Lawn consultation? Landscaping company?

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  #1  
Old 05-15-17, 06:19 AM
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Lawn consultation? Landscaping company?

Hi.

How much does it usually cost to have a lawn consultation and testing done by a landscaping company? Is it expensive?

What's the worst and best that could happen if I just go get a bad of LIME and sprinkle it on my front lawn with no testing?

Is there anything I can sprinkle on my lawn that would help the grass without testing the soil first?

One thing is here in Maine it's been raining for almost a month now! Grass is really green!

If I kill the crabgrass I have in the very front corner of my front yard though I think I'll have just a bare dirt area. Would it be better to leave the crabgrass there rather than have just a bald area?
 
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Old 05-15-17, 06:27 AM
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The cost depends on where you live, who you call and how large an area you want them to treat. You'll have to call to get your own pricing.

Lime is generally pretty safe so even if you don't need it it won't hurt much if you apply.

Maybe??? Without testing your soil you don't know what it needs so anything you do is just a guess. In general most people fertilize. Even for Maine it's getting a bit late for a strong application of high nitrogen fertilizer. So, if you get a fertilizer with a big first number (nitrogen) I would NOT use the maximum application rate.

It all depends on what you want. If you kill the crabgrass it will free up the area for more desirable grasses and you may already have some other grasses mixed in that area that will take over.
 
  #3  
Old 05-15-17, 07:00 AM
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The cost depends on where you live, who you call and how large an area you want them to treat. You'll have to call to get your own pricing.

Lime is generally pretty safe so even if you don't need it it won't hurt much if you apply.

Maybe??? Without testing your soil you don't know what it needs so anything you do is just a guess. In general most people fertilize. Even for Maine it's getting a bit late for a strong application of high nitrogen fertilizer. So, if you get a fertilizer with a big first number (nitrogen) I would NOT use the maximum application rate.

It all depends on what you want. If you kill the crabgrass it will free up the area for more desirable grasses and you may already have some other grasses mixed in that area that will take over.
Thanks.

So is there a safe way to kill the crabgrass other than nasty chemicals?

Is the cheap LIME they sell at Walmart any good? It's like $4.99 a bag I think.
 
  #4  
Old 05-15-17, 07:24 AM
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Is Scott's Weed and Feed any good?

A guy at work told me he uses that.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 07:58 AM
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Scott's products are proven/trusted.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 08:32 AM
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Scott's products are proven/trusted.
Now I've been reading that they're dangerous. I guess they work, but they leave cancer causing chemicals on your lawn that you can track into the house.
 
  #7  
Old 05-15-17, 09:04 AM
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Almost all fertilizers and weed killers use chemicals. You need to balance the pros/cons.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 09:07 AM
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Unless you want to get out there and pull weeds & crabgrass by hand you'll need chemicals.
 
  #9  
Old 05-15-17, 09:10 AM
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And it's not like the chemicals stick around long time. The bag will list the time period you need to keep kids/pets off of the lawn. It's considered safe after that time period although you could wait longer if you want to.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 09:42 AM
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Scott's weed and feed works if you follow the directions, and, if you follow the directions, it doesn't lay around too long before being washed into the soil. You'll have to read it yourself, but essentially you want to mow a day or so ahead of time, then want the lawn wet when you apply it so that the weed killer sticks to the weeds (also makes it much easier to see your tracks in order to maintain spacing), then you hope for rain or water it in a couple of days to help the feed portion get to the roots. We have several acres of lawn, so I don't do the whole thing, just mainly in front of the house and a bit behind the house. If you have a small enough area to water, it makes scheduling a bit easier; otherwise you have to watch the weather a bit closer when your looking at applications. For instance, we had some pretty heavy dew last week, and have a decent chance of rain later this week, so I had thought that I would put down weed and feed this weekend. Checked the NOAA site Friday evening though, and it looked like the overnight lows weren't going to quite hit the dew point. Sure enough, very light dew Saturday morning, dried immediately as the sun came into view, and no dew yesterday morning. So still waiting, but it'll happen. Oh, and as far as testing, it depends on how elaborate you want to get, but, for example, our local flower clubs accept samples in the spring, and send them to the university, who then mail a detailed analysis. All at no cost, here anyway, and I have heard of people in other areas say the same thing.
 
  #11  
Old 05-15-17, 09:53 AM
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Thanks all, but I'm going to pull the crabgrass by hand. It's only in one area. I'm not going to use herbicides. I like the idea of going natural and organic and am proud of my back lawn which has really flourished nicely with clover and stuff.

There's a lot of natural organic lawn care tips online and a lot of people who like all the various species in a lawn rather than being "cookie cutter" like everyone else.

I think I'll use Lime and then organic fertilizer in the fall.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 10:01 AM
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  #13  
Old 05-15-17, 06:22 PM
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What's a good grass seed without chemicals?

I want to try and fix some bare areas. I bought one of those water pump bottles also to water the spots.

What is that tool that "roughs up" the soil called. It's got spikes that you roll over the dirt.

Will I need topsoil also to put lightly on the grass seed?
 
  #14  
Old 05-16-17, 03:37 AM
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I've been watching some YT videos on how to fix bald areas. From what I gather you rough up the soil in that area and maybe add some topsoil and then a good quality grass seed.

From there you have to put something on it to keep the birds away, which we get a lot in the front yard in the morning. What's good to use for that purpose? Peat moss?

I think I'm also going to need a sprinkler and timer once the seed is down. Maybe the sprinkler will keep the birds away? LOL
 
  #15  
Old 05-16-17, 03:49 AM
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It's usually best to put straw over the seed. Besides deterring the birds it provides shade for the new sprouts so the sun won't burn them up before they get good root structure. Seeds will do better if they get frequent watering.
 
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Old 05-16-17, 04:03 AM
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It's usually best to put straw over the seed. Besides deterring the birds it provides shade for the new sprouts so the sun won't burn them up before they get good root structure. Seeds will do better if they get frequent watering.
Thanks marksr! I just found something called EZStraw that they have at Lowes. Says it covers up to 500 sf I think.

Also, can I overseed here in Maine this time of year? It's late May of course. I read that someone said you can simply use a spreader without dirt or whatever for best results as this is how it happens in nature?

What's a good grass seed for here in Maine? Of course I know nothing about this stuff.

I also mulch my grass blades back into the lawn by the way.

Oh one more thing. If you spread grass seed, etc - How long before you can mow and stuff?

Thanks a lot. This is fun!
 
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Old 05-16-17, 04:41 AM
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While grass seed can take over unprepared ground, it will do better if you break up the top soil some, rake it smooth and then scatter the seed. I have no idea what type of grass grows best in Maine. I'd let the new grass grow a little long before mowing .... and don't mow it too short!
 
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Old 05-16-17, 05:23 AM
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Can't say much about overseeding, but, as far as seeding bare areas, as Mark said, best approach is to work up the existing soil with a rake, sow the seed, and cover it with straw. You can buy plain old straw for a fraction of the EZStraw that you mentioned, and you said that you mulch your clippings, so whatever straw you have left over can be strewn on the lawn prior to the next time you mow. When you're preparing the area for seed you want to be aggressive with the rake, mix up the soil as much as possible, break up any clods, and remove clumps of roots or whatever you reveal. Once you have spread the seed, you want to rake very lightly, just enough to mingle it with the soil but maintaining an even distribution. You'll find that you are not going to cover all of the seed, and that's okay. When you straw it, you want to shake it through your hands so that you have a nice even coverage, avoiding clumps of straw that will smother the new grass. Don't know your area specifically, but you're probably looking at maybe a week to see fine grasses appearing in number, and at least 4, but probably closer to 6 weeks before you are going to want to mow it. I will typically check the straw every few days, and particularly after a rain, lifting any areas where the straw looks compressed with a rake or pitchfork, but you have to be very careful doing this because the new grasses are so fine, and not deeply rooted, so very easy to inadvertently pull out of the soil.
 
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Old 05-16-17, 05:50 AM
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Yes, you can over seed now. It's a bit late but not too bad especially since you are in Maine. Putting down straw over the freshly seeded area will help.

I would spread a cool season turf grass. Any Fescue should work. There are many brands and varieties but Kentucky 31 is inexpensive and the old standby that still works very well.

Definitely rough up or till the area where you intend to plant as the seed needs to be in intimate contact with the ground to germinate. Roughing up the area also loosens the soil so the new roots can more easily penetrate.

I would mow your lawn as usual while trying to miss the bare patches as the mower will blow away the straw. Technically you can mow the new grass any time but I try to let it get twice as high (about 6") as the rest of the lawn before mowing. And, minimize traffic on the tender new grass until it's well established.
 
  #20  
Old 05-16-17, 06:02 AM
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Lawn Repair

What is that tool that "roughs up" the soil called. It's got spikes that you roll over the dirt.
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Garden-Weas...d-Tool/4067496

Lime is of two types. Hydrated and non-hydrated. The first is a fast-acting type and is usually more expensive. The second is simply crushed limestone, may be pellitized or not, and is less costly. Make sure the lime you buy is pellitized so it will feed through your spreader without clogging.
 
  #21  
Old 05-16-17, 06:32 AM
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Can I "Lime" any time of the year?

Thanks for all the HELP guys!! So many good tips! Now I have to stop and CALM DOWN and come back to Earth and realize there's more important things in life than caring for a lawn! LOL

Nonetheless it is exciting and maybe I can at least get some of the barer areas on my lawn going!

... then paint the house, then fix the various doors, then widen the driveway, then put in a new bathtub, floors in livingroom and bathroom ....... Haha ..... I'm not gonna get it all done this summer I can guarantee lol .....

We need more hours in the day!
 
  #22  
Old 05-16-17, 07:43 AM
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Yes, lime can be applied any time. Spring is best as it before planting new grass. I use pelletized intended for lawns. It is easy to apply with a drop or broadcast spreader and it reacts slowly so you don't have to worry about wild pH swings. But most lime's intended for the lawn are the "slow" type and safer to apply without a soil test.

Look up your county's agricultural extension office. Most counties offer free or low cost soil testing. They give you a sample box and a form to fill out and it has instructions on how to take the sample. Then it goes off to the state lab for testing. In my county it's free if you're not in a rush and let them send it in with all the other samples but there is a charge for expedited service. Spring is their busiest times as all the homeowners and farmers are testing so it could take while to get your results.
 
  #23  
Old 05-16-17, 07:50 AM
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Hey just an idea. What about sod to fill in areas?
 
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Old 05-16-17, 09:08 AM
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Sod is quicker but it still benefits from proper ground prep.
 
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Old 05-16-17, 09:12 AM
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Sod is generally more "fussy". Since it's adult grass that's had 95% of it's roots cut off the soil prep and watering schedule must be proper to keep it alive. You also won't have much schedule flexibility. Sod is best laid the day it's cut at the farm but you can stretch it to two days but it really needs to go down quick.

Before considering sod too much check around to see if it's available in your area and is sold in a quantity you can use. In my area it's only sold by the pallet. Some suppliers will not sell it by the piece and if they do you must pick it up at the farm.
 
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Old 05-16-17, 10:03 AM
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Thanks all! I think I'll be skipping SOD anyways and just stick to concentrating on the bare spots right now. I got too much on my plate with this house as it is. It's fun though .... and getting expensive! I should've kept all my Hdepot receipts! LOL
 
  #27  
Old 05-16-17, 03:22 PM
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Does all grass seed have chemicals in it? Geez!

What the Apron XL chemical that I see on the back? Is that in most of them?

I thought that just had good ol plain grass seed. They don't even have topsoil at HD that I saw!
 
  #28  
Old 05-16-17, 03:58 PM
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Topsoil is difficult to find in small packages. Probably the closest thing you will find in the orange store is garden soil.

Apron XL is a fungicide treatment and your grass seed should be the least of your worries. Like it or not it may already be used on many of the food's you're eating as it's approved for more than 50 of food crops including; corn, wheat, garlic, celery... I personally don't think it's a big deal for grass seed. If you're a farmer with a high dollar crop like corn it matters more but for your lawn just throw out a bit more seed.

If purchasing your seed in small bags and only shopping at the orange store you're largely stuck with what you find on the shelves. There are lots of seeds available that are not treated but most are sold in 50lb sacks or you'll need to go to a different store. A non-chain garden center or nursery may have non treated grass seed in small packages. The nice thing is grass seed is cheap so an anti-fungal is not really needed and is more a marketing gimmick.
 
  #29  
Old 05-17-17, 03:58 AM
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So maybe I should just go with one of those 3 in 1 deals (mulch, see, fertilizer)?

A lot of the front of my lawn near the sidewalk is all crabgrass and I'm thinking of mowing down the crab and raking as much out as I can and then maybe throwing down a little topsoil and some seed.

I got one of those green seed screen for $20 that covers the seeds and then supposedly disintegrates into the lawn.

Do I need to add topsoil if I just use one of these 3 in 1's?

Also, all the plain seed bags that I found said you should add fertilizer if you just use seed. I though you DON'T want to add fertilizer to the new seed?
 
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Old 05-17-17, 05:08 AM
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Don't bother trying to mow down and rake out crabgrass. It's OK to help reduce some of the top mass but you're not doing anything to actually remove it. It will regrow very quickly.

You can use the spot or patch grass seeding bags that have seed and sawdust mixed together. They only cover a small area so it can get expensive if your area is of any size.

It is common practice to fertilize when you seed. It gives the newly emerging grass a good bout of nutrients when it's growing very rapidly. Sort of like babies that need to eat every couple hours. Food is important.
 
  #31  
Old 05-17-17, 05:14 AM
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Fertilizer, yes with new grass, but not weed and feed. Just mentioning because you mentioned weed and feed earlier, and thought maybe that's where you picked up not to use anything. But, either way, better get going on it or else you'll be better off waiting until fall.
 
  #32  
Old 05-17-17, 05:18 AM
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The area that's near the sidewalk where it mostly is is maybe 3 feet wide by 10 feet long or so. So maybe 30 sf.

What if I use a garden rake to really kick up the dirt in that area? I can see the ground also. Then I could maybe throw some topsoil or something down?? Then throw down some seed or the 3 in 1? I really don't want chemicals or pesticides though, but maybe they can't be avoided.

Why can't I just throw topsoil over the crabgrass thick and then throw down grass seed?
 
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Old 05-17-17, 05:23 AM
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Wink

By the way if I do wait till fall, I'm wondering. If I just want to buy a bag of grass seed and throw it all over the front lawn what's the worst and best that could happen?

Would I be just wasting my time and money? Could I just keep broadcasting grass seed over the lawn all summer? Would it hurt anything? Isn't this how it works out in nature?

I would think a few grass seeds would take right??

Maybe I should fix some of the other 100 things that need renovating and fixing and worry bout the grass some other day/year?? LOL
 
  #34  
Old 05-17-17, 12:35 PM
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It isn't likely your lawn will look much better on it's own. The best times to plant grass is spring and fall. Once the temperatures rise and if rain fall decreases it's harder for new sprouts to survive.

Crab grass will come back unless it's killed chemically or completely removed - roots included.
 
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Old 05-17-17, 04:08 PM
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Simply throwing out grass seed will have minimal result. Some of it will sprout but it's not very effective this time of year. More importantly you'll have very little grass sprouting in your bare patches. Much will depend on Mother Nature. If you get lucky and have a cool, drizzly weather for a couple weeks the germination will be higher but if it's warm and dry much of the seed may end up wasted. Doing a little bit of hard raking, seeding and spreading some straw (or using a bare spot seeding product) will help a lot.
 
  #36  
Old 05-18-17, 03:45 AM
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Thanks Pilot and marksr!

So should I dig out the crab grass area from the front of the lawn, or at least some of it and try and put some seed and a seed cover down?

Of course I'm going to have to water it every day also. If not seeding, is it better to leave the crab grass for now or have bare dirt there?
 
  #37  
Old 05-18-17, 05:01 AM
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You really can not dig out crabgrass. It's roots are extensive and if you leave one bit behind it can regrow. You need to kill it with herbicide or just live with it. After all it is a grass. It's just a different type of grass. Unfortunately it is very tenacious and a fast spreader so in most cases it will push out more desirable grasses like Fescue. But, I would rather have crabgrass than bare dirt.
I have crabgrass in my lawn as do most people. It's very difficult to get rid of and doing so requires work, money and chemicals.
 
  #38  
Old 05-25-17, 10:09 AM
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Yeah, right now I'm not too fond of using chemicals.

What I noticed is that around the edge where the driveway is was all mud during the winter and bare and now it's covered in broadleaf weeds.

I was thinking just for the heck of it of pulling out these broadleaf laying down some potting soil and then trying to sprinkle some of that 3 in 1 grass seed down, cover it with a green seed cover (that evaporates) that I bought and watering it.

I also have a lot of bare spots that are covered with a light layer of thatch (I think) that I think I should try and get some grass growing.

I realize if I lay this new grass in those spots I have to water it twice a day. We've been getting a lot of rain here in Portland Maine all spring and it still hasn't really warmed up much - some nights get down in the 40's, days are around 60 maybe or 70 at most.

Do I still have time to plant some new grass in spots?
 
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Old 05-25-17, 11:55 AM
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You can pretty much plant anytime during the growing season but the hotter/drier it becomes the more work is involved getting and keeping the new grass growing.
 
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Old 05-26-17, 11:37 AM
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You can pretty much plant anytime during the growing season but the hotter/drier it becomes the more work is involved getting and keeping the new grass growing.
Thanks marsr! So it's more or less just the temps and stuff I get it! It's cold and rainy here in Maine lately. Temps are in the 50, 60's during the day right now and very little sun for last 2 weeks.
 
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