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New lawn care


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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:37 pm    Post subject: New lawn care Reply with quote

Hi guys,

This is my first post, I'm just after a little bit of friendly advice.

I had a couple of old hand gardeners come in to make a lawn at my house on early October past. Its quite a big area and because the ground was previously old bog land before I built my house all the top soil has been imported from another site close by. The guys did an excellent job of leveling and raking it into shape but they did not compact the soil in any way. After it was sowed I gave the lawn a light sprinkling of 20-10-10 fertiliser to boost the growth for the onslaught of winter. The days after it was sowed out there was a lot of heavy rain which washed a lot of the loose soil over my kerbs along with grass seed. The lawn came up over the next 3 weeks but it was very patchy with obvious streaks were the water had run off. As the ground settled I've noticed some humps and bumps appearing.

Today was the first time I've walked on the ground since it was sowed. The grass is coming well in places and is light in others. There are very few weeds and stray grasses coming as I had killed all the old stuff off before turning and leveling. The ground is very moist to very wet in places and not so bad in others. The grass is thinest in the wettest places. It also seems to be almost gravely due to the heavy rain throughout the winter. It is still extremely soft with anything other than light steps when walking creating a footprint about 20mm deep.

What I want to know is what should I do next? I hired a sower and lightly re-sowed the entire lawn to help improve its appearance and speed up the thickening process. I also gave it a light sprinkling of 20-10-10 fertiliser. Should I give it a light roller? or just be patient and let nature do its thing over the coming spring and summer. I'd really like to improve the smoothness of the ground and take out some of the lumps and bumps. I'm pretty sure the uneveness of the growth is exaggerating these as well.

thanks for reading and any comments etc are welcome, oh and I'm very new to this gardening thing so any help is greatly appreciated

Jonny
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right.......... You should not fertilise it in its first year give it a chance to establish.
As for leveling it, if you used a machine for sowing the seed it would have stiched it in and rolled the lawn at the same time so I would wait a while to see how it settles, rolling it will not remove hollows you may need to put a mixture of sharp sand and peat on top and use a long ladder with a weight on it to level it off.
Drainage could be a bigger problem and should have been dealt with when doing the origional groundwork. you get what you pay for. sometimes the cheapest job can work out to be the most expensive.
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well just a quick update, I think I posted prematurely, the sod seems to be building up now and leveling out the lumps and bumps, the soil seems to have drained well and the ground is now firm enough to walk on. In places the ground is still very patchy with weeds beginning to take over the patchy places. I've cut the lawn 4 times this season so far and I'm looking to cut now every 7-10 days from now on. What do people recommend for combatting the weeds and getting grass to grow instead?

regards

Jonny
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kep cutting every 7 to 10 days while the grass grows. Most of the annual weeds will die off eventually as the grass smothers them, Perennial weeds if they are large enough can be removed by hand, Next season you can start a lawn maintenance programme of weeding and feeding. any chance of a pic...
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I thought I'd get a few pictures up to show you as I know what its like reading a post without them, please excuse the quality, I took them from my blackberry quickly this evening which was damp and miserable. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the look I'd be very grateful.


Lawn 1-1.jpg
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Lawn 1, this is the most patchy part which also has the most weeds. You can also see the variations of green shades as well.
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Lawn 1 - 4.jpg
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There is a destinct change in the quality of the lawn about half way up the slope I'm not sure what is causing this.
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Lawn 1 - Best-1.jpg
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This Picture shows the part of the lawn with the greenest and thickest sod. it also happens to be where the house sheltered the lawn from the winter weather.
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Lawn 1 - Worst - 2.jpg
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The most patchy part of the lawn
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Lawn 1 Worst - 8.jpg
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An example of some of the weeds
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Lawn 2 - 1.jpg
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Lawn 2, this is the most consistent lawn of the 2 but it is still not perfect.
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Lawn 2 - Worst 7.jpg
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There is a destinct fade of grass the closer it gets to the edge of the kerb but only on this section.
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Lawn 2 - Worst 7.jpg


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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last pic. This is off the rear plot behind my house. I have plans for it a few years down the line but for now I'll leave it wild. I actually like the wild look but I'm sure the farmers with fields next to me don't appreciate it!! Rolling Eyes


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Greengage
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks good, the strong grass in the Pic is a perennial grass it can be chopped with a spade and will eventualy die off as it is smothered by the other quick growing grassses.
The change in grass quality could be caused by drainage as water runs off the slope putting the grass under stress, it could aslo be caused by poor quality soil,
Lookinfg at the last pic Iam guessing you imported a lot of soil.
I would keep cutting every 10 days removing only 1/3 of the growth giving it a chance to grow back and strenghten. and give it a light feed in the autumn, come the following spring i would give it a feed of 7-6-17, this would be a low nitrogen feed this will improve the growth of the plant above ground and high potash feed for the roots.
I would also spray it with MCPA which will kill any persistant weeds in the lawn after that get a good mower and enjoy your garden.
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply Greengage. When I was building, a farmer local to me was digging out for a new silo and needed to dispose of some soil, around 100 lorry loads were put into my plot and the field next to me free of charge. I suppose its the compaction of the dozer as it was leveling out the back that encouraged the rushes.

There are several types of top soil on the plot and I don't know how evenly spread they are so its quite likely some of the discolouration is due to this. Do you recommend putting down a weak mix of a non grass killing weed killer to discourage the growth of the weeds now or next year? Should I sow some more grass seed on the patchy parts?

Since I posted a few days ago I have been looking at several lawns local to me. I might be biased but there are very few lawns that are as green, and the few that were sown around the same time as mine are all very brown and weak looking. ( I'm quite high up in the sperrins!)
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh lovely part of the world.
No weedkiller until next year, reseed where its patchy.
A mixture ot topsoil and subsoil would seem to be the problem.
Wait until nest year for weedkiller if there is a problem then feed up high in the mtns ask what the local farmers put out and put that on 10-10-20
now lots of peolple will dissagree with me but if you want it to grow and want it green and have time to cut it go for it.
it will leech out of the soil over time but thats another problem.
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I unexpectantly got a surprise from a local fly past this weekend. This is the view of my garden from the air.


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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Greengage is correct in diagnosing the mixture of top soil and subsoil, which you got into the site and while dressing with10 10 20 or 7 6 17 will help the major elements, however it is the minor or trace elements that will make the difference. The physical qualities of the soil are also important. The soil must be able to allow air to permeate and not form a solid lump. From the pictures there is no need to use a weedkiller to kill annual weeds. It might be worthwhile applying a liquid feed to the poorer areas rather than over all the area.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your input. Very helpful as well. What do you recommend to improve the physical properties of the soil? I've heard that Manure is good and possibly mulching as well although I'm not too keen on mulching until I've the weeds under control. Also I have a picture in my head of the garden covered in a thick layer of Manure to get it evenly covered!! Rolling Eyes

I've been told recently that mulching doesn't work so well in this country as the soil temp. should be above 8oC where soil around here is normally around 5oC, is this correct?

regards

Jonny
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only way to improve the soil physically is to dig it and incorporate farmyard manure or compost or moss peat. Potatoes or cabbages are good crops to help break up the soil but a spade and fork are also needed. Story of mulching and our temperatures being too low is I think false. I believe in mulching especially the lawn as I have never collected the mowings off it
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)

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Greengage
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cut large areas twice a week with a mulching machine with no adverse effect on the lawns, because we cut twice a week there is no build up of grass or thach.
Seeing as you are in a rural area you could spread FYM (Well rotted) over the lawn during the Autumn this will rot down and wormns will work it into the soil over the winter months. Farmers used to spread this by hand over large aras in the past with a fork, I remember helping do it in the late 70s three of us on holidays a days work, even today the fields are as green as you see in the tourist brouchers, maybe you could get a local farme r to drill it into the ground if he was trying to get rid of some. Looks good from the air you can see the surrounding countryside and you have an aosis in the middle, you may always have a fight on your hands to prevent Nature taking it back.
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well guys, its been a year since I've posted here. My garden has now become infested with all sorts of weeds and grass weeds. The soil has settled considerably leaving a lot of humps and bumps etc. I felt I was left with no choice but to start over. I've killed the lawn now about 2 weeks ago with 2 applications of a glyphosate based herbicide to ensure I've got everything and in 2 weeks time I will be cutting what dead grass there is, aerating with a core aerator, scarifying as close to the soil as possible, leveling the humps and bumps, top dressing about 15-20mm with a mixture of good top soil and grit sand, lightly rolling in a starter fertilizer followed by lightly rolling in the grass seed.

What I believe most of my problems to have stemmed from ( apart from the guys I hired to do the job) was the very heavy rain after initial seeding which caused ruts etc for weeds to establish. I naively thought the grass would thicken, how wrong was I? I should have over seeded correctly, fertilized with the correct fertilizers more frequently and lifted weeds as they started to appear. I also think the grass sown was too much of a fine grass and not strong enough for my soil conditions so this time I'm putting in a sports field mixture for a bit more hardiness instead. And I'm doing it myself on my week off!. What do you guys think of this method?

Jonny
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