Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

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craigdt
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Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:27 am

Kansas, Zone 6B

We bought our house several years ago, and the previous owner was an older lady whose husband had passed away recently.

They both shared a love for flowers, plants, bushes, trees, etc, but it had become woefully overgrown since they were no longer able to care for the lawn.

My neighbor to the south had recently, before we moved in, did a complete renovation and installed underground sprinkler system. He also was a commercial mower dealer… so needless to say, he was (and still does!) have the nicest lawn on the block. This provided some motivation.

This is my wife and I’s 4+ year journey to try to grow nice grass, after having zero previous experience or knowledge.

The front yard was a mix of K31 and a patch of Zoysia that I didn't know what it was until it started growing out of control. It actually was quite nice, as the previous owner had paid a company to spray stuff on it.

The backyard was a mixture of K31, meadow mix, and every number of weed you can imagine.

Image

Front yard- 2,700 sq ft

Back yard- 10,000 sq ft
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:27 am

This was the back yard just before we bought it:

Image

The yard was basically surrounded by a wall of overgrown brush. Any grass was mainly clumps of giant fescue.

The large elm tree had been dropping saplings for years, and they grow like weeds.
We didn't attack them with enough aggressiveness, fast enough.
Again, this grew to an out-of-control problem that was just more difficult to deal with later.
Image
Image
This was the front yard, after my first attempt at applying a fertilizer with a drop spreader.
You can see I didn’t overlap properly.

Also, you can also see the small yellow Zoysia patch in the upper portion of the photo.
It grew aggressively and was further exacerbated when the City dug up the natural gas meter and did not plant any replacement seed.

This grew into a serious problem, that I didn't realize at the time.
Image
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:28 am

After mowing the entire thing for the first time with push mowers, we decided to get a riding mower.

My wife found a practically brand new TroyBilt Bronco, came with a wagon and a 10 gallon North Star sprayer for something like $800.

This was an absolute workhorse and we hauled tens of thousands of pounds of brush around with this.

Image

Over the first 3 years we lived here, we spent most of our efforts removing as much of the bushes and trees as we could.

We bought this little Harbor Freight trailer that could fit through the gates.
It significantly hastened up the work.

We probably hauled off a dozen or more of these trailer loads, and at least a dozen truck-bed loads. Pictures do not do justice to just how much material we removed.

Image
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:28 am

Eventually, we decided we wanted to have decent grass.

Without doing much research, I just started dumping the cheapest fescue seed and fertilizer I could find.

Didn't have a lot of success, as it did not usually germinate very good.

Also, its a pretty big yard, and all I had was a Rain-Train.
Which suck, by the way.

So it never got enough water, and the only thing that thrived was weeds, clover, and Little Barley.

Here’s the best it ever looked, prior to a complete renovation.

Not too bad from a distance… but it wasn’t dense, homogenous, or green, most of the time.

Image

Almost all the “grass” in this picture, is the devious weed called Little Barley, or hordeum pusillum.

This starting taking over lawns here in Kansas, after we had 3 years in a row of awful drought.

Most of us didn't or couldn't water their lawns and the stress killed desirable grass, and allowed Little Barley to take over.

Image

Its a nasty grass weed, that produces little seed heads that get stuck in animals feet.
Seed heads turn yellow and are an awful eyesore.

It germinates the same time as desirable grass, and only 1 chemical, Surflan, is specifically listed as a pre-emergent control.

Thankfully, it dies off in the summer heat, but just drops seeds and prepares another crop in the fall.

It doesn't get near enough attention.
It looks like nice grass, until the seed heads emerge.



This is what the back yard looked like much of the time.
Really thin, giant patches of nothing. Could not get anything to establish in this area under the elm tree.

Image


Soil crusting, in that area. It would dry out quickly after rains. The crust would prevent much water absorption. This was an area that would continue to give me fits.

Image

I eventually roto-tilled it a couple different times, adding in organic material and some soil amendments to try to help the composition.

Each spring or fall, I’d get out the dethatching rake, throw the mower into high gear and remove several 55 gallon barrels of dead, crusted plants.

Image

Also made a cool sprayer rig for the NorthStar sprayer:

Image

This worked great until a couple years later, it started dripping and caused significant chemical burn on the beautiful fescue I would eventually have.
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:29 am

Sadly, I had to borrow a John Deere D100, after my precious TroyBilt’s engine blew up.

Here’s the stand-in, hauling yet another load of brush:

Image

Look at that gnarly lawn.
That was after years of overseeding, not watering enough, and refusing to go the Nuclear Option route.


The front yard, I had miraculously managed to maintaing to a fairly high level.
Still, it was course bladed K31, and just wasnt an elite grass like I wanted.
Not pictured here is the growing Zoysia incursion that was a eyesore in the fall and spring.
It was only getting worse.

This was the best it ever looked:
Image
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:29 am

At the start of 2017, I couldn't handle the manual-shifting John Deere D100, after having come to love the hydro/CVT/auto transmission of the TroyBilt.

About this time, I discovered there is more to growing grass than dumping seed and hoping it grew. Weird.

So, we went all in and got a bunch of new equipment, and decided to nuke the backyard.

The new equipment:

Ferris IS600Z 48”
https://www.ferrismowers.com/na/en_us/p ... owers.html


I spent months choosing this.
I wanted a serious ZTR, not some residential-grade junk.
But it had to still fit in our gates, sheds, etc.
This has the Kawasaki FR600V engine and Hydrogear ZT-3400 transaxles.
It also has suspension, which smooth the ride out significantly.
It's a small frame machine, that just gobbles up the grass. An absolute beast.

Image

The Sihl Fleet:
FS90R trimmer, BG86C blower/shredder, and MS170 chainsaw.

Image


Earthway 2050P spreader,

https://www.amazon.com/Earthway-2050P-8 ... y+spreader

Agri-Fab Tow-behind Spreader,

https://www.amazon.com/Agri-Fab-45-0463 ... d+spreader

And same-ol cart

Image

AgriFab lawn sweeper:
Image


Brinley 48” core aerator:
Image

NorthStar 21 gallon tow behind sprayer:
This was a great addition because it has a pressure regulator and agitator.

Image

Upgraded with TeeJet tips, etc:

Image

Still had the old 10-gal NorthStar. It was in this form that it ended up dripping excess Agrisel 3-Way Max herbicide and did some damage:

Image

Fuel Cart, some with aftermarket Ez-Pour spouts:
Image
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:30 am

I also realized that I had a serious water-volume issue.

I could never get enough water down, fast enough with my existing setup.
We don't have an irrigation system or a well, so we cobbled together a pretty capable system.

We replaced a frost free, quarter turn spigot with ¾” full bore valve and spigot.
This increased our GPM from 6.1 @ 45psi to 10.9 @ 55psi.

This provided the volume and pressure we needed to drive multiple sprinkler heads to their full potential.

Here’s the ¾” ball valve with 2, 4 zone Melnor timers. It looks like a mess, but was the #1 addition that allowed for future success.

Image

Added a bunch of Rainbird P5R impact heads in sprinkler stakes.

Image

This setup, along with about 900 feet of hose allows us to dump the necessary 1”-2” per week in one setting over the entire lawn.
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:30 am

Time to Nuke!

Fall of 2017:

2 applications of glyphosate, followed by about 1,000 trips around the yard with the aerator and dethatching rake gave us a beautiful seed bed:

Image

I then planted GrassPad HeatWave blend fescue.

http://www.grasspad.com/heatwave.html

Dropped some fertilizer on and waited…

Seedlings started poking up 4 (!) days later, and looked like this after about 12 days:

Image

I could not believe my eyes. I had never had such success.

About a month later:

Image


Added a couple of maple trees in the middle of the yard, since its on the West side of the house and gets beat on my the pounding sun for most of the day. Hopefully in a few years, they will provide a bit of shade.

The new fescue was lush and beautiful.

It felt wrong to dig a hole in something so pretty.

Image

Thus ends the Back Yard Renovation of Fall 2017.

The results vastly exceeded my expectations

Image
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:31 am

The Spring of 2018 meant it was time to declare war on the overgrown section of Elm saplings that we should have cut down years ago. They had gotten much bigger and there had to be hundreds of the things.

Image

Also had a privacy fence installed.
You can still see a patch of Elms that hadn't been cut down yet. That whole length of fence had elm trees in front of it.

Also fascinating how quickly an elite TTTF blend greens up in the spring

Image

Had a stump grinding crew come in with a stump grinder to pulverize everything to about an 6” depth. This was pretty cool watching.

Image

Image

Soil wasnt great in the area after a rain:

Image
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:31 am

Early summer '18 thru early fall revealed some cracks in my process and systems.

I had not used any sort of pre-emergent, ever. Instead relying on a thick stand of turf to prevent weeds.

This worked, somewhat.

But did not control Little Barley whatsoever.

https://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/tag/little-barley/

The 2 doses of glyphosate in the previous fall did nothing to prevent germination of the seeds that were already in the soil.
Apparently the turf was not dense enough to prevent it from germinating.

This will continue to be a significant issue for me.

Only 1 chemical, Surflan, is specifically listed as a pre-emergent control.
Dimension is a maybe and some other items like Fusilade II will also scorch cool season grass at the required rates.

My plan is to use Dimension, as it lists “Barley” as a controlled species. Maybe Surflan, but I tried that a couple years ago, and did nothing. I think I applied it too late though.

You can see the still-green seed heads:
Image

Image

Also, a couple spots like this:

Image

Image

Hmm, that second picture is showing stressed grass right in the same spot I had all that soil crusting issues in the past.

Also, I found my sprayer had been leaking during an application of post-emergent herbicide. That caused stress too.

The first picture, I actually dug some holes to see what was down there, at the recommendation of some of you.

Image


Didn't find much. We’ll see how this area progresses.


But everything looked very nice early fall in the Back Yard:

Image

Image


This is the best it ever looked. And it hasn't been this nice since…
Last edited by craigdt on Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:32 am

I really struggled with Brown Patch.
I was slow to diagnose it.

It was very humid and very very warm at nights for a couple week stretch.
Also, I had never applied enough water for fungus to be an issue, apparently.

Here’s a picture at the very early stages..
It just got worse. I let it go for too long before doing anything about it.
I thought I wasn't applying enough water. Rookie mistake.

Thank goodness for the Propiconazole, which handled it nicely.
Also I dropped the height of cut down to 3.25” from 4”, which seemed to help.

But I was too slow and lost a lot of density.
Eventually spread through most of the yard.

Image

Enter Grub Infestation:

Oh my lawd, I came back from a 10 day vacation to this in the back yard:

Image

Massive grub infestation, and it was too late at this point.
My precious, beautiful fescue had been eaten by grubs.

I guess I never had anything worth eating before, but I didn't even realize this was an issue.

Image

After fungus and grubs, I almost threw in the towel.

It was also pretty late in the fall, so I just dumped some seed down, got a little germination before the temps dropped too much.

I think I’ll try some “dormant overseeding” this winter to see how that goes.

It perked back up a bit. But it's generally thin and clumpy again.
Shoot me now.


But I imported a bunch of leaves to mulch, to help me feel better
Image

Pretty nice leaf-destroyer combo:

Image

Here it is now.
You can see its pretty thin.

Image
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:32 am

Lets work on the front yard, for once.

Early fall, I decided to start 2 impossible tasks:

Fight the Zoysia patch that was slowly taking over

Overseeding KBG into Fescue

Spray Quinclorac twice in late summer, since the yard was half crabgrass at this point.
Brown=dying crabgrass

Image

You can see the twice glyphosate’d Zoysia in the upper portion of the picture, and along the road:

Image

Image

I then rented a sod cutter, and attempted to cut below the Zoysia roots, so I could physically remove the offensive plants.
The neighbor's grass looks awesome, as always!

Image

Image


Removed. The worst physical labor of my life:

Image

I then low-mowed the existing K31 fescue and ran the dethatching rake and aerator over the area many, many times:

Image

Image

I did not think any of that fescue was coming back.
Last edited by craigdt on Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:33 am

I planted GrassPad Blue Wave elite Kentucky Blue Grass Blend:

http://www.grasspad.com/bluegrassseed.html


It then proceeded to rain something like 9” in like 4 days:

Image

Washed away much of the nice seed.

So that was depressing.

Ordered some more, and dropped some more seed, but at this point it was very late fall.
I wasn't really holding out much hope for decent germination.

I also did not apply anything like Tenacity at seed down.
Classic rookie mistake.

Then, I went on a 10 day vacation, and just had to wait and see what happened. During this time, the grubs were making a meal of they back yard.

Came back from vacation:

Image

Wow, it is actually growing. Along with a beautiful stand of crabgrass.


Here is what it looked like early November:

Image


Im very happy with the results. You can see the cut out where we removed the sod.
Im hoping when the KBG gets to something like 3”, it won't be noticeable

Some Zoysia definitely made a come back. Maybe 5% or less.

I'm hoping the spreading capabilities of the KBG and some strategic use of Pylex that we got in the recent group buy will keep it at bay.

More to come!
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by cglarsen » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:04 pm

Dude, you are an animal! You have more fight in you than I do but I hope that everything comes together nicely for you this year - excellent documentation!

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craigdt
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:46 pm

cglarsen wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:04 pm
Dude, you are an animal! You have more fight in you than I do but I hope that everything comes together nicely for you this year - excellent documentation!
Thanks for the encouragement. I need all I can get :lol:
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by sanders4617 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:12 pm

Wow yeah a lot of work and lots of setbacks. I think you’re at the right place to get it all together in the next year or so.

I feel like an underground sprinkler system would really be beneficial considering the amount of heat that you get during the Summer (plus the KBG). Kansas really gets some extremes in temps both directions HOT/COLD.

Will be following your journey!

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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by Powhatan » Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:41 pm

Great journal and lots of hard work being done to get your lawn in shape. :thumbup:

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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by jabopy » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:49 am

Fantastic start to your lawn rescue Craig. I can't imagine me getting all that text down in 6 minutes. I've a bald section under a tree, hope yours gets sorted.

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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:16 pm

Just threw down some KBG seed just before about 3" of snow.
Hoping to try out dormant/honeycomb seeding.

We will see....
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Re: Craigdt's Fescue/KBG Journal: Zoysia fighting and overseed KBG into Fescue

Post by craigdt » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:17 pm

jabopy wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:49 am
Fantastic start to your lawn rescue Craig. I can't imagine me getting all that text down in 6 minutes. I've a bald section under a tree, hope yours gets sorted.
Thanks!
Heh- I pre-typed it in a Word Doc. Hate to admit my secret, but Im not a super-speed typist :lol:
Dithiopyr (Dimension) Marketplace : $23/4oz, $33/8oz, $52/16oz
Mesotrione (Tenacity) Marketplace : $24/4oz, $35/8oz, $54/16oz
Azoxystrobin 22.9 Fungicide Marketplace : $23/4oz, $31/8oz, $48/16oz, 32oz/$82

Cool Season Lawn Guide, via g-man

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