Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

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Powhatan
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Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

2019 Journal
2020 Lawn Plan
Objectives: biodiverse, low maintenance, non-irrigated, heat and drought tolerant


Mid/Late Winter:
  • Hand-pull weeds.
  • Dormant overseed fescue and shade grass seed.
  • Lite overseed clover - front yard.
Spring:
  • Hand-pull or spot spray weeds with Mirimichi Green PRO Weed Control.
  • Spray glyphosate on poa trivialis patches, re-seed dead patches.
  • Garden Safe organic Neem Oil Extract - spot treat grass fungus & garden pests.
  • EcoLogic organic Lawn & Yard Insect Killer (R-T-S) and granular - house foundation & lawn perimeter treatment.
  • Scotts Foundation Soil Improver.
  • Scotts GrubEx - active ingredient chlorantraniliprole better for the bees.
  • Spray N-Ext RGS & Air-8 apps.
  • Andersons HumiChar soil improver.
  • LESCO Dimension Pre-emergent 19-0-7 fertilize - after new grass 2nd cut.
  • Alfalfa pellets low nitrogen slow release organic fertilize - grass & soil feeding.
  • Mulch mow grass (bag mow if disease present) @ HOC 3.25”.
Summer:
  • Hand-pull or spot spray weeds with Mirimichi Green PRO Weed Control.
  • Garden Safe organic Neem Oil Extract - spot treat grass fungus & garden pests.
  • EcoLogic organic Lawn & Yard Insect Killer granular - house foundation & lawn perimeter treatment.
  • Safer Brand Lawn Restore 9-0-2 low nitrogen slow release organic fertilize.
  • Alfalfa pellets low nitrogen slow release organic fertilize - grass & soil feeding.
  • Jonathan Green Love Your Soil soil improver
  • LESCO 0-0-45 PCSOP - improves overall plant health
  • Mulch mow grass @ HOC 3.50”.
Early Fall:
  • Hand-pull or spot spray weeds with Mirimichi Green PRO Weed Control.
  • Andersons HumiChar or LESCO CarbonPro-G soil improver.
  • LESCO Pendimethalin Pre-emergent 0-0-7.
  • Nutrients Plus 16-2-3 low nitrogen organic fertilize.
  • Mulch mow grass & leaves @ HOC 3.50”.
Mid Fall:
  • Hand-pull weeds.
  • Nutrients Plus 16-2-3 low nitrogen organic fertilize - after first freeze air temps.
  • Mulch mow grass & leaves @ HOC 3.25”.

2020 End of Season Summary

Seed:
  • Dormant overseed KY-31/NoMix/Fine fescue/Clover.
Irrigation:
  • Non-irrigated yearly except for poa trivialis kill patch areas and cover crop mix area new grass establishment.
Fertilize:
  • Spring - synthetic, Summer - organic, late Summer & early Fall - hybrid (synthetic with organic ingredients), and late Fall - synthetic. Yearly amount ~2.50#N with a split 1#N as final "winter" application in Nov for total ~3.50#N. I may not do a "winter" app next year.
  • Broadcasted two ~.85#K apps during Summer months to help with plant health & stress. If next soil report again recommends additional potassium I will broadcast during Spring so grass will have the nutrient before Summer stress sets in.
Fungus - No synthetic fungicides used:
  • Mowed with sharp blade at lower HOC 3.25" to encourage air flow during the fungal disease favorable reveal period. Bag mowed if disease suspect or seen.
  • Sprayed organic neem oil on new forming brown patch, pythium blight, and rust disease areas to smother disease pathogen spores to help limit spreading.
Weeds:
  • Spring - granular dithiopyr PreM, Fall - granular pendimethalin PreM.
  • Hand-pulled mostly. Sprayed selective herbicide on nutsedge, glyphosate non-selective on poa trivialis, and Mirimichi Green PRO Weed Control non-selective on various weeds bordering the lawn. Poa trivialis continues to be the primary weed.
Insects:
  • Spring - granular Scotts GrubEx. Spring & Summer - granular organic EcoLogic Lawn & Yard Insect Killer to mostly kill the ticks. Sprayed neem oil on june bugs seen on bushes.
Soil Amendments:
  • Sprayed last of N-Ext RGS & Air-8 that I had on-hand. The Air-8 didn't seem to loosen the soil.
  • Tried different granular products - Broadcasted HumiChar, Scotts Foundation Soil Improver, Jonathan Green Love Your Soil, and LESCO CarbonPro-G. I plan to use the LESCO CarbonPro-G product next year
  • Filled in lawn low spots with top soil.
Last edited by Powhatan on Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:09 am, edited 19 times in total.

Topic Author
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Moderate air and soil temps this past week. Soil temps been ~55F, wonder if we'll have early spring weeds.

Several lighter green clumps growing taller than the surrounding darker grass. I've seen these before last year growing faster than the desired grass, I suspect poa trivialis. The lighter green patch is definitely a poa trivialis, I gently dug around the clump base and noticed a "string of beads" rough bluegrass root.
Last edited by Powhatan on Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

Topic Author
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Rain and cold front came through, soil temp dropped to 42F. Seasonal temps for next couple of weeks with daily chance of rain showers, but no snow. I need to cut down two dead oak trees later this month and then purchase the grass seed that I'll "dormant" overseed in Feb.

Hand-pulled poa annua growing in the gravel driveway.

Broadcasted ~.5# white clover seeds over the front lawn ~3M, just decided to do it, we'll call it a winter test. I've read that some clover can germinate when soil temp is as low as ~40F. If the seed takes, great, if not, I need to broadcast more anyway later in the early spring.
Last edited by Powhatan on Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Green
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Green »

@Powhatan, why so much cover seed when clover seems to spread readily on it's own? Do you want it to be so thick that it's hard to see the grass through it? Just curious. I've never planted clover, but have it so thick in some areas that it dominates the grass. And I've knocked it back with herbicides a few times over the last few years.

I agree those clumps are probably all Triv.

Grass stil looks nice and green. Soil temps above 40 will do that.

I would also keep the CRF seed percentages significantly lower than the TF/TTTF. Maybe as disparate as 90/10. For some reason, that grass tends to dominate over time when used in higher seed percentages...it's tough stuff. And it can go quite brown in the Summer. Of course, CRF dominating is exacerbated by low fertility. We have lawns in the neighborhood that were low input with some shade, and are essentially all CRF/Chewings Fescue now, 30+ years later. But there are other lawns that get a lot of maintenance and sun, and the CRF/Chewings seems to play nice with the TF after the same amount of time elapsed. On my walk today, I saw some of those older mixed Fescue lawns that have held up really well over the years and maintained their composition.
Last edited by Green on Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:50 pm, edited 4 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.

Topic Author
Powhatan
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Green wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:37 pm
Powhatan, why so much cover seed when clover seems to spread readily on it's own? Do you want it to be so thick that it's hard to see the grass through it? Just curious. I've never planted clover, but have it so thick in some areas that it dominates the grass. And I've knocked it back with herbicides a few times over the last few years.
@Green I didn't put down .5 lb per 1,000 SqFt if you're thinking that. I used the same ~ (approx) clover:grass seeding rate ratio on the front lawn area as I used on the sides and back yard area.

.17 lb (clover seed) : 6 lb (grass seed) per 1,000 SqFt

The .17 lb : 6 lb ratio is slightly lower than the % clover to TTTF seed mix ratio as discussed in the below document that I found when searching for clover & fescue grass turf mixes. I know the document says microclover, but that's the only "clover" mix document I could find.
... if a seeding rate of 6 lbs. tall fescue per 1000 ft2 is used, approximately 0.2
to 0.3 pounds of microclover should be mixed with the 6 lbs. of tall fescue. Higher rates of microclover
are not beneficial, and above 10% may result in a stand that is predominately microclover.


Microclover – Tall Fescue Lawns in the MidAtlantic Region
I'm not trying to have a thick clover lawn, rather I'm trying to obtain a low input polyculture lawn that is reasonably heat and drought tolerant and does well in a non-irrigated sun/shade environment. I've read that white clover does well in wet soils, so this may compete against the poa trvialis and crowd it out. Also, I understand clover thrives in nitrogen deficient soils and the clover spread can be throttled per se by applying more/less supplemental nitrogen fertilizer to the turf.
Green wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:37 pm
I agree those clumps are probably all Triv.
I thought those were triv. I hope the infestation this year is not as much as I saw last spring. I'll kill as much as I can, but I'll also re-seed the killed patch with desirable grass as you did last spring.
Green wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:37 pm
I would also keep the CRF seed percentages significantly lower than the TF/TTTF. Maybe as disparate as 90/10. For some reason, that grass tends to dominate over time when used in higher seed percentages...it's tough stuff. And it can go quite brown in the Summer. Of course, CRF dominating is exacerbated by low fertility. We have lawns in the neighborhood that were low input with some shade, and are essentially all CRF/Chewings Fescue now, 30+ years later. But there are other lawns that get a lot of maintenance and sun, and the CRF/Chewings seems to play nice with the TF after the same amount of time elapsed. On my walk today, I saw some of those older mixed Fescue lawns that have held up really well over the years and maintained their composition.
I'm mixing a smaller 3lb/7lb Scotts Tall Fescue Dense Shade (TTTF/CRF) bag with the larger KY-31/TTTF amounts when I overseed, then broadcast the smaller clover amount. The Scotts Dense Shade bag contain 7% CRF.

Thanks for all the comments, much appreciated. :thumbup:

Green
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Green »

Ok, that makes sense now. Definitely keep an eye on the clover percentage in the lawn over time and figure out how to manage it for the desired ratio. I've found clover does well in the heat.

As far as the Triv, if you kill and reseed, I'd do it as early as practical. Last year, I took forever to get it done, seeded much of it in early June, and by the time the 90s rolled around in July, it was a challenge to keep new grass going and healthy. I had to water twice a day by hand, and probably lost a bit. Most ended up surviving, but some did not grow taller until October. Since you often get 90s in June and sometimes low 100s in July, you'd ideally want to start a lot earlier than I did. I did it too late. Yes, it worked out, but it was too nerve wracking and a ton of effort watering. I think this year, I'll try to plant in late April. For you, maybe late March if weather allows. I agree; hopefully neither of us have as many infested areas this year!
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.

Topic Author
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Temps this morning: air 68F and soil 56F. If I was doing PreM, I'd put it down now earlier than average date.

Hand-pulled some poa annua, poa trivialis, horseweed, and orchardgrass weeds.

Since soil temps are warm, I looked for any clover emergence from last week's broadcast, nothing yet. Still have lots of young TF/TTTF one tiller stage grass from late Oct's overseed still green and looking healthy.

Topic Author
Powhatan
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Air temps for the week started above normal, then Fri morning they dipped down to seasonal. Soil temp this morning is 42F. Grass is a little bit greener now than this time last year. I'm seeing more rabbits and deer, and an opossum eating in the back yard. I continue to hand-pull a weed or two as I notice them. Seeing lots of wild onions in the gravel road area. No new white clover emergence yet in the front yard even though soil temp for a few days was ~56F, probably too chilly at night and the seeds know better than to germinate.

I bought a 50# bag DLF Pickseed coated KY-31 on sale from TSC to broadcast that with some TTTF/CRF early next month's "dormant" overseed.
Last edited by Powhatan on Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:28 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Green
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Green »

@Powhatan, how does the KY-31 weed percentage look this year?
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.

Topic Author
Powhatan
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Green wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:24 pm
Powhatan, how does the KY-31 weed percentage look this year?
@Green, the weed % slightly better than last fall, but better yet ... no poa annua. :thumbup:

The bag I got has practically the same weed % as the bag I got two years ago: 1.60% other crop and 0.25% other weeds, the noxious weeds are hairy chess and annual ryegrass. It's a forage grass seed bag, won't be perfect. I can live with those noxious weeds, they are annuals and need to grow taller than typical lawn HOC to flower new seeds. Those weeds will stand out when growing and will be easy to spot and pull, else I'll mow what I don't pull so they won't reproduce.

Green
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Green »

Powhatan wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:17 pm
The bag I got has practically the same weed % as the bag I got two years ago: 1.60% other crop and 0.25% other weeds, the noxious weeds are hairy chess and annual ryegrass. It's a forage grass seed bag, won't be perfect. I can live with those noxious weeds, they are annuals and need to grow taller than typical lawn HOC to flower new seeds. Those weeds will stand out when growing and will be easy to spot and pull, else I'll mow what I don't pull so they won't reproduce.
That doesn't sound as terrible as last year's.

For comparison, here's the bag I declined to purchase last year:
Image

Both have Hairy Chess, considered noxious. Mine also had Dock. I have no idea what either of those are, or how well your strategy might work on one or the other. Are you confident you can eradicate them by mowing as needed and not letting them get super tall?

And it goes without saying that anything labeled that it has Triv is an automatic no-purchase.

I may consider this year's batch of seed, still, based on what you stated above.
Last edited by Green on Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:09 pm, edited 3 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.

Topic Author
Powhatan
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Air temps 30sF/10sF, soil 32F - finally feels like winter.
Green wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:06 pm
Are you confident you can eradicate them by mowing as needed and not letting them get super tall?
I've got a positive attitude that I can give the noxious weeds a good fight. :fight:

The hairy chess has a tall slender stalk when not cut. They are not like poa annua growing low to the ground before flowering, they need to get tall when they flower. On the positive, while the weed is growing in the ground it's roots are aerating the soil and when the plant dies it provides nutrients/OM, like a cover crop.
Green wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:06 pm
And it goes without saying that anything labeled that it has Triv is an automatic no-purchase.
Right, that's why I didn't buy last fall when the KY-31 bag said it included poa annua.

on the flip side though ... no lawn is 100% weed free.

A post from @Oregonseed about weed testing.
Just because the tag says it is crop and weed free is not 100% accurate. ... We often resample lots to get different results! One test will show poa so we resample and it comes back with no poa! We all know there is poa present but now can be sold as crop and weed free.
That being said, it's still always prudent to buy quality grass seed that tested 0% or close as possible to 0% for your specific location application needs.
Last edited by Powhatan on Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:52 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

rough bluegrass - poa trivialis

Image

wild onion

Image
Last edited by Powhatan on Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:11 am, edited 7 times in total.

Topic Author
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Warm front with rain showers came through last night, air temps back up to 50s, soil temp 47F. A neighbor will help me tomorrow cut down a dead oak tree.

Sometime within the next few weeks I'll broadcast the "dormant" TF/TTTF/CRF overseed. Previous two years, seed germination occurred in Mar, early to late month depending on soil temperature. In Apr I'll check to see what the clover coverage is and broadcast some more clover seed if needed.

Practically every night this month the rabbits and deer have been eating grass in the back and front yard. I don't see any damage they might be doing, must have plenty of green grass to chew on.
Last edited by Powhatan on Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

The clover I broadcasted in the front yard on Jan 5 is starting to emerge right in the middle of winter calendar season. Soil temps past few weeks been generally between 50s to 30sF. Now the real test will be if the clover seedlings can survive the rest of winter.

John Deere dealer sharpened riding mower mulch blades, reattached mower deck and greased zerk fittings.
Last edited by Powhatan on Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:25 am, edited 3 times in total.

Topic Author
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Hand-pulled some poa annua and poa trivialis.

Grass is looking greener this January than last year.

Purchased 6 lb Scotts Tall Fescue Dense Shade (TTTF/CRF). I now have all grass seed needed for next month's dormant overseed.
Last edited by Powhatan on Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Topic Author
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Soil temp 46F. Moss spores are becoming active. Last year I noticed same event mid-Feb when I dormant overseeded grass. The air temps now and 10 day forecast are the same as last year mid-Feb, so I went ahead and dormant overseeded today: KY-31/TTTF/CRF @ 6#/M - 50# DLF Pickseed coated KY-31, 20# Scotts coated TTTF Southern Gold, and 3# Scotts coated TTTF/CRF Dense Shade. Last year grass seed emergence was mid-Mar. This year may be earlier than that.
Last edited by Powhatan on Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:31 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Chris LI »

Great documentation! Your past/present info is a very good benchmark/indicator of when to dormant seed. I'm curious to see what your results will be. Yesterday, I was considering writing off my dormant seed, because it appears timing will be difficult to get it right because of the mild winter we have had, so far. I usually wait until February, when we start to see some frost heaves, to make sure we have a series of them to work the seed into the earth. Maybe I shouldn't write it off for this year, yet. Thanks for including this in your journal. I think that it will be helpful to others.

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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Powhatan »

Chris LI wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:01 pm
Great documentation! Your past/present info is a very good benchmark/indicator of when to dormant seed. I'm curious to see what your results will be. Yesterday, I was considering writing off my dormant seed, because it appears timing will be difficult to get it right because of the mild winter we have had, so far. I usually wait until February, when we start to see some frost heaves, to make sure we have a series of them to work the seed into the earth. Maybe I shouldn't write it off for this year, yet. Thanks for including this in your journal. I think that it will be helpful to others.
Thanks. Science and nature have a lot to tell us, just gotta look. :wink:

Chris LI
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Re: Powhatan's 2020 Lawn Journal

Post by Chris LI »

Powhatan wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:09 pm
Chris LI wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:01 pm
Great documentation! Your past/present info is a very good benchmark/indicator of when to dormant seed. I'm curious to see what your results will be. Yesterday, I was considering writing off my dormant seed, because it appears timing will be difficult to get it right because of the mild winter we have had, so far. I usually wait until February, when we start to see some frost heaves, to make sure we have a series of them to work the seed into the earth. Maybe I shouldn't write it off for this year, yet. Thanks for including this in your journal. I think that it will be helpful to others.
Thanks. Science and nature have a lot to tell us, just gotta look. :wink:
Absolutely! On many occasions my wife has accused me of "kissing the grass" and has claimed of seeing blades of grass in my goatee. Maybe she's right. Lol
I do admit to being on hands and knees with my forehead grazing the ground, while inspecting the turf. :ugeek:

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