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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to try to keep up with the lawn a little better this year than I did last year, and I am already off to a bad start. It is seeded bermuda, and probably the worst available kind of seeded bermuda. Before I discovered the teachings of all you lawn Yodas, I didn't know there was more than 1 kind of bermuda, and I stupidly didn't do any research. The backyard was solid weeds about 3 feet high. When I mowed them all down, it looked like a dirt patch. Not liking that, I went to Home Depot, bought a bag of bermuda seed, and spread it out by hand (again, having no clue what I was doing). Fast forward to last year, I started reading more, learned about fertilizers, pre-m, backpack sprayers, mowing low, etc. Bought a lot of the right equipment and supplies, and a lot of the wrong ones, but I think I can make it work.

Available equipment/supplies:

Great States manual reel mower
Chapin battery backpack sprayer with the fancy wand that is recommended to build
Greenlight Amaze pre-m
Celsius, surfactant, tracker dye
2 4D
Glysophate
13-13-13 fertilizer from Tractor Supply (soil test from early 2016 said my lawn was in BAD shape)
Earthway 2150 broadcast spreader
Enough supplies to mix BLSC for the rest of my life
Micros that my lawn needed that I never put down in 2016
Wheelbarrow, pickup, shovels, landscapers rake, etc, etc, etc.

I sand leveled my lawn last year, but it definitely needs it again. I went from occasionally hitting the dirt when mowing at 1.25" to occasionally hitting the dirt when I scalp to 0.5". HOC was 1" last year, and will probably end up at 1" again this year, at least until I get a chance to do another round of sand.

Oh, size of the lawn is in the neighborhood of 1200-1400 sq ft. I don't remember exactly, I'll have to remeasure at some point.

I'm not looking for perfect, I'm just hoping for pretty good. Want to be able to comfortably walk around barefoot, have a nice patch for kids to play, and for it to look pretty alright. I think that's going to be pretty doable this year, and if I don't have much luck, i'll just kill it all and sod with tifway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unfortunately, I leave to go out of state for 2 months on Sunday, so anything I do now, will be the last my lawn gets (aside from mowing) for until mid-May. Suggestions? Recommendations? I'm thinking of putting down some 13-13-13 fertilizer, getting the scalp in, putting down some Pre-M (even though its really too late, as there are already tons of weeds), and then on saturday (first of a few days where it'll be over 85 degrees), an application of Celsius.
 

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So someone will be mowing whilst you are away? If that person/team can do it as often as possible, tell them to keep it as low as they can. That will put you ahead in mid May. By May, you may even be able to re-scalp to just under where you want to maintain it. It will look brown for a week or so, but then really take off with the heat.

It's always a good idea to put out pre-emergent herbicide, even if you have weeds. Maybe you'll catch some crabgrass seeds and maybe you won't, but if you haven't been putting it out, the best advice I can give is to just start. Then, once you've started, just keep applying two to four times yearly and keep the barrier down. Each season the weather changes, new sets of weeds appear, so having the pre-E barrier down will help year round, and keeping it blanketed will help you.

I would skip the addition of 13-13-13 fertilizer this early in the year unless you know the people mowing will keep on top of that job. Otherwise, I'd just start fertilizing when you get back home and can mow regularly. Nitrogen feeds, but doesn't last long, so any lack of green will bounce back when you fertilize upon your return. If you really want to fertilize, you can try something really slow like Milorganite or Texas HouActinite (probably even better and cheaper than Milo for you).
 

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As a "neglected" lawn, it looks great! Proper fertilization, irrigation, and mowing go a long way. I'm curious what seeded Bermuda you put down. It seems to be doing better than expected at 1". The common Bermuda that naturally filled in the largest portion of my backyard doesn't seem to do so well under about 1.5"

Just to expand on what DFW was saying about the pre-emergent. You don't want to apply this 2 - 4 times per year at the full rate. If the application rate is based on twice a year, then divide it in half and apply it four times a year. If it's based on applying once a year, then you can divide the application rate in half and apply twice a year.

Although coverage may be a little weaker, you will get coverage over a longer period. It helps to mitigate the issues of timing.
 

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Wes said:
As a "neglected" lawn, it looks great! Proper fertilization, irrigation, and mowing go a long way. I'm curious what seeded Bermuda you put down. It seems to be doing better than expected at 1". The common Bermuda that naturally filled in the largest portion of my backyard doesn't seem to do so well under about 1.5"
Here is my common Bermuda, no idea what cultivar but nothing special I assure you. It was mowed at 3/4" every 3-4 days, fertilized at 1#N a month and Primo'd to the Maxx!

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wes said:
As a "neglected" lawn, it looks great! Proper fertilization, irrigation, and mowing go a long way. I'm curious what seeded Bermuda you put down. It seems to be doing better than expected at 1". The common Bermuda that naturally filled in the largest portion of my backyard doesn't seem to do so well under about 1.5"

Just to expand on what DFW was saying about the pre-emergent. You don't want to apply this 2 - 4 times per year at the full rate. If the application rate is based on twice a year, then divide it in half and apply it four times a year. If it's based on applying once a year, then you can divide the application rate in half and apply twice a year.

Although coverage may be a little weaker, you will get coverage over a longer period. It helps to mitigate the issues of timing.
The seed was Scotts Bermudagrass Turf Builder from Home Depot. That's all I can tell you. I haven't played with different mower heights, but I'm pretty happy with how it looks at 1". Would love to go lower, but that's not a possibility right now. Maybe after I get to level again, this summer.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Scotts-Turf-Builder-5-lb-Bermuda-Grass-Seed-18353/203761039
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
J_nick said:
Wes said:
As a "neglected" lawn, it looks great! Proper fertilization, irrigation, and mowing go a long way. I'm curious what seeded Bermuda you put down. It seems to be doing better than expected at 1". The common Bermuda that naturally filled in the largest portion of my backyard doesn't seem to do so well under about 1.5"
Here is my common Bermuda, no idea what cultivar but nothing special I assure you. It was mowed at 3/4" every 3-4 days, fertilized at 1#N a month and Primo'd to the Maxx!

Your lawn looks amazing. That's pretty much all I could hope for.
 

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J_nick said:
Wes said:
As a "neglected" lawn, it looks great! Proper fertilization, irrigation, and mowing go a long way. I'm curious what seeded Bermuda you put down. It seems to be doing better than expected at 1". The common Bermuda that naturally filled in the largest portion of my backyard doesn't seem to do so well under about 1.5"
Here is my common Bermuda, no idea what cultivar but nothing special I assure you. It was mowed at 3/4" every 3-4 days, fertilized at 1#N a month and Primo'd to the Maxx!

Interesting! As I was typing my response, I wondered how Primo might change things. I also must admit my backyard is truly neglected. The only input it gets is what mother nature provides - with the help of an aerobic septic system that seems to be turning the middle of the lawn into a swamp. When I have used the reel back there and taken it below 1.5" the stems get very "woody" and creates a crunchy feeling under foot. I have never committed to a low HOC for long though, so I might not be benefiting from forcing the lateral growth.

The image of your lawn makes me want to experiment a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wes said:
When I have used the reel back there and taken it below 1.5" the stems get very "woody" and creates a crunchy feeling under foot. I have never committed to a low HOC for long though, so I might not be benefiting from forcing the lateral growth.

The image of your lawn makes me want to experiment a bit.
Gotta take it lower than where you want, to get rid of the "woody" stems. If you want 1", cut it to like 0.5" first (i don't know specifics, that's just what i use, because its what my mower allows), then raise your mower to 1", for the normal cuts after the scalp cut. The leafy parts of the grass will be nice and soft, and feel amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
dfw_pilot said:
So someone will be mowing whilst you are away? If that person/team can do it as often as possible, tell them to keep it as low as they can. That will put you ahead in mid May. By May, you may even be able to re-scalp to just under where you want to maintain it. It will look brown for a week or so, but then really take off with the heat.

It's always a good idea to put out pre-emergent herbicide, even if you have weeds. Maybe you'll catch some crabgrass seeds and maybe you won't, but if you haven't been putting it out, the best advice I can give is to just start. Then, once you've started, just keep applying two to four times yearly and keep the barrier down. Each season the weather changes, new sets of weeds appear, so having the pre-E barrier down will help year round, and keeping it blanketed will help you.

I would skip the addition of 13-13-13 fertilizer this early in the year unless you know the people mowing will keep on top of that job. Otherwise, I'd just start fertilizing when you get back home and can mow regularly. Nitrogen feeds, but doesn't last long, so any lack of green will bounce back when you fertilize upon your return. If you really want to fertilize, you can try something really slow like Milorganite or Texas HouActinite (probably even better and cheaper than Milo for you).
Well, I went with your advice, kinda. Scalped, string trimmed, put down some milo (didn't feel like spending a ton of time trying to find HouActinite for a few dollars saving on a single bag), put down pre-m, and am watering now.

Should be able to put down some Celsius on Saturday, and get in 1 cut Sunday morning, before I won't get to see my lawn for a couple months, and it'll be in the hands of the girlfriend to keep the grass short. She usually does a pretty good job of it.
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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I too am late to the party but like Red said, I think you have it pretty well under control. I think the Pre-M and Celsius are the two most important things you can do to set yourself up for success when you get back. Good luck and I look forward to following your progress this year!!!
 

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gijoe4500 said:
Wes said:
I'll be honest. I'm a little scared of trying to maintain a 1" HOC back there. There is roughly 14k square feet back there. The 10k in the front keeps me busy enough. :shock:
I'm totally jealous. Between the front, the back, and the sides... I only have 2500 total, max.
Don't get me wrong, I like the big yard, but it's a lot easier to get 2,500 square feet to "crazy-nice" turf quality than 24k square feet. There are pros/and cons to both - in my yard, I never run out of things to do. Imagine mowing all that space every three days! That's why I just maintain the front 10k as "quality turf" and let the back do, what ever it does. I've thought about installing St. Augustine back there just because it's relatively low maintenance.

I guess this might be a situation where the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wes said:
Don't get me wrong, I like the big yard, but it's a lot easier to get 2,500 square feet to "crazy-nice" turf quality than 24k square feet. There are pros/and cons to both - in my yard, I never run out of things to do. Imagine mowing all that space every three days! That's why I just maintain the front 10k as "quality turf" and let the back do, what ever it does. I've thought about installing St. Augustine back there just because it's relatively low maintenance.

I guess this might be a situation where the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
I suppose that is true. I mostly just want to have more room for outdoor type activities. One of the only downsides of living in the subdivision that I'm in. The next place will definitely have more room, even if it means more work to maintain. Hell, I can't even justify getting a powered reel mower. My twice weekly mows with a manual reel, only take me about 15 minutes MAX. It almost takes longer to get the stuff out of the garage than it does to actually do the mowing/trimming.
 

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gijoe4500 said:
My twice weekly mows with a manual reel, only take me about 15 minutes MAX. It almost takes longer to get the stuff out of the garage than it does to actually do the mowing/trimming.
:shock:

With my TruCut, I can spend 4 hours mowing, trimming, edging, and blowing if I do the front and back. My wife can't usually stand to be in the house with the little ones that long. I view this as her problem, as she could easily take them to do something more fun for the three of them, but she loves me, and doesn't like to leave the house without me... so I don't argue. I split the front and back up on different days.

I can usually get by doing the backyard once on the weekend (again common bermuda with an increased HOC) and the front yard as needed (about twice a week during the peak of the summer).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wes said:
gijoe4500 said:
My twice weekly mows with a manual reel, only take me about 15 minutes MAX. It almost takes longer to get the stuff out of the garage than it does to actually do the mowing/trimming.
:shock:

With my TruCut, I can spend 4 hours mowing, trimming, edging, and blowing if I do the front and back. My wife can't usually stand to be in the house with the little ones that long. I view this as her problem, as she could easily take them to do something more fun for the three of them, but she loves me, and doesn't like to leave the house without me... so I don't argue. I split the front and back up on different days.

I can usually get by doing the backyard once on the weekend (again common bermuda with an increased HOC) and the front yard as needed (about twice a week during the peak of the summer).
Sounds like you need some T-pac!
 
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