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albatross

Let's Talk about growing a good Lawn

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Short version-  bought a house and the grass was in bad shape.  I haven't done much to it, and now it's in worse shape.  Moss, weeds, dirt patches, etc...

I just met with the owner of a popular landscape company in our town.  Guy seemed to really know his stuff. His conclusion was that my lawn is beyond saving without starting over. He said because of the amount of moss, weeds, and other non-grass issues in my yard, that it's definitely in my best interest to start over.  Kill off the lawn, lower the ph with lime, aerify, re-plant, and start over.

When he quoted me a price, I told him there was no way I could afford that. This guy was really cool. When I told him I couldn't afford it, he sat down and wrote me out a step by step plan on what I need to do. He told me that I could totally do this myself if I follow the steps. I'm still skeptical of whether or not I can do it myself, but I'm ambitious enough to try.

Here's what he said to do:

-Get a pump sprayer and "Round Up" my entire lawn. Kill everything. Wait 7 to 8 days after applying.

- Apply Lime

-Rent Aerifier and plug the entire lawn in at least 2 directions

-Seed 6 to 8 lbs. 1000 square foot with a seed high mixed with fescue

- Apply starter fertilizer 1# Nitrogen/1000 square feet

-Water as needed

Do you think this is something a total novice can do and actually grow a good lawn?  He said there's no reason why I couldn't have a pretty good looking lawn by August.  Advice and suggestions?

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Do you think this is something a total novice can do and actually grow a good lawn?  He said there's no reason why I couldn't have a pretty good looking lawn by August.  Advice and suggestions?

Yes, you can do this yourself. I'd start awfully soon though, as the weather will quickly turn to summer.

I'd look into the netting or mesh stuff they have that you can put over your lawn, too. It holds in moisture so you don't have to water quite so much. Because new lawns LOVE moisture.

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Yes, you can do this yourself. I'd start awfully soon though, as the weather will quickly turn to summer.

I'd look into the netting or mesh stuff they have that you can put over your lawn, too. It holds in moisture so you don't have to water quite so much. Because new lawns LOVE moisture.

Good tip.  Thanks.  Does the plan he wrote out for me seem to make sense?

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This would be the perfect time for me to grow that little section of putting green I wanted in the backyard. :-) I don't think the wife would go for that.  But actually, how hard would that be to do as long as I'm tearing out and starting from scratch anyway???

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This would be the perfect time for me to grow that little section of putting green I wanted in the backyard.  I don't think the wife would go for that.  But actually, how hard would that be to do as long as I'm tearing out and starting from scratch anyway???

I'm no expert but from my understanding it's way more involved to make, and maintain, a putting green worth having.  If I had the money and owned a house, personally I think I'd install a fancy artificial practice green before diving in to building, and especially maintaining, my own putting green.

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I'm no expert but from my understanding it's way more involved to make, and maintain, a putting green worth having.  If I had the money and owned a house, personally I think I'd install a fancy artificial practice green before diving in to building, and especially maintaining, my own putting green.

Yea, that's not happening. ha ha.  I need to focus on growing a lawn first.  Just a pipe dream.

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Just make sure you don't get the Round Up that prevents weeds in the future. That stuff gets in the ground and prevents germination.

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Just make sure you don't get the Round Up that prevents weeds in the future. That stuff gets in the ground and prevents germination.

Ah ha.  Also a very important tip, I'm guessing.  Thanks.

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The aeration and lime is pretty key, you need to get your soil in the right pH balance to have a really healthy lawn. They sell kits to test soil samples so you know what needs to be added and what needs to be neutralized. Invest in some good lawn-quality top soil to do a generous top dressing (not just black earth), this will give you a good head start.

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The aeration and lime is pretty key, you need to get your soil in the right pH balance to have a really healthy lawn. They sell kits to test soil samples so you know what needs to be added and what needs to be neutralized. Invest in some good lawn-quality top soil to do a generous top dressing (not just black earth), this will give you a good head start.

Are the do-it yourself soil testers known for being pretty accurate, or is this something I should pay to get done.  Where would I go to do that?

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Are the do-it yourself soil testers known for being pretty accurate, or is this something I should pay to get done.  Where would I go to do that?

I think the do -it yourself kits are probably plenty fine. You're not looking for super duper accuracy, basically it'll just tell you too acidic or too alkaline, similar to the little test kit you use on a swimming pool. Also, if your neighbour has had his soil tested there's a pretty good chance that your soil will be approximately the same provided there's no big differences between your properties, like a giant pine tree or something. Pine needles are pretty acidic so if you have lots of pine or even one big one then your lawn's probably too acidic.

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I think the do -it yourself kits are probably plenty fine. You're not looking for super duper accuracy, basically it'll just tell you too acidic or too alkaline, similar to the little test kit you use on a swimming pool. Also, if your neighbour has had his soil tested there's a pretty good chance that your soil will be approximately the same provided there's no big differences between your properties, like a giant pine tree or something. Pine needles are pretty acidic so if you have lots of pine or even one big one then your lawn's probably too acidic.

Well, the guy that looked at my lawn said that the fact that I'm growing so much moss means I definitely need to lower my ph, and that's why he recommended the lime.  I also have 6 enormous pine trees in my yard.  That being the case, do you think I can just lime and go for it??

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My guess would be yes but a test will only cost $15 or so.

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My guess would be yes but a test will only cost $15 or so

I'll go buy a test.  Thanks.

After I aerify, what do I do with the plugs?  might be a dumb question, but the guy didn't tell me.

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I believe you can leave the plugs where they lay.  Watering and rainfall will cause the plugs to break down and mix in with the soil.

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I believe you can leave the plugs where they lay.  Watering and rainfall will cause the plugs to break down and mix in with the soil.

Yep.

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Yep.

I'm going to get organized and tackle this project.  Daunting and it will cut into my golf, but I'm determined to have a decent lawn before the end of the summer!!  Thanks for all of the advice.  Keep it coming if you have more.

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I'm no expert but from my understanding it's way more involved to make, and maintain, a putting green worth having.  If I had the money and owned a house, personally I think I'd install a fancy artificial practice green before diving in to building, and especially maintaining, my own putting green.


Yep. Unless somebody just enjoys headaches and spending money it wouldn't be worth it.

I have a chipping green that I keep mowed as close as my regular riding lawn mower will cut, and I have a cup and a flag there, but wouldn't even consider maintaining an actual putting green at home.

BTW. To the OP about the plugs: If you have areas that you would like to fill (like I do) the plugs make good fill dirt, or you can leave them lay like the guys suggested, or you can aerify with solid punches.

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