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Ral1121 lawn journal 2018

10633 Views 78 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Austinite
Hi new here and wanted to introduce myself and have a place to show my lawn and as questions.

First off, I am a newbie and am just learning about lawncare and second this is the start of the 3rd summer for my lawn which is Bermuda. I am guessing it is Tif 419 which I believe is what most contractors use in new build neighborhoods. House is almost 2 years old. I am located in San Antonio, tx as well.

My goals for my yard are to someday have it look as nice as Ware's yard which I am no where close to. That is long term though.

For this year, I want to be able to maintain my yard at .75" hoc since I just purchased my first reel mower, a 1997 McLane 17" powered reel. As for the mclane, I want to get a front roller and basket for it at some point this year. I am hoping this unit can last for the next few years before I go out and get something nicer. Maybe a greens mower or even the new swardman.

Here is the McLane. I know a lot of people don't like them, especially the 17" model but I am excited and feel it is a good solid starter reel for me that I picked up for $100. All I had to do was rebuild the carb. Reel and bedknife we're already sharp and cutting paper.

As for my yard, I only have around 3000 sq ft to take care of. 1000 in the front and 2000 in the back.
Things I want to accomplish this year
- level front and back ( back more difficult because of dog)
-get the watering down correctly( do not have a sprinkler system and am currently hand watering 2 times a week)
- I want to get rid of all weeds( have put down celcius and certainty as well as Scott's halts)
-. Just want my yard to grow in thick and healthy.( It is currently struggling)

What I have done so far
- sprayed herbacides ( certainty and celcius)
- pre emergent down 1 month ago
- scalped my yard for the first time 6 days ago 3/15/18( front at around .5 and back around .75. back is not as level)
- I put down milorganite at 1 lbs per 1000 as well on 3/15/18
- 3/16/18 I put down molasses and shampoo both at a rate of 3 oz per 1000. Will be repeating the shampoo this weekend.

Now I am just waiting for the lawn to come back strong. A little nervous because I do not see much new growth coming from the front yard.

Here is my front yard scalp 3/15/18

Here is what it looks like 6 days later

I will get pictures of the back tomorrow which is in worse condition.

What do y'all more experienced lawn experts think about what I have done so far and how long does a scalped yard take to come to life. Other yards in my neighborhood have already completely greened up but they all maintain at around 2".

Also here is a pic of what the front looked like before scalp so you can see what kind of condition my yard is in.

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Finally had some time to snap a few more photos of what I am starting with.

Here is a couple picks of my back yard. I am actually surprised at how quickly it seem to be coming back to life. I definitely had problems with weeds and my English pointer wore it real thin while it was dormant running around the back. It needs to be leveled better and was scalped at around .75. I am going to maintain a little higher then the front yard.

Here are a couple of problem areas. This first is my side yard on the north side of my house. Grass does not get enough sun so it is pretty non existent. Not sure what I am going to do but open to suggestions.

Next is also my side yard. I want to level the area around the boxes and cover but not sure how to go about it. They stick out of the ground quite a bit and I don't know if I want to bring the parts around it up or remove some dirt around the boxes.

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Killbuzz said:
@Ral1121 Looking good. I don't live too far away from you. If you need some assistance I would be happy to stop by and give you some advice/a hand. When you are ready to start leveling you can borrow my drag mat.
Thanks for the generous offer. I will pm you when the time gets closer. I am currently trying to get the lawn to completely green up first. My plan is to tackle the leveling first. Once my yard is green and growing,. I am going to do a either one round or two of pgr to help encourage horizontal growth and stimulate the roots. After that I will level the front for sure.

On the back I am thinking about doing it in 2 zones. I have a pointer that loves to run and will quickly undo any work I have put in. Just means I will have to have her on the leash to let her go to the bathroom outside for a few weeks. Not looking forward to that.
Fishnugget said:
Good job Ral, I think your on the right track by attacking and killing those weeds. You probably do want to get irrigation down, it will make life a lot easier. I can't imagine watering my lawn by hand. I could never do it.
I wish I could do an in ground irrigation system but I do not have money for that right now with a baby on the way, due in May. I am thinking about building a new above ground system, one I would not have to move around as much as the one I have now and got tired of. I don't think I have put enough water down by hand watering.

This is what I have used up until this point

This is 6 heads and several hoses to move around(4 times just to do the back). It covers a 30x15 area and puts down an inch in about 45-50 mins.
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Fishnugget said:
Nice!! I would keep that for now until your more settled with the baby. I actually thought you were outside watering by hand. That setup looks to be effective the only thing like you stated is you will have to move it around.

Irrigation does cost money. I spent $650 for the labor and probably another $600-800 on parts and that was for a 1700 sq ft. lawn but I also added drains. If your backyard is 1500-2000 sq ft you will probably somewhere around $500-600 or more in irrigation. Then if you add a fancy Rachio Controller it goes up from there. Just giving you and eyeball figure on cost, based on what I paid.
Thanks I will have to keep that in mind. I held off on doing an irrigation system when we built the house a couple years ago because we were going to add an outdoor area at some point so I did not know how much grass we were keeping in the back
Well hit a snag today. My McLane needs sharpening. Hopefully I can just backlap and it will be good to go but i have to wait for lapping paste to come in. When I got the mower it was cutting paper, now it won't cut paper at all after an adjustment. Reel was not even contacting the bedknife. Anyone ever dealt with a blade going dull that quick after a scalping? If it does not cut paper, it just rips the grass correct?

I did get my watering figured out though and went with Hunter phone adjustable rotors.
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Well tried my hand at backlapping for the first time today. Was able to get my McLane cutting paper again but seemed like I had to adjust the reel and bedknife real close to where they scrape. Do not k ow if that is normal with McLanes. Starting to get the itch to pick up a greens mower now.

Did get 3.5" of rain today and notice a bunch of old clippings collecting on top of the yard. Guess this means I need to verticutter or dethatch? Is it ok to do it while my grass is still recovering from a scalping a couple weeks ago?

Close up of front after I brushed as much as I could off

What I was able to brush off

Backyard examples

Front after I broomed as much as I could off
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@Ware I guess I will let it dry out and try running my rotary over it several times more to see if I can pick more clippings up tomorrow.

I really wish I had found this site before I bought my McLane. I might have gone straight greens mower or at least passed on the McLane and waited for one to pop up with a grass catcher. Really do not feel like spending $150 on a catcher when I only paid 100 for the mclane in the first place. I do really need one though.
@Flynt2799 how about I save you money so you can just go out and get the greens mower. Because we all know as soon as I sell you my McLane, you will soon want to upgrade. It's an addiction. I am already dreaming of all the other equipment I want and what I can upgrade as well!
@Flynt2799 my plan is to get my yard more level this year and then upgrade to a greens mower for next year. I'm about to get hit hard again in San Antonio. We need it here in San Antonio but why cant it be spread out and maybe an inch every 5-7 days over the spring and summer. Is that too much to ask for?
@Flynt2799 I leveled twice last year. Made the mistake of using a topsoil first which was a sand and compost mixture. My yard was really green though. Used masonry sand the second time. Front yard is a lot better then the back. I was able to scalp around .5" while the back only at .75. my dog really did a number this winter and wore the dormant Bermuda very thin while tearing up the yard. So I am thinking about overseeding this fall like ware did with perennial rye. I want to be able to scalp around .25" next year so I can maintain the whole summer at or below half an inch. That is my goal.
:oops: So I got out and raked the clippings to break them up and used the rotary to collect them. Then cut both the front and back. Front at 3/4 and back at 7/8.

Front is coming along. Pretty much where it is brown, the grass is pretty thin but looking good

The back

The back has greened up better but I have more brown areas because of my dog wearing it thin during the winter.
Worn area in back

I am thinking about putting the pgr out now to encourage the grass to spread and fill in. I know that usually you want a fully green yard but I think this is about as green as it is going to get for both front and back. What do you think? Should I wait another few weeks or spray now?

The other thing I thought about is maybe getting the proplugger to speed up the recovery of the bare areas in my back yard. What do y'all think?
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Front yard is really coming along. I cut my yard today and am planning to put my first ever application of pgr down later this afternoon. Hopefully it will help my lawn thicken up and spread to some bare areas that are still struggling.

Before cut

After cut

Close up

My lawn just needs to fill in. I have been cutting it every 2-3 days. So hopefully with the pgr going down, I will have something that I am really proud of soon.

I did build and buy this today!

It can get all the way to 90 psi. I currently have a 15 psi pressure valve but am thinking about upgrading to the 29 or 44. Not sure yet.

Also ignore the weeds in the bed. I will be tackling that next weekend
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@Colonel K0rn here is what my next week looks like.

With exception of last night early this morning, lows have been in the high 50s low 60, and the highs for the day are anywhere from the high 70s into the 90s a lot of times.
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Colonel K0rn said:
If I had that forecast, I wouldn't hesitate to put down an app of PGR. :thumbup: Curious, is that a white oak tree in the front?
It's a red oak. We will see how the yard does down the line when the tree matures. I think I have quite awhile before shade becomes a problem. By that time, it's probably about time to move, and down size on my home but hopefully upsize on my lawn. I wish I had a bigger lot. I am envious of some of y'all with the bigger lawns.
So today was not a very good day for my back yard. I found out I have common Bermuda growing in with my 419 in certain areas. It is all because of my neighbors. I got unlucky when it comes to neighbors because as far as are work, the neighbor on each side neglect their yard more then anyone else in my neighborhood.
Here is a pick of what I am dealing with(this is my neighbors yard by the way. Not mine)

You can see common creaping through the fence here

What would y'all do to deal with the neighbors yard?

As far as dealing with the common I have spreading, I am going to spray with glyphosate. Hopefully that takes care of it. If it does not, I will purchase the fusilade I guess. I'm guessing if I do not deal with this problem, the common will take over the 419? I will probably spray the fence line with glyphosate as well.
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@Colonel K0rn I have offered to spray their yard and even mow their yard. They have said no thanks. Both my neighbors just ignore their yards. I have reported both to HOA and they have recieved letters. They then only cut their front yards. They never do anything with their backyard though.
gijoe4500 said:
Ral1121 said:
The other thing I thought about is maybe getting the proplugger to speed up the recovery of the bare areas in my back yard. What do y'all think?
Want to borrow mine for a weekend?
Thanks for the offer. I might have to take you up on that this next weekend and try it out in a section of my back yard.
So after meeting up with @gijoe4500 earlier to borrow his proplugger, I decided to make a stop at the local siteone.

I picked up a couple of bags of ammonium sulfate as well as a high manganese combo chelated micronutrients liquid fert. I did some reading and found this product is good for high pH soils like we have in San Antonio to help bring it back to a somewhat neutral pH. It also where I will get my iron from.

My plan is to spray the ammonium sulfate weekly at a rate of .25#/M. As far as the combo chelated liquid fert, I am thinking about apply it by-weekly. Not sure what rate I am going to use though. Label calls for 3-6oz/M. I am thinking I am going to start at the bottom and do 1.5oz/M by-weekly. What do you think?

Also I am getting areas of lighter green in my front lawn. What do you think could be the cause? Not enough water or uneven fertilizer spread?

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Well hit a snag today. Lost a wheel on my McLane.

Already found and ordered replacements for both my wheels so my mower is out of commission until they come in and I have time to replace them.

With all the rain in the forecast this week, I hope I can get an app of pgr down. My yard is due in the next couple days. I might have to try and mow carefully with the McLane if not.
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