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JBMasterAngler

New To Lawn Care

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I just bought my first house, and am new to the whole lawn care thing. The house had been vacant for awhile, so most of the lawn is dandelions and clovers. I sprayed the yard with weed b gone, and it looks like it has worked somewhat. The dandelions have wilted, and the stems turned white. But now what? After the next cut, do I plant grass seed, and that's that? Or are these weeds supposed to die away and disappear? I don't want my yard to look like a golf course or anything, just want it to be grass. Is there something else I should be using? Any maintenance tips are greatly appreciated! ;)

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it will take a bit for the weeds to completely disappear. if you got grass on the yard already before a rain spread some 10-10-10 d0wn. it will help. keep in mind it will take a year or 2 to get there.

by no means am I an expert but its a start. others should pipe in with there expert knowledge!!!!!!

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It is technically illegal to spread phosphorus on established grass. The phosphorus amount is the second number in the 10-10-10. However, I work at a place that sells fertilizer and a lot of garden fertilizer containing phosphorus "drifts" onto established lawns. I have taken many soil samples of lawns for people, and have never seen one with low phosphorus levels. In my opinion, as long as you are not bagging your clippings every time you mow; nitrogen, sulfur, and zinc are the more important nutrients.

As far as seeding new grass, it depends on if the weeds were in thick patches or scattered. If they were scattered throughout your lawn the grass should fill in. If there are big open patches, I would suggest putting some grass seed down this fall or spring and raking it in a little bit.

If your weeds do not die from the weed b gone, try to find some trimech/triplett/mechamine at a mills fleet or similar store or at a local agronomy center. Spring when the dandelions begin to appear and once again when you begin to see clover would be your best timings.

Edited by creepworm

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When I moved in to my house I had the same situation.  Fooled around for a couple of years and then went to a class and learned what to do.  Pretty much had to fertilize when it was recommended using the correct product for that time of year - yes, the products differ.  The I aerated in late September and over seeded using the correct seed for each part of the yard - yes it makes a difference if it is shady, sunny or partial.  Then I put it to bed in late October with a winterizing fertilizer.  Spring had to get some down that had crabgrass control at the proper time - yes the soil temp is what controls.  

You may want to go to the U of M extension service on the web and read up on what they recommend.  If you can find someone at a feed mill or garden store to spend some time with you that would help as well.

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Tom pretty much has it nailed. 

I took a simpler approach.  In the spring I would put down an organic pre-emergent treatment that is essentially corn meal.  You should be able to find it in most garden stores.  Application is dictated by soil temp in the spring.  After that I'd wait the necessary time and then thatch the yard and loosen up an bare soil or thinly covered areas.  Then I'd overseed those bare or thin areas.  I have a smallish yard and an over active dog so I had to rope off the new grass areas so I ended up doing one section at a time and moving the ropes around.  Each spring I've had to tackle smaller and smaller areas and now the grass is pretty thick and has naturally choked out a lot of the weeds.  It took several years of working each spring but its a pretty easy process and doesn't take a lot of time to do.  It also let me avoid using a lot of weed killers on the grass.  I also haven't used any fertilizer on the grass. 

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JB  I see that you live in Forest Lake.   The guys at the Hugo Feed Mill are the go to folks for figuring this stuff out.  Try and go during the week when they are less busy and can spend the time helping you out.  The tall skinny guy that is the owner is the best around.  He may even suggest that you bring in a soil sample and get it analyzed.  It's a good idea.

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Don't seed now its a bad time with the heat and lack of rain. Focus on killing off all the weeds you have and mid September do a double aeration and spread a bunch of seed down. With proper fertilizing, weed control, and aerating and over-seeding for a couple seasons it will be looking primo. If you are not overly excited or confident about doing it yourself find a smaller local company that does applications to make sure it is done right. I pick up new customers all the time that had wished they had called years ago because the cost to have it done professionally is not much more than doing it yourself.

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Yeah, I'm waiting until the fall. I was looking up some info on a fall batch of weed and feed. So, for the time being I'll manage the weeds, and then start the process after summer is over. Thanks for all the help!

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JB,

A few things.

Weed and feed is a spring product.  The "weed" part is a chemical that is a pre-emergent.  It forms a chemical blanket that prevents seed from germinating.  All seed - weed seed as well as grass seed.  That's why it is tough to get a lawn going with a spring seeding.

Many folks put the weed and seed product down too early and it loses it's effectiveness.  Seed germinates - starts to grow - when the soil reaches a certain temp, around 55 - 60 degrees for 24 hours.  A really easy way to know when is the right time is paying attention when the lilacs are blooming.  That usually is about the right time.

But you don't have to wait that long.  You can start in early September if there has been enough rain to get things growing.  If you talk to the right folks they will sell you the correct fertilizer product for your lawn at that time of the year.  That will get things going.  You can use a Weed B Gon type product now to knock down some of the weeds and keep them from producing seed. 

Then in about early October you can aerate the lawn - back and forth at 90 degrees to really rough it up using a device that pulls the plugs out.  Rent that rig.  A week or so after you aerate you can seed and fertilize and water it well every other day or so.  Then in early November you will want to put down a Winterizing Fertilizer that will promote root growth and really get the lawn going.

It is repetitive but I suggest that you go to the Hugo Feed Mill and spend a little time with them learning what you need to use and when to use it.  They will get you on the right track.

Good luck.

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On 6/28/2016 at 2:41 PM, Tom7227 said:

JB  I see that you live in Forest Lake.   The guys at the Hugo Feed Mill are the go to folks for figuring this stuff out.  Try and go during the week when they are less busy and can spend the time helping you out.  The tall skinny guy that is the owner is the best around.  He may even suggest that you bring in a soil sample and get it analyzed.  It's a good idea.

We call him the "Seed Nazi" :) I am friends with his brother. You got it right, he knows his stuff! But go in with a detailed drawing of yard so he can calculate the coverage amount, he won't sell you more than you need. He is very precise, and plan to get educated! ha! They have good "seed matts" there too that work well, and pricing is decent on them, and they are BIG! Bigger than you can get at big box store I am pretty sure. Just the matt, you use whatever seed is needed for the area under it.

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