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Thread: Putting in a lawn

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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Default Putting in a lawn

    Not sure if this technically fits here, but thought I'd ask. We cleared out a good size area on the back side of our property (had been cleared in the past). It was so over grown and just needed cleared. Put the skid steer to work, and got everything down to soil this past fall. Kept some nice trees here and there. Anyone with tips for growing grass? What type of seed, fertilizer, how to prep the ground etc. If I don't get any responses from here, I'll do the best I can, and contact a local landscaper for info. I live in Salcha, up on a hill. The area has good drainage, and the soil looks to be decent. Just figured I'd ask for some pointers!

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    Default lush lawn

    I've had good luck with buying seed from a bigbox store; seed that has Alaska written on its label (I figured then they'd know we have a short season).

    Prepare the area, removing any big stuff, then rough up the topsoil, then use three times as much seed as the label says. Use the cheap little handheld twirlybird type of seed spreader (works for lawn food too), not the expensive push-the-cart kind of spreader.

    Start at first full thaw. Water lots (but not enough to runoff), but let it almost dry between waterings. It'll be decent before the snow flies, the first year. The second season, reseed any parts that aren't decent, using the same method.

    Also use alaska-specific (says so on the label) lawn food as directed, not more or less.

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    Hoyt
    the one house had Iwas told to used a Alaska brand with a lot of Kentucky blue grass in it
    and the place Iam at now I had it Hydro Seeded I did some checking on the price and it wasnt as
    bad as you might think (here in Wasilla) you just got to keep it damp
    the smell of freash cut grass and a COLD beer
    Good luck

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Hoyt? what did you clear off? black spruce aspen? Birch?

    that will make some of a difference as to how you plant a little up here... we have a heavy peat and clay type soil locally here that compacts and does not let water in.. I am getting better at seeding and planting on it.. but it is still a pain..

    you may need to add a load or two of sand into the mix just to get the soil loose enough again to seed and take water. if you have that heavy soil that cracks open the day after it rains..spreading fertilizer on it will burn it.. so i mix mine in before i seed it, then use a light drag over the seed to cover it. you may also need a LOT of lime.. especially if it was black spruce on top

    last spring it took all 24 pounds ( 9 acre worth) to plant 1 acre of clover and legume but it finely came up and grew. should be better this year.
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    I added about 8000sf to my lawn last summer. I had Joe's Stump Grinding come out and grind down about 100 various size spruce, birch, and aspen stumps, then brought in about 6 or 7 side dumps from North Pole Sand and Gravel. I ended up just going with their fill rather than topsoil. It was some of the nicest looking fill I've ever seen. Had the oldest boy rake it out one afternoon, and he only got about 2 wheelbarrow loads of rocks and sticks out of the whole thing. I went to Cold Spot Feeds in Fairbanks and bought bulk grass seed. Ended up with a mix of Arctared Red Fescue, Rye Grass, and a couple others I don't remember. If you look at any of the commercial seed mixes to see what they put in them, you can probably more or less duplicate it by buying bulk like I did. I bought a walk-behind spreader and put down about 3 times as much seed as recommended. Then fertilizer, then rolled the whole thing. After that, just keep it watered sufficiently until it germinates. If the seed dries out, it will die. They say you should cover the seed with a thin layer of topsoil or peat, but I think if you roll it so that it is pressed into the soil and make sure to keep it damp, you don't need to do that. By the 4th of July, I had a pretty good lawn, and by the end of summer it was beautiful. I fertilized every 4 weeks, and by August I was mowing twice a week.
    Getting a new lawn started is pretty labor intensive, but I love the look and smell of a freshly cut lawn. If I can find some pics from late in the summer I'll post them. You'd never know that in June it was covered in stumps.
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    hoyt I've been here all my life and am here to tell you you DO NOT need Alaska specific grass seed! Kentucky Bluegrass is the only way to go. If you want long course strands of grass mixed w/ clover and chick weed get the Alaska seed. Oh sure the Alaska seed looks ok at first but as it matures it gets sp**** and course and when you spread the blades of grass you'll see the sod consists mainly of moss. Kentucky bluegrass will make a healthy sod too. I live by Sleepy Hollow golf course I learned all the tricks

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    Thanks for the tips everyone. I've heard Kentucky Blue does well. I have about an acre cleared. Vince…. there was maybe one or two black spruce, but mostly white spruce and some birch (which I left standing). Also willows. The area had been cleared of trees before (except the birch), as most of the spruce varieties were fairly young. It was more than likely a good mix back in the day. The soil appears to be dark, and could possibly contain a form of clay. The top layer of crap (long grass, weeds, stumps, roots) came of fairly easy with the skid steer. I'm definitely not looking for the golf course appearance, but just a good grassy area. Before I decided to clear it, I used the area for planting birds for training my setter (lots great cover). I’ll still use it for dog training, but with it being just off (via some little walking trails) the main back yard, the wife wanted it cleaned up. It looks nice opened up, and will look nicer with a better grass base, as compared to my perfect cover dog training grounds LOL! Sounds like I'm in for a ton of work! I was thinking of back filling a little with the compost from the waste water treatment plant. My buddy works there, and I can get a ton of it. I was thinking of throwing that down, and then tilling it all together, then lightly leveling it with my bucket. Further thoughts? Ohh we also have goats…maybe a good grass mix recommended for their forage? Another project for the summer fun list! If I didn’t know she wanted a new boat as bad as I do (sold old one last summer), I’d think this was a way for her to occupy my time, and keep my mind off the water! LOL

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    After i got mine going good I have been useing a weed and feed fertilizer (for the dandelions)
    Now you got to git a rider to mow it

    Fullerbush do you bag your clippings when you mow?

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    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    I only bag the clipping about every other mow

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyt View Post
    Thanks for the tips everyone. I've heard Kentucky Blue does well. I have about an acre cleared. Vince…. there was maybe one or two black spruce, but mostly white spruce and some birch (which I left standing). Also willows. The area had been cleared of trees before (except the birch), as most of the spruce varieties were fairly young. It was more than likely a good mix back in the day. The soil appears to be dark, and could possibly contain a form of clay. The top layer of crap (long grass, weeds, stumps, roots) came of fairly easy with the skid steer. I'm definitely not looking for the golf course appearance, but just a good grassy area. Before I decided to clear it, I used the area for planting birds for training my setter (lots great cover). I’ll still use it for dog training, but with it being just off (via some little walking trails) the main back yard, the wife wanted it cleaned up. It looks nice opened up, and will look nicer with a better grass base, as compared to my perfect cover dog training grounds LOL! Sounds like I'm in for a ton of work! I was thinking of back filling a little with the compost from the waste water treatment plant. My buddy works there, and I can get a ton of it. I was thinking of throwing that down, and then tilling it all together, then lightly leveling it with my bucket. Further thoughts? Ohh we also have goats…maybe a good grass mix recommended for their forage? Another project for the summer fun list! If I didn’t know she wanted a new boat as bad as I do (sold old one last summer), I’d think this was a way for her to occupy my time, and keep my mind off the water! LOL

    well that is good then that means you have a lesser chance of ground ice hanging around and making things harder to grow. prolly have some decent drainage already if the larger spruce and birch are growing on it, till it up, add fertilizer as you do and mix it in good and some lime before you plant to bring the acid level down to to a normal PH many of our soils up here are very High. and nitrogen deficinat...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Default rent a dethatcher

    Quote Originally Posted by fullbush View Post
    I only bag the clipping about every other mow
    We bag every clipping and dump it in the trees outside the yard, which keeps weeds down a bit there. I'd love to de-thatch it this spring; that was the plan last spring (to rent a de thatcher) because the previous owner never bagged the clippings and now its way too thatched up down in there. And the darn lawn is only like 4 years old.

    Nothing like a good de thatching in the spring to really make a lawn shine about a month later and for a long time.

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    Good thread here. Im looking to buy a new construction home in wasilla with a sweet 1/2 acre gravel lawn so planting some grass would be this summers big chore. If I just had gravel, how much topsoil should be down for the grass to grow, 3-4"???

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    Biggest problem with Alaska soil is acidity. If you get black dirt hauled in from a swamp, you have acidic soil and nothing will groww in it for along time. They have chems you can buy to treat soil and then your lawn will grow faster than you want to mow it.
    I found a link way back about gardening soils in Alaska (don't remember where, but on a web search) and it explained all the different soil types of AK and how and what to treat them with. I was looking for gardening info, but the site explained lawns also. Wish I had the link handy, but if your on this forum, that means you have internet and the ability to search the web as well as me. You can get better and more up to date info on the web now than the biggest and best library in the world in my opinion.
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    well that is good then that means you have a lesser chance of ground ice hanging around and making things harder to grow. prolly have some decent drainage already if the larger spruce and birch are growing on it, till it up, add fertilizer as you do and mix it in good and some lime before you plant to bring the acid level down to to a normal PH many of our soils up here are very High. and nitrogen deficinat...
    Sounds good. thats what I am planning to do. I wanna keep it simple as I can. My buddy has a big tiller, so I'll till and add stuff! I'll smooth with my bucket, seed and water.

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    The best way to smooth out your lawn area is to use a peice of chain link fence or a peice of screening material from a gravel screener and pull it around with a 4 wheeler ,around and around and back and forth and it does a good job of filling the low spots and taking the little humps out. Good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bend View Post
    The best way to smooth out your lawn area is to use a peice of chain link fence or a peice of screening material from a gravel screener and pull it around with a 4 wheeler ,around and around and back and forth and it does a good job of filling the low spots and taking the little humps out. Good luck
    Yes, and strap a few 8 inch cinderblocks to that drag to let it get in.

    Don't even think about a 4 wheeler's snow plow to spread your new soil around; it will not do the job.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    I cheated and had my lawn Hydro Seeded. UAA has a department that may help you. In the Valley on Trunk Road, they have been experimenting with grass for quite some time. Give them a holler. I'm sure they would be willing to share their knowledge. Here is their web site along with contacts. http://www.uaf.edu/ces/directory/dir_ah/

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