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RevRico
RevRico SuperDork
6/14/17 12:31 p.m.

Holy crap they want $15k for that domain.

curtis73
curtis73 PowerDork
6/14/17 5:36 p.m.

General rule of thumb is, when you cut the grass, don't take more than 1/3 of its length off. If you cut too much, it shocks it because it can't make enough food.

Watering is for really extreme cases. I had to water mine in TX once during a drought and the HOA required it. Of course, the city had rules about how much you could water, too. Even if you go full-on brown and crispy, it will come back. Definitely don't worry about brown patches in a drought. But lawns are pretty good about not growing when its too dry. If you water it, you're just making it grow more and you'll have to mow more.

Same goes for fertilizer. You'll just make it super lush which makes more work, along with the runoff being no bueno for the tree huggers (I am a tree hugger)

Our lawn in PA where I grew up (and mom and dad still live) has never been aerated, watered, or anythinged. It gets mowed (and not bagged) and it looks good after 49 years.

I'm also not one of those who cares what is growing. There are large sections of my lawn that are clover. I don't care. Its green. I never do a weed treatment, I just mow when it gets tall. I will also chime in with the taller is better group. Low grass isn't very healthy for the plant and you also run the risk of "scalping" in places where there is a hump or dip in the ground.

I would say to start out your first few years with just mowing. For the first mow of the spring, let it get a little taller than you normally would. This lets the plants "establish" their new roots and growth for the year. I usually set the deck about a half inch higher for the first mowing, then drop it down to normal and mow again in a few days in the spring. Then mow as normal for the rest of the year.

Subsequent years, if you want to try a weed killer, watering, or fertilizing, go for it... but I think you'll find it just makes more work for very little benefit.

curtis73
curtis73 PowerDork
6/14/17 5:42 p.m.

One more thing I'll add. You may wish to bag (but anything over 1/4 acre or so it gets annoying emptying the bag and throwing away the clippings), but what I do is just remove or tie up the safety chute. The exit chute dumps all the clippings in a 3 foot path to your right. If you're not careful, your lawn will look like a hay field in a few days when it gets all brown. There will be rows of brown amidst the green. Tying up the chute or removing it will broadcast the grass much more evenly and most of it will fall down between the growing leaves and self-mulch.

The downside to this is that there is the potential for tossing a pebble or stick into the paint of your Miata or a house window, (or the eye of a pedestrian walking by) but honestly that has never happened to me.

But if you mow frequently enough and don't cut off too much at one time, you won't have that brown trails problem.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla MegaDork
6/14/17 5:42 p.m.

We were lucky enough to have found a piece of property with great grass/lots of trees. I was unlucky enough to find a piece of property with great grass/lots of trees. My biggest problem is the stupid high quality of soil. The morning dew in a drought is enough to make the grass grow. Literally. in spring, I'm mowing weekly at a MINIMUM and have had to mow twice in the same week because it went apeE36 M3 on me. I've had grass that was 12" tall in a little over a week when it won't stop raining.

But... with that said, I like it looking nice. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

fasted58
fasted58 MegaDork
6/14/17 6:42 p.m.

Been using this tow behind Agri-Fab 44" lawn sweeper over a few years now, some of best money spent.

Used to rake 2-3 garbage cans worth at least. Leaves were waaay worse. When I saw this in action I was sold. I vowed I would never rake grass or leaves again.

Brooms are height adjustable. Large hopper swivels and w/ the handle never leave the tractor seat to dump. The hitch offsets so you could sweep while mowing but I don't use the offset. I still blow the clippings or leaves in line CW then sweep. Sweep adds about twenty minutes after a one hour mow. Biggest amount of work is hitching/ unhitching it to the tractor.

You can still allow some for mulch w/ the height adjustment raised some.

Only maintenance I've done is grease the pawls once and hose the hopper out at end of season. It is well built. Around $250-275 on sale at TSC, Rural King etc. Agri-Fab builds these for JD only in green, same unit just more expensive.

http://www.agri-fab.com/Products/Sweepers/44-inch-Lawn-Sweeper.aspx

Bagging was never considered a viable option btw.

STM317
STM317 Dork
6/15/17 6:55 a.m.

We bought a new place last year. It was obvious that the lawn had been taken care of previously, but had fallen into a state of neglect (owned by divorced, middle aged woman, etc) by the time we purchased it. I treated it myself in the spring and fall with mostly positive results. This year has been an improvement over what we inherited, but it still has a long way to come. You'll find that the actions you take now tend to show results far into the future rather than right away.

I've opted to have it treated professionally this year since it costs nearly as much for me to do it as to have it done professionally. The goal, is to have it treated until the weeds are mostly gone. In the meantime, I'll try and make the grass as healthy and full as I can by aerating each fall and overseeding the lawn. When the grass is healthy and full enough to crowd out most weeds on it's own, then I'll scale back the chemical treatments.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
2/4/18 7:14 a.m.

When should I overseed?  I've read about winter overseeding (without watering), and that seems like the way I would like to go for sure.  Just not sure it applies to me because i'm in 'the south'.  If I do overseed, what type of grass should I be using?  I noticed at work they did it in late fall or so and I saw grass starting to grow already.  There are sections hey definitely did not water.

I'm looking to fill in a lot of area in the front yard.  Its thinning out pretty badly, so it gets kinda muddy.  Some of it is due to the trees, which will be a follow up question.

I'm in NC.

STM317
STM317 Dork
2/4/18 10:43 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

Pennington seed company says

  • In southern areas, overseed thinning lawns in late spring, as warm-season grasses enter their active growing season. For winter color, overseed lawns in fall. Wait until nighttime temperatures drop consistently below 65°F and your existing warm-season lawn slows and begins to lose color.

It sounds like late spring would be the best time for your situation. Look for grasses that are able to tolerate lots of shade if you plan on keeping the trees.

It might also be worth checking nearby colleges with agricultural programs. They usually have  pretty specific plans for what works and when for your more concise local area. It looks like NC State Has these suggestions

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
2/4/18 11:42 a.m.

Thanks for the link.  My lawn is a blend of warm and cool season grasses.  There is a large area where I put down Zoysia like 2 years ago, but it hasn't fully filled out.  Ideally I'd make my whole yard Zoysia, but that will either take A) a long time (plug a bit every year) B) a lot of money (sod) or C) Ripping everything out and doing a new lawn from seed.

As I probably wont be here more than another couple years, I'm just looking into filling out the thin areas.  I'm going to stick with tall fescue for now.

https://www.whygoodnature.com/dormant-seeding

I've read through about 10 sites like this today and I think I might just give it a shot.  If it doesn't work, I can always seed again in late spring.  I just don't want to have to water :(

 

STM317
STM317 Dork
2/4/18 6:14 p.m.

I'm in Indiana, so different environment but I did something similar last year in late winter or early spring. Spread seed just before the last snowfall, which helped to keep it moist. It worked out alright in the wetter months but the by the end of summer, the new grass had mostly disappeared in the dry, hot weeks of late summer. The patchy areas of my lawn are predominantly high traffic spots that get tons of sun, so the soil gets compacted and hard. I'm hoping that aerating this past fall will result in improved longevity of the fresh growth this summer. Time will tell...

Kramer
Kramer Dork
2/4/18 8:20 p.m.

I'm in Indiana, too.  But I rent a house on a small lot.  The yard was crap when we moved in two summers ago, so we pay LawnPride about $300 a year to fertilize.  Worth it.  No more dandelions.  Crabgrass is almost all choked out.  The house looks like it is worth $25,000 more.  All I do is mow, and occasionally rake, if I let it go too long.  

At my old house, which I owned, I spent probably just as much trying to buy the right fertilizer, but I often forgot to do it, so I wasted the money.  I should've paid the man.  At least on the front yard.  

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
2/4/18 10:09 p.m.

I went the other way. I have let my lawn do what it wants. I mow it high. About 4.5 inches or so. It looks ok but where it really shines is in August when all the other houses have brown lawns mine is nice and green. 

pjbgravely
pjbgravely Reader
2/4/18 11:04 p.m.

I wish could let my Moms grass just grow but  ticks carrying Lyme disease won't let me. Let it go more than a month and deer are bedding down near the house, despite the dog. When it is mowed the deer are afraid of low grass because the coyotes can see them.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse UltraDork
2/5/18 7:13 a.m.

I learned that watering at night makes mushrooms. Unfortuantely, not the edible kind. Water early morning so the grass has ample time to use it, and what’s left over evaporates. 

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
2/5/18 10:18 a.m.

IoT sprinkler controllers will change your life. I'm generally a skeptical fan IoT devices but god it was nice not having to run back and forth to the controller when I was attempting to isolate the leaking head of the week.

Most of them offer highly granular zone control now too which is really nice for scheduling and water conservation.

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) Reader
2/5/18 11:44 a.m.

TLDR: Find older retired guy doing yardwork in your neighborhood. Ask him questions. Bring him beer. He will give you the inside poop.

Story:

We live in southern New York.  When we moved from an apartment into our house about 4 years ago, my wife and I were totally clueless.  Probably about half an hour after we closed, a guy in a lawncare truck came by, offered to do the yard, and to spruce things up with bushes, plants whatever.  Wife loves the idea.  $1500 later, yard looks fantastic...for 48 hours. 

Local deer completely cleaned us out overnight.  A week or so later, I'm talking to our across the street neighbor, who is around 80 and has lived in that house (which his wife grew up in) for 55+ years. I complained about the deer , and he said "I was wondering why you had that guy plant all the expensive E36 M3 deer love to eat."  I said "Oh...we didn't know."  We talked for an hour, after I went and grabbed us beers. Turns out our friendly lawncare guy was basically a scam artist who pulls that trick on lots of newbies.  Dammit.  Anyway, since then neighbor Frank has been an awesome resource, super helpful with information/suggestions for fertilizers, geting grass to grow, how to cut it etc., and he gives us phenomenal home grown vegetables.  Maybe someday he will tell me why he and my next door neighbor apparently havent been on speaking terms for over 30 years.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
2/5/18 11:56 a.m.

Fun fact:  I can make the guy diagonally across the street mow his lawn any time, even if he mowed it the day before, just by mowing mine.  He seems to view it as a competition.  I subscribe to the "it's all greenish and the same length" school of lawn care.  His looks like a putting green.

Then again, this is a guy who washes his car inside the garage... and whose garage is neat enough that he can do it.  Seriously, if it wasn't for the fact that I see his wife leave the house and return on a regular basis, I'd think he had some 9-1/2 Weeks serial killer E36 M3 going on.  I assume he's a retired navy CPO.  Heaven help his crew if he was.

slantvaliant
slantvaliant UltraDork
2/5/18 12:36 p.m.

I support biodiversity and water conservation, and offer my lawn as proof.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
2/5/18 3:25 p.m.
Duke said:

Fun fact:  I can make the guy diagonally across the street mow his lawn any time, even if he mowed it the day before, just by mowing mine.  He seems to view it as a competition.  I subscribe to the "it's all greenish and the same length" school of lawn care.  His looks like a putting green.

I've noticed the same thing with one of my neighbors.   He came south and bought a house based solely on the photographs, PSA, NEVER DO THAT!   He is still fixing things in the house.  He came to start a landscaping business..  I'm not complaining though, because the people in the house before them was absolute cretins who never did any yard work.     

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
2/5/18 3:30 p.m.
The0retical said:

IoT sprinkler controllers will change your life. I'm generally a skeptical fan IoT devices but god it was nice not having to run back and forth to the controller when I was attempting to isolate the leaking head of the week.

Most of them offer highly granular zone control now too which is really nice for scheduling and water conservation.

Can you post up an overview for idiots?

I don't water except to get stuff started, but I've thought about using rain barrels for this purpose.

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
2/5/18 4:21 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

They work much like a normal sprinkler controller (zones with a schedule) but instead of only two or four zones the newer controllers allow you to setup between 8 and 20 zones all with different schedules and a better interface to ensure that you're not over-watering. They're also internet connected allowing you to interface with the controller from a distance. It's really helpful when you have multiple different types of irrigation which are typically lumped into a single zone (ie. Small volume sprayers for flowers, drip for trees, soakers for shrub hedges, different sprayer types on the grass) since you may not want your edge sprayers to run as long as your middle sprayers for the grass or your drip needs to run longer than your soakers. Additionally, because of the zone granularity, they also allow you to turn the individual zones on and off on demand without cycling through every solenoid (likely a RainBird quirk but good lord it was annoying.) It is also amusing for nailing the neighbor who's dog E36 M3s in your yard or that random stray cat.

I had a lot of issues with the irrigation systems heads clogging with dirt or rabbits eating the lines in the beds so, about once every couple of weeks, I'd spend some time trying to isolate whatever caused the flood in the yard. It sucks when the leak is 50 yards from the controller and you're faced with either running back to the garage as the high pressure water digs a divot or yelling at SWMBO "For the love of god turn it off."

The big players are Rachio and Skydrop.

I have an unused Lono sitting on my shelf, free if someone wants it. I have no idea if it's useable anymore as the promised Android app never materialized and they stopped responding when the project started to implode. So don't buy one of those.

codrus
codrus UltraDork
2/5/18 5:03 p.m.
The0retical said:

IoT sprinkler controllers will change your life. I'm generally a skeptical fan IoT devices but god it was nice not having to run back and forth to the controller when I was attempting to isolate the leaking head of the week.

I use a Raspberry Pi-based "Open Sprinkler" system.  It's IoT, but because it's my own Linux install on the Pi I can make sure it's at least reasonably well-protected against botnet attacks.  It's got a module that interfaces with Google calendar, so I can schedule my sprinklers that way.

https://opensprinkler.com/product/opensprinkler-pi/

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
2/5/18 6:14 p.m.

What are the component costs like (oustside of the controller)?

How much am I looking to spend to get some rain barrels and the required system to dispense the water onto my lawn?  Ballpark.  $500?  $5000?

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
2/6/18 7:36 a.m.

Might split with one of my coworkers and do this:  https://www.homedepot.com/tool-truck-rental/Overseeder/TS-20HD/  one day this weekend.

Figure $100 all in for me to do that with tall fescue.  Worth a shot.

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