: Lawn Care


QuickSilver
2008-06-04, 01:18 PM
Well my new wife is all over me since the lawn has sprouted some weeds. Well more than some quite a few actually (dandelions, brown spots from the dog and some creeping looking flowering weed). We bought a bag of Scotts Turf Builder with Weed control and I purchased a good spreader.

My friend told me I should put lime on first then wait 2 weeks and then put the Scotts on. I have read that you shouldn't apply lime until you have had your soil tested for the ph level.

I was planning on putting on the Scotts tonight after the sun goes down but we are having a wedding reception at our house on Saturday and am a bit worried about any kids being on the lawn. I know it gets dusty but was wondering how long that lasts?

I have a fairly large lawn but not a field by any means. What are your guys usual lawn care maintenance schedules? Instead of a green thumb I have a red thumb which in my mind and hers means I STOP and put the shovel and rake down before doing anything.

Thanks

eljay
2008-06-04, 01:23 PM
I have no luck with my small lawn - most likely because I'm not particularly diligent about maintaining it - so my plan for next year is to go the Eco-Lawn (http://www.wildflowerfarm.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1) route.

No fertilizers and drought tolerant? That's my kind of lawn! :D

Tom_Joad
2008-06-04, 01:30 PM
Everyone I talk to says you should lime your lawn twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. But according to my research, you not only do not have to lime every year (as you say, a ph test is best to determine soil acidity), but you can lime at any time, except for the 2-3 weeks before or after you've fertilized. (I wonder if it's the lime industry fueling these myths? ;-)

That being said, here in Halifax Regional we are not permitted to use the weed & feed products due to the by-law, so we're adopting natural control. That means pulling dandelions by hand (the nifty Weed Hound tool makes that easy) and practicing good turf care: watering, fertilizing, overseeding, aeration in the late fall, and just generally trying to keep things robust and healthy.

We have weeds, too, but as long as they are green I don't pay them much mind. Every now and then I'll go out and dig some of them up, spread some top soil and grass seed, cover it over with a layer of peat moss and then soak it with the hose.

If you're worried about the kids, I'd wait to spread the weed n' feed. I'm no expert on the toxicity of those products, but perhaps it's better safe than sorry.

This site has some good tips for natural lawn care:

http://www.letscurbpesticides.ca/en/index.asp

QuickSilver
2008-06-04, 01:40 PM
Thanks for the reply Tom. Yeah I seem to be getting mixed messages about liming from all over the net and my friends. Since Lime is a naturally produced product then I assume it would be safe for the lawn before the reception so I may go that route tonight. I do agree about being more safe than sorry.

Do you find the Weed hound tool that good? I was going to pick one up at Kent but held off (obviously this was before the weeds sprung). I also tore down a greenhouse in my backyard recently and have lots of dandelions coming up there so a tool like that would come in handy if it really works well. Going to have to throw topsoil and seed on that area as it is mostly rocks and has some sort of drainage system around it.

I agree with HRM Bylaw so I would like to explore more eco-friendly solutions than Scotts 2 times a year.

Tom_Joad
2008-06-04, 01:48 PM
The Weed Hound is great, especially after a rain when the ground is soft. If you hit the weed just right it pulls up the entire root. Saves the back considerable strain...I couldn't imagine squatting down with a garden spade and doing it manually.

JohnnyG
2008-06-04, 01:50 PM
When my wife was single, she had a lawn care company managing it and the grass was just amazing...extremely dense, vibrant, and weed free. As a money-saving measure, I had her cancel the service last year, insisting that I could do just as well for a fraction of the cost. Boy, was I wrong!

The lawn took a major beating last year due to neglect and I've spend a considerable amount of time this year trying to make it right. There are some signs that I'm heading in the right direction but it's amazing how quickly a lawn can be ruined and how long it takes to fix the damage!

I'm pretty sure you're fine with the Turf Builder tonight and "traffic" on Saturday, but make sure you lay down enough water over the next few days to dissolve it all. Other than that, from what I've read so far, my only general suggestions are grub control in the early spring and late fall, fertilize around the same times, and water it deeply once a week on average.

Tom_Joad
2008-06-04, 01:52 PM
If I didn't have a lawn that I've worked so hard to keep in decent shape, I'd be all over the Eco-Lawn!

Maybe if the chinch bug get its way this year...

JohnnyG
2008-06-04, 01:53 PM
Not totally sure what a Weed Hound is but I just found an old "Lawn Weasel" in the basement so I gave that a go. Works great! I imagine it's pretty similar - you push it into the ground around the weed, spin it around by the handle, and pull up. Takes up the weed, roots and all. Then you just push a plunger down at the top and the "core sample" you just extracted pops out.

vancouverisland
2008-06-04, 01:54 PM
I would use a liquid fertilizer, it will soak in quick. Then hit it again with the liquid stuff a few days before the big event and your weedy lawn will be beautifully green and lush.

Enjoy cutting it every other day though....

Tom_Joad
2008-06-04, 02:22 PM
Yep, the Weed Hound is pretty much the same as the Lawn Weasel:

Link (http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CatalogSearchResultView?D=946999&recN=120252%204294966141&Ntt=946999&langId=-15&Ntk=P_PartNumber&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&storeId=10051&Ntx=mode+matchall&N=0&catalogId=10051)

timbo
2008-06-04, 04:32 PM
On the other hand.....

do not fertilize with Weed 'n Feed (or any fertilizer whatsoever) just before having guests.
You won't have any results by the weekend so it can wait until later.

However...
cut the lawn TODAY and you will be in good shape for the weekend.
You do not want guests and freshly cut grass, so do it now.

PrimeBane
2008-06-04, 04:40 PM
The Weed and Feed needs to be on for 2 days I think... hold off until Sunday. The grass should also be damp when you apply it so it will stick to the weeds. I swear by the stuff to keep the weeds down. :)

My lawn maintenance schedule is thus:
- thatch/rake and aerate every 3-4 years
- top soil and seed every spring
- fertilize or weed'n'feed every spring (depends on condition of the lawn)
- mow as needed... multch as often as possible and bag maybe once a month
- mid summer fertilizer
- fall fertilizer
- weed everyday... pull the heads off any weeds found and then a blast of weed killer

Makes for one very nice looking lawn. :)

PokerChip
2008-06-04, 05:04 PM
I have a big pie-shaped lot in Edmonton which I seeded from scratch 10 years ago. Trust me, I have spent countless hours to build it up and this includes every possible aspect of lawn care possible.

Over the past 3-4 years, the key for me has been regular and generous fertilizer applications, as well as avoiding the "trap" of cutting the grass too short. The combination of these 2 things has allowed me NOT to use any chemical herbicide, which is better for the kids (and adults) and the environment.

Being that my lot is quite big, I select certain areas each spring on which I overseed. In my situation, using a sprinkle of top soil, followed by grass seed, and then some more top soil to "sandwich" the seeds" and lots of moisture until the seed germinates has proven succesful.

PrimeBane mentioned mulching, which does have value. In my particular case, muclching too often resulted in too much thatch and the following year, my lawn seemed thinner (not quite as dense).

Aerating every couple of years, and avoid overraking, which ends up killing good grass, especially if you do it early in the spring season.

About watering, mind you you're in N.S. and should get lots of rain compared to us in AB, you're better off watering once a week for a longer period of time instead of a sprinkle every other day.

Anyway, that's my recipe!

john33
2008-06-04, 07:31 PM
I find that the less you do - the better it looks ! Keep your grass as long as possible (3" or so). Cut it frequently and mulch - fine , short clippings are better mulch - protects the roots and keeps soil damp. Never cut more than 1/3 of length at once - will put lawn in distress. Never water at night ! - Early morning once a week. I use Scotts turfbuilder (plain stuff , no weed control twice - early spring and summer) and wintercare in October. Never get weeds! Keep your lawnmower blade sharp.This will give you a drought resistant weed free lawn. IMO I find that lawn care companies may not apply their treatments at the optimum time -(too hot , no rain , too much , etc). I have the best lawn on my street and I am always giving advice to my neighbours !

JohnnyG
2008-06-05, 10:29 AM
PokerChip, I certainly won't argue with your sucess, but from I've read, you want to only slightly embed the grass seed in the soil...you do not want to cover it completely.

By the way...that patching stuff that's available that mixes grass seed with a jute-like material is crap! I've tried it before and wouldn't have bought it again, but the wife didn't know and picked up a bag. I patched up about a 1/3 of the front lawn with that, and the rest with a mixture of fresh soil and seed. The soil/seed is sprouting up everywhere, the patching mixture not so much.

PokerChip
2008-06-05, 11:52 AM
JohnnyG, I'm talking about just a sprinkle on top. I've tried it both ways, but I,ve come to think that the extra sprinkle just anchors the seeds in place and prevents them from getting too easily washed away by rain or my watering, thus resulting in more even sprouts of grass in the areas I patch.

No argument about the commercial patching mixture. It is crap.

nfitz
2008-06-06, 02:35 AM
... and then a blast of weed killerI thought weed killer was long since banned.

PrimeBane
2008-06-06, 01:03 PM
nah... you can still get it in Calgary, although it's pretty crappy stuff for the most part.

Or if you have a farming buddy, he can help you out. :)

jayoldschool
2008-06-06, 01:38 PM
Grab the Fiskars stand-up weeder from Canadian Tire. It's on sale, and I can report that it is excellent. You will easily weed your entire lawn without bending over once.

I guess I have an eco lawn. I weed by hand, don't water, don't fertilize, and don't use any pesticides or herbicides. I cut once a week. It's a decent sized rural lawn - probably about 3/4 of an acre. It looks like a golf course. I can take a pic if you guys want to see it...