Fall fertilizer for one year old lawn: Lawn, Turf, and Grass  -- Landscape Discussion Forum and Review Fall fertilizer for one year old lawn: Lawn, Turf, and Grass -- Landscape Discussion Forum

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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Lawn, Turf, and Grass Forum

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 10-31-2007, 21:08 Post: 147619
chrisscholz



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 Fall fertilizer for one year old lawn

My lawn is a mixture of bluegrass, and fescue, planted 13 months ago. Lots of clay, with a little black dirt mixed on the top. The lawn was green in the spring, and is trending toward the yellow side in the last 6 months. I did use Scotts this summer. I plan to plug aerate, and hit it with winterizer. Any other suggestings? SHould I have an ag company take a soil sample? Starting to get clover. SHould I spray this with 2-4-D? Thanks for any suggestions.






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 11-01-2007, 08:20 Post: 147633
kthompson



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 Fall fertilizer for one year old lawn

Chris, it seems fertilizing after the growing has stopped would not be help but Murf is the lawn expert here. He will tell you to get your soil sampled. I need to this year also.

As young as your lawn is it may choke out the clover if you take care of it over the next couple of years. Using the proper cutting height will help a lot keep broadleafs out of the lawn. Cutting it too short helps them grow and opens up the grass roots to the sun and its heat hurting it. kt






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 11-01-2007, 10:10 Post: 147643
Murf

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 Fall fertilizer for one year old lawn

Kenneth is getting you started in the right direction.

First off, yes, absolutely get a soil sample analyzed, you're working blind otherwise. The soil test will yield a pH number, the number 7 on a pH scale is a neutral rating. Any rating below 7 means that the soil is acid. Any number higher than 7 means that the soil is alkaline. Turf grass does best in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5.

Next, you mention heavy clay soil with a little black dirt on top, I hope this isn't too accurate a description, you should have at least 6" of good rich organic (black) soil on top of the clay.

Find out, by having a little look and tug at a few of the plants, how the root structure is doing, a good lawn needs a really good root mass, grass spreads and gets thicker by means of it's roots and rhizomes. Fertilizing in poor soil is even more critical, the nutrients the grass needs come from the biodegradability of the components of the soil, namely minerals composted plant material, if your soil has neither of these, guess what your lawn lives on, nothing!

Turf fertilizers contain nutrients balanced for different kinds of growth. The ratios of these different formulas are shown on the package by a set of numbers such as 5-10-5, 20-6-6, 10-10-10 etc.

The first number stands for nitrogen, the second for phosphorus, and the third for potash. When you're buying fertilizer in a store, use this little saying to remember what the numbers mean: "Up, down, and all around".

The first number means nitrogen, which makes the grass grown "UP" and green. It helps the grass leaves grow and develop, and adds to the quality and thickness of the turf grasses. Fertilizer manufacturers advertise products for quick greening in the spring months. If you read the labels on these packages, you'll see that the first number in the formula is high. For example, 18, 20, 22, or even 30, which means lots of nitrogen.

The second number means phosphorus, which makes the grass grown "DOWN", it develops the root system and rhizomes. It helps the plants to develop quickly, and it speeds up the maturing of the plants. When the second number on the package is larger than the first number, or when it's larger than or equal to the third number, you know that the formula is designed to develop the root system of the plant.

The third number means potash, which makes the grass grow "ALL AROUND". It helps the grass stay healthy and hardy. It helps in development of rhizomes and delivers amino acid and proteins to the plants.

We don't consider turf 'mature' until it's 3 years old, so keep at it or you will have nothing but a field of clover.

As I told Frank when I was offering him similar advice, don't call me when you have to cut the grass twice a week though!!!

Best of luck.






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 11-01-2007, 13:26 Post: 147648
earthwrks

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 Fall fertilizer for one year old lawn

Murf I don't agree with your 6" of topsoil for good grass. Hwen things were good around here I put in thousands of yards of sod right over bare clay. In fact the sod itrslf is grown on bare clay. Engineered elevations are highly controlled here due to drainge issues especially in housing tracts. Building inspectors will only allow no more than 1-1/2" of topsoil. We found that that grass and especially sod will not take root as well as when it's sown on bare clay that is fertilized and watered. The roots tend to go deeper on the clay only versus the topsoil covering. I have removed sod that had a thin layer of topsoil and it comes off like carpet even after 4 years of being down. Around here if do put 6" of topsoil down ---and I have had customers demand it---the first time they wter it they can't walk on it nor cut it for weeks because it turns to mud.






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 11-01-2007, 13:52 Post: 147649
Murf

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 Fall fertilizer for one year old lawn

Jeff, you mistook my comment, but to certain extent I agree with you, but not for the reason you might think.

By 6" of topsoil, I meant, if you have poor clay-based soil all you need to do is strip 1" of the existing soil, lay down 1.5" - 2" of straight compost or triple mix (which is the same as 1" of compacted soil) and rototill 6" deep, then roll it and water it to achieve some degree of compaction. I did NOT mean to lay out 6" of new topsoil.

If you were to merely spread out 6" of triple mix, it would be like a feather bed, you cannot compact anything more than 2" in a single lift with light airy soil like that, it would take several years to get it to stop settling anyways.

I dug out a few big stumps (4' holes) for a neighbour with my TLB (20,000 pounds) and at his insistence, refilled the holes with triple mix and then 'packed' the soil by repeatedly driving over the patch. The following spring they had settled over a 1' down and in total settled probably 2' on average.

I'm confused by your comments "the sod itself is grown on bare clay". I have an average at any one time of about 650 acres of turf fields being grown for sod harvesting, it takes 2 full years, ideally 3, to get a crop to the point where it's ready to take off the fields. I also know we ship a LOT of turf to areas where they have little or poor topsoil because they can't grow it there, it's not economically feasible because it takes so long to get a crop ready to harvest.

Best of luck.






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 11-01-2007, 15:09 Post: 147650
yooperpete



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 Fall fertilizer for one year old lawn

I'm not an expert on lawns but use lime in pellet form to get the PH up, if it gets below 6.0 If you hit the lawn with 12-12-12 that also helps to bring the PH up slightly.

In my area I like to do a fall application in early October when the lawn is still growing rapidly. If it shows sign of getting a lighter shade of green I do a light amount earlier like in late September and then hit it again lightly. I usually opt for 12-12-12 at that time.

I'd wait until spring to address the clover. It is also partially shut down for the season. In spring I sock the fertilzer to the lawn and get it nice, green and healthy. For broad leaf weeds I spot spray apply weed-b-gone with a tank sprayer and go 1 1/2 to 2x the recommended concentration. Clover is generally hard to kill but it gets it usually in one application. Caution, if you approach 2x and spray heavily, your grass will also yellow in these spot spray zones and the grass blades will narrow and look frail. I'd first suggest going no more than 1 1/2x for trial purposes. If you use weed-b-gone at its recommended concentration you probably won't kill many weeds but it is then tree hugger safe. My method works for me!






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 11-01-2007, 16:12 Post: 147651
chrisscholz



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 Fall fertilizer for one year old lawn

Thanks Murf, and everyone else. I had 6-8 tandem truckloads of black dirt hauled in, and I worked it back and forth for 2-3 days with a scarifier and box blade, and then with a gill.
I called around for someone to do a soil sample, and all lawn contractors locally have told me to core aerate, hit it with nitrogen(which I have a 55 gallon barrel free) and then see how it looks in the spring. I see stripes in my yard where we trenched in the geothermal and all my downspouts. The stripes are more yellow, but they had the same amount of black dirt worked over them, and they were allowed to settle for 6-9 months before the yard was graded and seeded.






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 11-01-2007, 17:35 Post: 147654
earthwrks

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 Fall fertilizer for one year old lawn

Murf I'm confused at your confusion about your comments about my comments--got that?

The sod farms here get typically three cuttings a year from the same plot. And yes it's grown on bare clay--no topsoil. They seed it heavily, fertilize it and keep it watered. It's a blend of rye, and 5 species of Kentucky blue. They use Milorganite (dried, pelletized human poop) as one of the fertilizers. Each sod roll can weigh anywhere from 16 - 30 lb. according to the farm. There is another farm south of here that uses nothing but sand for their sod. It is light weight but falls apart easily.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Lawn, Turf, and Grass Forum

Thread 147619 Filter by Poster:
chrisscholz 2 | earthwrks 2 | kthompson 1 | Murf 2 | yooperpete 1 |




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