I am thrilled this forum topic exists... on CB no less.
Here's my question, about lawns.
I've been a homeowner for about a year and have done nothing to my lawn other than mow it and water it. It looks terrible in many places, dry and weed infested.
Is it necessary to hire a lawn company to fertilize, re-seed, de-weed, etc? It's expensive for a big property, and I've also heard that some companies will use high nitrogen fertilizers that are like crack for your lawn, ie they make it spruce right back up but it's not that healthy underneath.
A landscaper we talked to recently said he wants to "dethatch" the lawn, that is tear it up and re-seed it. Then he said I should just buy a spreader and some low-nitrogen fertilizer and just fertilize 3-4 times per year. I'm not sold on the need to "dethatch" (others say this is counterproductive, you just need to "aerate".
Anyway, any and all advice welcome.
I guess it depends on how much work you are willing to put in. I'm in a new house, where the previous owners tried to be 100% organic, and let everything grow wild. I grew up in a house of green lawn, so I had my work cut out for me to get things how I wanted.
If you can aerate your lawn, I hear that is the best thing. If not, dethatching will work well too. Dethatching essentially will dig up the dead grass that sits on top of the soil - so the rain, fertilizer, etc. can actually get to the grass and roots. Aerating does a bit of both, while leaving the plugs on top of the current grass helps naturally fertilize it too. But you only need to do this every 3 years or so.
This would be my advice though if you are willing to do it yourself. First, you need to understand to get your lawn looking great, it is going to take a lot of time - a couple years most likely. Second, commit to applying the proper fertilizers. I follow the "Scotts STEPS" guide, which makes things super easy. At the very beginning of spring, you put down fertilizer that has crab grass preventer in it. This will help tame and kill any existing crab grass you have or is trying to grow. About 8 weeks later, you give it the next round of fertilizer - this has stuff that will kill satan himself, otherwise known as dandilions. Another 8 weeks later they have a "heat control" which basically has some chemicals that try's to slow down the growth of your grass during peak summer so it doesn't require as much water. Then another 8 weeks later you can apply your winter fertilizer or really any of the others you have already applied based on how your lawn looks.
When mowing your lawn, I've always just used a mulching bladed mower. Makes it easier to manage since I don't have to bag the clippings, and the clippings actually put nutrients back into the lawn. Also, make sure you cut it shorter at the end of the season, and longer at the beginning and especially peak summer when it gets less water.
I don't know how bad your lawn looks - but trying to reseed an entire lawn from scratch can be very difficult. You'll likely end up with lots of weeds, uneven growth, etc. if not using hydroseed or something more professional than just casting seed and using a sprinkler.
If you have somewhat contained areas of weeds, you could always pull those up, throw down some new soil and plant new grass. Remember that wherever you have grass, weeds wont grow. And that grass will naturally try to "spread." So you just have to give it time, try to feed it and control the mayhem that you have, and help it along where you can.
I think most peoples lawns took a tough hit this year with the lack of water and rain - but it should come back looking better next spring. As far as hiring a professional - you could always have them come out, give you a quote with listing of everything they would be doing. Then take that list and quote, and do what they suggest on your own. The fertilizer is somewhat expensive depending on the size of your lawn, but it makes a world of difference I have seen.
Good luck and enjoy!