Lawn Care Forum banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, I'm new here. I live in Arkansas and have a bermuda lawn. In the past, I've had a company treat my yard, irrigated very little and mower at 2-3" every 7-10 days. Recently, I've gotten the lawn care itch. I took over fertilization and weed control myself. I bought a manual reel mower and I've been mowing this year at 1" which means every other day recently. I've put together my own schedule/program that consists of milorganite with occasional synthetics (plus grubex). The lawn looks pretty good and I'm about to buy a gas reel mower (probably a tru cut or California trimmer). Not sure I can keep mine as low as some of you.

What I've been running in to are some thin patches, unevenness of the yard making it hard to get a super smooth cut. I've tried "too dressing" but it didn't turn out super well. I've filled in some low spots slowly with sand. Plan on aerating/overseeding/top dressing this fall. I feel like my lawn has plateaud and I'm not sure how to get to next level. Any quick tips (I've browsed site some).

I've attached some pics of first of spring vs now. I've also got a bare spot that i dig out and seeded (just starting to get bits of grass).






 

·
Administrator
Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
Joined
·
12,864 Posts
Welcome! It looks like you're off to a great start, and you're definitely in the right place. We are lacking Arkansas members, so I'm glad you're here. :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
dfw_pilot said:
Welcome to TLF!

Before buying the Cal Trimmer or Tru-Cut, make sure it's what you really want.
While I'd like something like a toro greensmaster, I'm not sure I can maintain at that level. I'm mowing at 1" now and not sure I can go lower due to scalping. I MIGHT try 0.75" but even then I'd be afraid that it would turn brown and die so I'd lose all my progress. I'm looking at cali and trucut because they are reasonably priced, can mow at or above an inch and honestly those are the only ones I seem to be able to get my hands on. Only place I can find greens mowers is eBay and rarely have shipping (not driving 8hrs to pick up a mower)

Any good ways to level/flatten a lawn without starting from scratch?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,272 Posts
Do not worry about the thin and bare patches they will fill in when the temperature stays hot as long as you are giving the lawn enough water.

You said you plan to overseed? Do you mean overseed with some cool season Rye Grass for green throughout the winter or overseed with Bermuda because its thin in some spots? If it's the ladder with Bermuda you would be better off not doing so. Your lawn was most likely sodded with a hybrid Bermuda variety. Any seed you get will 99% be of lesser quality. Like I said above the lawn will thicken up once the temps stay consistently high, enough so you'll have a hard time pushing that reel through it.

Welcome to TLF
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good to know. I'll avoid the overseed then. I'm still unsure how to fix all the lumps and bumps and if I should get a "residential" reel mower or jump for greens mower. Looks like I can get a Jacobsen 526A that can mow up to 1.25" if I choose.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,720 Posts
Just keep on mowing. The lower 👇 you go, the thicker the turf will get and fill in and green up. You just have to suffer through the ugliness of the yellowing for a bit.

What would also help a lot would be thatching out a bunch of that crown above ground root stuff. Like MQ did in his journey back into the lawn. This will also help you to cut lower without the scalping.

I would wait and be patient on a greens mower. A lot of people on this forum started out with a trucut, mclane, or Cal trimmer and ultimately moved to a greens mower. Myself included and I cut Kentucky bluegrass. The greens mowers are better and are easier to maintain.

As for unevenness, your just going to have to bite the bullet and do a lawn leveling. No magic way to fix that one. It's hard work but worth it. Do a search here on leveling Bermuda lawn. A bunch of folks here have done it with great success with myself included on a cool season lawn.

We are glad your here. Look forward to seeing your progress.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,344 Posts
I know how you feel about the low height of cut for a greens mower. I went with a Tru-cut for that and the ability to handle slopes easier. You can certainly get a terrific looking lawn with a Tru-cut or Cal Trimmer, but if you browse around here a little you will see what these guys are talking about. Some of these guys really embody "taking it to the next level".

Personally I'm happy with the Tru-cut, but I have to admit that I also regularly look to see if I can find a tee/collar setup on a JD that would extend the cutting height to around 1.5". The prices usually smack me back into reality given the fact that I have one in college and two more that will be in the next few years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
wardconnor said:
Just keep on mowing. The lower 👇 you go, the thicker the turf will get and fill in and green up. You just have to suffer through the ugliness of the yellowing for a bit.

What would also help a lot would be thatching out a bunch of that crown above ground root stuff. Like MQ did in his journey back into the lawn. This will also help you to cut lower without the scalping.

I would wait and be patient on a greens mower. A lot of people on this forum started out with a trucut, mclane, or Cal trimmer and ultimately moved to a greens mower. Myself included and I cut Kentucky bluegrass. The greens mowers are better and are easier to maintain.

As for unevenness, your just going to have to bite the bullet and do a lawn leveling. No magic way to fix that one. It's hard work but worth it. Do a search here on leveling Bermuda lawn. A bunch of folks here have done it with great success with myself included on a cool season lawn.

We are glad your here. Look forward to seeing your progress.
So you think I can/should go lower than 1"? If I do I think I'd have to stair step down (lower a notch every day or so until I get what I want). Also on the above ground roots (stolons?) - is that what groomer is for?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,720 Posts
Step it down and see what happens.

I am not a warm season guy so hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong. I'm assuming, other than Un levelness, the stolons/heavy thatch layer above ground are what is causing you to "scalp". I know when I transitioned to a reel this was my issue. I could be wrong. After I thinned it, the reel cut much better.

You could gain a lot of ground quick with a "slice seeder" vertical cutter machine to thin out the canopy and get that stolon layer thinned. Just don't add seed to the hopper on the machine. This could also help a little with the bumps if you have any. It could be late in the season for that. Not sure as I live up north.

No need to worry about thinness. Mowing regularly and regular fert will thicken you up in a snap.

I'm pretty sure the Bermuda won't die. People can't seem to get rid of it even when they try to.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,272 Posts
wardconnor said:
I'm pretty sure the Bermuda won't die. People can't seem to get rid of it even when they try to.
That's a big 10-4. Bermuda is the Walking Dead of turf grasses. I recently sprayed my grass with roundup and it started coming back within a couple weeks. It's possible to kill it but you really have to be trying to.

Also wanted to add if your thin spots are under a tree or in a decently shaded area the Bermuda grass will suffer. Bermuda hates shade and needs a lot of direct sunlight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Most of my bare spots are next to things (landscape edging, fence, electric box) and the thin spots are just sporadic. Both are getting better with time. I can DEFINITELY tell a difference since I quit letting my yard guy mow at 2" and I started mowing myself with reel mower at 1". For the first week or 2 it looked short but struggling but since then it's really greened up and gotten pretty thick. I'm just impatient and want a fairway/outfield lawn that's smooth and striped. Right now it's got more thin spots than I like and is lumpy haha.

I looked at that other thread and didn't see how he leveled. I'll search the boards (it was close to midnight).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I kind of did my own test a few weeks ago. By test I mean I dug out the worst thin spot. About an inch down I found 2 softball size rocks. Ended up digging out about 6in down in a 8x8 square. Filled back in with sand and top soil and seeded. Surrounding grass is creeping over it as well as the seeds sprouting in the middle.

I saw the thread on top dressing and leveling a lawn. That scares me to death! The pics look like the yard is complete dirt! I feel like my luck is that it would never come back haha. Plus I have 2 kids of my own and lots of kid neighbors that would probably ruin my level 🙄
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
859 Posts
Welcome! First of all, your lawn is looking great already. Looks real healthy and dark green.
Quetion: how big is your lawn?!
Everyone's correct, all the thin spots will fill in with proper watering/fertilization. The ones that don't, then doing more rock removal might be necessary.
As for leveling, don't be afraid of killing your bermuda because you won't. I mean look at this guy (ware), he has attempted to kill his twice and it has just come back even stronger and nicer lol



If I were you, I would just spread sand over what you have and it will grow right through. I did this on a side strip with no issues. I didn't scalp or detached it, I just mowed it, spread sand over it, and watered it in. I went pretty heavy too. It might take a about month for it to recover, but you'll be happy with your results. I would use about 1 cubic yard per 1k sqft. Then once it grows in, you can touch up and reapply as needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I might just give the sand leveling a whirl. I have read that there are certain kinds of sand you don't want to use (because of minerals?) because it will harm the grass. The little amount i've used has been for play sand (washed for kids to play with and actually says ideal for top dressing).

Also, how old of a greens mower would you be comfortable buying? I can find a 2002-2004 for <$500. Next jump seems to be $1400+
 

·
Administrator
Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
Joined
·
12,864 Posts
Iriasj2009 said:
...As for leveling, don't be afraid of killing your bermuda because you won't. I mean look at this guy (ware), he has attempted to kill his twice and it has just come back even stronger and nicer lol...

So yeah, here is the same spot, less than 2 weeks later... I went extra heavy with the sand in this area.

 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top