Lawn and mowing questions...

I am closing on my first house in just under a month and had a few questions. The lawn will be seeded soon if it isn't already. What steps should I take to ensure I end up with a good full lawn? I have never cared for a new, seeded, lawn before so any advice is appreciated. I will also need to purchase a mower. Our lot size is slightly less than 1/2 acre. I was leaning toward a reel mower but my wife is not convinced that a gas mower isn't a good choice. Let me know what the pros-cons of reel vs gas are. I have looked at the Brill Luxus 38 but am a little concerned about the 1.8" cutting height. I learned from my dad and he always kept the grass significantly higher (gas mower). Any links or advice that will help me get a great lawn would be appreciated. Thanks, SAB
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On Thu, 15 Apr 2004 07:19:07 -0700, Scott B. wrote:

Hello Scott. Congratulations on your new house & lawn. All your new lawn will need is adequate water and nitrogen and all should be just fine. Depending on your grass type, your location and soil type, you may need up to 6 pounds of pure nitrogen per year per 1000 square feet. This pdf is one of the best resources on how to figure out fertilizer amounts: www.rce.rutgers.edu/pubs/pdfs/fs839.pdf
To reel or not to reel..... Personally I like reel mowers. The quite clipping sounds and the beautiful cut they leave is just great. With that said though, most people don't have a reel mower lawn. They either have the Wrong grass type, uneven lawns with lumps and bumps or they aren't 'religious' about cutting their lawns regularly. If the grass gets too high while your on vacation, you'll need to borrow the neighbors rotary to get back to the right mowing hight for you. The wrong grass type will get thatchy and stemy over time and the lumps tend to get scalped. The reel mower maintenance can be a bit much for some folks also. The blade needs to stay very sharp to be an effective mowing machine. Get a knick in the blade from hitting a stick or pine cone and off to the garage you go. Don't take all this as a discouragement of buying a reel mower. I would have one if I had enough time.....
As far as your Dad keeping the lawn higher, that was (imho) a good call. Taller grass tends to use less water, stays greener longer and tends to have less weeds.
I would recommend that you contact your local master gardeners and see what they recommend for your fertilizer needs and what grass types are best suited for your area. Over seed your lawn again when you move in and possibly again in the fall when you fertilize. By next spring you'll have a nice tight lawn. Good luck............
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Though expensive you can buy gas powered reel mowers.
Tyler
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You might consider adding your own seed to the builders. They tend to use a lot of rye for quick cover. Get something good for your area. A half acre is a lot of grass to cut with a reel mower. I'd get a self propelled mulching mower, myself. Frank
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I don't know about you. I will not use a man-powered reel mower in my 1/4 acre property (7200 sq.ft. are lawn). In my opinion, your 1/2 acre is just too much lawn for a reel mower. If I were you, I would either get a gas-powered self-propelled mower, or even a riding mower (if I get enough money).
You may want to check the soil type, and try to improve the soil before plainting grass seeds. The soil in my lawn is very sandy and cannot hold water that well (only 1/2" to 1" top soil in my front lawn). I must water the lawn more often than I want ( ~$$~ <--- flying dollar bill). If I could start everything all over with, I would have added much more top soil with plenty organic matters and compost and such.
Although this is very tempting to add underground sprinkling system to your property to ease the burden in watering the lawn, I suggest not to do this right now. You need to spend some time in your house and your garden/lawn. When you have spent one or two years in your new house, you will form a plan in your mind as of what to do with your garden and lawn. At that point, you may convert some lawn area into a flower-garden or a vegetable-garden (1/2 acre is quite large to fit many types of garden). Having underground sprinkling system already in place may restrict your freedom in designing your garden. For now, you may want to use water hoses and a timer and water different areas of the lawn in alternate day.
One last thing, you may want to buy a book on lawn care, and keep it in a convenient place for reference.
Hope this helps.
Jay Chan
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Scott B.) wrote in

gas mowers * noisier and pollutingingmoring. * may have safety procautions about keeping kids and body parts away from general area and esp. discharge chute while cutting. * engine propelled models require less individual effort to operate * requires gasoline to run
push reel mowers * less noisy (beandip powered mowers may be morepollutingingmoring) * require either more mechanical proficency or $$ to sharpen blades (except Brill models claim to stay sharp) * manual models may not be suitable for St. Augustine or tougher grasses * can operate on donuts or beer belly fat
Did you look at the Brill Accu line? Still only 1.8" cutting height, but it's battery powered. I assume that makes it easier to push.
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On 15 Apr 2004 07:19:07 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Scott B.) wrote:

A mulching self-propelled walk-behind mower is about right for a half acre. Honda gas engines are very good choices. With this you can mow, trim, and clean up in about 2.5 hours. Raise the blade to 3" or more and mow often. It is important to keep a newly seeded lawn moist, at least for a month or two. Unless the wife is going to do the mowing or at least help out, she should have no say. Lawn care is very regional--talk with the local lawn experts. Six months or so, consider having a soil test done to find out what amendments the lawn needs.
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Avoid weed killers for the first summer. They don't kill the new grass but really weaken it and slow it down, giving room for a second generation of weeds. Pull by hand or just tolerate until next fall.
By reel mower I don't know if you mean hand-pushed. With half an acre I hope you're in good shape (or healthy enough to become so) if you provide your own power. If you get a rotary mower, make sure the blades are really sharp because dull blades can damage new grass.
If you are serious about a hand-pushed mower, buy one that's not too wide. They're cheap and fairly easy to push and even if you also get a power mower they're nice for trimming around obstacles and in tight corners.
Enjoy.
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