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Old 03-20-09, 05:05 PM   #1
Higgy
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Default Lawn care

Hey all. It's just about that time of the year to pull out the 'ol rake and get rid of all that thatch and then mow the sucker down. The snow's melting fast here and I don't think it will be long until the green grass starts shooting up. So I was wondering what people do for lawn care.

What do you do for taking care of your grass? At what point do you rake the thatch out? Do you fertilize and if so, what kind, and do you try and use an ecofriendly fertilizer like Scotts Ecosense? Do you overseed and if so do you use the type of seed that doesn't need to be watered that much?

I'll start off. I try and rake when the ground has dried up somewhat, or use the dethatching blade on my mower. This year I'm going to put down a bit of soil where it needs it, then I'm going to seed the parts i put soil on and overseed the parts I didn't. I usually fertilize with scotts ecosense and sometimes use some of Scotts other products. We'll see how it goes this year.

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Old 03-20-09, 06:18 PM   #2
TimJFowler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Higgy View Post
What do you do for taking care of your grass?
Right now - nothing, the lawn is still dormant. Otherwise, as little as possible. Basically I just water and mow with a reel mower.

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Originally Posted by Higgy View Post
At what point do you rake the thatch out?
No thatch so far, but it's a pretty new lawn. The lawn is buffalo grass and blue grama, so I'm not sure if it will form a thatch or not.

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Do you fertilize and if so, what kind, and do you try and use an ecofriendly fertilizer like Scotts Ecosense?
Nope, no fertilizer. Though if I had enough compost (not generating enough right now) I might spread a thin layer and rake it in.

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Originally Posted by Higgy View Post
Do you overseed and if so do you use the type of seed that doesn't need to be watered that much?
I will be filling in thin spots here and there with seed (I need to wait till summer before the seed can germinate). Buffalo Grass and Blue Grama are native grasses in this area and are quite xeric.

Right now I'm pulling out Johnson Grass (a Mediterranean invasive) and getting ready to battle dandelions and other broad leaf weeds. Although, dandelion greens are edible so I might eat my way to a better lawn.

More info here: Use a Reel (Real) Mower | EcoNewMexico.com

FWIW,
Tim
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Old 03-20-09, 07:41 PM   #3
knowbodies
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My kids and their friends are pretty hard on the lawn so I end up watering and cutting quite often. Prior to having kids, I fertilized the lawn about twice in a five year period and only because the previous owner had let the lawn get pretty bad. Now I fertilize lightly twice a year with the cheapest NPK fertilizer I can find. I've never had to worry about thatch, as long as the clippings are mostly less than 1/2 an inch they can be safely left on the lawn.
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Old 03-21-09, 10:29 AM   #4
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I tend to do as little as possible to my lawn, cut it when it's reaching that point that the mower is going to have a harder time with it, if it gets tall enough to go to seed then that is ok too, I do however keep the mower blade sharp, sharpen it maybe twice a year to the point where you can shave with it.
If there are divots I fill those with dirt, rake it flat and the grass tends to grow in to them very quickly, grass clippings make good mulch so it's not always left to turn in to thatch.
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Old 03-21-09, 07:07 PM   #5
Higgy
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I'd love to use a reel mower instead of the gas one I use now. Only problem is, I keep it high too, which means it's hard to mow it if I let it go. Maybe I should pick one up and mow it with the reel when I can, and if it grows too long then mow it with the gas. I just have to worry about where to put everything.

Ryland, great reminder. I don't think I've ever sharpened my blade. What kind of sharpener do you use? Is it better to use a hand sharpener or an electric grinder type?
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Old 03-21-09, 08:55 PM   #6
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My grass has some rough spots. I'm planning on overseeding in some areas and filling in dirt and seed in others. I haven't ever fertilized it, although I may start this year (looking to sell the house in a few years, so I need to figure out what's going to work). Haven't decided exactly what to do yet.

I use a reel mower, and it's absolutely fantastic. I don't think I cut the grass any more often than I used to. It does take a bit longer now (45 min instead of 30), but I actually enjoy doing it. The only reason it takes longer is because I want it to be all pretty close to the same length (like the cut you get with a gas powered), so some areas I have to go over from two directions. But, Higgy, you're right, if you let it get to high, it's nearly impossible to cut easily (I have my old gas powered for backup)
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Old 03-21-09, 09:08 PM   #7
knowbodies
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Quote:
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Ryland, great reminder. I don't think I've ever sharpened my blade. What kind of sharpener do you use? Is it better to use a hand sharpener or an electric grinder type?
I use a rasp for general sharpening and an angle grinder to remove rock chips. Careful with the grinder though, the blade can quickly get out of balance.
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Old 03-22-09, 09:15 AM   #8
Higgy
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I use a rasp for general sharpening and an angle grinder to remove rock chips. Careful with the grinder though, the blade can quickly get out of balance.
I'll have to give that a try. I wish I had a vise grip...it would make sharpening much easier.

Is it true you can check to see if it's balanced if you just balance the middle of the blade on your finger or something?
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Old 03-22-09, 09:57 AM   #9
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I use a good quality long file if it's just a little dull then a wet stone to put a micro bevel on the edge, if it's really bad I use my hand held angle grinder with a disk of flaps of sand paper, trying to count the number of passesI make to keep it even, then find a bolt that fits loose in the hole of the blade to ballence it on to see if it's balanced, a string works well too.
To sharpen a reel mower you can use valve lapping compound to touch it up, other wise take it to a golf course, as they tend to have a pull behind multi gang reel mower for their grass and the equipment to sharpen them, it might cost you $20 but last you many years.

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