Lawn Care & Planting Grass in New England

Phoenix1

Phoenix1

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I wrote a collection of posts about planting grass, aerating, and dethatching lawns a while back. I thought I'd share those posts here. If you're interested in this topic, please read on down below. I'm focusing this thread on the New England area because that's where I lived at the time, but what I share in most of these posts can be applied anywhere.

Overseeding the Lawn with Vigaro Contractors Blend
Overseeding Lawn with Neseed Sun & Shade Mix
Early Spring Lawn Core Aeration & Overseeding
Overseeding the Lawn with Tall Fescue & Kentucky Bleugrass
Dethatching, Aerating & Overseeding the Lawn
Dethatching a Lawn
Brinly 40-Inch Tow-Behind Lawn Dethatcher
How to Get Rid of Crabgrass
Scotts Kentucky Bluegrass Mix Grass Seed
Best Cool Season Grass Seed for Heat & Drought
When to Plant Grass Seed in the Fall
Converting Grass into Wildflowers

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Overseeding the Lawn With Vigoro Contractors Blend​

I picked up the last bag of grass seed today. Again, I got the Vigoro Contractor’s Blend.

Last night, I looked up some stuff about grass seed. I learned all about Ryegrass, Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass. I thought I had it all down pat. When I went into the Depot today, I made sure to read the back of each different bag of grass seed. I was trying to avoid the annual seeds.

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The Vigoro bag came out on top. For about $36, I got a 20lb. blended bag of Panterra Italian Ryegrass, Bargena 3 Creeping Red Fescue, Palmer 4 Perrenial Ryegrass and Merit Kentucky Bluegrass. I thought, “Wow, this one has no annual seed in it.” How cool. Well, as it turns out, Panterra Italian Ryegrass is code for annual ryegrass. Hey, good thing there is 39.67% of it in there.

seed-combination.jpg

Oh well, it germinates very quickly and gives good ground cover for the other 60% of seed to grow.

I went outside to do some spreading just a little while ago. I did sweat a lot, but I got it done. Spreading grass seed is a strange phenomenon. It is much like opening a window and tossing out $36 in one dollar bills. Once you are done, you kind of stand there looking at yourself. “Where did it all go?”

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In a few short weeks, I expect to see a nice, thick lawn. It is almost there now, but it should be complete soon. Everywhere I look, I read that you should seed in the Spring or Fall, but since I have been having such good luck with seeding in the Summer, I decided to continue.
 
EmeraldHike

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I wonder if i got more of the annual than anything else because the package I purchased did not grow at all. It was a complete waste. It was just grass seed mixture, not contractors.
 
Phoenix1

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EmeraldHike said:
I wonder if i got more of the annual than anything else because the package I purchased did not grow at all. It was a complete waste. It was just grass seed mixture, not contractors.
Go grab yourself a bag of nice perennial blend and spread it on your lawn before the winter snow. In the spring, you’ll see a beautiful lawn emerge. This is an old pro trick. If you’re in the north, get yourself some Kentucky Bluegrass mix for cold climates. That grass spreads naturally to fill in bare spots.
 
Phoenix1

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Overseeding Lawn With Neseed Sun & Shade Mix​

Let’s get this out in the open. I didn’t even know Neseed existed until today. I think Neseed stands for “Northeast Seed.” They operate out of Hartford, CT and sell nice 50lb bags of sun and shade mix grass seed.

I told you in my last post that I ran out of seed for my lawn aeration / overseeding project. I had to run back out today to spend some more hard earned dollars buying more seed. The only difference was that today I didn’t go to Home Depot. I went to my local Ace Hardware store instead. I knew things were going to be more pricey, but I just wasn’t in the mood to drive all the way to the Depot.

When I got to the store, I looked around for a bit. I saw smaller bags of the typical Scotts and Pennington grass seed. When I looked a bit further, I bumped into the grand daddy of bags of grass seed. It was a 50lb bag of Neseed sun and shade mix. I took a quick scan of the tag and found the following types of seed:

Neseed Sun and Shade Mix
– Creeping Red Fescue
– Genesis Tall Fescue
– Nexus Perennial Rye
– Kentucky Bluegrass
– Amazing Perennial Rye
– Alene Kentucky Bluegrass

Since this is basically what I was looking for, I asked the guy how much it cost. He told me $120 and I said forget it. Then, I started thinking about how I dislike running out for more grass seed all the time and this is probably a better value per pound. I just grabbed it and bought it. As it ends up, it is somewhat less expensive per pound than the Home Depot brand names. Also, I did a quick search on the types of seeds that are in the bag and they have fairly good reviews. I am happy with my purchase.

When I got back to the house, I aerated the back yard and spread the seed. I felt good getting this project behind me. Like I said in my previous post, now I just wait. Hopefully the Spring rains will grow me a nice lawn this year.

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Phoenix1

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  • #5

Early Spring Lawn Core Aeration & Overseeding​

I suppose it is the season. Yes folks, it’s back. Spring in the Northeast. Well, I guess it’s Spring anywhere in the Northern hemisphere, but you know what I am talking about.

Springtime means getting your lawn back into shape. I know, I know…it looked so good when you put it to bed in the Autumn. It’s depressing what it turns into over just a few months. Actually, this Winter wasn’t all too bad for the lawn. Either it wasn’t severely cold or I am getting this lawn under control with some more organics and better grass.

I tackled a project that spanned yesterday and today. The project was to core aerate the entire lawn and give it a nice overseeding. Core aeration does wonders for your lawn. To read about the benefits of core aeration and to go over some frequently asked questions, you can check out this website. Since I already know how good aeration is for the grass involved, I just dove in to it. I have been doing this for a few years now and the grass is getting thicker and greener.

Okay, so like I talked about in my previous post, I bought some grass seed. The seed I got was Vigoro Tall Fescue grass seed blend and Pennington Smart Seed Fescue and Bluegrass grass seed mixture. I took a look at the backs of the bags before I purchased them and found the following types of grass seed:

Pennington Smart Seed Fescue and Bluegrass
– Justice Tall Fescue
– Greystone Tall Fescue
– Penn1901 Tall Fescue
– Monte Carlo Kentucky Bluegrass

Vigoro Tall Fescue
– Barvado Tall Fescue
– Barrera Tall Fescue
– Barlexas II RTF Tall Fescue
– Barlexas Tall Fescue
– Labarinth RTF Tall Fescue

I opened the bags and poured them both into a nice large plastic bin to mix them up. I thought I had enough to cover the entire lawn, but I was wrong. I had a total of 27lbs, but apparently that only gave me enough seed to cover the front part of the lawn. I had to go out again today to get more seed (which I will cover in the next post).

First, I started up the John Deere X300 and let her warm up. This was the first start of the season. Then, I ran back and grabbed the tow behind lawn aerator from under the deck. I hooked it up to the lawnmower and we were set. As you can see from the photos below, I used two 40lb sandbags as weight for the tow behind aerator. I used to use cement blocks, but they made a lot of noise bouncing around back there. I just wrapped these two sandbags up in an old sheet and things are much more quiet.

Once things were all set to go, I went ahead and aerated the entire front portion of the property. It rained the night before, so the soil was nice and soft. This is one of the reasons I like to do this in the Spring. Autumn sometimes offers hard, dry soil.

After I was finished aerating the lawn, I went ahead and spread the grass seed mixture over what I had just aerated. It’s a wonderful feeling seeing all those little seeds fall into the holes I just created. The holes give nice soil to seed contact.

Now, I just wait. It’s supposed to cool down and rain on and off for the next few days. Once it warms up again after that, I expect to see some seed germination.

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Phoenix1

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Overseeding the Lawn With Tall Fescue & Kentucky Bluegrass​

Last year’s growing season taught me some lessons about lawn care. Some of the lessons were kind of expensive and some not so much. Here they are for you to browse:

– Don’t waste your money on all those products on the store shelves.
– Lawns want moisture and organics. If you have neither, you will have weeds.
– Don’t use insect killer. You are killing the most beneficial micro-organisms your lawn has.
– Don’t rake your leaves in Autumn. Just keep mowing over them. They turn into next year’s organics and fertilizer (compost).
– Instead of wasting your money on fertilizers, weed and insect killers, spend your money on compost and grass seed.
– Remember, organics and grass seed.

It’s amazing how many people will fertilize a patch of dirt. Like grass is going to magically appear there or something. Last year, I finally came to the conclusion that your soil is the most important thing in your lawn. If you have bad soil, you will have a bad lawn. How did I come to this conclusion? Well, I got my head out of the clouds. I pictured sprinkling some grass seed on a cow pie. Seriously. Then, I imagined the thickest grass ever growing out of that cow pie.

Have you ever noticed that grass grows thickest over septic fields? It’s because that soil is nice and moist and full of nutrients.

Don’t get sucked into the hype. Trust me, lawn services love nothing more than to continuously apply expensive products to your lawn. I know of one lawn service around my area that doesn’t even test soil. They just apply their product. Over and over and over. How can they do that? They have no idea what they are applying to. I learned that they don’t know and don’t really care.

Ever wonder why some lawns look better than others? It’s because of the soil. Either the homeowner had good topsoil put down when they were building the house or there is good soil in the area.

When I was growing up, all I did was mow the lawn. I can’t remember ever putting down any lawn product for the twenty two years I lived in that house. The lawn looked great. Relatively few weeds and nice thick, green grass. We had good soil. That’s why we had good grass.

So anyway, my new thing is to aerate the lawn in the Spring and fall, overseed and then spread compost over the entire area. Sure, the layer of compost will be very thin and basically thrown with my hands, but it’s going to add some really great stuff to the lawn. It’s going to add micro-organisms, worms and organic material to the soil. You can’t beat that and you can’t buy that from a shelf somewhere.

Remember, don’t waste your money on fertilizer. Spend it on compost.

I read a story a while back about a fella who had the nicest grass on the block. His neighbors were jealous and wanted to know what in the world he did to keep it looking so good. They never saw him applying any store bought product. One of the neighbors asked the guy what he did to keep his lawn looking so good and the man replied, “Nothing, I just mow over my leaves every Autumn.”

Leaves are organic and turn into compost. Just mow over them and by late Spring, you will have a nice layer of organic material laying on top of your otherwise so-so soil.

I haven’t ordered my load of compost yet. I found a place in Enfield, CT that sells compost for $25 a yard with a $70 delivery fee. I am going to get five yards next week. Before that, I am going to aerate the lawn with my tow behind aerator and give the property a nice overseeding with a blend of Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass. I like these grasses because they are durable and some of the blend is self repairing. That’s the RTF and the Bluegrass. Good stuff.

After I do my overseeding, I am going to fill wheelbarrows with compost. Then, I am going to spread the compost all over the lawn. The compost that this particular place sells is a mixture of broken down leaves and cow manure. It’s going to stink a bit, but just imagine the goodness that the grass is going to be pulling out of it.

I am going to post a few photos of the grass seed I bought last night, along with some projects I am working on. Just a few areas that needed leveling off.

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Phoenix1

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Dethatching, Aerating & Overseeding Lawn​

This is a project that I have been waiting all year to do. It’s called, “Overseeding the lawn” (the correct time of year).

Every time I have put down grass seed, it was during the hottest, driest time of year. The seed didn’t do much because there was nothing much to do. Eventually, I think it actually grew, but that was months later when things cooled off and the rain returned.

They say to overseed your lawn in early September. This is because, like I said above, the Summertime drought is most likely over and rain falls more frequently. Unfortunately for me, the ten day forecast shows ten perfectly orange pictures of sunshine. Only me.

The reason I did the whole lawn dethatch, aerate and overseed the day I did was because of the rain we got the previous two days. In order to properly aerate, you need moist soil. If the soil is too dry, the aerator can’t get down into the dirt deep enough and you won’t pull a substantial plug. I got plugs that were about one and a half to two inches long. I would offer a picture, but it’s been about a week since I did this job and the plugs are all dried up and not very attractive.

I thought I would breeze through this particular project. In actuality, it took longer than expected. First, I dethatched the grass. I did this by towing the dethatcher I bought at Home Depot around the yard. Since grass and thatch kept clumping up in the tines, I had to stop frequently to clean it out. After that was done, I put the bagger back on the mower and mowed the grass at a height of three inches. I know the general advice is to mow at one inch or less when over seeding, but I just didn’t have the heart to scrape the dirt when I had no guarantee of rain in the future. I am not about to water 11,000 square feet of grass either. Mother Nature is going to have to take care of this one.

After I dethatched and mowed, I pulled out the tow behind plug aerator and did my thing. I did a few passes over the lawn to make sure I roughed up the dirt enough. I did a good job, but I still think I should have done more. It’s just that while doing this kind of thing, you want to get it done. Driving around in circles isn’t all that entertaining.

Okay, so once the aerating was finished, I filled the seed spreader up with my custom mixture of Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass. I chose these two types of grass because the Kentucky Bluegrass is just awesome looking and it is supposed to spread to fill in bare spots. The thing is, it takes forever to germinate. The Perennial Ryegrass is a good looking durable grass that germinates much faster and will fill things in while waiting for the Bluegrass.

As I said above, it’s been about a week with no rain and there isn’t much action out there. I have been watering certain areas with my sprinkler because I have no illusions that a huge thunderstorm isn’t going to come and wash all the seed off the front hillside. I want to get that grass sort of anchored in there before that happens. Otherwise, I will have to let nature take its course and wait for the grass to grow on it’s own. I also have some seed left over to spread out if need be.

Here are some pictures for you.

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Oh yeah, I also bought two bags of Scotts starter fertilizer. Each bag is supposed to cover 5,000 square feet. I haven’t applied this yet because the directions say to water in immediately after application. Since I can’t water the entire lawn, I am going to wait for right before the next rainfall to spread this stuff around.
 
Phoenix1

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  • #8

Dethatching a Lawn​

I know I am probably beating a dead horse here, but I wanted to post a few photos of today’s lawn dethatching.

Yesterday, I showed you some photos of dethatching the front lawn. Today, I am going to show you some photos of the back yard getting dethatched. I know, very exciting.

Actually, I dethatched the entire front area along the road as well as behind the house. That took a lot to do. This dethatcher works wonders. I pulled up so much dead grass, I couldn’t believe it. I am slowly learning about all the goodies the real guys use to make lawns look good. When I was riding the tractor, towing the dethatcher, the lawn looked like it was being rototilled because there was so much of a mess behind me. Believe it or not, this dethatcher really doesn’t mess with the good grass. That grass is really rooted in there. It just pulls up all the dead weeds and everything else that shouldn’t be there.

Here are some photos of dethatching the back yard.

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Sorry, I forgot to get the before shots.

If you look closely, you can see all the dead material on top of the grass. One time around the back yard basically filled up both rear bags on the mower. It’s crazy how much stuff came up. Take a look at the last photo. That area was totally covered with dead crabgrass, not it’s all cleaned up and ready for this season.

Come September, I am going to dethatch the lawn once more and then I’m going to aerate the heck out of it. After that, I am going to put down seed where it’s needed. Boy, they weren’t kidding when they said it takes a few years to get a nice lawn.
 
Phoenix1

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  • #9

Brinly 40 Inch Tow-Behind Dethatcher​

I have been beating myself up over this one for a few days.

I have gone back and forth, looking on the internet, trying to determine if I need to have the lawn dethatched. I know, I know…as my father would say, “Just mow the lawn and get on with your life.” Well, unfortunately, I am someone who has been sucked into the art of lawn care and really seem to enjoy it.

Some websites that I browsed said that dethatching really isn’t necessary because the thatch layer should naturally break down if the lawn is in good health. Another website said that dethatching is good, but only in the autumn because you don’t want to disturb the newly sprouting grass. The last website said that you should dethatch in the spring, autumn and everything in between. Go you.

I had a few things to do today, one of them being to start tackling the “after winter” lawn. There are ugly patches all over the place from chopped up leaves and dead crabgrass. There are also twigs like you wouldn’t believe.

This morning, I grabbed a rake from the garage and walked out to the front lawn and started raking. I did an area about fifty feet long by ten feet wide and raked up a good amount of dead grass. Then, I ran my hand through my hair, sniffled a little bit and took a look around at the rest of the lawn. I quickly said, “H*ll no. I ain’t doing all that.” Please pardon me. That’s the street talk in me. I decided that getting an inexpensive dethatcher is the way to go. After all, I do have a nice new John Deere ride-on mower with a rear bagger. I should really use it.

A dethatcher is really only a big rake. I mean, you could dethatch your whole lawn with a hand rake if you wanted to. That’s actually what people used to do in the old days, like ten years ago. Remember when you were a kid and one of your parents yelled at you to get outside and rake the lawn? Yeah, they meant with a rake, not a 40 inch tow behind dethatcher. After a few years of some kid raking the yard by hand, he or she got the bright idea of inventing a better tool.

I picked up a “Brinly 40 Inch Tow-Behind Dethatcher” from Home Depot in Glastonbury this afternoon. It was the cheapest one that had. I would have preferred buying the John Deere front mounted dethatcher because I could d-thatch and bag at the same time, but that unit and mount cost about $400. This old man isn’t paying $400 to rake the lawn. I’ll get the $79 jobber.

I put the dethatcher together when we got back. It took about 45 minutes to finish it up…just enough time to give it a dry run around the front lawn. For this little trial, I didn’t put a weight on the unit; I simply towed it around to see how it worked.

I have to say, it did a pretty good job. The dethatcher scraped along the ground and loosened up all the layered thatch (of which there is more than you realize). While towing it around, I was able to easily see the areas I already covered. When I was finished dethatching, I re-installed the rear bagger and sucked up all the dead grass clippings, dead crab grass and twigs and dumped all that waste into the woods. I got almost four full bags. Not bad for one simple dry run around the front lawn.

Here, take a look at the photos.

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Phoenix1

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  • #10

How To Get Rid Of Crabgrass​

I think the first thing you need to do is to recognize that your lawn has crabgrass growing in it.

Sometimes, crabgrass isn’t all that obvious. Actually, if your lawn looks great during the hot summer months but not in the spring or fall, you might have a crabgrass problem. This type of weed loves the heat. While many types of cooler grasses go dormant and turn brown during July and August, crabgrass is thriving. It makes the guy who takes care of the lawn proud…until October rolls around.

The first tell-tale sign that your lawn has crabgrass is the noticing of big brown areas come autumn. While the rest of the real grass is growing nicely, the crabgrass is dying off. The only problem is that crabgrass is an annual plant. Later on in the season, the weed produces seeds that we unknowingly mow into and spread around our regular grass. That lays the foundation for problems the next year, and the next year…you get the picture.

So, what do you do? Well, you can either get on your hands and knees and pluck out every single crabgrass weed you find all season long. That would probably do it. Or, you can apply what they call a “Pre-emergent grassy and broadleaf weed control.” This the probably the preferred route to travel down. You can buy the stuff yourself or call a service to come to your house and apply it for you.

The weed control is pretty nifty stuff. It rests on the soil of your lawn as small pellets and dissolves as it’s watered in. Somehow (and don’t ask me how), this weed control stops the weed seeds from germinating. Stopping the weeds from growing in the first place sounds a heck of a lot better than pulling them out after the fact.

It’s funny – while walking around, I like looking at the different levels of lawn care in different neighborhoods. You can actually see distinct property lines of those who take care of their lawns vs. those who don’t. One lawn is green, while the lawn right next to it is brown and full of weeds. By weeds, I mean big brown areas caused by crabgrass.

My friends at Scotts Lawn in Hartford stopped by today to give the grass its first application of “Early spring and spring fertilization” which adds nutrients to improve lawn color and strengthens the root system of the grass. They also put down some “Pre-emergent grassy and broadleaf weed control” which controls weed problems, such as crabgrass and other annual grasses later in the year. Okay, obviously I got those descriptions from the card they left with me.

I was really happy to see the guy stop by today, because I was getting nervous that the crabgrass seeds would start germinating. I always worry about things like this. Add that to my worry list.

The fella who stopped by today was very nice. We talked for a bit about none other than grass and its care. Believe it or not, it’s one of my favorite topics. Well, I’ll talk about anything that has to do with lawn care or landscaping. They are both interesting. We both agreed that there were some areas that had a little crabgrass problem, but nothing that couldn’t be taken care of.

I told the tech that I think the lawn is already showing nice signs of improvement from what they put down last autumn. Of what grass has already started growing, it’s really green and soft. I just hope we can keep this trend going and get the whole lawn nice and green by autumn.

I thought I would show you some pictures of the fertilizer/weed control they put down as well as some areas that have been affected by crabgrass. Enjoy, because you won’t see these problem areas for long.

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KristinaW

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  • #11
How do I get rid of crabgrass? Call the Scott’s people. They come to the house once every 3 weeks. Green grass, no crabgrass. Worth the money…not even that expensive.
 
Phoenix1

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  • #12

Fertilizing With Milorganite Organic Fertilizer​

This is an awesome post.

I went organic this year and I am so glad I did. Okay, let me give you a little background – we moved into this house a few years ago. When we moved in, the lawn was in terrible shape. There were weeds and bare spots all over the place. We arrived in the spring, so I didn’t notice how bad it was until the weeds started popping up in early Summer. This, of course, made me quite upset.

But, I do love a challenge. So off I went. The first thing I did was to aerate, dethatch and add a bunch of chemical weed control and fertilizer to the property. I will give it to them, it worked. The only problem was that there were still bare spots hanging around in the grass. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why the grass wasn’t spreading to fill in those spots. Only later did I figure out that only certain types of grasses spread and that we had lousy soil.

I had an epiphany. As I sat there thinking, I realized that grass wanted to grow in fertile soil. It doesn’t matter how much fertilizer you sprinkle on dirt, grass isn’t going to miraculously appear. There needs to be good soil, seed and water. I realized that if I had those three ingredients, I would be good to go.

The first thing I did this year was to go organic. I made a vow to put a halt to the instant gratification of chemical fertilizers. I would much rather have a good solid lawn growing the way it’s supposed to…naturally. I also started an aggressive overseeding program. I overseed in the Spring and in the Autumn. Last Autumn, I also started mulching the fallen leaves back into the lawn. That’s right…no more raking. I just chop up the leaves and then let mother nature take over. Looking at the lawn this Spring, I would say that much of the leave cover has already biodegraded.

Now, everyone knows that Nitrogen helps organic matter biodegrade. The one thing that I was missing in my “new lawn” recipe was Nitrogen. Since I wasn’t about to go out and buy more chemical fertilizer, I had to get my Nitrogen from somewhere else. Enter Milorganite organic fertilizer.

I have read a lot about Milorganite in the past and really wanted to give them a try. If you don’t know what Milorganite is made out of, you can read all about it on their website. The fertilizer consists of millions of tiny micro organisms that really do a wonder for your lawn. Sure, it does have a certain smell to it, but that goes away within a few days.

Over the past week, I applied 175 lbs of Milorganite organic fertilizer to our rather large yard. It smelled for the first two days, but today it’s completely gone. I am waiting for it to start going to work.

Well, I guess this is my new lawn care regimen. Here’s what I do:

– When I mow, I let the grass clippings stay on the lawn
– I mulch the fallen leaves back into the lawn every Autumn
– I add only organic fertilizer to the lawn about twice a season
– For grub control, I use Milky Spore
– I aerate twice per season
– I toss compost on dry looking areas of the lawn
– I overseed at least once per year

As you can see, my goal really is to add a whole lot of organics to the soil. With better soil will hopefully come a better lawn. We’ll see what happens.

Here are some photos of the Milorganite I purchased last week.

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JodyBuchanan

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  • #13
Are you still using Milorganite, if so would you share some pictures?
 
Phoenix1

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  • #14
JodyBuchanan said:
Are you still using Milorganite, if so would you share some pictures?
Unfortunately, I’m not fertilizing anymore. I moved locations and now I’m in the country, where no one cares about what their grass looks like. Still love Milorganite though and would use it again if necessary.
 
Phoenix1

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  • #15

Scotts Kentucky Bluegrass Mix Grass Seed​

I am eagerly awaiting September 1, so I can overseed the lawn. I know I have mentioned this on more than one occasion, but I guess I’m just excited.

I went over to the Depot today to look for a new lawn spreader. Actually, I went to Sears first. No luck at either place. They are all plastic garbage. I already have one of those green seed / fertilizer spreaders, but the reach isn’t as far as I would like it to be. I have been considering a tow behind spreader, but all the reviews I have read practically everywhere tell me they are junk too. Apparently, the little doo-hicky that opens and closes the area that the seed comes out of is made of plastic and doesn’t do its job very well. I am looking for a nice quality spreader, so if anyone has any advice, I’m listening. I am also willing to give up my current spreader after I get a new one, so you just stay tuned.

While I was at Home Depot, I thought I would stock up on some grass seed for my upcoming overseeding event. I did all my research and decided upon Kentucky Bluegrass. This type of grass spreads and fills in bare spots and thin grass, so that’s what we need. Also, it has that nice dark green color that everyone loves so much.

It’s amazing, I created a few bare spots in the lawn early on in the Spring and they haven’t filled in yet. I guess the current grass doesn’t spread on its own at all. I really like the spreading quality of some grass, so that’s what I had my heart set on.

scotts-turfbuilder-grass-seed-bag.jpg

scotts-turf-builder-grass-seed.jpg

I opened one of the bags this afternoon because I couldn’t wait anymore. I was surprised to see such tiny little grass seed. This is the stuff with that “water technology” something or other. My goal was to sprinkle a little on some bare spots that are close to the garage. I want to see if anything happens before I go all out and do the whole lawn.

I roughed up the bare spots with a pitch fork and put a really small amount on each area. Then, I roughed each spot up again. I’ll give it a few weeks and report back what happens. From what I have been reading, it takes a good long time for this grass seed to germinate. With the cooler Summer and all the rain we have been having, I’m not concerned with the Summer heat doing a number on this seed. Also, the reason I only put a small amount of seed on each spot is because this seed was crazy expensive. I am going to use it very sparingly so it will cover the entire lawn.
 
KristinaW

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  • #16
I use Kentucky Bluegrass exclusively and boy does my grass look great! So worth the extra money. And I swear that stuff will grow on cement.
 
Phoenix1

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  • #17

Best Cool Season Grass Seed For Heat & Drought​

Okay, so I am probably thinking the same thing everyone else out there is thinking right now. What is the best cool season grass for heat and drought? That’s right. If you are reading this post, you most likely live in the “cooler” areas of the U.S. and are experiencing very stubborn and annoying heat. You are also probably looking at an ugly brown lawn.

I, for one, can’t stand it. I put so much work into this lawn for the past two years and have seen it wiped away this Summer. I’m sure it will look better in a few months, but not before all the dormant grass comes back and I get rid of the weeds. Yeah, lawns seem to have a funny way of going dormant in the Summer months, which opens the door for all sorts of weeds to grow like crazy…crabgrass being the worst one. I’m ready to throw my hands in the air and just mow crabgrass for the rest of my life. Uggg. At least it is thick and really needs no maintenance.

Back to my question – What’s the best grass seed to buy that will deal with this heat and drought that undoubtedly come every year? In the middle of Winter, we don’t think of this, but in the middle of Summer, it’s hard not to.

I did a little research and came to the conclusion that Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass are the best to get. They are cool season grasses and can withstand heat and drought. Now, I know what you are thinking right now – “What? Kentucky bluegrass for heat?” Yup. I bought the Scotts Thermal Blue Kentucky Bluegrass last Summer and planted it around September 1. It’s just about the only thing that looks good in the front lawn right now. I am not sure about its claim that it spreads to fill in bare spots, but as far as staying green in dry soil, that seems to be holding up.

This is straight from the Scotts website:

Scotts has developed an exclusive grass called Thermal Blue Kentucky Bluegrass that can survive heat and drought and spreads like ordinary Kentucky bluegrass. It can survive wherever tall fescue grows.”

So that’s what I am going to do come September. I am going to pick up some Pennington Tall Fescue Blend grass seed and some Scotts Thermal Blue Kentucky Bluegrass grass seed and plant it about October 1.

Oh, that reminds me – here are some tips on how to plant or overseed grass seed in the Autumn. This comes from personal experience. Plant on October 1, not early September like people recommend. September is still hot and dry and you will be driven mad by the amount you have to water. I have seen people in this area (Connecticut) plant in November and have great results come Spring. Also, aerate the lawn first. Aerate like it’s going out of style. You can count on all the grass seed that doesn’t fall in a little holes created by the aerator to not germinate. The grass that does make it in the holes grows nice and full with deep roots. You would be amazed at all the nice green “dots” we have on this lawn caused by the stripes from the aerator.

I think that’s it. Any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment.

crabgrass.jpg
 
Phoenix1

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  • #18

When to Plant Grass Seed in the Fall​

I wrote a post a while back talking about the best cool season grass seed for heat and drought. At the end of the post, I gave a few recommendations on when to plant grass in the fall. Basically, I said to start planting on October 1, instead of the September 1 that many people recommend.

I am writing this post to reaffirm what I said in my earlier post. We had a hot September here in the Northeast and any grass that was planted probably would not have made it without ample irrigation. If you had enough water, good, but if you didn’t then you may as well have planted the grass in the middle of the Summer.

Today is October 1. It’s been raining for a few days, which means the rains have returned in this area. This is perfect for planting grass. The soil is moist and able to be properly aerated which will allow the seed to germinate faster. Of course, there is always the change of some freak early Winter, but I have seen people around here start their grass planting in November with good results.

We are located in central Connecticut by the way. Of course, New England is a pretty big area and the climate changes dramatically from place to place, but I would rather plant grass in cooler weather as opposed to warmer weather.
 
Phoenix1

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  • #19

Converting Grass into Wildflowers​

When we lived in Connecticut and then Florida, there were these rules – some unwritten and some written. Rules that said each and every property needed to have its lawn mowed and that it needed to look “tidy.” I sort of agreed with the rules, as they were most likely aimed at forcing the not so tidy people to tidy up. I didn’t like the fact that people were telling me what to do though. I was born (sort of) tidy and the fact that I had some official (especially down in Florida) telling me that I needed to mow the lawn, annoyed me. And in Florida, if you didn’t mow your lawn to a certain height, the city would mow it for you – and charge you a hefty fee (if you didn’t pay, they’d put a lien against your house). This was aggravating because it forced all of us to slip on our Bermuda shorts and, in sync, pull our mower starter ropes to do the deed. Well actually, most people has someone do the lawn for them. It seemed as though I was the only schmuck out there laboring over the ordeal.

Whatever. It doesn’t matter because in both places, I had no soul. All of our lawns looked identical and the neighbors didn’t know the difference. I vowed though, while sitting in Florida, that the next place I lived, I’d be on strike. That I wouldn’t mow the lawn and if anyone told me to do so, I’d rather burn it than have my soul ripped from my chest once more. In the world I remember and enjoy, people can do what they want, especially on their own property. Since when did the neighbors and the town have a vote on the issue? Since when did someone you never met tell you that things should be a certain way? If it ain’t pretty, it’s simply unfortunate that someone lives next to something they don’t care for. They need to get over it and harp on something else in their lives. There, I’ve said it.

It took me a while to actually start the mower here in Maine. I knew the grass would get high and I’d like to eventually walk though it. Tall grass needs to get knocked down or else things turn nasty. If you want to get from one place to another and need to walk through the thick, you’ll most likely acquire some ticks and bugs along the way. But if you think about it, it’s rare that you walk around your entire lawn. Usually, you follow the same paths, day after day. And that’s where I got the idea that instead of mowing our entire lawn, I’d only mow certain spots. Paths to assist me getting around to the places I visit most.

mowing-paths-in-grass.jpg

I began mowing a good three weeks after everyone else. Sure, I got funny looks from the few who drive up our road, but after explaining the situation and my stubbornness to them, they smiled. These people up here don’t care anyway. They are quite the opposite of neighborhood folks. I mean, a moose ran by the house yesterday for God’s sake!

I started off mowing a few paths through the grass. One from the shed to the pool gate, another from the pool gate to the garage. Eventually, I had my path system down pat. I had all I needed and I sat back and reveled in the fact that I’d beat the system. I had the tall grass I wanted and I had no ticks on my pants. Things were good.

Well, as it turns out, something began happening a few days and weeks after the grass started growing and after I finished laying out my trails. Flowers began to grow. At first, it was Dandelions and then came the Daisies. Now, we’ve got something that looks like the smaller cousin of the Dandelion and a whole slew of orange/red flowers. They are strikingly beautiful.

Here’s what things have shaped up to look like:

high-grass.jpg

high-grass-flowers.jpg

lawn-converted-to-wildflowers.jpg

mowed-strips-in-high-grass.jpg

tent-in-high-grass.jpg

white-yellow-red-wildflowers.jpg

white-yellow-wildflowers.jpg

wildflowers.jpg

I mean, who knew? Who knew my stubbornness would lead to something I look forward to seeing every morning after I wake up? What a treat it is to see these flowers grow and then spread and then grow some more. It’s quite the sight, I’ll tell you that. It’s sort of like a smaller version of the Poppy field in the Wizard of Oz. Crazy.

Please tell me what you think. Did I go wrong? Is this unintended treat something I should do away with or continue on through the years? I’d say I should keep the flowers and let them get thicker and thicker through every passing day of Spring and Summer.
 
15Katey

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  • #20
The dandelion cousin is called hawkweed.

My lawn buzzes. It’s full of white clover that attracts lots of pollinators. It gets mowed when it gets mowed and when it doesn’t, it buzzes, and that’s a good thing.
 
Lawn Care & Planting Grass in New England was posted on 08-28-2021 by Phoenix1 in the Outdoor Forum forum.

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