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View Poll Results: My lawn is fertilized by
Myself with results equal to a professional service 12 31.58%
I pay a professional service directly 9 23.68%
Other (HOA, no yard, included with lawn cutting service, I don't bother it's just grass) 17 44.74%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Do you fertilize?
Old 09-22-2011, 03:56 PM   #1
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Do you fertilize?

Yes, I know REW will enjoy the straight line...

If lawn fertilization is done for you (HOA, with grass cutting, or you just don't bother), please vote "other" or not at all.

But I'm actually asking who fertilizes their own lawn with results equal to a service. Despite using the best fertilizer I can buy and following the instructions exactly, when I do my own lawn the grass looks/grows fine, but weeds are noticeably worse than if I use a service. So after attempting DIY several times, I have always gone back to a professional service (TruGreen et al). I always thought it was because they sprayed fertilizer, etc. - but my last two pro service contractors (Scott's & PermaGreen) use all granular. Costs me about $200/yr (4 treatments vs the 6-7 they recommend). Sufe would like to avoid this expense, I certainly have time to do it myself. What am I missing?
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:05 PM   #2
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... - but my last two pro service contractors (Scott's & PermaGreen) use all granular. What am I missing.
Can't granular include a weed killer?

I voted "Other", since I do my own fertilization (much too cheap to pay a "service"), but my lawn is in pretty bad shape (mostly, I think, because my trees block almost all the sunlight).
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:07 PM   #3
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The last thing grass needs in New Orleans is water or fertilizer. With our subtropical weather, oppressive heat and humidity, and 60" annual rainfall it grows like crazy.

Like my neighbors I don't fertilize, I don't apply weed killer, and I don't even own a sprinkler. I do have a lawn guy who mows and edges, and that's all it seems to take here. It does have a little dollar weed, but not enough to overwhelm the grass or to be noticeable.
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:08 PM   #4
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Thanks for the set up, but I'll pass...

With no water, there is no grass and no need to fertilize.
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:35 PM   #5
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Thanks for the set up, but I'll pass.
I'm surprised, now I know what to do next time...
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:42 PM   #6
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You should check out Jerry Baker's home remedies (PBS, and at the library) for lawn treatment. He tells you about cutting your fertilizer in half, then using mostly household items you probably already have to supplement the fertilizer, things like ammonia, liquid soap, sugar, old beer, epsom salt, etc and miracle gro. I've been following his recipes and they work very well, this is a liquid mix I apply with a hose end sprayer. For weeding, I use a weed hound tool from Home Depot that works well, you can also use boiling water or vinegar to kill weeds too. You also need to do soil aeration at least once a year, I try to do this two times/year. All my neighbors hire out, I'm the lone holdout in my street. One neighbor is really pissed, since her service has burned up her lawn this year from fertilizing. I think my lawn is comparable and I fertilize 3 times/year using a spreader,
skipping the summer feeding. You really need to do fall/winter/spring in the Chicago area and there's no good way to avoid treating for crabgrass w/o fertilizer. I don't cut my lawn as often either, this tends to keep the weeds away for a longer time too. I've been using Menards brand fertilizer since it's much cheaper than Scotts.
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Old 09-22-2011, 05:01 PM   #7
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Wow, Dimsumkid, some very helpful ideas there. I'll look into them, thanks for taking the time to share your experience.

FWIW, I have my service do treatments 1, 2, 4 & 6. I want spring to get ahead of weeds and always felt late Fall gives the lawn a head start for the next year. I only have on summer treatment.
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Old 09-22-2011, 05:53 PM   #8
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Midpack I am something of an expert on this subject.

Broadleaf weed control is usually based on 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid - kind of like Agent Orange). It is only effective if:

1) Weeds are actively growing (because it mimics a natural plant growth regulator and "grows the weeds to death")

and

2) It actually penetrates the leaf.

So best times to apply are spring and early fall when weeds are actively growing. Apply a granular product after a rain or heavy dew so the granules stick to the leaf. For 24 hours do not mow and pray no rain comes. Spray herbicide does not need the rain or dew as it is sprayed as a liquid onto the weed.

Now of the two best times, the early fall (around now) is the better by far. This is because a perennial weed weakened but not killed will probably not make it through the winter.

I have been doing my own lawn for 20 years and get excellent results. You can also spot treat any weeds you miss with a pump spray product containing 2,4-D such as Weed B Gon.

Now for what it is worth I decided this is the last year I do this and I am hiring a service next year. For one thing 2,4-D is a probable carcinogen in its own right and contaminated with various dioxins to boot. And I am wealthy enough that I am tired of getting out and pushing a spreader - I figured I have a service mow my lawn, why not have a service apply all the toxic crap.
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Old 09-22-2011, 05:54 PM   #9
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I suggest you consider having your soil analyzed through your state's agricultural extension office. In order for soil to properly utilize the fertilizer it must have a certain (neutral) ph value -- not too acidic; not to alkaline. In some cases this requires the application of lime to bring things back into balance that which professional applications probably mucked up. The report you get back from soil analysis will tell you how much lime is needed and will recommend the best nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium combination for your lawn.

Having said and done all that myself for two years, this year's first application I put down in the spring was a Scott's product that included pre-emergent crabgrass and boradleaf week killer. The other two applications put down were a 10-10-10 fertilizer which isn't something most Lowes/Home Depots carry. I get mine from the local feed/agriculture center. I felt I needed the Scott's product with weed killer because I was doing too good a job feeding and keeping the weeds green and healthy in addition to the grass.
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Old 09-22-2011, 05:54 PM   #10
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I forgot to mention that for soil aeration, I also bought an aerating tool made by the same company, Hound Dog, that makes the "Weed Hound Turf Hound" model HDP35. It cost me $20 about 10 years ago at Home Depot for model HDP3-8 (green) that has a lifetime warranty. It's manual, you supply the horsepower, but it sure beats paying $50-$75 each time you pay a service or rent yourself. If you golf, spend a weekend walking all around your yard in your golf shoes, supposedly this is why golf turf looks so good. I think the aerators do a much better job. I found a link to one at Amazon, price is $22.59, but doesn't mention a lifetime warranty.

Amazon.com: Hound Dog HDP35 Turf Hound Coring Aerator, Yellow: Patio, Lawn & Garden
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:07 PM   #11
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I have grass up to my *ss, Ms G. wants me to weed wack it. The difference is this is $30 a pd native grass seed grass. In a month the sparrows and towhees will be in heaven. Shoot if I cut it down I would be out buying bird seed next month.
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:30 PM   #12
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Quite often, and on this very forum...
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:39 PM   #13
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:26 PM   #14
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Yes, I do my own fertilizing. The total lawn area is maybe 2500 square feet, so I just use one of those hand-crank whirlygig spreaders. Not the best for even coverage, but I have no aspirations of winning yard of the month.

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I forgot to mention that for soil aeration, I also bought an aerating tool made by the same company, Hound Dog, that makes the "Weed Hound Turf Hound" model HDP35. It cost me $20 about 10 years ago
That looks simple enough. And with our thick clay soil, the ability to put some weight behind it instead of arm power would make the job more tolerable.

Anyone ever give something like these a try? They look to be about the same price.


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Old 09-22-2011, 08:29 PM   #15
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I never fertilize or water. I just mow what grows, which is plenty, since we live on acreage.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:36 PM   #16
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Yes, I do my own fertilizing. The total lawn area is maybe 2500 square feet, so I just use one of those hand-crank whirlygig spreaders. Not the best for even coverage, but I have no aspirations of winning yard of the month.



That looks simple enough. And with our thick clay soil, the ability to put some weight behind it instead of arm power would make the job more tolerable.

Anyone ever give something like these a try? They look to be about the same price.


Yes, I have 2 or 3 pairs just gathering dust. If they cost more than $5-10, they're not worth it.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:22 PM   #17
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I use a product called Milorganite 2x a year. Does a wonderful job - no burn at all and is 'very natural.' (just google it, you'll see what I mean)

In late fall, apply the cheapest weed killer (2,4-D) you can find.

Keep the blade on your mower sharp - and mow at the highest setting during summer. That's it.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:56 PM   #18
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Laughed out loud when I first read the topic of your thread Midpack.


Disappointed when it was "about grass".
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:13 AM   #19
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+1 on the weed killer

Also, apply iron for a super green lawn. I think the one I used is called Ironite. It's been a long time since I have no grass on my balcony in Tokyo, a service does one of my places in Cali, our newer home is on acreage and isn't landscaped yet, so we just mow the weeds with the tractor. Just got back home to Cali a couple hours ago. Guess what I get to do tomorrow?

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Old 09-23-2011, 08:47 AM   #20
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I just mowed yesterday, for the third time in the last 7 days. Texans are more than welcome to have some of this rain.

It is usually my intent to fertilize four times/year but it usually only gets done spring & fall. I use week killer in pump sprayer about 3 times/year and that work well enough.
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