Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - "War on Triv"

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ken-n-nancy
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Day 50 - 7+ Weeks Since Seed-Down!

Post by ken-n-nancy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:04 pm

pennstater2005 wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:06 am
Looking great!!
Alex1389 wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:47 am
Looks great!
Thanks for the kudos. It really helps me to have the pictures, as when I was walking the lawn the other evening, it seemed like the thin areas kind of in the middle of the open section, not far from the driveway, were pretty depressing. Looking back at the pictures shows that the lawn still is making progress. I had to remind myself that it looks pretty good from the side (the view you see in the photos) and will fill in a lot more in the spring once each KBG plant develops some rhizomes to spread a bit!
Colonel K0rn wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:41 pm
Just read through this, and I wanted to say that Ken did a great job on the cobblestones. Those look awesome.

And I appreciate your being thorough with pictures and descriptions of your renovations...
Thanks for the appreciation of the cobblestones. They were a lot of work, but we really like the way they came out. Usually, I keep all living stuff out of the "dead zone" between the cobblestones and the road, but haven't been doing that while the renovation is under way. (Didn't want any herbicides to overspray onto the new grass.) Similarly, a lot of the new grass seed germinated in the gaps between cobblestones, which needs weeding, but we haven't gotten to that, either.

Thanks also for letting us know you appreciate the pics and descriptions. I just hope that some of this will be useful to others in doing their renovations -- seeing that a renovation doesn't complete in a day, but that steady, measured progress bears the desired results in the end!
Colonel K0rn wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:41 pm
... even providing the bear necessities. :airquote:
Of course! That's why a bear can rest at ease! ;)
Last edited by ken-n-nancy on Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Mulch Mowing Leaves

Post by ken-n-nancy » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:09 pm

Alex1389 wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:47 am
Looks great! Curious to know if you stop mulching leaves at any point? Do they still break down even if microbial activity significantly slows?
Basically, we keep mulching leaves into the lawn all autumn, even after the grass has stopped having top growth, and even after we've had our first snowfall, presuming that the first snowfall melts away again sometime before everything freezes up for the winter.

Yes, we'll usually continue to have some leaves fall that late -- our white oaks continue to retain some leaves nearly all winter (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcescence) and will drop some leaves from time to time even in January, February, and March.

If we get a nasty stretch of cold, damp days when lots of leaves fall and the leaves don't have a chance to dry out enough that I can mulch them up (wet leaves don't mulch well), I'll blow all the wet, damp leaves into the woods with the leaf blower, but I prefer to be able to mulch them into the lawn. Sometimes we'll also do that if we don't have enough time to mulch-mow them.

For us, blowing the leaves into the woods is faster than mulch-mowing, as we don't have to collect and bag the leaves, but can simply blow the leaves off into the woods all the way around the perimeter of the lawn. For folks that would otherwise have to collect and bag their leaves, mulch-mowing them can be a real time-saver.

One of the key aspects of our approach is that we don't worry about mulch-mowing all the leaves until they're invisible every time we mow. In autumn, I mow to mulch up leaves every 4 days or so (basically the same frequency as my springtime mowing). Because there are leaves falling on my lawn every day for about 4-6 weeks, there's no point in getting every last leaf mulched up during any given mowing, as a couple hours after I've finished, there will be quite a few more on the lawn again.

So, we just strive to get about 80% - 90% of the leaves mulched up during any single mowing. The ones that get missed will get another shot at getting mulched up in a few days during the next mowing. As an example of this, see the "before" and "after" pictures below. I should note that in the "after" picture, we're only about 2/3 done with mulching that section, but that should be obvious.

"Before" Mulching Leaves (photo from 2015)
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"After" (well, 2/3 done) Mulching Leaves (photo from 2015)
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Mulch Mowing Leaves

Post by ken-n-nancy » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:21 pm

Alex1389 wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:47 am
Curious to know if you stop mulching leaves at any point? Do they still break down even if microbial activity significantly slows?
I just realized that my post above may not have addressed the real concern raised in your question -- what happens to the leaves that are mulched up too late in the fall to decompose before winter?

Well, those little leaf bits stay down in the lawn all winter, and are still there in the spring. Obviously, they can't decay at all over a NH winter, but are just frozen solid like everything else. In the spring, however, they'll decompose rapidly; I haven't found a disadvantage to their presence there. The newly-greening grass will quickly grow up around all the little leaf bits and you won't even know the leaf bits are there unless there's a bare spot.

Below are some photos of my northern mix lawn a few years ago in early spring (for NH, May 1 is still early spring) where you can see that there are quite a few mulched bits of oak leaves in the bare spots. Those bare spots were areas of mostly perennial ryegrass that suffered winterkill over the NH winter. In any case, you can see the little leaf bits in there. They don't do any harm -- they're present in the green areas too, but are hidden by the green grass.

By the way, over the course of the next 6 weeks, the KBG spread back into those dead areas, so that by the end of June, one would never even know those dead areas had happened...

(Below photo from 1 May 2015.)
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(Below photo from 1 May 2015.)
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Last edited by ken-n-nancy on Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Mulch Mowing Leaves

Post by g-man » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:03 pm

:thumbup: I do like K&N. I've mowed in Christmas day just to mulch the leaves.

Alex, while decomposition will be slowed down, earthworms will still move up to eat the leafs too if the soil temps is not too low.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Mulch Mowing Leaves

Post by Alex1389 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:21 am

@ken-n-nancy Thanks for the info and write-up!

I was concerned about the leaves potentially causing some die off in the lawn over the winter, but you and @g-man have alleviated those concerns at this point. I still try to get the leaves as fine as possible when mulching (sometimes so fine it's like dust that I can quickly blow around if it gets too heavy in some areas). Thanks again!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Mulch Mowing Leaves

Post by Miggity » Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:04 am

I finally found my way into the lawn journal section as the season winds down for me and wanted to say thank you for documenting this so well. I wish I had found this earlier as it has addressed several questions I had.

I can add one thing to your leaf mulching discussion. Two years ago while having a landscaping crew deliver dump-trailer loads of leaves to fill new raised garden beds, their truck and trailer got stuck in the wet ground. Worse, it got stuck while crossing two of my neighbor's lawns (a lower, less used area prone to flooding, mowed but untreated in any way). Because it was too late to seed, I simply over-filled the ruts with well-mulched leaves from 4-8"deep and about 8" wide, compacted them with my feet and refilled them again to 5" above soil level. While I did throw some seed in spring, the neighbors didn't want me watering it so it went unattended but remained fairly wet due to sump pump discharge following the ruts. The surrounding NoMix contractors garbage filled in the ruts over the next spring/summer and today, 24 months later the lines of the former ruts remain visible but only due to the much darker green color. I now know that mulched leaves do not hurt KBG mixes if left over the winter in any quantity that does not completely smother entire areas.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Mulch Mowing Leaves

Post by Green » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:32 pm

@ken-n-nancy, I'm ending my Triclopyr/fine fescue experiment for this year, but will pick up again in April or May. I've put down two 5oz rate apps, and it's hard to tell if there's going to be any residual benefit. I think it got too cold for it to fully work.
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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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Mulch Mowing Leaves

Post by ken-n-nancy » Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:35 pm

Miggity wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:04 am
I finally found my way into the lawn journal section as the season winds down for me and wanted to say thank you for documenting this so well. I wish I had found this earlier as it has addressed several questions I had.
Glad to be of help! We appreciate your letting us know that our write-ups have been interesting and helpful!
Miggity wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:04 am
I can add one thing to your leaf mulching discussion. Two years ago ... I simply over-filled the ruts with well-mulched leaves from 4-8"deep and about 8" wide... 24 months later the lines of the former ruts remain visible but only due to the much darker green color. I now know that mulched leaves do not hurt KBG mixes if left over the winter in any quantity that does not completely smother entire areas.
Glad to hear of the success story!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Fine Fescue Thinning Experiment

Post by ken-n-nancy » Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:39 pm

Green wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:32 pm
@ken-n-nancy, I'm ending my Triclopyr/fine fescue experiment for this year, but will pick up again in April or May. I've put down two 5oz rate apps, and it's hard to tell if there's going to be any residual benefit. I think it got too cold for it to fully work.
Thanks for letting us know how the experiment went for you. I think my experiment with trying to thin out fine fescue with Tenacity was pretty inconclusive. Hopefully I'll be able to make time to write up a before/after summary this coming weekend...
Last edited by ken-n-nancy on Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Day 66 - 9½ weeks

Post by ken-n-nancy » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:21 pm

This "weekly update" is a few days late, as the weekend was just too wet to do anything in the lawn. Plus, we were busy with a robotics tournament, too... ;)

The prior week was cool and cloudy, with high temps lower than typical for this time of year, but overnight lows pretty much on track. Grass growth continues to slow down, but the mature grass still has excellent color -- maybe the darkest it has been all year. The new grass looks like it may be yellowing a bit, but it's hard to tell if it's actually getting yellower or just looking more yellow in comparison to the darkening mature grass. Leaves continue to fall at a steady rate; the young birch, beech, and witch hazel are getting pretty bare, but the big oaks are just starting to drop their first leaves now.

The irrigation system was blown out yesterday (Monday, Oct 29th) so we won't be using that any more this year. Turns out we haven't had it on in about two weeks anyway, as we've had regular rain every few days and when the grass gets wet, it dries out a lot more slowly than it did back in July and August!

Mulch-mowed leaves tonight for the first time in 8 days. Needed to "double mow" in order to get the leaves diced up into small enough pieces, given how many there were. Took a picture of the mulch-mowing "half-done" like the ones we posted recently from back in 2015.

With the slowdown in grass growth, I'm glad we made our last urea application on Oct 5 -- seems like we're just about on track for our typical fall growth stoppage just before Thanksgiving. Very thankful that we haven't had any snow yet!

Below are the 66-day (9½ weeks!) pics:

Mailbox View as of 2018-10-30 (Day 66):
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Lamp Post View as of 2018-10-30 (Day 66):
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Far End as of 2018-10-30 (Day 66), Halfway Done Mulching Leaves:
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Far End as of 2018-10-30 (Day 66):
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FF Thinning Area as of 2018-10-30:
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Last edited by ken-n-nancy on Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Fine Fescue Thinning Experiment

Post by Green » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:35 pm

ken-n-nancy wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:39 pm
Green wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:32 pm
@ken-n-nancy, I'm ending my Triclopyr/fine fescue experiment for this year, but will pick up again in April or May. I've put down two 5oz rate apps, and it's hard to tell if there's going to be any residual benefit. I think it got too cold for it to fully work.
Thanks for letting us know how the experiment went for you. I think my experiment with trying to thin out fine fescue with Tenacity was pretty inconclusive. Hopefully I'll be able to make time to write up a before/after summary this coming weekend...
You're welcome, and thank you as well, Ken, for your reaction to your experiment as well. However, I made an error when I posted that earlier. I had Triclopyr on the brain, but meant Tenacity. I will probably try an area using both in the Spring, but only used Tenacity so far.
Last edited by Green on Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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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Re: 2018-09-10 - Status of 'Experiment' of Tenacity to Remove Fine Fescue from Northern Mix

Post by Green » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:49 pm

ken-n-nancy wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:07 pm
The fine fescue in my lawn may look fragile and goes dormant in the heat of the summer, but it is one tough grass that doesn't seem to be killed by anything, and comes roaring back each fall once the temperatures cool off enough.)
Ken,

I wanted to comment on this quote from your original FF Thinning Experiment post.

Normally, I find a similar result. However, this Summer in CT was like an upper transition zone Summer...even a few degrees hotter than Boston and your area in Southern NH was on average this Summer. Not to mention a lot of lower transition zone and Florida level dew points 75 or higher (which you experienced a lot of as well this year in your area...I'm not missing being soaked during mowing now!)

I don't know if you've visited my lawn journal recently, where the low input area has been getting the most attention. But this Summer, a lot of my fine fescue in that area actually died. (So did KBG, and everything else.) A huge factor was no doubt irrigation...there were some drought periods; I did not water on a regular schedule, so the lawn was in a moderate to large irrigation deficit much of the time. I don't have in-ground irrigation in the low input area, and oscillating sprinklers take hours, while my I-20 head with 6 gpm nozzle on a spike base covers only a relatively small area of the total at a time. Add all that up, and it was insufficient water and more ET as well as less rain. I still thought I was watering enough to keep it alive through dornancy...giving it a half inch or more every 2-3 weeks in the absence of sufficient rain.

Thankfully the overseed (with some Tall Fescue seed as well other types) finally went halfway decently after the third attempt this Fall (courtesy of washout from heavy rain twice).

I also think some of the issue was the Tenacity mishap in August 2017, plus winterkill from standing water/ice in Winter 2017-18. There were bare spots going into Spring 2018 already, and the Summer seemed to add insult to injury.
Last edited by Green on Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:00 am, edited 7 times in total.
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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Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - First Spring Photos after 2018 Fall Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » Sat May 11, 2019 4:19 pm

This post shows our first "lawn photos" of spring 2019, following the fall 2018 renovation of our front lawn to a Kentucky Bluegrass blend of Bewitched and Prosperity. As of when these photos were taken on 7 April 2019, the lawn was just barely starting to think about greening up. Given our prior experience with Bewitched KBG in our area, it probably won't look fully green until the very end of April and won't need mowing until about the middle of May.

We are encouraged about how the grass survived the winter. There's a lot of filling-in the grass will need to do this spring, but it's definitely good enough that we will be applying a pre-emergent rather than even considering any additional seeding!

Below are the first spring pics, taken 226 days (approx 7.5 months) after seed-down :

Mailbox View as of 2019-04-07 (Day 226):
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Lamp Post View as of 2019-04-07 (Day 226):
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Far End as of 2019-04-07 (Day 226):
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FF Thinning Area as of 2019-04-07:
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - More Early Spring Photos

Post by ken-n-nancy » Mon May 13, 2019 8:39 pm

This post shows our second set of "lawn photos" of spring 2019, a week after the prior set. As of when these photos were taken on 14 April 2019, the lawn was a little more awake than the prior week, but still mostly just thinking about greening up.

Mailbox View as of 2019-04-14 (Day 233):
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Lamp Post View as of 2019-04-14 (Day 233):
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Far End as of 2019-04-14 (Day 233):
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FF Thinning Area as of 2019-04-14:
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - First Spring Photos after 2018 Fall Renovation

Post by iowa jim » Tue May 14, 2019 6:53 am

Your border still looks good after the winter with no frost heaving.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - First Spring Photos after 2018 Fall Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » Tue May 14, 2019 9:04 am

iowa jim wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 6:53 am
Your border still looks good after the winter with no frost heaving.
Yes, the new granite cobblestones / Belgian block did hold up very well through the winter.

The year before, we had some issues with the town plow disturbing them along the road, but we didn't have that problem this year.

I haven't seen any trouble with frost heaves with the granite cobblestones, as they've been great in that regard along a shorter section of our roadside border where they've been in place for about 4 years now. I think frost heaves would be a problem if the granite cobblestones were in a local low spot, where water / ice could build up. However, there is good drainage away from the road on all of our property, so frost heaves are not a significant issue there.

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Yet More Spring Photos after 2018 Fall Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » Wed May 15, 2019 7:33 am

This post shows our third set of "lawn photos" of spring 2019, a week after the prior set. Almost all waking up as of when these photos were taken on 21 April 2019, but still some spots here and there that haven't greened up yet. Notice that none of the deciduous trees have leaves yet, and the liliac bushes (last photo) are just showing a few unraveling baby leaves. Spring comes late up here in New Hampshire!

Also took a photo of our magnolia at essentially "peak bloom."

Magnolia Blooming as of 2019-04-21:
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Mailbox View as of 2019-04-21 (Day 240):
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Lamp Post View as of 2019-04-21 (Day 240):
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Far End as of 2019-04-21 (Day 240):
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FF Thinning Area as of 2019-04-21:
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Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - Early May Photos after 2018 Fall Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » Wed May 15, 2019 10:17 am

This post finally catches us up to the current week of lawn photos, with this set taken on 12 May 2019. All the grass seems to be awake now, but the renovated KBG in the front lawn (Bewitched & Prosperity) hasn't shown significant growth yet -- not yet enough new growth to be worth mowing.

Part of me is disappointed that the KBG is not growing faster. Another part of me thinks this bodes well -- isn't slower vertical growth some of the reason for choosing a "compact" grass type? ;)

I do think the grass looks a bit nitrogen-starved; there are a few small sections where the grass is really taking off in patterns that look like they may have received fertilizer overlap in the fall. I speculate that the decomposition of the multitude of grass roots from the former turf may be tying up the nitrogen in the soil, leaving insufficient nutrients for the new grass. I'm planning to drop additional nitrogen fertilizer, probably via a combination of Bay State Fertilizer and urea, in a few days, along with other soil amendments based upon soil test results.

You'll note from these photos that only about half of the deciduous trees are starting to produce immature leaves. Other types (e.g. the white oaks) aren't ready for new leaves yet. Even the lilac bushes don't yet have full foliage, although future flower stalks are developing. Our springtime lawn definitely runs way behind those of most other cool season folks on this site, but that means that even after most of you are going into summer "survival mode," we can continue fertilizing about a month later into summer.

Mailbox View as of 2019-05-12 (Day 261):
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Lamp Post View as of 2019-05-12 (Day 261:
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Far End as of 2019-05-12 (Day 261):
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FF Thinning Area as of 2019-05-12:
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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - First Spring Photos after 2018 Fall Renovation

Post by llO0DQLE » Wed May 15, 2019 10:58 am

Looking good KNN! Hearing some folks down south having late springs is consoling to me. lol I always thought everybody greened up at least 2 months earlier than me. Looks like you're only a couple weeks or so ahead of me this year. You do get a longer fall season though as I'm usually covered in snow by November. Even if there was no snow, the temps are pretty cold, daylight hours are so short and the sun too low that the grass looks fugly by then. I'm actually happy when I get snow in November because the grass is protected.

It's interesting to hear about your experience with the cobblestones and frost heaves. I didn't know that water accumulation was a major factor with frost heaves. I wanted to install cobblestone pavers to the edges of my lawn by the fence as I end up mowing a rut in those areas anyway but was always worried about frost heaves. I do get water accumulation in those areas from snow melt due to the slight slope for drainage. I would hate to put in all that work installing pavers and then have them all wonky after the first winter!

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Re: Ken-n-Nancy's Lawn Journal - First Spring Photos after 2018 Fall Renovation

Post by ken-n-nancy » Wed May 15, 2019 12:41 pm

llO0DQLE wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:58 am
Hearing some folks down south having late springs is consoling to me. lol I always thought everybody greened up at least 2 months earlier than me. Looks like you're only a couple weeks or so ahead of me this year.
Thanks for reminding me that "up north" and "down south" are relative terms! It's easy to forget that you're enough farther north of me to be even 2-3 weeks further behind!

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