could DIY the treatment cocktail but pay someone to administer. It's an interesting thought, but i think probably impractical because neither my dear husband nor I are proficient in this. I am not clear on how DH is budgeting the treatment. We dont have a huge budget and generally find a local guy with a reasonable quote rather than high end outfits you know? But i have asked him for guidance on this question and will revert as soon as I hear from him.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

I gotta think about this (and we have a thunderstorm rolling in).

I'm a little worried about setting off the barnyard grass and nutsedge, both of which will tend to do very well in summer. Your lawn, not so much.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

I broke my rule of not trying to identify weeds or diseases. That may very well be nutsedge, you'd be in a much better position to identify it than I.
As far as the rye v KB, I'm guessing just by general appearances in the pics of the backyard. I'll attach a link that you can use to verity which grass(es) have developed. I wouldn't expect any further germination, I'm thinking the KB may have washed away.

Then the focus will be getting you to Fall. :) I, and I imagine the others can give you alternate suggestions based on cost and you can select. Other than mowing, there isn't too much in the way of amending with fertilizer that should be done until fall.

See if you can find a feed and seed that caries any triple type fertilizer and also Milorganite Classic and if your local HD caries the Lesco Starter and I'll suggest what I think you ought to do and I'm sure others will do the same--then it's your decision.

Here is a link that might be useful: Turf Identification


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

I posted before I saw morpheuspa's post. He is much more familiar with soil science and evidently clearer thinkng on this. Wait for his advice. I think his recommendation is going to save you money.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

OK. I'm between storms, but the next 48 hours look stormy. Then Arthur hits... :-P

I'm going to make this dealer's choice. If you want to put down starter, drop it at half the rate recommended on the bag (so if a bag covers 5,000 square feet, it should cover 10). As a general rule, cut the setting on your spreader back by 1/3 to drop about half the product--so if it recommends using a setting of 6, use 4 instead. But watch to see if that's correct.

Now then. IF IT WERE ME, which it isn't, I'd run (not walk) for a trowel, get a good set of soil samples, mix, and send it to Logan Labs. Until then, I wouldn't add anything as fertilizer will set off most summer-growing grasses and sedges.

Because I have a sneaking suspicion about your soil calcium, without which grasses (and most other plants) don't flourish.

Until that comes back, start killing out the sedge and barnyard grass. Round Up is about the only thing that will work, knocking holes in your lawn (Tenacity will work on the sedges without damaging your lawn, but not so reliably on the barnyard grass).

You can mechanically remove the barnyard grass if you want. Don't do that to the sedges, it just makes them angry. No, seriously, you can't get the nutlings on the roots, which break off, activate, and grow more nutsedge plants. Which, by the time you pull those, have grown nutlings of their own. The problem tends to just get worse.

Even Round Up isn't all that reliable on sedge. Tenacity, or sedgehammer, both are reliable.


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Regarding your sloped area: When you water, does it seem like that water on the slope is sinking in or running off? Can you stick a screwdriver into the soil there? How about in the really green areas?


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Hi Guys sorry i was travelling and couldnt post. So the update is that i did buy milorganite and an applicatr from HD. Also i looked and looked but could find edgehammer or tenacity. Now last night while my DH was reading garden web, he came across this discussion ; http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/lawns/msg0712380920388.html

Since all of you were also kinda sorta iffy about fertilizing, do you think we are better off just (a) pulling up weeds as we currently are, (b) watering every 3 days or 20mns per zone that is exposed to sun, and just leave it for this summer. Then in fall I am thinking we get it re-seeded and get it one of the local gardener's programs ie fall fertilizing and prep for winter. Is that a good idea?

oh and we shd get soil tested no question.

Dschall_San Antonio: I also read your detailed note on self-fert or with help from a guy to do actual application. Wow i wish we could implement on that plan. My DH and I will def look into it. Can you expand on your advice which was focused on fertilizer to advise how we would include the weeding appln into the program? and how shd we determine what is the best fert mix to apply to our particular lawn. I mean how does a DIYer learn what cocktail to apply for their lawn?

Thx Chitra

This post was edited by chitra0828 on Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 8:11


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Sorry another follow up to Dchall: I was weeding while it was raining last weekend, and in the sloping area in general i would say that the water was sitting and slowly sinking in. NOw if it is a major storm then yes i think the water does run off, becasue we had seed geting piled up at the bottom of the lawn after some heavy rains in spring. but in general i think gentle rain and sprinkler water does seep thru in the sloping areas. One thing i have tried to do recently is hhave the lawn sprinkled every other day and then have just the hot exposed parts done twice a day. but from my reading of the post i link in the previous update, i'm wondering if we shd just do the every 3 days and let the grass go dormant, keep pulling up weeds in a weekly cycle and wait for fall when we seed etc. ... just thoughts..


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RE: Young Lawn: Should we be mowing now? and Treatments..

Sorry I lost track of this discussion.

My preference for fertilizer is plain alfalfa pellets (rabbit chow). No mixing, no fuss. Apply at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. MorpheusPA likes Milorganite and soybean meal. Those are very good, too. I like alfalfa because I can find it locally and it is less expensive in South Texas. You can mix them or not. The application rate for any mixed grains is still 20 pounds per 1,000.

This watering schedule you're on is only for this year and only because you seeded in the spring. This is an attempt to nurse your new seeded grass through the heat of summer. Eventually, deep and infrequent watering will mean that you water a full inch of water, once every week or two depending on heat. Next summer if it gets into the 90s then you should water once a week. Otherwise every other week should be fine. Nutgrass hates this watering schedule, so it must be good. The way you measure one inch of water is to set out some cat food or tuna cans. Turn on the sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill the cans. That will be your target time for watering once the summer heat breaks (next month).

When the heat breaks and you know your watering time, water for that time and set your calendar. Watch the grass to tell you when to water next. As soon as you see any part of it drying out (the grass, not the soil surface), water again immediately. Remember the days and reset your calendar. Eventually watering like this will stretch out the calendar and you'll be watering every other week or less. If you do this, you should not need to worry about weeds. Weed seed needs much more water than this to germinate. If you are not germinating weed seeds, then you won't get new weeds. As for current weeds, the broad leaf weeds can be killed with something like Weed-b-gone spray. Spot spray individual weeds if you only have a few. For weeds over a broad area I would still use weed b gone spray. For grassy weeds you'll have to use something else. Someone else can help you with the various chemicals for grasses. After you get rid of current weeds, then you're relying on grass density and infrequent watering to keep the weeds out. With Kentucky bluegrass in full sun, grass density will not be a problem. With anything else in the shade, you will have to overseed in the fall to keep it dense. Good news is most weeds like full sun, too, so the shade helps.

Watch the sloped area carefully for runoff. An inch of water can take hours and hours to apply with an oscillator sprinkler. That is actually a good thing because it allows the water to seep in slowly.


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