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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guys, I think I've found the source of my grass not doing well which has led to the weeds overtaking my lawn. Leatherjackets! Sad Quite a lot of them. I found almost as many as I did earth worms when digging out a large hump today. Although the work I'm doing now would have been needed to a large extent, if I'd investigated the dying grass further and much earlier I'd have discovered this and been able to rectify it before the weeds took over negating the need to kill everything off. Rolling Eyes Anyway now that I know its a problem I can deal with it and hopefully have a thriving lawn in a couple of months time. Fingers crossed anyway.

I've bought bauerngarten multipurpose lawn seed at a considerable expense to ensure I've got good quality seed that is able to cope in a wet (ish) environment and top dressing with decent screened top soil. So far everything is going to plan, I've punched the ground and scarified the dead grass and weeds away which gives a nice base for top dressing.
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:51 pm    Post subject: Update Time Reply with quote

Well I've still not sown out due to me seriously under-estimating the work involved in spreading topsoil by hand. I ordered 3 x 20 ton loads of topsoil mixed with grit sand to help improve drainage and have now covered the entire lawn. The rough level is now complete via a 2ft rake and I've finished final leveling of just over half the lawn. I'm finding that dragging a 3ft kerb stone, which has a beveled edge, through the rough level is evenly distributing the soil and evening out the lumps and bumps. At the same time it is firming the soil but not compacting it. I then drag a square 7ft timber fence post over the lawn in several directions which moves the soil nicely around to level the lumps and bumps even more without any further firming. It makes easy work of leveling and as the soil is redistributed with every pass there is extremely little wastage. I'll post pics later. I'm just in sheltering from the extreme heat and sun, hopefully I'll get out again in an hour or 2 to finish off.

As it is still probably too hot to sow I'll water the soil regularly for the next week or so and see what weeds appear and then zap them. Then I plan to sow out and water by hand / sprinkler hoping to get a decent growth before the rain comes again.
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forest flame
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

at least the soil should be like powder with all this lovely weather.look forward to seeing the pics.good idea with the kerbing
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Good guy
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Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's making me exhausted, just reading about it! Good to hear from someone who just won't give up and who is prepared to try a variety of solutions to get what he/she wants.
I hope your seed sprouts well after all this lovely rain, as it is very difficult to get good germination with irrigation alone.
Don't forget the deck chair!
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update!

My lawn has come up really well in the past 2 weeks since I've sown out. Everything is looking lovely and green Very Happy.

But and its a big But; I've got an infestation of Mare's tail peeping its head up. It reared its head shortly after I killed the lawn so I sprayed it off using a glyphosate based weed killer not knowing what kind of weed it was. This seemed to work so I continued with my work. It wasn't in my lawn before I started working on it and I don't know where its come from but its taking over Fast! Crying or Very sad . I'm trying to keep it under control by plucking it as I see it most evenings which can't be good for the young grass seedlings. I know there is little I can do about it until the grass matures and online reading suggests its dies away over winter before coming back in the spring so if I try to hand weed until the spring and then see about applying a forestry selective weedkiller which is supposed to kill everything except grass hoepfully this well help curtail the problem which I know can grow very quickly out of control.
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forest flame
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

personally i think you should let the grass come up and when its long enough cut it and as it strenghtens up it will choke the mares tail out.by next season it should be nearly gone.the more you cut the grass the stronger it gets.
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:38 pm    Post subject: A few pictures! Beware 56k users :D Reply with quote

Well Guys,

A few pictures for you as promised to take a gander over. Better late than never. there are a few taken on 01/08/2013 two days after sowing and then pictures taken this evening 10/08/2013. Any comments are welcome as always:































The dark patches in the next picture show where a cow jumped the wall a week after sowing out. I was a bit miffed as I should have known the wall was too low to keep them out. There wasn't too much damage, a little rake over, a bit of extra top soil and sprinkling of extra seed. Job done. I then put a bit of electric fencing wire across the pillars as a temporary measure to keep them out.










And a few arty farty shots showing the mares tail:













And the ground next to mine where I killed off before sowing out. As you can see the mares tail is extremely strong here.



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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also another project I took on just after completing the lawn. The back plot got extremely overgrown so I hired a Billy Goat heavy brush cutter as recommended by the hire company. This was tough going and I doubt if the hire company knew how thick it was that they would have let me hire the machine. It took me about 10 hours in total over 2 days working for up to an hour at a time before taking onboard some fluids and a quick 15 minute break. It certainly wasn't as easy as demonstrated here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkACpG5IlCcI
I thought moving topsoil with a barrow and rake was tough but this was something else altogether.

This machine just ate through saplings with 2.5-3" trunks. I'll let the pictures do the talking.











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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

forest flame wrote:
personally i think you should let the grass come up and when its long enough cut it and as it strenghtens up it will choke the mares tail out.by next season it should be nearly gone.the more you cut the grass the stronger it gets.


It turns out this advice was spot on. The mare's tail has all disappeared in the lawn as the grass grew. The lawn has thickened now extremely well and was a nightmare to keep at a nice height as it grew vigorously over August and September. I was cutting twice and sometimes 3 times a week to keep it in check. Thankfully with the colder weather coming in this has dramatically reduced to 1 cut every week or 2. I did notice a lot of daddy long legs on the lawn this year again so I'll have to treat for leatherjackets shortly.

I'm very happy with the appearance of the lawn and with the way it has thickened up. There are some large leafed weeds here and there but nothing to get upset about. I'll treat these next May.

The grit added to the topsoil has really improved drainage to no end with no boggy spots anywhere, the regrading may have helped as well as I removed all the hollows but all my hard work seems to have paid off.

So that's the lawn sorted, now to some landscaping. Anyone any advice on selecting plants for year round colour and interest? Very Happy
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Sive
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about establishing a lovely native hedge on your boundaries with some dog-rose, viburnum and fuchsia mixed in for added colour ? You are then helping the local wildlife and you can enjoy all the many birds that will start to frequent your garden.
Sometimes the most magical things in life can be the simplest.....and it's hard to beat birdsong and the sight of birds on feeders hanging from your trees.....which I hope you have started to plant by now !!!
It is a wonderful year for acorns, so if you put some into pots right now and take care of them as they sprout, you'll have maginficent trees in 10 years time....for free......
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it looks like I've spoken too soon. I'm really depressed today as last night 8 cows got into my ground and completely trampled and ruined my lawn. The cows belong to a farmer who rents a field from another local farmer. There has been a gap in fencing that cows have been coming in and out of for a couple of years now . They can usually be seen at least twice a week. Everyone in my road is completely sickened of this man but he will not repair his fences.

I got hold of his phone number and he came over to inspect the damage and then said 'what the f**k do you want me do'! I know I hadn't my gate closed last night which is my problem so all I could say was 'fix the f******g fence'. He disputed who was responsible for fixing the fence to which I pointed out he was responsible for the cows and therefore responsible for where they are kept. If the fence isn't in good condition why put the cows there?

I know I'm going to offend some people here but farmers are complete dicks when it comes to owning up to responsibility in my experience anyway.

Rant over but not feeling any better
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it's been 11 months since my last post on this. The lawn has really come up well this year. The sward is very thick and I'm now mowing it to about 1 1/2 to 2 inch height. At this time of year I'm still mowing every 5 days but we have had an unusually sunny September. I have applied two light feeds of 10.10.20 fertiliser this year which more or less created silage each time. I just couldn't keep up with the mowing regime which was every 4-5 days but even at that I was probably cutting a good inch of the grass! It has settled well now though and I've resolved to not applying aggressive or agricultural based fertilisers from now on.

What I have been doing recently is mulching my clippings as much as possible. Sometimes I collect the clippings if I think the grass is too long though. I've been surprised at how this has transformed the grass from a pale green / yellow tinge to nice even green. There doesn't appear to be a build up of rotten material in the soil either which is good. I was also surprised at the total lack of material sitting on top of the lawn after cutting. The mower seems to be doing a very good job of working the clippings into the ground.

I have had a lot of weeds come through lately but I'm sure the seeds are coming from neighboring plots so I have decided to accept that I won't have a weed free lawn until my hedge has matured. I have tried to keep on top of it but the worst weed is the wild grass. After these grasses seeded this year the edges of my plot have been sprouting up grass where I had put down bark mulch to dress the hedge area. it is quite depressing but now that I know where the weeds are coming from I can try to control it as best I can until the hedge can provide the protection. Next year I'm going to source some lawn sand to help control the weeds, provide some soil conditioning and help green the grass.

Does anyone else know of any other low cost ways of controlling weeds and conditioning the lawn? I hate paying the over-inflated prices of the products aimed at the city gardener as my lawn care would run into hundreds of pounds each year. I like the idea of lawn sand as it is only around 10 for 20kg which is enough to do my lawn several times over.
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Good guy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One simple way of dealing with the coarse grasses that appear from time to time is to hack at them with a knife, criss-cross, deeply into the soil. They will die off after a couple of treatments and the lawn grass will take over. I am happy to have daisies and buttercups in the lawn, but when seeds of other plants take root (blown in, on bird's feet etc) I try just to hand weed every noe and again. But then I don't have a lot of lawn and I'm fairly relaxed about it.
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