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RE: Zoysia Grass and Weed Control (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: texas-weed on 03.29.2007 at 11:40 pm in Lawn Care Forum

Bleu,

As I stated earlier Zoysia lawn care is a simple as it gets, other than buffalo grass and clover. Once established it shouldnt require pre-emergence or post emergence because it forms a extremely dense sod that chokes out all weeds assuming you provide what it needs.

Here are the basic steps. I will include pre-emergence but keep in mind you shouldnt need any in the following years if you follow this advice. Not sure where you are, so the time lines will need adjusted to your area.

First week of March apply a pre-emergence, followed by a second application 6-weeks later

Once the grass is about 50% green in the spring, apply a balanced fertilizer at a rate of 1-pound of nitrogen per 1000/ft2. Repeat with another application of nitrogen only 8weeks later. Use a quality slow release type fertilizer. Avoid fast release ammonia nitrate or sulfate. You want to find one that uses coated urea for slow release, and a small amount of ammonia nitrate for an immediate boost. DO NOT OVER FERTILIZE ZOYSIA, IT WILL ONLY THATCH UP. About 6-weeks before you first frost apply a winterizer fertilizer.

It is good practice to check for thatch every spring after it is completely green. If needed plug aerate and power rake. If you top dress, do this just after you aerate. Use sand or compost or a mixture of the two. If you are using pre-emergence, apply second application just after you aerate NOT BEFORE

Water only when needed, about 1-inch per week all at once during the warmer months. The idea is to water deeply to encourage deep root growth and let the surface dry out to prevent weed seed germination. Once you know what to look for your grass will tell you when it needs watering. Dont over water it. There are two ways the grass will tell you. 1 is color change from the leaf blades s curl and expose the under side. 2. Walk on it and look behind you. If your foot prints do not disappear, it needs water.

Keep it mowed fairly short and often with a mulching mower. It is a good practice when you see the first blades of green to cut it really short to remove all the brown dormant growth and bag the clippings. This will help it green up faster. Just don't scalp it. Since I do not know what variety you have, I am just going to say 1-inch, mow when it gets to 1-1/2 inches.

NOTES:

ZOYSIA CARE GUIDE
clipped on: 05.07.2007 at 05:14 am    last updated on: 05.07.2007 at 05:14 am

RE: Which Type of Grass?? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: texas-weed on 03.03.2007 at 03:34 pm in Lawn Care Forum

Ok for preparing the bed there are several ways you can go depending on budget and sweat equity. I will list a few ways from most effective. Whatever you DO NOT TILL. Now for the hard part. YOU HAVE TO WAIT till the soil warms up to at least 70 degrees. That will probable be sometime in May. Trying any sooner is futile with seed.

The most effective means is to hire someone with a tractor and box blade to come in and re-grade the area. They can bring in top soil while doing it to improve grade and fill low spots to help with drainage issues. Takes about an hour or two and when finished you are set and ready to go. No need to spray, break your back, or do anything other than spring for the 100 to 300 dollars depending on area and size.

The next two methods are variations of each other.

About a month before seeding, spray the area with Round-Up, wait two weeks and repeat. This will leave you two weeks for the last application of RU to de-grade. Scalp the area with a bagging mower or a regular mower. Remove as much of the debris as possible. Now here is where you can choose 1 of the two methods..

Sugar Coat Method: Spread a thin layer of top soil, sand, peat moss or what ever floats you boat. It should be as uniform as possible. A yard tractor makes the job pretty easy by using a home-made drag matt made out of chain-link fence supported by a 2x4 frame and weighted down. Once completed seed and roll.

Power Rake or Till: OK so I said no tilling, but in this case you only till about 1 or 2-inches deep. Or rent a power rake. What you are after is loosening the top 1 or 2 inches of soil for a seed bed. Again a lawn tractor and drag matt helps the grading process. Once finished, seed and roll.

Watering is extremely critical. You cannot skip this process starting from seed. The seed bed must be watered at least twice a day to keep the top surface soil moist. Once the grass has been mowed once, you start backing off.

Weeds: Nothing you can do to prevent them starting from seed. They are going to happen. You take care of that later. All you can do is hand pull the weeds until the grass is well established up until like August. After August you can then start spot treatment using a post-emergence herbicide. You get real control in the Fall by using a Pre-emergence like Dimension or AMAZE, and repeating again next spring. So be prepared for weeds this summer.

Fertilizer: Your soil test indicates your soil is Nitrogen and Potassium poor with plenty of Phosphorous, and great PH. All in all you are in great shape as the Nitrogen and Potassium are easy fixes, just cost money. What you will need to find is a good store that sells fertilizer. Look and see if you have a LESCO in your area. Farm stores are also good places to look at. What you want is a slow release urea product in a 2-0-1 ratio or as close as you can get to it. Some examples are 40-0-20, 30-0-15, and 20-0-10. You will need to apply enough product every thirty days starting in spring and ending in October to put down 1-pound of nitrogen for every 1000 ft/2. So if you use something like 40-0-20, you would apply 2.5 pounds of product down for every 1000 ft/2.

Mowing: Wait till the grass gets up to about 2-inches then mow it down to 1-inch. Keep it at 1-inch by mowing ever three or 4 days, and never let it get above 1-1/2 inches after the first mowing. If you keep it mowed, water correctly, and fertilized it will thicken up nicely and help you get control of the weeds.

Good Luck

TW

NOTES:

This is the best "How-To" guide to starting a lawn I've seen.
clipped on: 04.20.2007 at 03:21 am    last updated on: 04.20.2007 at 03:22 am

RE: 'Aerate (if you think you must, sigh) ' (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: dchall_san_antonio on 08.23.2006 at 03:54 pm in Lawn Care Forum

metal said, You will have a tough time finding a professional who thinks aerating is a waste of time.

I agree and would change that statement to this, "You will have a tough time finding a profe$$ional who thinks aerating is a waste of time." Aeration is definitely a profit center for the pros.

You can increase the microbial health by the following

1. NEVER use a commercial chemical fungicide including sulfur, sulfates (including ammonium sulfate or magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts)).

2. I would never use a broadcast herbicide. If you need to spot treat individual weeds, that's one thing, but the widespread use of granular herbicide, I believe, is a no-no.

3. Water deeply and infrequently. Or water V-E-R-Y slowly and V-E-R-Y deeply with a soaker hose (see below). This provides the right environment for fungi to grow far and wide. Picture a loaf of bread that just started to get green mold on it. If you don't throw it away right away, within 2 days the entire loaf will be engulfed with the mold. The same thing can happen in your soil. The fungi can grow fast and furiously when given the right environment. That's what you're after.

4. Spread a ground grain at 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. If you're in a hurry, do this every month even through the winter. There is no reason to wait for a rain unless you are using a pellet type and don't want to water.

For anyone not familiar with my philosophy on this, here goes. A mechanical aerator can punch several hundred holes per 1,000 square feet up to 4 inches deep. A healthy fungal population can punch 10 million V-E-R-Y tiny holes per square foot and those holes can go several feet deep. It is the fungi or lack thereof that control whether you have a soil that can quickly accept large amounts of moisture or one that opens up into deep cracks when it gets dry. The perfect soil acts just like a sponge: when dry it is very hard (and no cracks) but when wet it is very soft (and not muddy). And, like a sponge, when it is very dry water will roll off for a short time before it opens up and drains in.

The watering technique I like is one I developed with a professional greenskeeper from Phoenix (on this very forum several years ago). If anyone has any suggestions to improve it, I'm all ears (or eyes). I stretch a black soaker hose out on the high side of my lawn. I connect the soaker to the faucet with another hose to give me flexibility and keep the mess off of me. Then I turn the faucet on to a trickle (slightly faster than drips) and leave it on, 24/7, for a week. After a week I move the soaker 18 inches (or to the edge of the wet line at the surface) and continue to water from that spot for a week. After a week I move it to the next spot down the hill. When I finish the entire yard like that, I start over and do the entire thing again. Then I do it again. After the third time you should have excellent fungal basis in your soil. If you try to do this faster you risk drowning the fungi. They must have air all the time, so flooding the soil will give you the opposite effect.

The first time I did this my soil was so soft I thought it was a little dangerous to walk on. When the soil was wet it was like walking on beach sand, and when dry it was like walking on concrete. But an hours worth of water would return the softness again.

While we're here, this is what I consider a compacted soil. A soil that was muddy and had a herd of livestock walk through it is compacted. If your soil has been rolled over with heavy equipment when the soil was dry, is not compacted. Livestock on muddy soil will drive every bit of air out of the soil leaving a killing zone for the fungi and ultimately giving you what is known in agriculture as "pugged" soil. You can come in after it dries and dull a shovel on it. A pick is needed to break it. But Nature has another way to compact soil. A driving rain on bare earth can compact the soil. The repeated impact of the raindrops will rearrange the surface and orient the granules so that no air can get in. If you are familiar with the North Texas Panhandle and New Mexico, you are familiar with "caprock." Caprock is a geological feature that can be a few inches to many feet deep. It is the result of Nature's driving rains over the eons where there was no grass to prevent the direct impact of raindrops. It is a natural adobe called caliche and reminds you of concrete - except that standing water and a little agitation will melt it away.

Was that too much information or what? Not even 1,000 words. I must be getting rusty.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 04.17.2007 at 06:02 am    last updated on: 04.17.2007 at 06:02 am

RE: recommend month for overseeding (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: bpgreen on 04.16.2007 at 01:32 am in Lawn Care Forum

Part of the reasoning behind deep, infrequent watering and mowing high is that it makes it more difficult for seeds to germinate. When the seeds that could germinate are weed seeds, that's a good thing, but when you're trying to establish new grass seeds, that's not so good, so when you overseed, you turn the rules upside down.

Before overseeding, you want to gradually mow lower until the grass is as low as you can cut it. You may need to mow more frequently, and you'll probably need to rake the clippings. You do this because you want to increase the amount of seed-to-soil contact, and also because you want to give your new grass time to get some roots before you mow so the suction of the mower doesn't pull the new grass out before it can grow.

It can be a good idea to do a core aeration just before seeding to expose even more soil to the new seeds.

After you seed, if it's possible, spread a thin layer of fine compost over the seeds. This covers the seeds and helps keep them damp.

Some people also roll their lawns (whether they spread compost or not). This helps ensure better contact with the soil.

Once you have the seed down (and compost/rolling done if you did that part), you want to water several times a day, just long enough to get the surface wet. You're not trying to help the roots of the established grass; you're trying to keep the surface/seeds damp so the seeds will germinate and start to grow. If you won't be able to water for a few weeks, try to do it when the forecast is for steady rain for a while (not the torrential thunderstorms, because they can wash the seed away).

Once they've started growing, gradually cut back on the frequency but increasing the length of the watering, first only once a day, then every other day, twice a week, then once a week, adjusting for natural precipitation.

Delay mowing as long as possible to give the new grass a chance to get started. Don't let the grass get out of control, but try to give the new grass a chance to get some roots.

Here is a link to an archive of an old thread that had a good schedule for lawncare. Read the whole thread if you have time. Pay particular attention to the posts by bestlawn on Jan 12 (especially the part about "from now until the end of forever") and Jul 22 (has better, more detailed instructions on the watering schedule). If you prefer an organic approach, there's some information from Dchall in a May 14 post, but there's more detail in the Organic Lawn Care FAQ.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 04.16.2007 at 03:00 am    last updated on: 04.16.2007 at 03:01 am

RE: Aeration of a lawn (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: lawndivot on 12.28.2006 at 01:09 am in Lawn Care Forum

Deerslayer
Thank you. I am pretty much in agreement with everything you said on this thread. I thank you because you reminded me about the need to reseed , heavily, every time you aerate and dethatch the way I tried to explain how I do each.I reseed every season of the year, except in the summer time. My idea is to never let my lawn get old and weed infested. Always look for better seed and use them. I just use about a third of the seed that you would use if you were seeding a new lawn. As to aerating bunch grasses, your probably right there. I have no experience with bunch grass, so I can't speak about that type of grass.Evidentally you know bunch grass or you wouldn't have said so. I learned something from you. Thanks Lawndivot

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clipped on: 04.15.2007 at 08:07 am    last updated on: 04.15.2007 at 08:07 am

RE: NO overseeding right after aeration?? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: macfisto on 08.18.2006 at 04:32 pm in Lawn Care Forum

Yes, that seems to be a concern that some people may be having. Im trying to do all of this as inexpensively as possible, but I still desire a quality result. That is why Im springing for a highly recommended blue label certified seed. If I could skip the aeration step and go right to overseeding (after scalping the lawn and applying a starter fertilizer), that would certainly save time, effort, and money. Plus, after reading that some people believe that aerating might actually hinder the seeding process if using a slit seeder (which I am), Im strongly considering skipping the aeration. I have already purchased the Orbit automatic watering system, so that wont be a problem. If anyone sees a problem with my approach, please let me know!

Thanks,
Rob

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clipped on: 04.15.2007 at 06:39 am    last updated on: 04.15.2007 at 06:39 am

RE: Aerating Lawn Question (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: lawndivot on 09.16.2006 at 01:31 am in Lawn Care Forum

bobsgt235
That seems a little high, but it is also a lot of work. Most lawns eventually need to be aerated in order to stay healthy and viable. There is no reason to panic here though. Nothing says you need to do the whole acre and a half at one time. If you want to do it yourself, do a quarter acre in the spring and a quater acre in the fall. Just continue doing this each season in manageable lots and your lawn will thank you. You do know you should fertilize and reseed lightly after you aerate? One mistake a lot of people make when renting an aerator or power rake is this, they find it is a lot of work and is pretty tough work so they run the machine for a while and quit. May as well have never started.I go by a rule of thumb that you should cut 30 holes per square foot. I can hear some guys gasping and saying never happened. Believe me this works beautifully. I aerated my lawn and power raked it 8 days ago and aerated more than that and today after a couple rains you can't hardly tell I aerated. If you decide to do this yourself rent a Bluebird aerator from Home Depot. After your finished ask them how much they want for that aerator. If it is 2 years or more old they will sell it to you for a good price. These baby's are expensive but worth it after you get a system going.If your doubtful or hesitant about what I suggest, pick out a spot , a couple hundred square feet, that is hard to see and do it like I do. I'm laying odds, next year you will be doing the whole lawn this way. I have been doing this way for over 30 years, so this is no rash advice.. Good Luck, I hope your grass is forever green.

NOTES:

aeration info
clipped on: 04.15.2007 at 06:22 am    last updated on: 04.15.2007 at 06:22 am

RE: Is this a good size Koi pond (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: ccoombs1 on 04.11.2007 at 12:55 pm in Ponds & Aquatic Plants Forum

4' depth is good enough, 6' deep is even better especially where you live. 4' depth is only going to give you 1400 gallons or so, which is really very small for a koi pond. the fish will survive....but they will never achieve the growth or build that you see on large koi because the pond is too small for them to exercise properly. Koi need depth to swim up and down, but they also need to be able to swim distances. Plus the volume is really small. Even at a very heavy stocking rate of one koi per 250 gallons, you will only be able to have 5 or so koi. I prefer a stocking rate of about 1 koi per 500 gallons.

If you go with a 10' diameter pond instead of 8, you can get 2335 gallons and if you go to 12' you can get 3300 gallons. Increase the depth to 6' and you will get 2200 gallons from 8' and 3500 gallons from 10' diameter. You should also plan to put in a bottom drain that connects to the filter. That will make the environment so much healthier for the koi.

You have a good start with your plan.....just see if you can get a little more volume out of it. Trust me....more water is much easier to keep stable and healthy than less water.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 04.12.2007 at 02:07 am    last updated on: 04.12.2007 at 02:07 am