Catching Up

Sorry folks. I've been on vacation and forgot to post last week's Turf Tip in which I talk with Steve about what I should be doing now as we head into the hottest time of the summer. Unfortunately, because of vacation time, I still haven't gotten that middle fertilization done. It's raining today, so hopefully I can do it tomorrow.

Mulching vs. Bagging


Updated Turf Tip: Mowing

Here's Thursday's Turf Tip on mowing. I had some fun with this one; speeding up a long take of me mowing at the end and struggling at first to even get my mower started. It really did take me a few pulls to get it going, so I incorporated that into the story. The main point of the story is that many people cut their grass too short. I was surprised at how high I had to set my mower deck to leave three inches behind. Next week: mulching versus bagging.

Update: Here' are some pictures of my lawn this week before mowing and after. The image on the right shows just how tall my grass has gotten between mowing. You really shouldn't let your grass get this tall before mowing, but we've had so much rain lately that it's been hard finding time to get out and do it.

The image on the left is after I mowed. I set my mower deck up to just a few clicks away from its highest setting to leave three inches. I left a strip behind the ruler that wasn't mowed yet. That stuff is really tall, so I was taking off more than I should have to get a proper mulching effect. I talk about that more in next week's turf tip.


Lawn Update

Here's Thursday's Turf Tip. It's an interview with Steve in which we talk about where I'm at and what I still need to do. Most of the heavy lifting is done now (power-raking, aerating, fertilizering and over-seeding). One thing I should point out, the before and after shots you see early in the story look pretty dramatic but you should remember that when the first video was shot in early May, my lawn really hadn't started growing since we had such a cold spring. Still, it looks kind of cool to see the lush green in the "after" shot.


It's Alive!!!

Finally some growth in the spots I re-seeded 2 weeks ago.

You can just start to see the shoots of thin Kentucky Bluegrass pushing through. The little green balls are a cover/starter fertlizer material that I put down after seeding (I had some left over from a previous seeding effort so I used it).
Steve Sagaser with NDSU Extension says it's taken 2 weeks because bluegrass is a slower germinating grass seed. That's why many manufacturers mix rye grasses with it so that you see growth about a week after planting which is the rye grass and the bluegrass comes in later. There's nothing wrong with that idea, but Steve says rye grass tends to die out in late August and it's thicker-bladed which some people don't like to see with the finer-bladed bluegrass. So I'm on my way to filling in some rough spots. We'll have a progress report on the entire project tonight on WDAZ News @ 5.


New Seeds

Here's the latest Turf Tip. See how I overseeded two spots in my lawn. The final shots that show the growth so far were taken on Thursday, June 5. You'll notice there's not much to see yet. I hope I didn't screw something up when I put down the seed.


Battling Thatch

I did end up power raking after I aerated my lawn. Steve Sagaser, from NDSU Extension, pointed out that it would be good since it breaks up the plugs that are pulled out as part of the aeration process. In addition I did seem to have quite a bit of thatch, even though I did power rake last year and you probably shouldn't have to do it every year. Anyway, the standard is if you have a 1/2 inch of thatch, you should power rake. That seems kind of hard to measure or at least hard to determine if you are doing it right. I just stuck the ruler in the ground until I hit dirt and as you can see from the picture above it appears that I did have more than a 1/2 inch. Steve also suggested that he could tell earlier this year that the yard had a spongy feel to it.

Here's that video clip.

This is what it looked like before I raked. I meant to take a picture after, but apparently I forgot because it's not in my camera! Anyway, my friend Kevin helped me pick up the rental rake from Hardware Hank in EGF (I needed to borrow his pickup) and he stuck around and helped me rake up the bag upon bag of thatch that was pulled up. Thank you Kevin! I did pay him back with steaks from the grill for him and his girlfriend.

I always expect that you'll see black dirt when you're done, but you definitely still see brown. I know that a lot came up, though, because we bagged plenty of it.

So now, most of the labor intensive stuff is done. I aerated, power-raked and fertilized-in that order. I've also over seeded a dead spot in my backyard and another spot where I used Roundup to kill off some rough fescue that didn't match the rest of the lawn. On Thursday's Turf Tips, I'll show you how that planting process went and let you know if any seedlings have popped up yet. With all this rain we've been getting, I'm hoping to see good growth soon.