My Lawn In 2021: My Change Log for the Entire Year in the Lawn

My Lawn 2021 Change Log - Turf Mechanic

Here is my plan and a running change log for my lawn in the 2021 season.

This post is mostly designed for my own reference although I’m sure a lot of you will find it interesting as well.

Lawn Applications

Nitrogen

I shoot for roughly 4-lb of nitrogen on my lawn (per 1000 sqft) every season split between a variety of smaller applications.

► April 5, 2021 – Added 0.43 lbs of Nitrogen via half bag-rate of Ammonium Sulfate Application (21-0-0)
► April 12, 2021 – Added .384 lbs of Nitrogen via half bag-rate of Milorganite (6-4-0)
► April 12, 2021 – Added .32 lbs of Nitrogen via half bag-rate of Jonathan Green Organic Lawn Food (10-0-1)
► May 24, 2021 – Added .178 lbs of Nitrogen via 70% of a bag of Sunday’s Lawn Strong spray pouch (24-0-3)
► June 20, 2021 – Added .392 lbs of Nitrogen via Lawn Luxe with 2.65% Humic & 1.9% Sulfur (7-0-7)
► June 20, 2021 – Added .34 lbs of Nitrogen via Dr. Earth Nitrogen Fertilizer w/ Alfalfa Meal (5-0-2)
► July 24, 2021 – Added .384 lbs of Nitrogen via half bag-rate of Milorganite (6-4-0)
► August 27, 2021 – Added .25 lbs of Nitrogen via Fall Fortify (5-5-5)
► September 11, 2021 – Added .295 lbs of Nitrogen via Sunday’s Fall Fortify w/ _____ Iron & _____ Calcium (22-0-0)

Running Total: 2.973 lbs

Phosphorus

I plan on putting roughly 1-lb of Phosphorus on the lawn (per 1000 sqft) every season split between a variety of smaller applications.

► April 12, 2021 – Added .256 lbs of Phosphorus via half bag-rate of Milorganite (6-4-0)
► July 24, 2021 – Added .256 lbs of Phosphorus via half bag-rate of Milorganite (6-4-0)
► August 27, 2021 – Added .25 lbs of Phosphorus via Fall Fortify (5-5-5)

Running Total: 0.762 lbs

Planning Ahead
September 11, 2021 – I’ll be applying Lawn Box’s Fall Fortify, a 5-5-5 organic blend which will support plant health, push some moderate growth and nourish the lawns cellular structure and the rooting process with Phosphorus at a rate of (0.25 lbs / 1k sqft).

Potassium

I plan on putting roughly 2.5-lb of Potassium per 1k sqft  on the lawn (per 1000 sqft) every season split between a variety of smaller applications.

► April 12, 2021 – Added .032 lbs of Potassium / 1k sqft via half bag-rate of Jonathan Green Organic Lawn Food (10-0-1)
► April 17, 2021 – Added .028 lbs of Potassium / 1k sqft via N-EXT Air-8 Liquid Aeration with Humic & Potassium (0-0-5)
► May 24, 2021 – Added .045 lbs of Potassium / 1k sqft via Simple Aeration with 6% Humic & Potassium (0-0-8)
► May 24, 2021 – Added .022 lbs of Potassium via 70% of a bag of Sunday’s Lawn Strong spray pouch (24-0-3)
► June 20, 2021 – Added .392 lbs of Potassium via Lawn Luxe with 2.65% Humic & 1.9% Sulfur (7-0-7)
► June 20, 2021 – Added .136 lbs of Potassium via Dr. Earth Nitrogen Fertilizer w/ Alfalfa Meal (5-0-2)
► August 21, 2021 – Added .028 lbs of Potassium / 1k sqft via N-EXT Air-8 Liquid Aeration with Humic & Potassium (0-0-5)
► August 27, 2021 – Added .25 lbs of Potassium via Fall Fortify (5-5-5)
► September 11, 2021 – Added .44 lbs of Potassium via Langbeinite Application (0-0-22)

Running Total: 1.373 lbs

Micro-Nutrients

Micro-nutrients are needed in small quantities, that’s why they are called micro-nutrients. We don’t need to add them very often or in high doses in standalone products unless a soil test shows we are deficient in one or more of them. To stay on top of this I like to add a small shot of micros to the lawn in early Spring before the bulk of the Spring flush occurs. If the soil has the micros in it then the grass will grow at peak health. I plan on applying a small dose however to prevent leaching and waste. It is unlikely I’ll apply this more than once although a soil test later in the year may change my mind.

► March 19, 2021 – Applied Half-Rate of Simple Grow Solutions Micro Booster
► August 27, 2021 – Applied Full-Rate of Simple Grow Solutions Micro Booster

This Micro-Booster product adds a small dose of the following micro-nutrients to the lawn: Magnesium 1.7%, Zinc 0.75%, Iron 3.5%, Manganese 0.75%, & Sulfur 4%.

That’s definitely not all of the potential micros but it does contain the big ones from the micro-nutrient category.

Humic Acid

Humic (and Fulvic) acid provides a beneficial surge in carbon to the soil but it also allows for better nutrient and moisture management. Nutrient uptake is improved when you apply humic acid and biological life in the soil is stimulated as well. Because humic acid is contained in many fertilizers and bio-stimulant products I don’t usually apply it by itself other than at the very end of winter and the beginning of Spring. All other applications of humic acid come as side benefits of other product applications such as fertilizers, liquid aerators, and thatch removers predominately.

► March 19, 2021 – Applied Full Dose of N-EXT Humic12
► April 17, 2021 – Applied N-EXT Air-8 Liquid Aeration with 8% Humic Acid
► May 3, 2021 – Applied 9 oz / 1k sqft N-EXT D-Thatch with 4% Humic Acid
► May 24, 2021 – Applied Simple Aeration with 6% Humic Acid
► June 20, 2021 – Lawn Luxe with 2.65% Humic & 1.9% Sulfur (7-0-7)
► June 29, 2021 – Applied 9 oz / 1k sqft N-EXT D-Thatch with 4% Humic Acid
► August 2, 2021 – Applied a DIY concoction of N-EXT Humin12 (12% humic solution) at 2-oz / 1k sqft, along with CytoGro, Molasses, Yeast, and fish tank water to the lawn.
► August 21, 2021 – Applied N-EXT Air-8 Liquid Aeration with 8% Humic Acid

Liquid Thatch Digesters (i.e. Molasses & Yeast)

The entire concept of liquid thatch removal is to stimulate biological and microbial life in the soil to get more active and eat away at the thatch and grass clippings so that the material reincorporates into the soil providing a healthier environment for rooting and moisture management. Microbial life slows down significantly when soil temps drop below 55 degrees and nearly stops completely when soil temps dip below 45 degrees – it’s the reason why refrigerators maintain temps in the low 40’s to upper 30’s. Here is my plan for applying liquid thatch digesting products:

► May 3, 2021 – Applied 9 oz / 1k sqft N-EXT D-Thatch with 4% Humic Acid, 6% Molasses, & 2% Yeast Blend
► June 29, 2021 – Applied 9 oz / 1k sqft N-EXT D-Thatch with 4% Humic Acid, 6% Molasses, & 2% Yeast Blend
► August 2, 2021 – Applied a DIY concoction of 1 TBSP Molasses / 1k sqft, 1 TBSP Yeast / 1k sqft, and 2-oz N-EXT Humic12 / 1k sqft to the lawn. I also added a gallon of fish tank water for some minor nutrition & 0.8-oz / 1k sqft of CytoGro for added cytokinins.
► August 27, 2021 – Applied 9 oz / 1k sqft N-EXT D-Thatch with 4% Humic Acid, 6% Molasses, & 2% Yeast Blend

Planning Ahead
I’m still planning on making additional Liquid Thatch remover applications on or around Sept. 16 and October 9.

Core Aeration

I believe core aerating a lawn so important that it should be done twice a year, once at the end of winter and once at the end of summer, just before both root growth seasons (spring and early Autumn).

► February 2021 – Manually Core aerated 20% of my lawn.
► March 2021 – Mechanically core aerated the remaining 80% of my lawn.
► August 30, 2021 – Mechanically core aerated my entire lawn.

Iron

I had planned on applying liquid chelated iron to the lawn once or twice throughout the year but changed the plan in the Spring to not add iron by itself but to rather get it only in small doses as it is included in small quantities in a number of different products.

► March 19, 2021 – Applied Half-Rate of Simple Grow Solutions Micro Booster (3.5% Iron)
► April 12, 2021 – Applied Milorganite (6-4-0) which included 2.5% Iron
► May 24, 2021 – Applied Simple Plant Food Liquid Aeration which included 1.5% Iron
► July 24, 2021 – Applied Milorganite (6-4-0) which included 2.5% Iron
► August 27, 2021 – Applied Full-Rate of Simple Grow Solutions Micro Booster (3.5% Iron)
► September 11, 2021 – Added Sunday’s Fall Fortify (22-0-0) which included _____ Iron

Cytokinins (Sea Kelp)

Cytokinins are the plant growth hormone found in great concentration in sea kelp and seaweed extracts. You can get this from Root Growth Stimulant products, sea kelp based fertilizers on in products dedicated to cytokinin delivery. The point of this is to push grass root growth as far as possible so that the grass plants will be as healthy as possible.

► March 26, 2021 – I meant to apply CytoGro this at this time but never got around to it.
► May 3, 2021 – Applied 0.8 oz / 1k sqft of Cytogro for concentrated Cytokinin bio-stimulant
► May 24, 2021 – Applied Simple Aeration which delivered a small shot of Cytokinins
► June 29, 2021 – Applied 0.8 oz / 1k sqft of Cytogro for concentrated Cytokinin bio-stimulant
► August 2, 2021 – Applied a DIY concoction of CytoGro (0.8 oz per 1k sft), Molasses, Yeast, N-EXT Humic12 and fish tank water to the lawn.
► August 27, 2021 – Applied 0.8 oz / 1k sqft of Cytogro for concentrated Cytokinin bio-stimulant

pH Adjustments – Competed

My main lawn soil pH measures at or around 6.9. To lower it slightly this year I plan on top-dressing with peat moss and adding a touch of acidifying fertilizers early in the season and applying a small dose of elemental sulfur in late Spring to early summer. My goal is to get lawn soil pH to measure close to 6.5 by the start of Spring 2022.

► April 2021 – Applied 6 cft / 1k sqft top-dressing of peat moss to entire lawn
► April 5, 2021 – Applied half-rate application of acidifying fertilizer ammonium sulfate (0.43 lbs nitrogen/1k sqft).
► May 24, 2021 – Applied small application of liquid urea Nitrogen from GetSunday.
► June 17, 2021 – Applied 0.8 lbs / 1k sqft application of elemental sulfur.

Top-Dressings

The application of a top-dressing is all about delivering hard to measure nutrients and beneficial amendments to the lawn and soil. For me this includes applying peat moss (for immediate acidification), worm castings and Azomite (for trace minerals), Elemental Sulfur (for pH adjustment), and Biochar (for increased water and nutrient holding capacity).

► April 2021 – Applied 6 cft / 1k sqft top-dressing of peat moss to entire lawn
► April 2021 – Applied 4 cft / 1k sqft top-dressing of worm castings to entire lawn
► April 12, 2021 – Applied 4 lbs / 1k sqft top-dressing of Azomite to entire lawn
► June 17, 2021 – Applied Top-dressing of Elemental Sulfur to entire lawn
► September 3, 2021 – Applied a top-dressing of biochar to my entire lawn (post core aeration)

Pre-Emergents

Pre-emergent herbicides are applied to a lawn in early to mid-spring to stop primarily grassy weeds from germinating and taking over a lawn later in the season. There are a variety of pre-emergent options to choose from but I decided to use a conservative approach and only apply a minimum rate of Prodiamine to my lawn to give me coverage into mid-summer only; this gives me the ability to overseed at the end of summer if I feel the need to do so.

► April 12, 2021 – Applied 2 lbs / 1k sqft, a half Rate of Prodiamine via Anderson’s Barricade to give weed control through late July.
► Mid-July I had planned on applying Corn Gluten Meal for late season weed control. I never got this done so I found myself with a few extra weeds in the lawn in August than I had planned on.

Grub Control

To control grubs it’s best to apply grub preventatives in late May through Mid July depending on the type of product used. I have opted to use a natural BT product that requires late application. I will split my application of BT into three sequential light applications starting in late June ending in mid to late July.

► June 20, 2021 – Applied 1st round of BT Grub Control (Grub Out) At Minimum Dose
► July 6, 2021 – Applied 2nd round of BT Grub Control (Grub Out) At Minimum Dose
► July 20, 2021 – Applied 3rd round of BT Grub Control (Grub Out) At Minimum Dose

Moisture Management – Hydretain

In dry and/or hot climates climates managing moisture in the soil is very important for cool season grasses. When we irrigate a lot of moisture is lost to evaporation than it is in wetter humid climates. When I apply Hydretain to my lawn it allows me to irrigate less frequently through the heat of summer meaning this is a great product to relieve summer drought stress and conserve a good amount of water as well. Hydretain only needs to be applied once every three months so if I apply in June then I get coverage for the entire summer with one application.

► July 6, 2021 – Applied a heavy rate of Hydretain to my lawn to aid in moisture retention throughout the remainder of summer.
► September 3, 2021 – Top-dressed lawn with biochar which should slowly build my lawn’s water retention capabilities in subsequent years.

Fungicide

Many people apply preventative fungicides on the lawn to stop lawn diseases before they take hold. My plan however is to push root growth and plant health as much as possible and then follow the best cultural practices to prevent fungus without the application of fungicides.

I have no plans to put down preventative or curative rates of fungicides this season.


Here’s the running list of stuff I did in the lawn in order of when it was done and as documented over on the Turf Mechanic YouTube channel.

January

January 1, 2021
The first week of January I started my experiment to see if I could get perennial rye to germinate by putting the seed right on top of the soil. You can see the video I produced on this experiment below.

I also updated my companion piece here on the website for this topic. You can see that here: Will Grass Seed Germinate Sitting Directly On The Soil?

January 10, 2021
I started my comparison of perennial rye seed germination at various temperatures experiment. Wanted to see how fast PR germinated and grew depending on the average soil temperature from 45 up to 70 degrees. You can see my 1st update video to this experiment below.

You can then see my update – full length – video to this experiment below.

I also have an article that compares perennial rye to KBG which goes into greater depth that can be viewed here: Perennial Rye vs Kentucky Bluegrass

January 21, 2021
During a mid-winter warm snap I was able to take my blower and mower and clean up the yard. I think I was even able to cut a pinch off the tips too which was a nice suprise. I cut the grass at the lowest settign my mower would go, approximately 1.375″. You can see the fun video I made to document the ocassion below.

In that January mow I used my Toro 60V mower and my Greenworks Prop 80V blower. You can see reviews of those tools throughout this website.

January 23, 2021
Today I started an experiment to find out how cold tolerant perennial rye seedlings are. I took brand new, days old perennial rye sprouted in a small pot and I put it outside day and night for a few days in the middle of the heart of winter. During this stretch temps dropped from the low 30’s at first down to the mid-teens and despite the cold sub-freezing temps the perennial rye sprouts didn’t die off. This experiment ended late in January and the video documenting the experiment was published a couple weeks later in February. You can see it embedded below.

January 28, 2021
Today I took a close look at all my fescue grass pots that I started as experiments in the summer and fall of 2020. The goal was to get a side-by-side look at how each of the different types of fescue look in the middle of the winter. You can see my video on this topic below.

In addition to this look I had other material on this website teaching lawn-owners how to care for their fescue. The biggest resource can be found in the following article: Annual Care Schedule For K31 and/or Turf Type Tall Fescue

February

February 2, 2021
Overnight we had a small bit of snowfall. I woke up looking forward to running my snowblower but the accumulation didn’t call for it. What did I do instead? I decided I would goof off a bit and lay down some lawn stripes in the snow! You can see the “just for fun” video I made that went live the next day below.

February 4, 2021
Back In January (around the 20th) I simultaneously seeded a pot of perennial rye and Kentucky Bluegrass at the same time to compare them in their early stages of life in nearly identical environments. I released my early comparison video of these two grass types on February 5th and then waited a few extra months to do a full growing season comparison of the two grass types. You can see my early findings in this video below.

February 8, 2021
Today I started my pre-season lawn fertilization planning by testing the acidity of my lawn with a few different Rapitest pH testing products. I tested multiple locations and used multiple styles of testers to get a good idea of where I stood going into the 2021 growing season. You can see my video on this case study and comparison below.

Generally speaking these same day DIY pH tests aren’t as accurate as full soil test kits. You can see my thoughts as a compared the full test kits later in the year on the following page: The Best Soil Test Kits Compared

February 12, 2021
Today I used my newest lawn mower for the first time this year, a small 14″ WORX battery powered lawnmower. I used it in some thick grass located near the lower edge of my property that was never cut in the fall. The mower drove through it great to my surprise. The following video features my innitial impressions and review of this mower including footage of me using it in the extended areas of my property.

Later in the year I compared this small mower to the large 22″ Toro 60-volt mower because I felt like this small mower would be a better option for certain types of shoppers. You can see that comparison lower on this page in the April section. I also started a webpage on this site around this time dedicated to small battery mower reviews.

February 14, 2021
Today I started my first true lawn project of the year. I started the process of waking up a small 50 square foot section of my lawn from winter approximately 6-7 weeks ahead of the rest of the lawn. I documented this whole process – it was a big experiment that I am so happy I did…super cool stuff. You can see my teaser video for this experiment immediately below followed by the final reveal video released a few days later.

And here is the full length video where I explain and show everything I did to wake the grass up and get it growing before February was over.

Such a cool project, I may try to wake up an area four times as large next year to see if I can scale it up.

February 20, 2021
Today I started manually core aerating my entire lawn using my Yard Butler. I documented a portion of the job for a video that you can see below but the time commitment to manually aerate 2500 square feet proved to be too much for me. After four weeks had past I had only aerated approximately 20-25% of my lawn so so I hired out a mechanical aeration job to a local company to ensure it got done before the full lawn started growing.

In the video I discussed the differences a bit between core aerating and spike aerating which is easier but not nearly as helpful. You can see the companion article on the website for that here: Core vs Spike Aeration Of The Lawn

March

March 2, 2021
Today I planted a tree in the lawn.

April 2021

This stuff happened.

May 2021

This stuff happened.

June 2021

This stuff happened.

July 2021

This stuff happened.

August 2021

This stuff happened.

September 2021

This stuff happened.

October 2021

This stuff happened.

November 2021

This stuff happened.

December 2021

This stuff happened.

Brian Mounts

I'm an author, editor, video creator & DIY lawn care expert. I live in Klamath Falls, Oregon with my wife and four children. You can follow me on YouTube, Instagram, or purchase any of my premium web-courses here.

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