nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Cool season member lawn journals
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nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

Hello all,
New member here in Spring 2020. I plan to use this Journal to share my progress, however PLEASE say hi and ask questions, offer feedback, tips, encouragement, and suggestions for beers to enjoy in the lawn (I've got the mini-fridge ready in the garage).

This is also my FIRST year in this house with this lawn, and my FIRST year stepping up my lawn care game beyond basic big-box/Scott's seasonal products. I plan to own this property the rest of my life (although that was the plan with my first house too :lol: )

I am going to start this journal with a series of consecutive posts to organize my initial thoughts and maybe help make it more digestible and a bit easier for folks to respond to specific items:
1. Intro to myself/goals (this post)
2. Intro to the Lawn- what I know about it
3. Spring 2020 steps taken so far (3/15-5/3)
4. "Trouble spots" and plan for rest of 2020

I made a somewhat lengthy intro of how I came to find/own this property as well as what brings me to this forum here:
viewtopic.php?p=260559#p260559

So, kick off your shoes, enjoy the grass, and again, SAY HI! Looking forward to interacting with you all.
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Last edited by nikmasteed on Tue May 05, 2020 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

The Lawn and what I know:

Bottom line-- I know some, but need to know more and this starts with knowing what kind of grass I have. I've done my best to research and ID this myself, but I am a novice at identification so please help if you can:

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So, I see rolled vernation, pointed leaves, and absent auricles (I think) which leads me to Tall Fescue. Please let me know if you agree.

I do not think it is 100% TTTF-- I do see some rhyzomatous growth when I edge the landscape beds, so I'm sure I've got a mix of several of the cool season grasses. Further evidence is a partially full bag of seed left behind by the previous owner that is the following mix of cultivars:
20% Rebounder Tall Fescue, 20% Cochise IV Tall Fescue, 20% 4th Millenium Tall Fescue, 15% Essential Tall Fescue, 10% Palmetto Annual Rye, 10% Green Supreme Perennial Rye, 5% Brooklawn Kentucky Blue.

The Property/Lawn Sections-- Overall, I have about 10,000 sf of turf, maybe slightly less, but that's what I go with to determine how much to throw down. I dont have any reason to believe that I've got different stuff in different areas, and I'd prefer my entire property to be consistent anyway. Here's each of the main sections in their glory:

Front Lawn (South), roughly 4000 sf total

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West Lawn, roughly 3000 sf total

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Back Lawn (North), roughly 1600 sf

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East Lawn, roughly 1300 sf
This also happens to be the most shaded area, however the whole property is pretty unshaded, so it's relative

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Finally, a little bit about what I know of the lawn's history. The previous owner was a lawn care nut, so by my judgment he really established an excellent lawn. He bought the property in 1999, and apparently the property was extremely overgrown with large areas devoted to overgrown vegetable gardens and rodent infestations. Obviously he completely overhauled the lawn, presumably in the early 2000s. I am told by neighbors that he destroyed the entire existing lawn to renovate it, and brought in mushroom soil and did alot of leveling and fine grading. When I mow, I do find the lawn very level overall aside obviously from the slope dropoffs which generally define the property edge, the grass areas against the street technically are within the right of way.

So there she is. I'm proud of her, even though I didnt build her. I still don't quite know how to react to frequent comments and compliments from passersby. I do love the fact that it's admired throughout the neighborhood, but still working on a repertoire of responses to avoid conversation becoming awkward, haha.

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Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

Spring 2020 Lawncare To-Date (3/15-5/3):

My goal, short and long term is a Tier 2-2.5 in g-man's cool season guide. I want to minimize weeds as much as possible, as we all do, but I dont foresee myself ever doing a full renovation unless a significant problem develops. I want to stay as one of, if not THE premier lawn in the neighborhood.

The house was on the market since mid 2018 and previous family moved out by beginning of 2019, however despite it being unoccupied during most of 2019 I do know that he continued to come back regularly and maintain the lawn because, well, that's what he did. That said, I don't really know what, if any, Fall maintenance he performed since by Aug/Sep he knew he was selling.

So, you'd think I would've ordered a soil test, right? That would've made sense. I didn't really start researching/developing my regimen until late February, so I bought a crappy DIY test kit from Lowe's. I honestly couldn't tell you what I learned from it, so I'll say that I basically learned zero. Therefore, now in early May I plan to see if I can send off for a proper soil analysis. Side question-- anyone have experience with PSU extension? They appear to be open during pandemic but may be holding off running non-essential analyses from what I can tell.

Aaaannyway, here's some photos from March as the lawn started to wake up, followed by what I DID do so far this spring:

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3/21: light raking for entire lawn; threw down 0-0-7 granular Prodiamine PRE-M @ 3lb/1000
3/28-3/29 mostly dedicated to prepping/weeding landscape beds, some power washing (I love powerwashing). I also tuned up my mower (6-yr old big-box TroyBilt rotary push) and sharpened the blades (my first attempt at doing so, think it came out ok)
4/1: FIRST MOW; I did the first one at 2-1/2" HOC which didnt seem to take that much off, so even though there hadn't been much growth yet this year, I'm thinking that PO may have kept this lawn at about 2"
4/2: FERTILIZED with CarbonX/CX DIY 24-0-4 @ about .75lbs N/1000 sf. Not knowing when the last fert app was on this lawn, I elected to go heavy on the Nitro.
4/4-4/12 I was focused on landscape beds, edging, weeding, pruning, mulching. So I even let the lawn go for too much time before mowing again (2 weeks!)
4/14: 2ND MOW at 3" HOC
4/20: By now I was FINALLY (mostly) done with all the landscape beds (nearly 10 yards of mulch) and mowed for 3rd time, again at 3"
4/25: 4TH MOW at 3" HOC. This was also my first time attempting to correctly maintain the soft landscape edges with weedwhacker to keep them nice and crisp. I made some mistakes and scalped a few areas, but chalked it up to practice and the fact that I had let the edges get pretty hairy before attempting, so I couldn't see the defined edge clearly in some areas. I also realized that I should've tuned up my trimmer beforehand
4/29: GRUB-X. I've seen plenty of grubs while edging the beds, however am not too concerned with the number. Applied this the day before a heavy rainstorm.
5/2: 5TH MOW at 3" HOC. Also spot sprayed weed control (Ortho Weed B Gon). The most significant thing I've seen are relatively small patches of clover here and there. A few other weeds and maybe 4 dandelions. The unfortunate thing about this was that unexpected rain occurred overnight-- so although I think 6 hrs elapsed since spraying, I might not have gotten much effectiveness from this round. I also didnt use a surfactant (I'm learning) so I'll plan to spray again in a week or so. I have Weed B Gon CCO on hand if needed.

A note about my mowing:
I am starting with 3" HOC for the time being (still learning the property and how to avoid accidentally scalping), and probably will work my way down to 2". Lower than that I'm not sure is really (reely) my preferred aesthetic. Final/ongoing HOC is subject to change depending on confirmation of mostly TTTF-- if I have mostly tall fescue maybe I should stick around 2-1/2"?

I rotate my mowing direction by 45 degrees every mow. I've been practicing double-wide striping technique/cadence even though I dont have a striper yet. I intend and am starting to get into the habit of a 5-day mowing frequency.

How am I doing? Suggestions welcome! Photos from post#2 of this thread are from the other day so you can compare progress from mid-March to early-May

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Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

"Trouble Spots" and plan for rest of 2020

As described briefly in the last post, I don't see anything that concerns me too much. Part of this is because the previous owner had a good maintenance regimen, and part is probably just because I don't know better or have high enough standards yet! Haha, I am a perfectionist by nature, so I'm sure I will get to the point where any single weed, poaA, poaT, or other anomaly will annoy the crap out of me.

That said, here's a few areas I have questions about and want to improve:

"Thin areas":
This is happening primarily at two locations-- West lawn, on the slope:

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Close-up:

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Front lawn, at bottom of the slope:

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Close-up:

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I don't know if this is due to the sloping? Which I imagine is tougher to maintain thickness as it is, it's certainly tougher to mow the slopes. My plan is just to rake it again this week, and continue to fert/mow on schedule. Any other thoughts?

The other thing I'm going to share/ask about right now is suspected poa annua. This is happening in two areas in the front lawn.

One small area between two landscape beds:

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And a larger area, also in front yard underneath the large crabapple:

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This area under the tree seems to have thinned out since I first noticed it (cant find pics from week ago when the seed heads were denser) but I'm also assuming it is just less noticable with more frequent mowing.

My plan for the poa is to not try to hard to eradicate it, at least for this year. From what I'm learning it will die out in summer and then I can go into fall with a pre-emergent app. I also dont really think its negatively affecting the look of the lawn much. Any thoughts?

Other "problems" are minimal in my mind until I learn more. I have a few minor neon green areas, but I feel like it's a bit out of my identification capability for now. Maybe will post pics at a later point in time, not too concerned.

So that's a good segue to my plan for rest of the season:

Early May:
1. due for the second Prodiamine app, another 3 lbs/1000 probably this upcoming weekend. I'm at about 45 days since the first app and soil temps here are mid-60s generally
2. Also due for a second fert app. Again I'm going to throw down another .75lbs of N with the CX DIY 24-0-4. Probably the last N-heavy app until Fall, sound right?
3. Soil test, hopefully I can get some cores ready before I fert again in a week or so (make sense on timing)? Just ordered a sample probe, seems easier and less invasive.

June/July/August:
On my to-do list is to think more about what fert to use in the summer months. Based on what I'm learning, I should lighten up the N amounts so as to not cause too significant of growth/strain during the hot weather. I know that if I get a soil test this well help determine, so I'll share the results if I can make that happen.
I do not have in-ground irrigation, but will basically just try to keep up with daily hose watering

Sept/Oct:
1. Dithiopyr pre-emergent: While I would probably prefer to aerate/overseed, I am thinking that a fall pre-M is probably the right move to keep the poa annua at bay. My lawn seems generally pretty thick so overseeding probably not crucial-- maybe next year.
2. Maybe look into liquid aeration since I dont plan on a mechanical aeration? If so, should I do this any earlier than fall?
3. Fall nitrogen blitz as recommended in cool season guide. I'll have enough time to research a broader array of fertilizers but then, so might divert from the CX DIY, I've gotten the sense that people think this is too expensive for what it is. I went with it because of the benefits it promotes, call me a sucker.

This is the last of my "intro" Journal posts. VERY much interested in hearing feedback and will post shorter more specific items here on out. Thanks all in advance!

Chris LI
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Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by Chris LI »

Welcome to TLF! You've started off strong with keeping your new acquisition in tip top shape. I think your plan overall is good.

Unless I missed it, I didn't see you mention whether or not you have irrigation. Coupled with grass type, that should be a factor in deciding on a HOC. You can go for the shorter, dense cut, if you can supplement with some type of irrigation (I have a poor man's DIY on about 85% of my yard). 2" HOC seems a bit low for a mostly TTTF lawn. A section that is primarily TTTF in my yard doesn't like to be cut at 2" (right side of the RV). 2.5"-3" might be a bit better for you if you have irrigation, and still want a tight look. For a long time, I mowed at 3" and went to 3.25"-3.5" for peak summer. When I got a new mower (Snapper Hi-Vac), I went up to 4" for the two hottest weeks of August.

This year, I started off the season cutting everything with a vintage push reel mower, set at its max HOC of 1.5". The TTTF isn't too fond of the low HOC, but seems to be adjusting a little bit. One last factor is mowing frequency. The lower the HOC, mowing is needed more often, to stay within the 1/3 rule. TTTF can grow pretty quickly, especially with the spring flush. If you can mow 2x per week, that will help a lot. I raise and lower HOC throughout the season, based on growth rate and heat/drought.

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Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

@Chris LI Thanks! This is very helpful feedback for HOC. Did you happen to see the pics of the grass plants I posted? While I think I've got mostly TTTF, I guess I just don't feel confident in my ID skills yet.

What you said about raising/lowering HOC makes alot of sense. I do intend to keep it a little longer during summer-- my irrigation is strictly manual hose setup so it will be up to my diligence with watering especially during the summer months. On my to-do list is to get a better feel for how much 1" is with the hose.

I'm getting into a mow every 5th day mode, which I'm pretty sure has been keeping me within 1/3. I think I'll make 5 days my max and lean towards day 3 or 4 if I get a real nice weather day to enjoy the mow. You've given me some food for thought that maybe I should try some 4" HOC mows and see if the lawn reacts positively to it. Would ultimately prefer to be on the lower side but this experiment will help me learn about what my turf likes.

Thanks again!

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Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

Also, just thought of something else in regards to watering.

I've always been one to take what mother nature provides, meaning that I tend to tell myself that if it rained today or yesterday, I shouldn't need to water with the hose or a sprinkler within next day or two even if there's no rain in the forecast.

But then today it occurred to me... my neighbors receive all the same benefit from rain equally as much as I do. But I want to DOMINATE... therefore I suppose I really should be making an effort to self-water pretty frequently even if the skies are fairly generous.

When I go for a walk, I'm noticing I don't see a difference in color from my neighbor from a block away. I'd like to dominate from that visual distance. Gonna start giving the water company more of my money going forward...

Chris LI
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Posts: 2035
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Location: Long Island, NY
Grass Type: KBG,TTTF, FF-different mixes
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Mower: Snapper Hi Vac 21"

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by Chris LI »

Yes. The first two photos are TTTF. I thought they might have been K-31, until I scrolled down to the info off the seed tag.

Unfortunately, the later photo of the seedhead is Poa A. If you can easily find them, you can easily pop them out with a weeding tool after a decent rain. The other option is to "light them up" with a Tenacity blanket spray, and then go about pulling them. PreM around Labor Day will stop them for next year.

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Thejarrod
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Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by Thejarrod »

subscribed to your journal.

especially interested in how you deal with that Poa. i have the same issue and i'm leaning towards your approach of fall pre em. have you considered doing a third dose of Prodiamine in fall, which would be the max application of 9 lb/1k annually for TTTF? i'm also considering switching to Dithiopyr, but dont really know what would be best.

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Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

@Chris LI Perfect, thank you! While most probably wouldn't express happiness about a positive ID of poa annua, I'm mostly just glad to hear I'm getting better at ID'ing myself. Also, very thankful for confirmation on the TTTF. Knowing is half the battle.

@Thejarrod Thanks for following! I think my inclination towards dithiopyr this fall as opposed to prodiamine was simply conservatism and not wanting to go over the max, especially since I wasnt entirely sure I had TTTF. Now that I'm more comfortable that I could probably do a 3rd prodiamine, I may, but may still elect to switch also. Plan to research more, so I'll be sure to share my thoughts going forward.

Chris LI
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Posts: 2035
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:04 am
Location: Long Island, NY
Grass Type: KBG,TTTF, FF-different mixes
Lawn Size: 5K
Mower: Snapper Hi Vac 21"

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by Chris LI »

@Thejarrod
I believe Prodiamine is preferred for the fall, due to the duration of efficacy (longer than Dithiopyr). This way, it's still preventing late germinating Poa A or other weeds in late winter/early spring, if you use the higher rate. Some folks will use Prodiamine for the first spring app and follow up with Dithiopyr in late spring for better coverage. Dithiopyr also has some early post emergent control of crabgrass (one or two tiller, I think), in case there's any breakthrough.

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Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

Next two posts are two plants/weeds I'm looking for help ID'ing. Decided to post in my journal instead of the weed ID forum, but feel free to move if this can be more helpful for others.

Area #1:
This is a patchy growth of lime-green fine bladed grass showing up in a few areas. I cant quite tell what type of growth pattern this has but it seemed pretty shallow-rooted as I pulled it out. In my newbishness I wondered if lime-green meant poa triv, but after looking that up some more seems as though poa triv isnt this finely bladed. Any thoughts?


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User avatar
Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

Area #2:
Well, not an "area" really, but a spotty weed grass popping up here and there throughout the lawn.

Initially thought it might be crabgrass but now I do not think that is correct. I hope the pics are helpful, this is only about a day and a half after a haircut. Can post more in a few days if itd be helpful. Plantnet app wanted to tell me this was poa annua, but it seems to want to ID anything grassy as poa a. Starting to find that app less and less useful...

I also hit these with 2,4-D about a week ago as I was hitting some clover and dandies.

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User avatar
Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

8th mow of the season in today, still cutting at 3"

This one felt particularly satisfying-- was able to finally mostly-complete a full-service session all at once: mowing, weedwhacking including the edges of the landscape beds, edger along the driveway and walkways, and a final cleanup blowing. The only thing I wanted to do but didnt was the "vertical" trim of the landscape bed edges-- and that was only because the trimmer started to act up after the horizontal pass. I think I need to mix up some fresh fuel for it. Overall, I feel like this was the first day I was really able to do pretty well with the weedwhacker along the beds and not make alot of mistakes. I hadn't ever really tried very hard at the old house to learn to use the trimmer correctly. Now I think I'm starting to get the techniques down, feels good.

Also put down prodiamine app #2 down about 10 days ago, followed by CX DIY 24-0-4 the other day with a very healthy watering-in. Took soil sample cores before throwing down the fert, still need to send them off.


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User avatar
Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

Soil test is in after neglecting to do it at start of the season

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The sample cores were taken just before putting down some 24-0-4 fert, so I did get a little potash in after this. Should I really be putting 3 lbs of K primarily in the fall? Just seems like alot to do in a short amount of time.

My goals right now include darkening my color, so I'm considering getting some Microgreene which should help some of those micros, as well as Greene Effect for my next few apps over the summer.

Anyone have any thoughts on that plan? Or any observations from my first soil test? Time to get a backpack sprayer... I've never done anything other than granular before!

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nikmasteed
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Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY to everyone!!!! Grateful to be an American and grateful for this forum-- hope everyone had a great and safe day, and was able to celebrate in their awesome lawns.

I'm in the zone with the new lawn now at this point. I always considered 7/4 my yard/garden's peak at my old house, but it feels at a whole new level now.

Since last posting in late May I've done 2 apps of the "Double Dark" N-Ext combo of MicroGreene and GreenefFect about a month apart (most recent about 3 days ago to try for a nice green up for the 4th). Also did a spoon feeding of 8-1-8 granular fert a week or so ago to get some potash in the soil.

This morning while preparing for my family to visit, a neighbor shouted over while walking his dog "Hey Nick I think you've got the only green lawn in the neighborhood!" It feels good to have fared the heat well so far. Then I proceeded to mow my Showoff Stripes for the holiday. I also got to show my brother my domination lines, which are even more pronounced right now with all the poor neighbors getting the heat stress.

On a side note, I've just hit a milestone in the health department, dropping 50 lbs since mid-January and am now below 200 for the first time in at least 13 years. Caring for this lawn has definitely been a huge part of that. Feelin good all around.

Here's some pics of the lawn early on this great 4th of July


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User avatar
Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

END OF 2020 SEASON RECAP

I've been meaning to do a season recap post for awhile, as I'm now through my first season at this level of lawncare and wanted to reflect on what I was able to accomplish as well as be able to compare in future years.

First, some NUMBERS:
-42 mows (1st was 4/1; Last was 11/22)
-4.5 lbs N per 1000 sf (1.7 in spring, 0.3 in summer, 2.5 in fall)
-5 different fertilizers used (3 granular, 2 liquid)
-10 yds of mulch in the landscape beds (April)

Things I'm glad to have accomplished:
-A full season of attentive and high quality lawn care; at minimum I have maintained the impressive lawn I inherited, at best I have made some modest improvements (striping!). I am satisfied with my mowing frequency and can count on one hand the number of times I would've preferred to get to a cut sooner than I did.
-Actually learned how to use and properly care for my equipment! In turn, it gave me the confidence to buy alot of new equipment (see below)
-Although it took awhile, finally got good at trimming the landscape bed edges with the string trimmer
-Lost over 50 lbs! Due in no small part to lawn care.

Challenges I was able to manage:
-Summer fungal disease. The lawn at my old house got alot of shade-- not the case here and thus I watered a good amount in the first summer here which eventually caused an issue. I learned the hard way to go preventative rather than curative here. That said, the propiconizole worked and damage didn't last too long!
-Successful management of broadleaf weeds; with use of spring pre-emergents, only very limited spot spraying of occasional weeds was needed. Clover has been the most pesky but even that has been held largely in check.
-Grub control: I don't think I will ever skip this preventative step, would rather be safe than sorry, and they are definitely there.

Challenges to keep working on:
-Summer watering: I did fine, and I always looked greener than most of the neighborhood, but boy did the water bill kill me! I think I can be more efficient (even without an irrigation system) and will likely try to water deeper less often even though that was already my practice. I am also considering trying out Hydretain next year.
-Avoiding burning the lawn at areas due to solar or fire heat: I've finally figured out how to protect the grass from the fire pit I like to plop out there, I just need to remember not to leave out the inflatable pool after deflating it!
-Poa Annua: I've observed it now for a full season, almost a full year. I still feel like I don't quite understand it's life cycle, but I think I've got a biotype that is likely perennial that at present is fairly "patchy" throughout most areas of the yard. I've recently learned that the previous owner core-aerated yearly and did not use fall pre-emergent-- he would kill off poa when it presented itself, spot seed the bare areas, and always did a fall overseed. Id like to take a crack at focusing on combating it head on because I'm not convinced I need to overseed this yard very often. My strategy at the moment is probably at least 2 straight falls with pre-emergent, continue to try PoaConstrictor (I believe I slightly mis-applied it this fall reducing efficacy) as well as trying out Tenacity also next year. I'm optimistic that I can at least reduce the amount of it quite a bit over the course of a few years. I'm also literally the only one bothered by it or that notices it-- I'd rather keep the slight imperfections than do something more drastic like a renovation.
-Poa Trivialis: exists within a roughly 100 sf area at my side yard. I haven't done much to try to combat it yet, as it was clear to me early on that there is little to nothing that can be done to selectively control. It's an eyesore to be sure and even my wife has noticed it!!! Since it's in one of the least traveled/visible parts of the yard, I really am just keeping an eye on it for now. Since I've gathered that spring is the best time to attempt remedies, my plan is to literally cut out the turf at this area, then glyphosate after removal, then bring in sod because it will be a non-ideal time to grow new grass and because I won't be able to stand long periods of time with dead.

Equipment bought:
-Echo string trimmer (wow did this one make a huge difference, #1 best purchase of the year)
-4 gallon Chapin battery pump sprayer
-A basic Craftsman blower (battery)
-Checkmate lawn striper
-Measuring scale
-Soil sample probe
-As an aside, the very basic no frills Troy-Bilt rotary mower continues to serve me well in its 7th season. Although I will eventually upgrade likely to a Toro Super Recycler someday, I see no need to for the time being.

Goals for 2021:
-Research TTTF cultivars in order to purchase seed to use for spot repairs (and if satisfied with it, for an eventual fall overseed). The blend that was left by previous owner and that I've been using appears to be a high performer, but if I had to change it I'd prefer something that is more consistently darker.
-Continue to observe and learn about Poa A and hopefully the budget allows me to cut out the small area of Poa T.
-Try out leveling a few minor low spots, namely a pesky area by the garage that ponds during heavy rains
-Continue to hone my mowing/trimming routine so that I can complete it more efficiently and in turn more often
-Try out liquid aeration
-From a landscaping perspective, do a better job at managing disease in some of my shrubs/roses/trees
-Hopefully buy less equipment now that I'm setup alot better with my Year 1 purchases (although I WOULD like a drone!)

Photos below are from October and shows the status of the Poa A becoming more prominent with the cooler weather. Plus a bonus pic of this year's Christmas lights, where some late-season stripes are still looking good!


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Green
Posts: 6173
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:27 am
Location: CT (Zone 6B)
Grass Type: KBG, TTTF, TTPR, FF-diff mixes
Lawn Size: 15K
Mower: Toro 22", MTD 21", Fiskars 18"

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by Green »

Great journal and intro. Looks like you're doing a ton of things right.

As far as researching cultivars for future use, absolutely do it, and also keep the label from the old bag so you always know what to buy if a section needs to be totally redone. That way, it'll match.

That said, I think just the soil testing and nutrient applications will help the color, and you might be satisfied after another year. It looks like it may be a little deficient in something at certain times. Also, fixing some of the likely Poa areas will go a long way as well (another use for the original seed, so it matches). Spring is the best time to glyphosate 3x and then reseed the areas that have Poa Trivialis issues. I would tackle the ones that are likely to encroach on other areas or borders first and make them a priority, so you can try to contain the problem to central areas and at least keep it from spreading all over that way. If you plan to cut out the patches as mentioned, glyphosate 3x first, rather than the other way. I don't cut out areas, because it's too much work. I just glyphosate them 3x in Spring, and reseed.
Front: Northern mix - mostly TTTF, KBG, TTPR. Back: Firecracker and Bullseye TTTF with America, Rugby 2, Bewitched KBG. Upper Side: Mostly TTPR, KBG. Lower Side: similar to front. Low-input: TF/FF, KBG, PR. Always seeding somewhere or fighting Triv.

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Topic Author
nikmasteed
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:34 am
Location: Montgomery County, SoutheastPA
Grass Type: TTTF w/ some KBG/PR mixed in
Lawn Size: 10,000 sf
Mower: TroyBilt

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by nikmasteed »

Thanks @Green ! I'm definitely gaining the confidence to battle the poa triv, thanks for the additional tips. I'll post how it goes in the spring.

Butter
Posts: 740
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:01 pm
Location: NE Kansas
Grass Type: TTTF
Lawn Size: 5K
Mower: Vintage Snapper 21" HIVAC

Re: nikmasteed Lawn Journal- Southeast PA

Post by Butter »

I remember your journal from when you first started it but I guess I lost track of it. You have a wonderful property. The turf looks great. The trees, shrubs and plants all look really nice. I’m kind of a tree/shrub nerd. Keep up the good work you’re gonna have a great season next year!

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