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Powhatan's 2018 Lawn Journal

27505 Views 180 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Captquin
Located in the transition zone. New home construction completed in Oct 2016 on a several acre wooded lot that includes a small private fresh water lake. It's my understanding that the local woods have never been harvested. We're sharing the woods with several wildlife animals that sometimes wonder onto the lawn.

Edit: Added application quantities, some additional comments, and pictures.

My ground soil is a mix of Remlik and Nevarc soil series. The 0" to 3" level is loamy sand, 4" and lower is loam/clay/silt/sand mix layers.

Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab results collected Apr 2017

Oct - House completed. Home builder put down fast growing annual ryegrass, looked pretty but by the following Jun it had all died off.

2017 - First year establishing new lawn

  • Hand-pulled weeds during the spring and summer: foxtail, crabgrass, sericea lespedeza, clover, dogfennel, spurge, and nutsedge.
  • In Feb plug aerated and dormant overseed turf-type tall fescue coated (Scotts Southern Gold Mix) - rainfall irrigated. I knew the contractor's annual ryegrass would die during the summer, so wanted to put something down that would hopefully establish.
  • In spring amended with dolomitic lime 40#/M and Black Kow compost, in fall amended with Pennington Fast Acting lime 6#/M
  • In spring and fall growing season put down mostly Milorganite 5-4-0 with some Scotts Turf Builder for Southern Lawns fertilizer 32-0-10 approximate 80/20 mix. My soil is loamy sand which doesn't hold nutrients well, so I felt using mostly slow release fertilizer would be better. Yearly estimate nitrogen applied: 4.21#N + 25% (recycled grass clippings) = 5.26#N/Yr
  • In Jul lawn went dormant, early Aug grass greened up with rainfall. I estimate about 60% of the Feb dormant overseed survived the summer.
  • Early fall plug aerated, amended with Black Kow compost, and overseed turf-type tall fescue & hybrid bluegrass (Southern Belle) and perennial ryegrass coated (Scotts) - hose sprinkler and rainfall irrigated. I put down the grass mix for a better chance of establishment.
  • Late fall after first frost date put down Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard 32-0-10

Sep - Overseeded for the second time of the year. Back yard coming along well considering, but the front seem to lag behind.

2018 - Second year establishing new lawn

  • Hand-pulled weeds during winter and spring: mouse-ear chickweed, spurge, marestail, bulbous buttercup, hairy bittercress, poa annua, dandelion, virginia pepperweed, dogfennel, sericea lespedeza, and deer-tongue grass
  • Early Feb amended with Pennington Fast Acting lime 7#/M
  • Mid-Feb dormant overseed KY-31 tall fescue coated (DLF Pickseed) - snow melt and rainfall irrigated. I decided to go with KY-31 because I noticed it growing well in the gravel road ditch in front of the house where the acidic soil has never been conditioned, and since it was doing that well there, I felt it surely must do very well in conditioned fertilized soil. Plus, I've read that the KY-31 is very heat & drought tolerant.
  • Late Feb put down Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for new grass with Weed Preventer (mesotrione) 21-22-4 & Milorganite 5-4-0 approximate 80/20 mix, then month and half later put down another round of the same 80/20 mix.

  • Early May put down GrubEx and Bayer Advanced Complete Insect (ticks) Killer
  • Mid May rained for a week and seasonal heat & humidity levels rising, suspected fungal presence so put down Scotts DiseaseEx at the preventative+ rate 2.3#/M.
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Lots of warm sun yesterday that dried the grass blade tops; I mulch mowed lowering HOC from 4" to 3.5". The soil at ground level below the grass canopy still feels quite damp from previous week's rainfall, so I'll lower HOC to 3.25" in the next few days to allow more airflow. Hand-pulled some sericea lespedeza, deer-tongue grass, and dogfennel weeds.

The daily humidity average levels are 80%+ now, so hopefully the combination of Scotts DiseaseEX (azoxystrobin) preventative treatment and lower HOC will keep the fungal pressure to minimal.
Surveyed the lawn this afternoon, overall it appears to be dark green and healthy, but noticed some minor fungal activity mainly located on the side of the house that receives minimal morning sun. Fungal diseases appear to be mostly Net Blotch, with some Rust, and possibly Brown Patch. I plan to lower HOC to 3.25" to allow more airflow to help dry wetness.

Net Blotch in Turf
Rust in Turf
Brown Patch in Turf
Purchased Garden Safe Fungicide3® Concentrate (Ready-to-Spray) which contains neem oil extract. I'll try it if the small patch I found of rust appears to be expanding. According to the product information: "an effective fungicide for the prevention and control of various fungal diseases including powdery mildew, black spot, downy mildew, anthracnose, rust, leaf spot, botrytis, needle rust, scab, flower, twig and tip blight, and alternaria."
Ridgerunner said:
Great home-site. Lawn appears to be coming along nicely.
I've mentioned in a few previous posts that at times I clear weeds in the gravel road ditch in front of the house. The gravel road is a private non-state maintained road.

Jul 2017 - after I've push mowed and used various hand lawn tools to reduce weeds. I also trimmed up the low hanging tree branches lining the road. I routinely knock down the new growth weeds in the ditch area so they hopefully don't seed to populate more. Tall weeds are sericea lespedeza, a deep root plant (weed) that was brought to the US for road erosion control. They grow tall 3' to 6' and their seeds stay viable in the ground 20+ years. These weeds are real pain in the ... to get rid of. I hand-pulled many of them in my lawn last summer. I've only seen a few appear in the lawn so far this year, hopefully they won't be as bad.
I thought the deer earlier in the year had eaten all the hybrid bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, but to my surprise I noticed some still growing near the perimeter of the house.

Raccoon cooling off from humidity and taking a peek from a tree close to the house. I put GrubEx down earlier this month, so hopefully he won't tear up the lawn looking for grubs this year.

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In the two weeks I put down Scotts DiseaseEX (azoxystrobin) the air temperatures have been mid/high 80s, humidity high 90s, with daily isolated thunder showers. The fungal pressure in the lawn doesn't appear to be increasing, it almost seems idle to more of a decreasing look to it, if that makes sense. The lower HOC 3.25" for more air movement and DiseaseEX must be doing their job.

I plan to spray organic Garden Safe Fungicide3 Concentrate (Ready-to-Spray) the next time I mow as an additional fungal preventative. Then a few weeks later spray organic NATRIA Disease Control for another preventative shot. By late Jun, I think brown patch will be the number 1 disease to watch for & suppress.
social port said:
Tall is right.
Did you say what kind of hybrid bluegrass that is? I didn't see anything mentioned in previous posts. Maybe I overlooked it.
SPF 30 and Fahreheit 90.
I plan to get Southern Belle again and mix with KY-31 next time I overseed.
I mulch mowed yesterday keeping the HOC 3.25" setting, but in the process broke the 1/3 cut rule. Rained daily just enough this past week to keep the grass wet and yesterday was the first full dry day.

Brown Patch has appeared. I've only noticed one infected blade after I spot checked the entire lawn. It's located in the front lawn near the gravel road. Coincidently, I noticed two days ago a deer-tongue weed in the gravel road ditch that also had brown patch. The tall trees lining the back woods with the house block the morning sun to this area, therefore taking longer to dry, of course the daily high humidity now doesn't help.
"Chance of rain 100%. 2 to 3 inches of rain expected." - What chance, it's happening right over our house now. :roll:
vnephologist said:
Powhatan said:
I plan to get Southern Belle again and mix with KY-31 next time I overseed.
I'd forget the KY-31. It'll be the source of all your fungal troubles. Not to mention the fact that as it ages it'll get really large and clumpy. :-( I'd just stick with the Southern Belle mix unless you want to grab something else from one of the online vendors.
@vnephologist thanks for the advise :thumbsup: It'll be curious to see how the varieties KY-31, TTTF, and HBG compare going through the heat & drought after the summer dormancy period ends.
Used the Stihl pole pruner to delimb low hanging tree branches in the gravel road area. Hand-pulled some dogfennel and sericea lespedeza weeds. Mulch mowed at HOC 3.25" setting, a few areas were a little higher than the 1/3 cut rule. Sprayed unwanted grass clumps growing on the edge of the gravel driveway with EcoLogic Weed & Grass Killer. First time using that product, we'll see how well it works.

Still have random minor net blotch all over the lawn and I found a few more brown patch lesions. Put down BAYER ADVANCED Fungus Control For Lawns granules (propiconazole) at the preventative+ rate 2.3#/M. This is the second fungal preventative applied for the year. Previous was put down almost three weeks ago on May 21, Scotts DiseaseEx granules (azoxystrobin) also at the preventative+ rate 2.3#/M.
A neighbor with the help of his John Deere front loader carved out and smoothed a spot for my new Graceland Utility Shed's arrival.
EcoLogic Weed & Grass Killer - it works! A little over 24 hours later grass is dying.

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Past 30 days the average high air temperatures have been climbing to upper 80s with humidity 85%+, rainfall precipitation decent 1" average weekly event with daily chance of an isolated thunderstorm.

Rain amounts been sufficient to keep lawn green allowing good foot traffic rebound, but grass blades are starting to exhibit slower growth & summer stress.
Mulch mowed at HOC 3.25" setting, a few areas were higher than 1/3 cut rule. Fungal pressure is still very minimal with random net blotch and no new noticeable brown patch lesions. Official summer start is next week and I'd normally would raise HOC, but I believe the turf is comfortable staying at 3.25" for now. Monday is forecasted to be almost 100F - yikes.

Weed pressure is almost non-existent. I've only had to hand-pull a very small amount of dogfennel and sericea lespedeza weeds within the last two to three weeks. PreM doing it's job or calm before the summer weed storm :|

It's been about a month since the last lawn granular insect (ticks) preventative treatment went down, so plan to put down organic granular EcoLogic Lawn & Yard Insect Killer (ticks) within the week. Living close proximity to a wooded area, the ticks are a constant problem during spring and summer.
Put down 40 lbs of granular EcoLogic Lawn & Yard Insect Killer (ticks) @ 3#/M. Sprayed unwanted grass clumps and weeds growing on the edge of the gravel driveway with EcoLogic Weed & Grass Killer. Mowed weeds growing in the gravel ditch area in front of house, both sides of the road.

Saw this growing in the gravel driveway, appears to be smooth crabgrass. I sprayed it with EcoLogic Weed & Grass Killer, we'll see how it responds.
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social port said:
I've been enjoying this thread.
I read earlier this week that you were holding a favorable opinion on ecologic.
Any reason to think that the crabgrass won't respond?
Thanks for following along. :wave:

No particular reason why the crabgrass won't respond, other than I've never used the EcoLogic product on weeds and just not sure what will happen.
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