Let's Talk Lawns

UT410

Premium Member
Supporting Member
After seeing some of your lawn pictures, I am yet again questioning best practices to keep my own lawn nice.

Even though I have read a ton online, asked neighbors, friends, and the local IFS folks I am still fighting a war on weeds, yearly.

I know it will be a never ending battle with a dandelion farm a few feet away but I want a more simple approach. I am manually pulling dandelions and clovers and while it helps, it's a lot of time spent.

IMG_20160409_141615.jpg

I just read that after pulling the dandelion, spraying some dandelion killer in the removal spot helps.

I haven't ever done that. I wish I knew that Saturday am when I spent 2 hours going around the lawn pulling weeds.

After you all get me straight on this, I have more questions on keeping a lawn out here in Utah.
 
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TurboMinivan

Still plays with cars
Location
Lehi, UT
Great thread idea. I suck at lawns. I know I don't have the worst one in the neighborhood, but it sure feels like it because my immediate neighbor and the neighbor across the street are in a perpetual, unspoken war to have the nicest lawn in the county... which makes mine look all the worse.

So, please, speak up all you lawn wizards.
 

rholbrook

Well-Known Member
Location
Kaysville, Ut
When you have a neighbor who cares little for his lawn, the idea is to OVER fertilize your property line. Meaning, fertilize on the neighbors property 10+ feet. You have to use pre-emergent earlier in the spring as well as fertilizing it late in the fall.
 

Skylinerider

Wandering the desert
Location
Ephraim
I really like IFA's four step fertilizer system.
As far as weeds and dandelions, you need to cut them out, not jut pull. You have to get the root of the dandelion and pulling will only break it off.
Aerating is a very good thing to do.
Mulching is easier, but bagging will get you a softer lawn.
Water at night, and only water what you need. There are guides online how to measure how much you are watering.
Brown spots occur because of many reasons, lack of water, bugs, animals, bad soil, reflection from house windows, etc. don't just assume is only from no water.
Slightly longer lawn will stay soft and green longer than short grass.
 

Brad J

Registered User
Location
Woods Cross, UT
That looks familiar. I spent a few hours Friday & Saturday pulling Dandelions the same way & have given up. There are too many so I need to spray.
0411161234sm.jpg
 

Kevin B.

Big hippy
Location
Stinkwater
I hate mowing, I hate watering, I hate dousing my lawn with chemicals and fertilizers that are going to going to end up in the Jordan River anyway. I have a box full of a clover seed/grass mix I'm getting ready to throw down. The clover is supposed to choke out everything but grass, fix nitrogen for the grass, and stay greener longer between waterings. I'm hoping it works out.
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
I don't pull dandelions. Ever. Sometimes I'll pull the flower portion off before it dries and turns to seed but I don't ever pull the leafy part, thats too much work. :)

I use the scotts weed n feed. The bag says to apply X amount every 6-8 weeks. If I see that weeds are growing or I've been lax at putting down the pellets I'll spread half of the recommended dose and then re-apply again in 3-4 weeks. I think that biggest thing that helps me keep weeds and stuff at bay is how I apply it. As I understand it the powder and weed killing pellets that are in the mix need to be applied to the leaves of whatever it is you are trying to kill. If everything is dry then the powder blows away with the first gust of wind and the pellets drop down to the soil in most cases. When I fertilize I either do it in the morning when my sprinklers have been on previously so everything is damp or I cycle through each zone for just a couple minutes to get everything damp. This way the fertilizer and weed killing stuff sticks to what it needs to and the weeds are dead in a few days. (The weed killer works by encouraging the plant to use all of its energy in a very short amount of time so the plant runs out of energy while also blocking the leafy parts ability to absorb sun light. This is why your weeds actually get bigger before they die, if you were watching them...)

I've always done it this way and its always worked for me. Again, for me the secret is getting the weeds damp so the killer sticks to it.

rholbrook is also spot on with "helping" the neighbors help themselves and spreading liberal amounts of weed killer up wind to keep your lawn clean. I live across the street from a park and several years ago the park strip was totally full of dandelions. I loaded up my spreader and went to town where they were bad and the problem fixed itself. I have also been known to throw handfuls of weed n feed across the property line to target problem areas.

Finally, a big part of having a good lawn is having the right type of grass for your specific yard. I seeded my lawn with an athletic mix seed that will grow really fast and will repair itself fairly quick when there are damaged areas. This means I really have to mow every week or I get a jungle but also means the grass certainly helps choke out potential weeds. It needs a lot of sun and when it doesn't get it the grass really suffers. I get pretty bad winter mold in my front yard and along my back fence line because those spots just don't get any sun at all in the fall/winter/early spring. I'll take a picture when I get home to show you how bad the front yard looks so you know I'm not exaggerating. What I ought to do is get a seed mix that tolerates the shade much better and throw it down in those problem areas. I haven't because they look bad right now but rebound pretty quick with over-seeding in the spring and some fertilizer to give it an extra kick.

Brent, you have huge trees around you're house that provide you with awesome shade in the hot summer. If you bought the seed I have for my yard it just wouldn't do well at your place, I'm sure there is something out there though that would tolerate your mix of shade and sun and would look great. I'll totally plug "Steve Regan" in Murray. They are a farm seed supplier (among other things) and that is where I buy my seed. If you went there and told them about your yard they'd be able to get you a good mix to help over seed your lawn if you decided to do that.

I try and aerate twice a year after either running the sprinklers for a long time or after a few real good rain storms so that the plugs get nice and deep. I can do a more thorough job than the neighbor kid that walks the block so I'll often rent a machine from the South Fork Hardware down the street for a couple hours and take my time and do it right and really just plug the crap out of my yard. I've got a lot of clay so this helps loosen things up and hopefully will help the grass grow good deep roots.
 
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xj_nate

Doctor, economist, polical expert, poser
Location
UT
Humate also helps a lot for breaking down clay. When we moved into our house 9 years ago I could water my lawn for more than 10 minutes because the clay would just stop the water from absorbing and make it run down hill (I live on a hill) like a freakin flash flood. Now that I've been applying humate annually and my lawn is so much healthier I can water for 30+ minutes and have no run off.

Edit: you can buy it at IFA
 

Hickey

Premium Member
Supporting Member
Boys and girls, gather round and hear the good word. Nnnate knows what's up, but let me tell y'all about the Holy Sacrament of Utah lawns.

Let us all praise Revive. Revive is what you all need. Go get it, get it right now. It's sold at every big box store in Utah, and it often sells out quick. Most people dont know of it, but I promise you, once you sample this chicken shit, you'll never stop using it.

Revive is a type of soil amender and fertilizer. It is made from chicken shit. It will NEVER burn your lawn, no matter how much you apply, how often you apply, and how hot it is when you apply. The results are visible within as little as 3 days. You can heavily spot treat problem areas, over, and over, and over.

It allows your soil to retain more moisture, and absorb moisture deeper within your soil.

That's one product I use, and it's definitely what I would call my secret weapon. It is also cheap compared to fertilizer. $20 or so a bag. It also comes in a liquid form, but it can be a little messy.


Other than that, I do pretty much the same thing Nnnate does, same Scott's products. I haven't turned on my water yet this year, and my lawn is the greenest in the neighborhood.

If you have a bad weed problem that persists after you've used weed N feed, try using a liquid weed killer that is lawn safe. That stuff is pretty cheap, and can really knock the weeds down.

If you have big trees, keep them pruned so the sun can do its job on your grass.

If your lawn is just a wreck, consider killing it (make sure you don't use a long term vegetation killer) tilling it up, and seeding a new lawn. I did sod in my front yard, then seeded my back yard. I had a legit, weed free lawn in 6 weeks and all I did was follow the directions on Scott's website to the letter.
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
If you are interested in having someone over to help you dial in your system you can schedule a free water check via "slow the flow." (link here) I understand that they will come out and set up cones on your lawn and cycle through your zones and measure how long it takes to distribute X amount of water to each spot. Then they will leave you with a report on how to set your system up to optimize everything and give tips on how to make adjustments. I used to work with a lady that did this through the Utah State Extension and thats how she explained it to me at the time. Things might have changed since then though.

In reality though watering is a moving target and there are a ton of components to it. You say that the times range 15 to 25 minutes on yours, I've got some that stay on as long as 45 minutes because of the type of head on the system and how big of an area it covers. Even with me running my system in the real hot summer I have brownish zones and it totally drives me nuts. Without supplementing my sprinklers in the summer with a hose my yard would look pretty rough, but I'm okay with going out once or twice a week to "spot treat" the parts of my lawn (or trees or shrubs or whatever) that need a little bit more water. The alternative is to just way over water everything, if I was on secondary water or I lived somewhere else I'd consider that but my summer bills get up there.

I'd like to get some rain and soil sensors installed and use them to dynamically control my sprinklers but I think thats a bit more than I'll be able to handle this year. There are a lot of really neat products out there that *can* help but they take tinkering to get right and keep working.
 

Hickey

Premium Member
Supporting Member
Revive makes a big difference in how much water you use. All of my sprinklers are the big rotary heads. I have two zones that go 1.25 hours in the hottest part of the summer. They used to go over 2 hours before I started using Revive.

Those zones have most of the heads watering the full 360° except the ends of the zone. The ends are 180° pattern and have much smaller nozzles in them so I don't over water. The back yard has 15 heads on 3 zones, and its about 10k square feet.

I am often adjusting my sprinkler run time, patterns and nozzles to dial in the perfect watering. Nothing beats the rain, though, and I love it when I can switch the system off for a week at a time. Last spring, I was able to keep the system off for 3 weeks straight because of the rain.
 

frieed

Jeepless in Draper
Supporting Member
Location
Draper, UT
My main goal for grass in the summer: "Survive, not thrive"
As little water as possible to survive. Less mowing, less money, less everything.
Oh, and I never bag, only use a mulching mower. I never could understand putting all this money to make your grass grow, only to throw it away.
 

RogueJeepr

Here!
Location
Utah
Here's something that West Jordan City sent me .
b0fa399109b502176effc2c6ef4dd4eb.jpg


Sent from my Z740 using Tapatalk
 

dutchman

KI7KSV
Supporting Member
Location
Boise, Id
Good info on here. I'm doing to look into the Revive stuff.

On a side note: anyone have an areration guy/company recommendation in No. Davis County?
 
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