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ATLawn's 2018 Lawn Journal

4327 Views 20 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Movingshrub
Here we go! The beginning of my lawn adventures in 2018. Here's what I've done since the D word (dormancy) last fall:

- built a fence around the back yard in December (pics to come)
- Ended up scalping and applying pre-emergent in mid-February, after an incredibly warm month. I knew the cold wasn't over but soil temps forced me to get a weed barrier down.
- Got the McLane in for a complete pre-season checkup/maintenance.
- In the beginning of March, my wife and I brought home our first four-legged family member. Our Pup's name is Quincy, and he's a 12 week old Aussiedoodle. I'm really excited that this year the lawn will serve a daily function, as a place where our pup will play and spend time!
-I've mowed twice since scalp day, once about a week and a half ago, and again today. My guess is by this time next week I'll need to start a regular mowing schedule, as the temps are gradually climbing. I also sprayed a hefty start-of-the-season dosage of Holganix Bio 800+ (compost tea on steroids) in an effort to really kick greenup into high gear.

For a little context on my lawn journey thus far, here is my initial journal entry from last year:

This will be the first truly full season of lawn care since I bought my house in Oct 2016. So much of last year was spent in recovery mode and playing catchup, so I'm excited to get out ahead of things this season.

Here are some of my main goals for the season:

- stay under 1" for as long and as much as possible
- In order to to make way for extending my patio, I'm transplanting plugs from one area and trying to establish a large strip just off the edge of the backyard. This will be my main project in 2018. For anybody with experience establishing lawns with plugs, would love your insight! This project will add some uniformity in shape to the entirety of the backyard, as well as add some square footage. Would be really cool to see full establishment by the end of the season. This project will start at the beginning of MAy.
- I'm pretty much out of town from the middle of June through the middle of July. Right before I leave in June, I'd love to Saclp, verticut, aerate, and level with sand. I've been wanting to tackle a leveling project since last year, so being pretty much gone for a month straight seem like a good time to let the lawn recover.
- My wife and I are going to try our hands at growing some vegetables/herbs this season, so we'll see how that goes!

That's about all I can think of at the moment. I also want to be much more consistent with my documentation, so hopefully this lawn journal will help me do that. I'll upload some pictures tomorrow to let everyone see what I'm working with this year! For now, I'll leave you with my favorite photo from last season. Cheers and good luck to everyone in their lawn endeavors this year!

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Colonel K0rn said:
the ProPlugger is what I suggest you try, and for what it's worth, I would treat the area that you're planning on transplanting plugs to with PreM, since those dirt cores will be going back into your donor site. Last thing you want to be doing is transplanting weed-laden dirt back into your lawn.

That PVC cleanout though :fool: ! Shame on the contractor for doing that. Any chance you could lower it so it's not an obstacle in the middle of the yard? Might have to dig up some dirt around it, but that beats having to avoid it constantly.
Oh you already know the proplugger is ready to go! :thumbup: I've been applying preemergent on that area since the fall, so hopefully we should be good there.

With the cleanout, yeah, super bummer there. In between that and the utilities meters next to the tree, the front isn't too enjoyable to mow. I looked into cutting down the cleanout last year, but shied away bc I read sometimes city ordinances prevent you from doing so and people can get in some trouble. I may take it up with the city soon though to see what can be done.

Thanks CK!
Snapped a few shots today. Here's where I'm starting out 2018:

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Cut the grass today! Well, barely. I cut .1% of the tips of green grass blades dispersed ever-so intermittently through the yard. While I was cutting the back, out of the blue, I heard an awful noise from the mclane, followed by a loss of torque to the drive wheel. I looked down and the chain for the drive wheel was on the ground. The master link on the chain somehow completely failed, so I took a quick trip to Ace Hardware and got some replacement master links. An interesting twist to my mow to say the least. After that I put down bag rate (.9 lb of N per k) of Dr. Earth Super Natural Fertilizer. First time trying it so we'll see how that goes! I then dropped bag rate of some ironite. With warmer temps coming this week I wanna give the grass a jumpstart! Cool temps tonight, followed by a cool rainy day tomorrow, and then hopefully we've had our last dip down back into the cold.

Will post some pics when the lawn is really greening up!
Thankfully I was able to find the link!
Got in a quick cut this afternoon. Hopefully the rain helps this green up out!
Last week I but down a bag of Milo, cut once or twice. This has been such a long greenup, but I think we're finally getting into warmer temps, for real this time! With multiple days in the 80s this upcoming week, I have a feeling my bermuda is about to take off. This afternoon, wanting to give it as much help as possible I made a hose-end sprayer concoction of 8 oz/k of Holganix bio 800+ And 8 oz/k of a fertilome root stimulator 4-10-3. It's a product mainly designed for flowers, shrubs, and gardening, so it didn't have a rate on the label for lawns. I just kinda hoped 8oz/k would be okay. Just curious, when measuring lb/k of nitrogen, how does it translate from granular fertilizer to liquid? I assume the rates have to be different. Would love some insight here.

Anyways, Here's where we're at as of today. Lighting isn't great but oh well!

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Okay, I'm starting a small lawn expansion project this weekend and wanted to do a write-up to document the process but also request advice/insight/lessons from experience. First, here's a photo for reference as I begin the write-up:

My plan is two fold with two goals. 1) Establish that bare strip of dirt by plugging from the area just left of the patio. 2) Turn the area left of the patio into an extension of the existing patio with pavers. Basically I'm going to try to pull as many plugs as possible from that area (80~ sq ft) and try to turn it into 200 sq ft of established bermuda over the the course of the season. I've already got bermuda spreading into the strip from last season so hopefully in between that continued spreading and the plugging, I'll see 75% ground cover by dormancy. Fingers crossed!

Here is my proposed method:

5/4 - Prep Ground to receive plugs.

- remove all rocks/debris from surface
- try to level/grade existing soil as much as possible with landscping rake
- pull 4" plugs with pro-plugger, 6" apart to have all receiving holes pre-dug.
- fill all pre-dug holes with 2"of 1:1 mix of sand and peat moss
- light sprinkling of organic fert in each hole

5/5-5/6 - Pull/transplant bermuda plugs

- pull as many plugs as possible, at 2" with pro-plugger
- soak each plug, until saturated, in Holganix Bio 800+
- transplant plugs and fill as many holes as possible
- level/topdress area with same mixture of sand/peatmoss to encourage spreading and support moisture retention
- spread 1 lb/k of balanced 13-13-13
- water in/begin routine of watering 15 minutes, 5 times per day
- level/topdress as needed

How does this look??? Trying to cover all my bases. Please, let me know if there's anything you'd add or take away from my method. I think I've got a good plan, but definitely feel like I'm shooting from the hip on this one as this is my first experience trying annything like this...

Excited to get to work!!
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Finished phase 1a.... and I am beat! Tomorrow morning begins the actual plugging. Everything went according to plan today, but man, so many rocks and compacted soil that made prepping plug holes the WORST. Excited to get back to work in the morning and transplant some grass!

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Okay... lots to catch up on.

5/5 - plugged the new strip I'm trying to establish. It took way less sq ft from the donor site than I was expecting to fill all the holes I had pre-plugged. When I have a free weekend soon I may just fill in the gaps until I have no more space from the donor site. Anyways, it seems to be going well as most all of the plugs have remained green and been displaying vertical growth. I may sand level the area soon to support lateral growth. Here are some photos of the progression:

The rest of the lawn is coming along nicely. I applied the initial application of Penterra last week, and man, that stuff is wild! It's been great with all the rain we've had recently. The back has filled in much better than the front, still waiting for a large section of the front to fill in, but it'll get there. The main problem I'm having is with consistency in texture across the lawn. Maybe it's because it's just early in the year, but some parts of the grass are the ideal fine texture of well manicured bermuda, while other parts are very broad-textured and seem to be dominated by bunches of stolons. Somebody help me out here. Will this be corrected with time as the season progresses? Mowing every other day at .87" so I'm hoping it's just a matter of patience.

Here are a few photos after my last cut yesterday!

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Had a two-day break in all this rain, so decided to shoot my shot and aerate the lawn.... And my parents'.... and my in-laws'.... all before noon. I'm dead! First time ever renting and using a core aerator so I made sure to watch plenty of youtube videos in preparation. Honestly, I think using a reel mower for the last year or so was a great warmup for using an aerator. It has a similar feel when it comes to the fundamentals of operating it, at least imo.

All in all, I probably aerated 10k sq ft this morning. At my parents' and in-laws' I just left the plugs on top, since they maintain their grass considerably higher than mine. After I finished 2-3 passes on my lawn I: 1) raked up all the cores 2) rotary clean-up 3) reel cut to finish.

What I did next, I'm not sure was a good idea or bad one. Who knows. The decision was founded purely on, "eh, what's the worst that could happen". As I was raking up dirt cores, I also was raking up a bunch of sprigs/stolons, and thought, "hmm, a few people on TLF have sprigged their yards. What are the chances of getting some of these sprigs/stolons to propogate in the area I'm trying to establish with plugs right now?" (scroll up for context)... So I basically gathered all of the dirt cores and sprigs/stolons and sprinkled them over the area as evenly as I could, trying not to smother the already established and growing plugs. What do you guys think? Could this maybe work? Is this totally NOT how sprigging works? tbh, I've done very little reading on sprigging so I'm admittedly ignorant on the subject.

Anyways! Here's photos from today!

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