Bring lawn back to life, I hope


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Old 09-30-20, 02:57 PM
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Bring lawn back to life, I hope

Hi!

so, we moved into this house about 5 years ago. So many projects inside, the lawn pretty much languished. I did rent a slit seeder one year, but the lawn still struggled. Lots of crabgrass, quackgrass, clover, etc)

This year, we did a soil test again (we did one in 2017, but didn’t do anything besides fertilize with Milagornite)

culprit seems to be our Ph— 5.66.

so, last weekend, we dethatched and aerated. Then we added the recommended 450lbs of lime and watered it in.

we had some substantial rain here in NJ the last few days.

my question: given my phosphorus is high (232), my potassium is low (143) and my magnesium is high (564), do I need to fertilize before seeding/while seeding/after seeding?

also, how long after lime application should I wait before seeding (or fertilizing then seeding?)

thanks in advance for any and all help!
 
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Old 09-30-20, 03:46 PM
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You do not need to wait after applying lime. It is late for starting new grass in your area so I'd move quickly if you want to do it this season. I would fertilize to try and kick the grass into high gear and get it as established as you can before colder temperatures shut down the growing season. Any seed starting or balanced fertilizer will work.
 
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Old 10-01-20, 08:54 AM
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Ugh. It took so long to get soil test back. That pushed me back two weeks later than planned. I am also planning on installing a sprinkler system-- that wouldnt get installed until week of 10/16

Not sure of the logic of planting this weekend and then getting lawn torn up next week. Dang calendar! Not cooperating.

We have also been trying to 'not use unneccessary chemicals', which hasnt helped our cause. A fisherman, I see the algae blooms that occur from overuse of fertlizers. So I kind of have a love/hate thing going. That said, I have only used super expensive Dr Earth fertilizer in the past-- recently I switched to Milagornite, but my local extension recommends against that as it can introduce unwanted metals into the soil (indeed, I tested high for a bunch of stuff on my soil test).

So, I am relatively unfamiliar with 'starter fertilizer' vs 'fertilizer' . I know that I dont need phosphorus.

the extensions test recommends 1:1:3 (which is impossible to find), at .9/lbs N per 1,000 sq ft. Then, 2-4 weeks after sprouting, use 2-1-1 t .75lbs N / 1,000 sq ft
 
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Old 10-01-20, 10:57 AM
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Applying fertilizer late is a good way to waste it. Nitrogen is quite mobile in the soil so if you apply and the plants aren't actively growing to consume it the winter's rain and snow melt can easily wash it into streams & lakes.

Yes, starter fertilizer is harder to find, especially this time of year. There really isn't anything too special about seed starting fertilizers. Some have a much finer granule for more even spreading. I normally use inexpensive 10-10-10 from my agricultural supplier.

Since your soil test recommended 1:1:3 then 2:1:1 a couple weeks later I might combine the two and do only one fertilizer application with something having the ratio of 3:2:3 ratio (which is the two recommendations combined). And, since 3:2:3 is pretty close to 1:1:1 any balanced fertilizer like plain old 10-10-10 will do.

I would follow their recommendation for the amount of nitrogen to apply;1.65 pounds per thousand square feet or cut it almost in half. You don't want to apply too much and force the grass to make too much fast growing, tender green growth right before winter. You want good roots and a more sturdy plant above ground to withstand winter. But, don't over think it too much. You could just throw out your seed and no fertilizer and be in almost the same position come spring.
 
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Old 10-01-20, 12:36 PM
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thank you! Should this be done same weekend as seeding?
 
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Old 10-01-20, 05:52 PM
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I usually put down lime, seed and fertilizer the same day (but I'm in NC and did it a couple weeks ago). It's not the best since seed has no use for fertilizer but I comfort myself by saying it give the fertilizer time to be dissolved and dispersed in the soil. For you I would forgo fertilizer for now and then look at it again after your seed has germinated. When you have a sea of little green shoots you can look at the weather and decide. If your day highs are in the 60's and nights in the 40's I'd pass but if the forecast calls for a week+ of well above average temperatures I'd lightly fertilize. It's all about the soil temperature. The lower the soil temp is below 70f the less growing there will be, fertilizer or not. If you fertilize when the soil temp is too low you'll just be fertilizing the weeds that do better in cooler temperatures.
 
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Old 10-01-20, 06:41 PM
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Try to find low nitrogen seed starter fertilizer. 5-10-10 or 0-10-10. Sprouts want root and stem growth. You can fertilize later on with 10-10-10 or similar.
 
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Old 10-02-20, 03:49 PM
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The Master Gardeners hotline returned my call today.

They recommend fertilizing this weekend (with a starter fertilizer, as mentioned in this thread by prior replies--thank you!).

Then, once the new irrigation is installed by 10/16, planting 'perennial rye' instead of my usual 'stress mix', which is a mix of rye and fescue and a few other seeds. This would germinate in a week and likely would take hold before we get our first frost. I will do this only in the straight up dirt areas--save the slit seeding for next fall.

I clearly waited too late to send out my soil test
 
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Old 10-02-20, 04:00 PM
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Perennial rye is one of the faster germinating grasses and is great to get something green quickly and prevent erosion. It also does well in cooler weather. It won't survive a hot summer but it's a good choice to get you through the winter.
 
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Old 10-02-20, 04:18 PM
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good to know! I am basically just trying to crowd out weeds for next year. I really dont want to use a preemergent or any other herbicide, if I can avoid it, next year.
 
 

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