Fertilizing my lawn for initial spring application

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Yaz

Active Member
Jun 29, 2018
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I live in central Iowa and have tried everything over the years from mil to Scott's. From my experience, I have found Site One products superior....ie used to be John Deere landscape I believe. I finally invested in a professional grade spreader and gave up on consumer grade spreaders. Now I have an acre of blue grass in which I over seeded last fall with fescue for a variety of reasons not applicable to the original OP inquiry. I did drop pre emergent this year, and probably will most years. However, I typically spray weeds and only fert eary spring, 2 months later I fert which lasts until September. Someday, I hope to go all natural, however, I havent seen it to be there yet. This spring I did not put down pre emergent until around May 21, which does have some fert, and my yard was the greenest on the block prior, oh BTW, I mulch mow, which is key i believe. Hope this helps.
 
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JY07

Well-Known Member
Aug 20, 2009
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DSM
This is the best brand of grass seed that I have found, but the price reflects it and can be prohibitive for some.

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Outdoors-Garden-Center-Lawn-Care/Barenbrug/N-5yc1vZbx8aZ9xu
For those of you in the DSM area looking for grass seed, you might as well skip the home improvement stores and go directly to a seed shop:

https://unitedseeds.com/product-category/home-lawns/

Now I have an acre of blue grass in which I over seeded last fall with fescue for a variety of reasons not applicable to the original OP inquiry.
How does the new grass compare to the existing blue grass?
 

besserheimerphat

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2006
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Mount Vernon, WA
Haven't read the thread and have nothing of value to contribute, but wanted to tell the OP that this clip from the Simpsons Tomacco episode pops in my head everytime i see the thread title:

 

khardbored

Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2012
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Middle of the Midwest
For people who bag their clippings.. I'm wondering why you do that? Is it for mulch in your gardens or what?

Endless research tells you that mulching the yard is far better for overall lawn health and it's free slow release fertilizer
In an ideal world, we would all be mowing with a high setting 3 times per week mulching.

But real life gets in the way, and sometimes I'm lucky if I get to mow once per week. So, if I run my mower on mulch mode, it's too long and gets clumpy and drops huge chunks of dead grass everywhere, which kills the good stuff.

It's just easier to bag.
 

Rogue52

Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2006
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Cedar Rapids, IA
In an ideal world, we would all be mowing with a high setting 3 times per week mulching.

But real life gets in the way, and sometimes I'm lucky if I get to mow once per week. So, if I run my mower on mulch mode, it's too long and gets clumpy and drops huge chunks of dead grass everywhere, which kills the good stuff.

It's just easier to bag.
Do you have experience of the “huge chunks” actually killing grass? Even when my lawn gets a bit too long, my mulching mower still does a pretty good job mulching. I am also surprised to see the number of people in this thread that bag.
 

BCClone

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Sep 4, 2011
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North Iowa
Do you have experience of the “huge chunks” actually killing grass? Even when my lawn gets a bit too long, my mulching mower still does a pretty good job mulching. I am also surprised to see the number of people in this thread that bag.

Bagging is one of the worst things you can do for your lawn. Hurts the organic matter, hurts the fertility - you then add commercial fertilizer which typically is salt based and you up the pH on your ground. We mow at 3" and once a week most times, sometimes 5-6 days, sometimes 10-12 days. I don't mulch, pulled the chute up and let it fly. If it's long and windrows a little, mow it again about 5 days later and go a different direction so you don't just push it and it will start grinding it up. De-thatch in the spring and you should be fine.
 
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nocsious3

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Aug 23, 2013
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Bagging is one of the worst things you can do for your lawn. Hurts the organic matter, hurts the fertility - you then add commercial fertilizer which typically is salt based and you up the pH on your ground. We mow at 3" and once a week most times, sometimes 5-6 days, sometimes 10-12 days. I don't mulch, pulled the chute up and let it fly. If it's long and windrows a little, mow it again about 5 days later and go a different direction so you don't just push it and it will start grinding it up. De-thatch in the spring and you should be fine.
I side discharge in my backyard and at this point everyone know I'm a lawn nut. My 36" mower I use in the back didn't come with a mulch kit and I don't feel the need to buy one. Side discharge is fine too. It breaks down no problem as long as I'm mowing regularly.
 

spierceisu

Well-Known Member
Jan 28, 2007
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Waukee
I have always mulched, but ended up bagging this time since it was so tall. I don't have a large yard and ended up filling 4 1/2 30 gallon yard waste bags. I will be mulching again the rest of the time as long as I can keep up with the mowing.
 

Cyclones_R_GR8

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Feb 10, 2007
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I have always mulched, but ended up bagging this time since it was so tall. I don't have a large yard and ended up filling 4 1/2 30 gallon yard waste bags. I will be mulching again the rest of the time as long as I can keep up with the mowing.
That's pretty much what I have been doing. Bag when it's deep, mulch when it isn't. I do need to power rake this fall due to the dead grass from the fungus. I also haven't power raked in about 10 years.
 

BillyClone

Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2006
560
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Ankeny IA
Mind sharing your pvc roller plans? This is something I’ve wanted to look into before
Basically, I use a roughly 20" piece of 3" PVC and instead of end caps I use something called a "hard hat" to close the ends. I drilled holes through the center of the hard hats and used hex bolts and nuts (with washers for spacers) to create axles. I filled the pipe with sand and glued the ends on. I built a frame using angle brackets and flat bars and attached the roller to the frame. I drilled a small hole into the back of the mower and attached a heavy-duty angle bracket to work as a hitch. I used a clevis and cotter pin to hook the roller to the mower.

Hopefully these pictures help...

upload_2020-6-1_13-59-13.jpeg upload_2020-6-1_13-59-45.jpeg upload_2020-6-1_14-0-6.jpeg upload_2020-6-1_14-0-28.jpeg upload_2020-6-1_14-0-54.jpeg upload_2020-6-1_14-4-30.jpeg upload_2020-6-1_14-4-53.jpeg upload_2020-6-1_14-5-10.jpeg
 
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mj4cy

Asst. Regional Manager
Staff member
Mar 28, 2006
28,279
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Iowa
Bagging is one of the worst things you can do for your lawn. Hurts the organic matter, hurts the fertility - you then add commercial fertilizer which typically is salt based and you up the pH on your ground. We mow at 3" and once a week most times, sometimes 5-6 days, sometimes 10-12 days. I don't mulch, pulled the chute up and let it fly. If it's long and windrows a little, mow it again about 5 days later and go a different direction so you don't just push it and it will start grinding it up. De-thatch in the spring and you should be fine.
I rarely bag but usually mulch/side shoot. If I don't like the big clumps, I'll just take a leaf blower and spread it out.
 

JY07

Well-Known Member
Aug 20, 2009
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I rarely bag but usually mulch/side shoot. If I don't like the big clumps, I'll just take a leaf blower and spread it out.
My mower is terrible at mulching, so if it's been too long since the last time I mowed I do the same thing: use a leaf blower to spread out the clump lines.

Do you have experience of the “huge chunks” actually killing grass?
If the clips are on the longer side, you will definitely see the ruts/strips of dead grass by the end of the year
 

cyfan92

Well-Known Member
Sep 20, 2011
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Augusta National Golf Club
Most of the lawns growing like crazy right now in my neighborhood have had lawn care company's dump massive amounts of synthetic fertilizer on them.

Same lawns will have massive water bills this summer trying to keep it green. I'd rather have a slow green up with huge root development. No fert until after Mother's Day!
This has 100% come true again. Neighbors are out watering 2 times a day to barely hang on to their grass. Meanwhile, I'm mowing at 4 inches and have almost the same looking turf with NO watering or artificial fert.

Difference is my input costs are $0 outside of 3 yearly treatments of Milorganite and a bottle of 2-4-D concentrate to get me through the year.
 
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tman24

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2008
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When is the best time to start seeding in central Iowa. Late August?
Its not scientific but i was went by the rule of thumb to seed any month except the ones that end in y (excluding may). Usually it depends how much you want to water really.
 

Gunnerclone

Well-Known Member
Jul 16, 2010
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Okay so another question I’ve been watering and the crab grass is just absolutely exploding to the point I can’t keep up on it. Is that a sign I’m watering too much?
 

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