Summer lawn care

Discussion in 'Garden Tips And Talk' started by Bayoubear, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. Bayoubear

    Bayoubear New Member

    Messages:
    425
    State:
    near that hellhole dallas
    primarily for zones 7 and higher.

    st. augustine lawns... if youre getting lots of rain or irrigate regularly keep an eye out for leaf spot disease and brown patch. raise your lawn mower height setting for st. aug lawns, this type of turf doesnt like to be cut low and the higher cut also helps prevent weeds and makes turf less likely to have disease problems. most mega store lawn fungicides will take care of either. follow label directions. do NOT, and by this i mean DO NOT ever fertilize any lawn with a fungal disease but particularly st augustine. nitrogen to leaf spot or brown patch is like giving it steroids.

    any turf lawns:... be on the lookout for grub damage. easiest way to spot it is you will notice areas of turf that seem to be not getting enough water even tho u know you water enough. take a very firm grip of the turf, not the blades of grass but the turf layer itself and try to lift it up. if you can basically roll your lawn up like an old carpet... 9999999 percent chance youve got grub damage. mega stores offer grub treatments but these are much more effective as preventative rather than curative.

    chicnh bugs... first signs are irregular dead areas in sunny areas of your lawn. with bermuda and st augustine for sure the dead grass has a bit of an odd color to it compared to plain dried up ole dead grass. if youve ever used gas or diesel to kill grass... once it dies... the color is somewhat similar to that.
    damage usually found in the sunniest, warmest parts of your turf first. these bugs are funny in that you can go look in a dead spot and nary find a one, the next day you see them. they are very tiny, hands and knees on the ground, pull the thatch layer around with your fingertips and look very closely. a magnifying glass will help. check the mega stores for an ortho product called bug MAXX. they make two MAXX products. you want the one containing the active ingredient "bifenthrin". follow label, spray twice one week apart.

    bermuda... with temps in the 90's its time to deal with the pesky grassy weeds. crabgrass, dallisgrass, quackgrass, nutsedge, etc... easiest and cheapest product to use is MSMA, if megamart doesnt have it try a garden store. DO NOT mix this stuff stronger than label says to. one teaspoon of dawn dish liquid per gallon of mix will help a lot. mixed properly this stuff is totally safe over bermuda lawns NOT ST AUG LAWNS EVER NO NO NO. spray problem weeds with either a spot spraying or if your turf is heavily infested use a hose end sprayer and blanket spray. *expect some temporary yellowing of bermuda* wait 7 to ten days and spray again, and again. hit three times within one month. if you skip a repeat spraying cause the weeds look dead already.... ya have to start over. avoid watering or mowing for a day or two after spraying. the crabgrass and dallisgrass will be gone but the nutsedge will only be supressed for a month or few.

    if your bermuda doesnt have any fungal diseases its fine to pour the fert to it. assuming you water regularly. without doing a soil test... stick with a high nitrogen fert. even the cheap stuff will give you about a month of dark green color and a flush of growth. if you had to MSMA your turf the fert will help also the dead areas where weeds were to fill in faster.

    broadleaf weeds in either: megamarts have plenty of options available for this. read product labels carefully and follow directions.

    again... DO NOT spray MSMA over st augustine turf. there is basically* NO grassy weed control available thats label safe for st aug turf.

    fire ant control... some of the megamart products will significantly reduce fire ants. some work better than others. i personally soak my yard with bifenthrin about every six weeks. no ants, no fleas, no ticks, no nothing really.

    *there are some products available to licensed chemical applicators that have minor effect on a few grassy weeds in st augustine or centipede but they are expensive and i dont advise paying for them. one for nutsedge in particular... called "sedge hammer" may be available to homeowners?????
    st aug safe for nutsedge control. (in bermuda,,,the other stuff i mentioned works better)

    :big_smile:
     
  2. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

    Messages:
    3,365
    State:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    How about mowing when your yard has been over saturated to the point where you have 1/4 of water on top of the top soil in some areas?

    Plain ole bermuda and weeds, haven't had more than a 3 day stretch with no rain in a LONG time.
     

  3. Bayoubear

    Bayoubear New Member

    Messages:
    425
    State:
    near that hellhole dallas
    you might consider riding in the nose of the jon-boat with a sling blade?
    i feel yer pain bro... massive flooding everywhere down here in the DFW megaplex with a whole new wave of rain to hit this afternoon. i wouldnt suggest cutting a lawn with any standing water but if one must cut a wet lawn jack the blade up a bit and make sure its razor sharp. we cut ours a few days ago with mower as high as it would go and will again over next days. when it dries out we mow it, drop the blade, mow again.

    great time to put out fert... let rain water it in for you.

    can pretty much forget about any weed controls tho.
     
  4. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

    Messages:
    3,365
    State:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Naaaah, can't put fert out now, it just flows into my neighbors yard then he gets his yard fertilized for free. LOL

    Thank you very much for the advice!
     
  5. Cheryl

    Cheryl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,010
    State:
    TN
    The neighbors that mow every other day here, complained a week or so back that it had been 5 weeks, since they mowed. WOW, I'm glad. Did finally mow Mom's after 6 weeks.

    The drought has finally subsided here, just thankful we aren't getting torrential rains as some of you are.

    Take care.
    Cheryl
     
  6. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    Chad, thanks for the info.

    I had an episode of brown patch in Zoysia. Think it was from too much water. Being from the desert climate of west TX I got carried away with having all the free water I wanted.
     
  7. Bayoubear

    Bayoubear New Member

    Messages:
    425
    State:
    near that hellhole dallas
    understand about the brown patch in zoysia. im not a real big fan of that stuff. i remember back in the 80's it was the cats meow and i made quite a bit of change installin sod for people but its a pain to take care of and ive never seen the advertising live up to itself. the funniest i found was the "mow it once a month". hahahaha technically thats not a lie as you can mow any lawn once a month right? i know on turf maintenance bids the cost was always ten to fifteen bucks higher per yard if the homeowner had zoysia.

    as with any turf too much water is far worse than too little. a general rule of thumb is between one half to one inch of water per week during the growing season and once every other week during dormancy. also is better to water at one time rather than several five minute cycles. thorough watering encourages deep root growth and strong healthy turf. i hear from customers all the time "oh i water plenty, twenty minutes per cycle"... all the while their turf is showing major drought stress.

    easiest way to check is to take some tuna cans, cat food cans, or other similar flat sided containers and place a few randomly under your sprinklers and test using a watch and measure container for depth. for those with sprinkler systems you need to test each zone independently. by using more than one can you will learn the fluctuations in your coverage zones and can adjust accordingly. for those with sloped yards the five minute on off cycles may be your only option as you dont want sprinkler water running down the street.

    early morning watering is best. by that i mean sunrise or therabouts. you never want to water at night or wee hours of morning as the wet cool conditions on the turf all night promote fungal disease. nor do you want to water during the heat of the day. most of the water you will apply will actually be lost to evaporation and waste the water bill. you will NOT burn up a yard by watering in the daytime as the old wives tale suggests, thats pure myth.

    :big_smile:
     
  8. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    Thanks for the info.

    I've put in 2 Bermuda yards in dry west TX. using seed. Bermuda is great for that area as long as it's full sun. Once I got shade trees I had to replace some of it with St.Augustine in the shaded areas. St.Augustine had problems with grub worms, needs more watering and sometimes it would freeze out in bad winters. After some of the St.Augustine froze out I replaced it with Fescue. It was great for shade but didn't do well in the hot summer months.

    Here in AR was my first experience with putting a yard in using Zoysia. Really wasn't much for me to do for I hired the sod put in. The sod came from a local grass farm, was cut and delivered the same morning. The guys worked until pass midnight putting it down. I did install the underground sprinkler system and lake pump before the sod was put down.

    I think Zoysia is the best grass by far, than either Bermuda, St.Augustine or Fescue. Zoysia does pretty well in shade and makes a beautiful yard in full sun. The only problem I've had with Zoysia was the brown patch and I caused that. It doesn't grow as fast as Bermuda or look as bad when it needs cutting. As far as cost to maintain Zoysia, it's been no more than Bermuda and less than St.Augustine. Zoysia can go longer between cutting but looks better if cut every 10 days to a week. I usually fertilize about twice a year.

    I have my sprinkler timer set to come on at 6 AM on every 4th morning. I try to vary that according to how much rain we're getting. It takes about 5 hours to complete the cycle for 4 zones.
     
  9. Bayoubear

    Bayoubear New Member

    Messages:
    425
    State:
    near that hellhole dallas
    sorry bro, i should have clarified that statement a little bit. the problems with zoysia... looks like crap when its cut wet so if a really heavy dew or morning rain my crews would have to redo their schedule to come back to it that afternoon. during rapid growth periods mowers grass catchers would have to be emptied much more frequently. increasing the costs of labor and the trash bags. not to mention it annoyed me that i had to schedule when possible my zoysia yards for mondays to be sure the mower crews had the sharpest blades.

    from the homeowner's standpoint yhea i guess zoysia is okay, but from a lawn maintenance contractor's perspective its a hassle. give me bermuda or centipede any day.

    will be interesting to see tho, by next summer me and the wife are moving to mountain home arkansas where ill be starting up a lawn/landscape maintenance and contracting business. most of what ive seen up there is almost all fescue lawns. a lot easier to handle than the problems we have down here in the DFW megaplex.
     
  10. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    I've never noticed any difference in cutting Zoysia wet other than it will leave clumps of grass cuttings. I don't use a catcher except at the start of the season. I sharpen my blade about twice a season.

    When we came here the landscapers recommended Zoysia or Centipede. We didn't know anything about either. We have a lot of large pines so we knew Bermuda wouldn't work and didn't want any more St.Augustin. The place next door has some Fescue but it's pretty clumpy.

    I think you're going to like the Mountain Home area. We spent some time there looking before we decided on here. I would think you would be glad to leave the DFW area... too big and busy for me.
    Good luck with your new business there!
     
  11. Bayoubear

    Bayoubear New Member

    Messages:
    425
    State:
    near that hellhole dallas
    thanks, we've got friends up there already so thats a big plus. we were up there a few weeks ago visiting and checking the place out as a potential place to move. mt. home was already on the short list but after the last trip we decided on it for sure.

    drove around too looking at the landscaping and turf for ideas of starting up another business. there isnt any of the really high-end maintenance properties up there which is what was always my bread and butter however are enough upper mid class neighborhoods around i could easily make a good living. not much in the way of new construction as the town's growth rate is stable but very small so big landscaping jobs will be far and few between. ive already got an "in" with some building contractors so that will help too.

    broke my heart when i came to DFW almost two yrs ago and realized i couldnt do landscaping or property maintenance here. im still working within the realm of the industry just that its for someone else. i mean i COULD do it if i wanted to but the way the game is played here... no way. i refuse to learn to speak spanish to an underpaid illegal work crew just so i can make a tiny profit. besides, from day one our time in DFW was not a permanent thing so i didnt want to invest the time and cash in starting up a business here knowing id be leaving. we plan on growing roots in mtn home and raising a family there for the long haul,,, totally changes one's perspective.
     
  12. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    Having lived most of my life in TX, I understand what you're saying.

    When we came here in 93 there were no Mexicans doing yards or landscaping. Now you seldom see a white or black person doing that type work. I wonder what those people now do for a living?

    I do my own, I've never minded taking care of the yard.

    Mountain Home should be a great place to raise your family.
     
  13. Bayoubear

    Bayoubear New Member

    Messages:
    425
    State:
    near that hellhole dallas
    yhea i know what you mean, ive been told by some friends and neighbors up here that as a white american i could actually do okay in the landscaping biz and i do know a few that do it. actually white isnt the issue, as long as your name isnt "nachos bell grande" and were born in the USA you can do okay as will be plenty that hire you on that basis.

    on a side note here, i should add that i was in colorado for a spell and while there i almost never hired white guys. always the hispanics. their work ethic is something we should all envy. up there i didnt have to sweat the status of illegal or not and as a matter of the job they had to read and speak english.

    the lawn thing... for starters if all you want is mow, weed-eat, blow and go.. well, ive got lots of phone numbers ill be glad to give you of guys that do top notch work. mmmaybe one of those a day in the schedule and even then its the mother or such of an existing long time customer. instead of pepe taquito and his fifteen brothers hitting your property and gone in ten minutes... three or maybe four will do the work and spend the proper time doing it. lawn is immaculate, all concrete edged like a razor, not a weed in a flower bed anywhere, (unless they were sprayed out) hedges properly trimmed, etc etc etc... i charge a lot more but provide a lot more. not to mention im properly licensed and insured. and thats just the basic services. fertilization, pre-emergent weed control, turf/shrub disease control, planting of seasonal color, above and beyond the usual.

    thats the maintenance crew's job, the contracting crew handles the installation jobs. will not touch swimming pools or new installs for irrigation systems. ill modify existing systems to accomodate new landscaping in old homes. i dont build decks nor am i a stonemason. ill sub that stuff out but most of the time ill put the homeowner in touch directly with the contractor they need. this is what i was 'raised up' doing and have done off and on most of my life. running only the two crews is the way to go. from a business standpoint they feed off of one another and compliment each other in a myriad of ways. we've been bigger, it wasnt worth the stress and i didnt like not being able to keep my fingers in every aspect of everything.

    i realize that ill be starting over in mountain home and thats okay. after a slow year or two word will get around that i do good work for a good price. keep in mind this is the business plan to make a decent living and not die rich. you'd be amazed how much business rolls your way by word of mouth after you give a homeowner a contractors phone number. they figure out quick i just saved them about ten percent by letting them haggle with the sprinkler guy themselves. im fortunate to have learned from my daddy before he died that going after the quick buck isnt the best way to go. i think he'd be proud to know i listened to him at least once. besides, letting that quick buck go... it will come back to you times ten later on.

    and lets not forget the primary reason for doing this kind of work.... yhea school teachers may have it nice, off work from june thru september. well to be honest that kinda sucks. its even too hot to fish that time of year but me? well, once things get rolling, ill work about three days a week in october and one to two a week november thru march. its a truly beautiful thing to on a whim turn left to the deer stand in the mornings instead of turning right to go to the shop.