Lawn Care Forum banner
1 - 20 of 54 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fall 2019 - Before and After Renovation

Background: Bought a new construction home in April 2019. The front yard (~2,300sqft) was sodded with a fescue blend, likely Jonathan Green Black Beauty (JGBB) Original TTTF, since there is a sod farm that grows it close by. The rest of the yard (~9,500sqft) was seeded and covered with erosion mats. The mats were laid a few weeks before closing on the home in June, and the builder admitted to only watering the sodded portion, so little grass and a bunch of weeds grew elsewhere. :( It would have been an uphill battle renovating the bad sections over the summer, so everything was postponed until early fall.

Early August Pics:






Reno Time (9/6/19):
The reno was divided into sections. With a baby due in late September, I decided to focus on the side yards and a section of the backyard (~3,700sqft) closest to the house. Also, this was a test run. I didn't know how successful this would be, so if I screwed up it would only be a part of the yard. The yard experiences high winds, lots of rain and erosion due to being on top of a hill in an old farming field with no trees. My thinking was, if runoff were to occur, which it did, at least the seed, topsoil, fertilizer etc. would flow down into the lower sections of the yard.

Q4 Plus herbicide was sprayed the 3rd week of August. My initial goal was to preserve some of the grass (what grass?) but that changed later on. I began to painstakingly remove the erosion mats and scarify with a Sun Joe. However, this took too long so a buddy brought over his Kubota tracker and we tilled up the backyard. The scarification from the Sun Joe was sufficient for the side yards. 5 yards of topsoil was spread with JGBB Original TTTF seed on top. Everything was leveled with a lawn roller and leveling rake and then covered with Scott's Starter Fertilizer with Mesotrione.

Since there was a concern for erosion from storms, EZ straw and Pennington Slopemaster, both with tackifier, were placed over the seed and watered in. The reno took several days, so there was a great sense of satisfaction with being done. That night's weather only called for a 40% chance of rain, so I wasn't concerned.

Around 1:00am, I awoke to the sounds of incredibly loud winds, rain and thunder. I darted outside to the back porch and witnessed a site of horror - two corrugated pipes had blown off the gutters. In there place, were newly formed mini rivers of zigzagging rain through the just finished reno. I ran out into the rain and in ankle deep mud shoved the pipes back on. It only took 30 seconds to refasten them, and I was already drenched. I was thoroughly pissed but couldn't do anything so I waited until the next morning. It took three days of sun before the area could be walked on. Clay soil sucks.

Overall, the damage was moderate but not as bad as I had expected. The worst areas were around the gutters and a side yard with a decent slope that had some topsoil and seed wash away. I ended up getting some more topsoil, reseeded and this time placed erosion mats over the hilly areas. The tackifier products couldn't hold up to heavy rains on any type of slope.

The drain pipes were extended beyond the reno area and secured into the ground with spikes. A second, lighter seeding was done about 4 days after the heavy rain.

11 days later (9/17/19):






~1 month later (10/9/19):






Some sections of the erosion mats were densely packed with straw, so grass has had difficulties penetrating through those areas. [These sections did fill in fairly well by the end of the next summer.] I don't really care. I plan to core aerate, top dress and reseed next year. My baby son was born on 9/19/19, so I'm basically done with the yard except for occasional watering.

More to come eventually. A large section of the backyard needs to be renovated and some spots in the front yard should be leveled a bit. Also, rust fungus is a problem that I have been combating with fungicides. Hopefully, it will lessen as the soil/lawn improves over time.

Thanks for reading. :D
 

·
Super Moderator
Northern Mix (12k)
Joined
·
6,171 Posts
@moedank Welcome to TLF and congrats on the new baby boy!!!!

Grass came in nicely on the hillside. I know all about looking out and seeing water destroying your hard work. This past time I just laid face down on my bed and refused to look :lol: My kids gave me play by play though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Spring 2020

Thanks for the welcome and compliment, pennstater2005.

The reno from last fall survived the winter and appears to be doing well. There are some intermittent weeds and patchy spots but it's a vast improvement. Much won't happen this spring and summer except for maintenance. I hope to minimize weed growth in the 2nd half of the back yard that wasn't renovated last year, which will be my big fall project.

Action Plan:
  • March - Applied Menard's Forever Green Crabgrass Preventer with Turf Food, which contains dithiopyr, at a rate of 3.2lb/1000sqft. This equals 0.768lb nitrogen/1000sqft. The front yard received a slightly reduced rate of 2.4lb/1000sqft since my dog heavily fertilizes there and it's the least weedy area.
  • Mow every 4-5 days at a height of 3.5 inches. Changed to 4 inches in mid May.
  • April 14th - Applied Gypsum at a rate of 6lb/1000sqft.
  • May - Applied Menard's Forever Green Weed & Feed on both sides and the back yard at a rate of 3.2lb/1000sqft. I didn't apply this on the sodded areas since these sections are growing fastest and have hardly any weeds. Sprayed Propiconazole 14.3 fungicide at a rate of 2oz/1000sqft on the renovated and sodded areas of the lawn.

Front Yard

Side Yard

Back Yard

Back Yard

There is another 1200-1500sqft of yard just beyond the miscanthus grass mounds. This area has a steep slope and will be renovated last.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Summer 2020 - Lawn Dormancy and Sloped Section

A decent percentage of the lawn went dormant in late June and early July. Some sections remained green and avoided dormancy due to dog fertilizer "hot spots," partial shaded areas around the house and low spots in the lawn that held moisture longer. A few sections of brown patch were treated with a couple rounds of Propiconazole and Scotts Disease Ex. I watered a hand full of times throughout the summer whenever there were several consecutive 90+ degree days with no rain. Recently, temps have cooled and a few rain showers have happened so the grass is waking back up.









Below are some pictures of the very back section of the lot, which is moderately slopped at 17-19%. It is mostly weeds and junk grasses. My lot includes a little more than half of that hill. I consider this the really crappy section of the yard.




 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Summer 2020 - Finishing the Backyard Renovation

August 15th - 10 cubic yards of topsoil sitting in the driveway.


Pictures of the yard before tilling. You can see where last fall's reno ended near the house. This is a good comparison between sod quality TTTF seed vs KY31. I will say, the KY31 handled the summer just fine with no help from me. It is a beast of a grass.




Friend's tractor that made moving the topsoil and tilling possible.


8 hours later. Tilled and roughly graded about ~6000sqft. Why till? The ground was really compacted and I wanted to incorporate the topsoil into the clay. Also, freshly tilled soil is easier to grade.




Family and friends helped with the project. Couldn't have done it without them. We got lucky with the weather; storm clouds danced around us all morning and afternoon. The lawn is now a more leveled slope. I'm going to finish the hill over the next week or so.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Summer 2020 - Heat Wave with 1 Week Old Grass

Feeling pretty anxious about the grass seed, especially since this area is supposed to get temperatures in the 90s for several days with no rain in sight.

I've had to improve the irrigation system a couple of times due to underwatering and lack of even coverage. The seed has only received enough water over the last three days, so it is just now starting to germinate... right before the heat wave. There are now 7 sprinklers running on timers, and I'm trying to hone in the correct watering times.

I would have waited to reno until later in the year but before the time of seeding the 2 week forecast seemed favorable and the long term forecast called for a cooler than usual fall. That has since changed. In addition, trying to plan a weekend when my buddy would be free to bring his tractor from out of town along with cooperative weekend weather was iffy, thus I gambled and started early.

Pics of the baby grass. Let's see if I can grow this in a straight week of 90+ temps. Hopefully the erosion mats keep the seed cool and moist.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Late Summer 2020 - 3 week Follow-up and Slope Renovation Progress

1st week of September. The new grass made it through the August high temps.








The slope has taken longer than expected to complete, which was another reason why I gambled on starting the reno early. I wanted to be finished with everything by mid September. There is one last section of slope that will be completed tomorrow. It's supposed to be 91F today. Tomorrow is a little cooler and then a cold front is expected sometime Tuesday.

Straw erosion mats from Lowes along with a bunch of biodegradable spikes were used to hold everything in place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Late Summer 2020 - Front Yard Coming Out of Dormancy

Here is the sodded section of the lawn that didn't receive much TLC due to my focus on the backyard reno. It went dormant over the summer more easily than my 2019 fall seeded sections.

See my July 30th post for comparison pictures.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Fall 2020 - Before and After Pictures of the Slope

The section closest to the camera was finished last so the grass is still coming up in that area. The rest of the slope needs to be mowed soon.

Notice the stark difference between my half of the hill and my neighbor's half. :D


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Spring 2021

The lawn is coming out of dormancy but it's not as evenly green as a few other yards on the street. Last fall most of my attention went toward the back yard renovation, so a nitrogen blitz program never happened. Though, I was able to throw down a couple fertilizer applications, maybe 1lb - 1.5lb N total, but nothing aggressive. There could be some compaction issues in some of the not as green areas. A core aeration may happen this fall.

Action Plan:

  • March 23rd - Ground temps have been in the early 50s. Applied Menard's Forever Green Crabgrass Preventer with Turf Food, which contains dithiopyr, at a rate of 3.2lb/1ksqft. This equals 0.768lb nitrogen/1ksqft. It was watered in by two storms over a three day period that dropped about .75in of rain. They weren't downpours so hopefully the product didn't partially wash away. This can be a problem since I live on a slight slope.

  • Mid April - Applied about a 1lb nitrogen throughout the yard.

  • May 14th - Sprayed preventative Propiconazole at 2oz/1ksqft since the forecast called for over a week of rain with highs in the 80s and lows above 60. I will rotate this with Scotts Disease Ex every 3-4 weeks.

  • Late May - Applied Menard's Forever Green Weed & Feed at a rate of 3.2lb/1ksqft.

The lawn was hit fairly hard with fertilizer this spring. The baby grass is the back half of the yard.
Back Yard

Back Yard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Spring 2021 - Jonathan Green Black Beauty (JGBB) Original TTTF vs GCI Turf TTTF

JGBB is the front or closest half (Fall Reno 2019) to the camera and GCI is the back half (Fall Reno 2020). GCI may be slightly darker or the slightly brown section separating the two may be throwing off the color cohesiveness. Curious to see how it establishes over spring. No lawn stripe pics were taken since it was wet from a recent rain.

The slightly brown section has been there for a couple of seasons now and is located below a downspout. Since I tend to put down fertilizer whenever there is anticipated rainfall, maybe more of it gets washed away. Or it needs to be aerated. It is also in a slight depression. I never got around to aerating or lightly overseeding the established sections last fall.


The bare areas below are from dog urine burns that have slowly accumulated over the last 1.5yrs. Since no major reno is planned, the goal is to lightly overseed and level some uneven areas in the fall.

Note the empty lot to the left. 5-6 ft tall weeds will eventually appear over the summer. They are my nemesis. I tend to mow and spray glyphosate several feet inward but still get a decent amount of weed seed due to wind.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
What is everyone's impression of JG Black Beauty and Black Beauty Ultra? Some have given it glowing reviews, for exceptionally dark turf. Is it durable and drought-resistant? I am in the transition zone, no supplemental irrigation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have been pretty impressed with JGBB Original. It went in and out of summer dormancy just fine and has thicken up a lot over the last 1.5 years. No reseeding needed, except for the dog spots that will need to be taken care of eventually. Yes, it is durable and drought resistant. Though, a couple early morning manual waterings were done during the peak heat and drought period of its first summer as a precautionary measure.

I will provide some comparison pics from late fall 2019 to now. Can't comment on the Ultra, my thinking was the small percentage of KBG wouldn't do as well in a non-irrigated yard in the transition zone. I thought the fescue would eventually crowd it out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Lumalux, the pictures below were taken this evening. These are the JGBB Original lawn sections. Grass was cut at 3 inches 4 days ago. No reseeding since the original reno. It looks pretty decent for a Tier 1.5-2 approach. Check out my original post in this thread to see how it has matured.

It has not been perfect. It did get brown patch in some sections over the summer but recovered well. A round of Propiconazole and Scotts Disease Ex were used to treat it.

Left Side Yard


Right Side Yard


Back Yard - The dark spots in the grass along the house are from where I walked a couple days ago during a morning frost to remove some hosta frost blankets before work. I know. Don't walk in frozen grass. :( Temporary damage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tablerock said:
Nice work Moe. That is huge strides from where you started! I'm in southern Missouri and I wish I had a buddy with a Kubota... nothing is level and I deal with rocks everywhere. You're inspiring me to post a journal.
Thanks. I was lucky to get help from a buddy with a tracker. Though, if I had my own truck and trailer, I probably would have rented a dingo or ditch witch with a harley rake to better remove the lawn debris and level the ground.

Several passes with the Kubota and lawn roller made the yard fairly level. However, the outside perimeter where the tracker tilled needs to be leveled some this fall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Mid Spring 2021 - First Time Using a Stripe Kit

Thank you testwerke for the compliment.

Installed a CheckMate lawn striper. Below is a single-double-single pattern cut at 3.5 in. It took too long to do the backyard so I plan to only stripe the front and side sections going forward, except for show off opportunities like kid birthday parties and family events. Didn't edge this time because it's good enough. Last two pics are to show off the hostas. :D






It's a PITA getting perfectly straight lines on this slope.


Notice the arrows pointing to the faint line of lighter grass separating the old and new reno sections. That is a strip of KY31 from the initial lawn. I plan to kill it and seed this fall.




 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Late Spring 2021 - Drought/Heat Stress and Possible Brown Patch

Signs of drought and heat stress are beginning to appear. About 3/4 of the yard has been moderately to deeply watered once since the heat arrived a couple weeks ago. The grass hasn't been mowed in 1.5 weeks. The goal isn't to keep it cohesively green during the summer. I don't care that much. Just don't want any grass to die.


This is the only section of grass that died last year and it was the first area (a week before anywhere else) to show signs of stress this year. Fungus was the assumed culprit but now I'm suspecting something is buried underneath, gravel or cement chunks, since it's rapidly drying out in the exact same shape as last summer. It will be dug up in late August.






Don't know for certain, but it looks like brown patch may be creeping into the side lawn from the neighbor's side. A 5 ft curative rate strip of Scotts Disease Ex was spread along the lot edge and the rest of that side and front yard received a preventative rate. Will water it in tomorrow morning.




New grass doesn't appear to be showing any more drought/heat stress than the sodded front yard as of right now. If the yard needs watering, the new grass gets priority. I haven't watered most of the perimeter around the house since it still looks pretty good. The forecast calls for about 4 more days of sunny upper 90s weather.
 
1 - 20 of 54 Posts
Top