Lawn rehab - seeding & watering - who else is doing it this fall?

John K BBQ

TVWBB Fan
I hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of fall. I caught the DIY lawn care bug about 6 weeks ago and have been gobbling up info on how to improve my grass to weed ratio. In the late summer, I was battling some nutsedge, wild violet, and creeping charlie. I can't say that I've totally won, but I put a hurting on them for sure! A week ago today, I had a some help putting down about 14 wheelbarrows of top soil, then seeded with shade tolerant tall fescue and topped with a thin layer of peat moss & Scott's starter fert. On three days ago, there wasn't much to see but now I have baby grass all over the place! These pics are my back yard. My front yard didn't really need a total rehab, and is half zoysia and half cool season grass mostly shaded by some big-ole hickory trees. I decided to over seat the cool season with some creeping red fescue and it's taken off pretty quickly.

I'm really happy with my results so far. I've learned a lot about watering and my plan seems to be working out pretty nicely. I was able to use mostly sprinklers I already had, but did invest in a battery powered rain bird auto-timer and I really like that goofy thing. It does a great job without restricting waterflow and keeps me from over watering. I also planted some seed in pots of peat moss. I did this basically to gage whether or not the stuff I planted in the lawn was going to come up, to see difference in seed growth, and to get a good comparison between the look and feel of each type of grass. The annual rye grass come up first as expected, but I was a little surprised at the difference between the other grasses. The creeping red fescue came up second by about a day, then the turf type tall fescue (TTF) from seed superstore came in just after than, and then the Jaguar fescue blend I bought from a local nursery. I'm really happy that I bought the TTF from seed superstore - I can already see it's better than the stuff I can get locally.

Without further grass nerd talk - here are some pics. Let me know what's up with your lawn!

This was Wednesday morning

wed.jpg

This was this morning (the following Sunday)
sunday.jpg

Here are the test pots (temporary fence in background to keep my dogs from messing up my grass. I'll remove in a few weeks and cross my fingers).
pots.jpg
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Honor Circle
I've tried to watch some youtube videos on it. It's its own hobby for sure. I pay a service to come out and spray. I need to plant something in my shaded areas.
 

Brad Olson

TVWBB Gold Member
Since I have no immediate neighbors my feeling is that if it's green and grows and covers the dirt, it's good enough. The guy down the road, however, is 180 degrees from that philosophy.;)
 

ChuckH

TVWBB Member
Am doing the same thing myself. Fixing up and reseeding some dead spots. Funny thing is, I have dead spots that I just can’t seem to get grass to grow, yet on my pea gravel walkway where I don’t want it it grow, things grow like it’s the Amazon rain forest.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB Olympian
We will be overseeding some areas this fall. Wife and I did extensive work in the spring as well. I still have some troublesome areas mostly due to the neighboring trees. Damn pine trees to the back (I hate those trees so much I would pay for him to take them down) and 3 of those trashy soft maple trees on my culvert side of the property. They're leaning worse every year. But, for the most part I now have a complete lawn front and back. It is much harder on country sized lots though 1/2 acre and up like ours. Watering is a multiple day affair when it's hot and dry, and EXPENSIVE! (we have municipal water supply and sewer. One of only 2 houses on the street with sewer rather than septic. So our sewer bill is tied to water. more water = higher sewer bill.
Anyway I think late in the month or early October I will core aerate after a rain, then overseed and hit it with milorganite really heavy. I am told it's the bomb for a good start in the spring.
Anyway here are some pics showing some of the progress from worst to recent. Been a lot of work and $$$ in seed, chemicals, fertilizer, gasoline running the equipment I own. But I am finally seeing a lawn I like to walk on and look at20200807_143931.jpg20200807_143925.jpg20200727_195640.jpg20200727_195620.jpg20200727_195612.jpg20200727_195607.jpg20200510_183547.jpg20200510_183538.jpg20200503_132732.jpg20200503_132730.jpg20200503_132712.jpg20200502_180009.jpg20200502_180012.jpg20200502_180019.jpg20200502_180019 1.jpg20200502_180012 1.jpg20200502_180009 1.jpg20200421_193139.jpg20200421_192210.jpg
 

JimK

TVWBB Olympian
I really went down the lawn care rabbit hole in our old place. After a couple years of overseeding and not having the desired grass take over as quickly as I wanted, I killed off the entire lawn late one August. Two does of Roundup a week apart, followed by a scalping with the mower and a de-thatching. Then a mix of topsoil and peat moss and a custom blend of bluegrass went in. It was a little rough that fall (bluegrass germinates slowly) and I had some weed pressure the following spring, while the grass was still thickening up. But by the following fall, I had a lawn that I just loved walking barefoot through. It was a deep, dark green with nice soft texture. Good thinking going to seed superstore. I'm not familiar with them specifically, but will say that the seed in Home Depot, Lowes and other places is not great. For about the same money, you can do much, much better dealing with a place that specializes in grass seed. In my case, I used Pawnee Buttes Seed. Very good and can help design a blend that will thrive in your particular area.

Keep the pics coming - I love seeing them.
 

Rusty James

TVWBB Gold Member
The city replaced sections of sidewalk in front of my house lately, but the red fill dirt they used has rocks in it. Hurricane Sally's rainfall really uncovered them. I can't understand why they don't use screened dirt instead. 😖
 

Jim C in Denver

TVWBB Super Fan
I picked up two hobbies for Covid/stay at home -- getting a WSM for smoking and reclaiming my grass from the lawn service.

My trip down the lawn rabbit hole started with power raking multiple bales of hay/thatch out of my lawn. The power raking was very quick; collecting and disposing of the mountain of hay was another matter.

Next was a big plug aeration and overseed (with KBG) in the spring, with another plug/overseed done right at the end of August. Made a big difference. I'll do that again twice next year and then likely cut back to just once per season.

My existing lawn is 100% KBG. So the first goal was to get rid of a decade of thatchiness and get the dormant and bare spots to rebound and fill in. Which KBG does very well.

Second goal is to reduce the amount of water the lawn requires. We get little rain here in the southwest, so we rely almost 100% on in-ground sprinklers to keep a lawn. Over the summer I did a comprehensive repair, maintain, re-aim, rehab of the sprinkler system to improve the coverage and efficiency. For next year, I will add start adding some fescue to the re-seeding mix to get better drought tolerance and water consumption.

Depending on how that goes, I may try to keep upping the fescue percentage over time and dial down the KBG. For seed, I do think you need to go to a specialty retailer rather than a big box. The place I go to has about 10 different seed blends fine tuned for this area. The online seed stores have even more varieties. Folks there debate the nuances of grass seed in the same way that folks on here over-analyze charcoal varieties.

Also got a new Ego electric mower, which is awesome. The neighbors are especially impressed when I do a sunset mow with the headlights turned on. And so quiet -- which really helps to enjoy the Zen of the mow.
 
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BillSmith

TVWBB Pro
Watering is a multiple day affair when it's hot and dry, and EXPENSIVE! (we have municipal water supply and sewer. One of only 2 houses on the street with sewer rather than septic. So our sewer bill is tied to water. more water = higher sewer bill.

Have you thought of putting in a separate meter so that your lawn watering does not inflate your water/sewer bill?
 

MikeB

TVWBB Fan
Last year was my first full season in this house. With a bit of work I managed to turn the yard cover into what I would call a lawn instead of just grass. This year started out ok but suddenly mid-summer it just went away. Everything turned brown. The entire neighborhood looks sad. Some of the weeds like the creeping charlie and thistle still look green. It's too late to really put any effort into it now, we've have frost three nights already. I guess I get to start from scratch next year. I'm going to give it a blast of my own concoction of weed killer before Halloween though.
 

timothy

TVWBB Olympian
This is a very good thread and one I'm enjoying reading.:cool:
I slacked off this year ( because of other things) but your results will make me work harder for next year.
 

JimK

TVWBB Olympian
I picked up two hobbies for Covid/stay at home -- getting a WSM for smoking and reclaiming my grass from the lawn service.

My trip down the lawn rabbit hole started with power raking multiple bales of hay/thatch out of my lawn. The power raking was very quick; collecting and disposing of the mountain of hay was another matter.

Next was a big plug aeration and overseed (with KBG) in the spring, with another plug/overseed done right at the end of August. Made a big difference. I'll do that again twice next year and then likely cut back to just once per season.

My existing lawn is 100% KBG. So the first goal was to get rid of a decade of thatchiness and get the dormant and bare spots to rebound and fill in. Which KBG does very well.

Second goal is to reduce the amount of water the lawn requires. We get little rain here in the southwest, so we rely almost 100% on in-ground sprinklers to keep a lawn. Over the summer I did a comprehensive repair, maintain, re-aim, rehab of the sprinkler system to improve the coverage and efficiency. For next year, I will add start adding some fescue to the re-seeding mix to get better drought tolerance and water consumption.

Depending on how that goes, I may try to keep upping the fescue percentage over time and dial down the KBG. For seed, I do think you need to go to a specialty retailer rather than a big box. The place I go to has about 10 different seed blends fine tuned for this area. The online seed stores have even more varieties. Folks there debate the nuances of grass seed in the same way that folks on here over-analyze charcoal varieties.

Also got a new Ego electric mower, which is awesome. The neighbors are especially impressed when I do a sunset mow with the headlights turned on. And so quiet -- which really helps to enjoy the Zen of the mow.

Jim: I don't know if crabgrass or other grassy weeds are an issue in your area, so take this with a grain of salt. Around here (mid-atlantic), they are, so we focus on weed prevention in the spring, which consists of pre-emergent treatments (Scott's with HALTS, for example). They are great, except for the fact that they work by preventing germination of grassy weeds (and also grasses). As a result, seeding in the spring becomes dicey. If you want your seed to germinate, you have to forego the pre-emergents. In doing so, you're allowing those aggressive, grassy weeds into the mix. Then you have to fight the weeds as your tender, young grass is trying to establish itself. Applying weed killers will often damage or kill your desired grass. In addition, that young grass is not well equipped to handle the heat of summer, and you will lose a portion of it when temps get hot. If you apply the pre-emergents, they will not only prevent the weeds from germinating, but also prevent (or significantly diminish) the germination of your desired grass. As a result, it's generally recommended to seed in the fall around here. As temps cool, the weeds are dying off, and conditions are more conducive for young, tender grass.
 

Jim C in Denver

TVWBB Super Fan
Jim -- out here in CO, the window for Fall re-seeding is pretty tricky. We always have snow/frost by mid-October. This year the first snow was Sept 8! So for the Fall, you really need to be planting in mid-August. Which is sub-optimal since it is still too hot. So out here the Spring is a bit more reliable. Although April and May snow is common as well...

So for phase 1 of my lawn rehab, I decided to do both. Figuring at least one would hit the weather window. For the Spring, I only did post-emergent. Given our harsh/variable conditions, I've focused more on getting the lawn growing and less about other stuff invading the grass. Also, the next part of my plan involves mixing fescue into my KBG. KBG (once established) bounces back and fills in quickly, but it is slow to grow from seed. In contrast, fescue germinates more quickly -- which is good for my short windows.

Now if I did this plan when I still lived back East, I'd have a backyard of crabgrass and weeds and no lawn.

PS: Quite possible I'm over-thinking this.
 

John K BBQ

TVWBB Fan
We will be overseeding some areas this fall. Wife and I did extensive work in the spring as well. I still have some troublesome areas mostly due to the neighboring trees. Damn pine trees to the back (I hate those trees so much I would pay for him to take them down) and 3 of those trashy soft maple trees on my culvert side of the property. They're leaning worse every year. But, for the most part I now have a complete lawn front and back. It is much harder on country sized lots though 1/2 acre and up like ours. Watering is a multiple day affair when it's hot and dry, and EXPENSIVE! (we have municipal water supply and sewer. One of only 2 houses on the street with sewer rather than septic. So our sewer bill is tied to water. more water = higher sewer bill.
Anyway I think late in the month or early October I will core aerate after a rain, then overseed and hit it with milorganite really heavy. I am told it's the bomb for a good start in the spring.
Anyway here are some pics showing some of the progress from worst to recent. Been a lot of work and $$$ in seed, chemicals, fertilizer, gasoline running the equipment I own. But I am finally seeing a lawn I like to walk on and look atView attachment 14492View attachment 14493View attachment 14494View attachment 14495View attachment 14496View attachment 14497View attachment 14498View attachment 14499View attachment 14500View attachment 14501View attachment 14502View attachment 14503View attachment 14504View attachment 14505View attachment 14506View attachment 14507View attachment 14508View attachment 14509View attachment 14510
Nice pics there of a beautiful yard!- obviously you've invested a lot of time in that! Always good to see family around a fire pit too!
 

John K BBQ

TVWBB Fan
Am doing the same thing myself. Fixing up and reseeding some dead spots. Funny thing is, I have dead spots that I just can’t seem to get grass to grow, yet on my pea gravel walkway where I don’t want it it grow, things grow like it’s the Amazon rain forest.
I had some spots where I thought I'd have trouble with new growth, but so far, I'm seeing success just about everywhere. I'm sure you've tried it, but in the dead spots, it looks like you're supposed to remove as much dead grass and weeds as possible, then rough up the top 1/2" or so of dirt, then seed, then fertilize, then top it off with something to help keep the seed wet between watering.

I've found a place that sells peat moss in 1 cubic ft bales, and I really prefer that to straw, or the scotts pre-mixed patch work stuff. The peat moss contains no weeds, improves the soil and sort of fades away over time. With the pre-mix stuff, you may not be matching seed for the rest of your lawn. In smoking terms this is just prepping and loading the smoker, now you gotta keep it going!!! I've been watering my new grass twice a day everyday for about two weeks and everything is looking good so far. I will add some pictures later this weekend so everyone can see.

I'm fully expecting to deal with some dead spots even after my renovation due to dog pee, and am planning to mix up my own "patch" material to match the grass I've planted so I can do it quickly and easily. Having a 2 gallon watering can will be a big part of the arsenal for spot watering. I don't want to get into watering the whole dang yard just because I'm trying to fix a few spots.
 

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