In this section, I am going to discuss some lawns that I have had the honor to visit since I started this business. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the "after" pictures will be better than the "before" pictures.
This first lawn belongs to Mike: We had to do some serious renovations. As I said in my "establishment" portion of this blog, if you have stuff in, or on, or all over your lawn, that will definitely interfere with turfgrass establishment.
Mike had all sorts of stuff - pieces of a fence, rocks, wood. We went in and removed all that stuff. Well, as much as we could. That took a long time...about seven trips to the dump. Not Mike's fault. We blame the previous occupants of the home.
Mike's front yard has some exisitng grass but it is either dormant or dead. In the rear, where that deck is, there is more dirt than grass. We will have to work through all this. I am waiting for his soil sample to come back. So, we will see what he has to do to make this a great lawn.
On the sides of the house, you will see some old fence posts sticking out of the ground. As with many projects these days, funding is a key issue. Removing each of the fence posts would have required more man hours. Soon, we will only be focusing on growing turfgrass.
One final thing, Mike's backyard has about a 6 to 1 slope (meaning it drops about one foot every six feet). As I said in another post, this is not ideal, but, we're going to give it a shot anyway. If Mike doesn't get good results in the next few growing seasons, we may have to recommend a different ground cover.
Here, below, we have Jay's lawn. A beautiful tall fescue lawn. He's taken great care of it. Jay has some old growth trees in the area. That tends to make the soil more acid.
Around back, where the lawn does not get a whole bunch of sun all day, he has some moss.
Now, Jay got a letter of reprimand (locally filed, of course) because he got too excited. When I did a site visit of Jay's quarters on 02 MAR, I did one of my on site soil samples. His pH was @ 5.5 - you know; the "ball park figure". I thought I advised this warrior to wait and see what the lab says. Well, on Monday, I get an email from Jay. Jay proceeds to tell me the next day he put down 200 lbs of lime and 2 bags of Moss Out. I maintained my military bearing. Great initiative but poor timing. But, I did reprimand the warrior for not waiting for the final results.
I don't think he did any damage. But, if he did the application correctly, I'm sure he exceeded his lime requirement. It shouldn't hurt. I hope that the snow and rain we just got will help move it into the soil. Maybe he won't have to do lime again for a while.
Troops, do not do an unauthorized application until you have the go ahead from the this Turfgrass Warrior. Definitely, wait for the final analysis. Any UCMJ action from me can put your turfgrass career at risk.
We are waiting for the soil sample results. I'll post my findings and recommendations when the results are in. It will be interesting to do another sample in a couple months and see what that 200 pounds of lime did!
Below we have Todd's lawn. Warriors, I'm telling you, this lawn is HUGE!!! Todd is another great Soldier.
Todd has about 4.5 acres. He also lives near the Potomac River.
He has done some great work. Last year, he did core aerating and seeding. This Spring I've recommended he do the same thing. Except, this year we need to do something about the soil.
Soil test results are not back yet. But, because of the size of his yard, I had to do a couple of separate samples. Sorry, but that costs more money. It is money well spent.
The first two pics above are just his front yard. The one to the left is his backyard. Todd could land the Goodyear blimp back there.
When I get the results back from the lab, we will soon have some recommendations for Todd. He will comply. He is a good Turfgrass Warrior.
Here, we have Jack's lawn. Jack is another outstanding Warrior...well, an aviator, really. But, they can be warriors too!
Besides having a really cool replica of a barn for a garage (Jack gave me a personal tour.), Jack has a well manicured, small, easily managed lawn. Jack can do most of the work himself.
Jack has mostly tall fescue. Excellent choice for where he lives. Jack has done a lot of good work with his lawn. His trees and shrubs also look to be in pretty good shape. But, some of the trees could use some pruning. You may know how much that costs. Don't get on a ladder w/ a chainsaw, troops. Get on the net and call in for arborist support. I can refer you to some awesome specialists. My initial, mobile lab test said that Jack's soil is very acid. I advised Jack to stand by and wait for the "official" lab results. He too will comply...although he gets rather excited about his turfgrass. We'll see what the lab says.
This is Joel's lawn. Joel just had the inside of his house renovated. So, now its time to start working on the outside. Joel has a lawn of Zoysiagrass. Its very thick. In these pistures, it is totally brown because Zoysia is a warm weather turfgrass and these pics were taken in March.
Joel's soil sample did not recommend any lime because his pH is at 6.1. We put a little down anyway, but, Zoysia is okay with a range of 6.0 to 6.5. We applied a couple bags of lime just to be sure.
Joel needs to de-thatch and core aerate. That will encourage deeper roots and a thicker stand. A thicker stand will choke out the little bit of weeds he has. Zoysia is very competitive with weeds.
However, winter annuals, such as chickweed and henbit, can be a problem when the grass is dormant. Weeds will also invade turf after it has been damaged or weakened by insects, disease or intense dethatching. Winter annual weeds are best controlled in the fall rather than the spring, when they bloom and set seed.
Established zoysiagrass should be fertilized from May through August. Early spring (March/April) fertilization benefits weeds and promotes premature top growth before roots begin to grow. Late fertilization (September) may interfere with the natural hardening process before winter. We will put down some fertilizer soon.
Below is Vince's lawn. Vince is an outstanding turfgrass warrior - well, actually he's a turfgrass sailor; c'mon, they're warriors too! As you can see from the pics, Vince works his tail off in his yard. I was there when he was putting down a truck load of mulch - just him and a buddy of his.
Vince has a small yard but that makes life a little easier. He's got tall fescue. His soil sample results show his dedication and determination. Vince's pH is 6.8 - just about perfect. I recommended he have me come back for another soil test in the fall to see if that pH is steady.
Vince needs to put down 3.0 to 4.5 pounds of nitrogen, seasonally. That should do the trick. He also should core aerate this spring and next fall. With the fall aeration, he should over seed, and fertilize again.
I advised Vince to make sure he gets the debris out of his soil and out of his yard. He did it that day!
Vince also had some huge, old growth trees around his yard. The more he trims them back, the more sun will get to his lawn. I'm quite confident Vince will be very successful. I've never known the Navy to fail at anything. "Non Sibi Sed Patriae!" (Not for self, but country!)
Gerry's lawn is another work of art. His pics (below) reflect a great deal of committment - what I'd expect from a great logistician.
Gerry is a farmer, so, he knows soil and climate rather well, and their impacts on plant growth. As I said, that is evident in his yard.
Gerry's got a cool season mix in his yard. His pH was 6.3. Maybe a little low but nothing a little lime can't help. The sample results also said he should apply a multiple of 3-0-1 NPK on a seasonal basis. He has high P and low K levels in his soil as well.
Just like Gerry, even if you know what you are doing, it is a good thing to have the turfgrass warrior come by your lawn and make sure everything is in line. My agronomy services can do just that.
Gerry doesn't have much to do this spring except what I advised and then sit back and enjoy his yard.
Shari's yard is next. Shari is a great warrior, another logistician. Good thing we can have women in combat now - Shari could definitely help the infantry schwack some more bad guys. Shari has had multiple deployments. Now we need her to deploy to her yard. This first picture is her front yard.
Shari also has a huge yard with a mix of so much different species - I don't know where to start. Like I do with a yard that size, I have to take multiple samples. The report says her soil is at 5.2 pH for your front, which is not good; and, 5.0 for her backyard, which is worse. She needs to apply 15 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet. That's not cheap for a yard that size. She also needs to apply @ 3.5 pounds of N, 2.5 pounds of P and 1.0 pounds of K per 1,000 square feet too. That's not cheap either. Here's when I start talking to warriors about "prioritizing" parts of their yard. The next two shots are of her backyard. Besides the lime and fertilizer, Shari needs to work the soil. She needs to de-thatch and core aerate. But, I had what might be a cost saving idea (in the long run). Shari has a pretty good size John Deere tractor. She aleady has a huge spreader that she can tow behind it. She should invest in a thatch rake attachment and a core aerating attachment she can also tow behind that tractor. I think its a wise investment. The thatch removal will be tough. But, she has some woods where that stuff can be dumped. (And she has some indentured servants for labor - children.) Core aerating, over seeding and fertilizing will be much easier after the thatch is removed, and she has those attachments.
Shari can do this. She is only limited by her will and/or her wallet. Without those restrictions, and I've served with Shari, I know she will be victorious.
Here we have Curtis' yard:
Curtis is another warrior; retired, but still helping Soldiers. Works hard on his lawn too. Its tough because he has so many old growth trees in and around his yard. he does a great job getting rid of the leaves and branches that come down. Curtis has a cool season mix of turfgrass. He also has a pH level of @ 5.2 - like many lawns that are in the northern Virginia region. He needs to put down @ 50 pounds (per 1,000 square feet) of lime on his front yard and @ 80 in his back yard. Curtis also has a pretty high nitrogen requirement as well. He's got to do @ 5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. He needs to do that seasonally - which means at least twice a year, during our two growing seasons.
Now, I recently got word that Curtis is going to be moving. So, we may not see "after" pictures here. But, the good news is, Curtis probably needs his turfgrass consultant to come around the new quarters once he gets settled in. Thankfully, he's not moving far away. A new category now on the blog - Curtis is a true turfgrass GENTLEMAN.
Duane is also a turfgrass warrior and gentleman. Duane is a former Soldier, and still helps former Soldiers in the VA. He's also a dear friend and classmate of mine. He has a very interesting yard.
Duane's lawn in these pictures is all brown. Why? Because Duane has a warm season turfgrass that is still in its winter dormancy. Duane has perennial ryegrass (Lolium Perenne) - with some fine fescue and onion grass popping through.
Duane's soil is at 6.2 pH for his front, which is pretty good (close); and, 5.5 for his backyard, which is not good. He also has a fairly high NPK requirement - @ 6 pounds of N, 4 pounds of P and 2 pounds of K per 1,000 square feet. He's got some work to do.
You'll see in the second picture, his back yard, he has the warm weather grass up towards the house, then it starts to thin out and be more like a cool season grass as it goes out toward the rear and the trees. I told Duane that the line there needs to be his demarcation line (Like in the Korean DMZ.). He needs to literally draw the line there. He will not have much success growing quality turfgrass beyond that area because of shade and other debris in the yard. Duane did not like to hear that. But, in an earlier post, I discussed "prioritization" of areas in your yard - either due to funding or time or other resources. This kind of goes along those lines. But, this also means cutting your losses, living to fight another day. Perhaps losing the battle but winning the war. Duane can put in some other decorative ground covers...maybe a nice pathway. Perhaps layer some garden works. There are many options.
This is Meghan & Nick's yard and landscape. I did the initial analysis and recommendations in early summer 2014. Nick has already made some incredible progress with his turf. But, he still has pretty far to go. This fall will be a busy time for Nick. Meghan & Nick recently renovated their home, so most of the immediate landscape was damaged and/or removed. Now, they have asked me to devise a plan for their landscape; some shrubs and woody ornamentals. I'm working that now. This was their current status a couple days ago:
It was kinda windy that day and it was tough navigating around all the obstacles. But, you should get an idea of what I'm gonna be working with in the front yard. We are only doing the front yard and one side this year. They are still having a deck being put in around back. We'll deal with that area next year.