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Old 03-03-2012, 12:21 AM   #1
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Back yard redo - Weeds out of control


I sodded my ~7500 SQF back yard with St. Augustine after my home was constructed in Houston TX several years ago. The lawn looked great the first year or so but began declining afterwards. The fact that the yard is large and doesn't have in ground sprinklers was likely a major factor as well as what looked like dead patches from disease or insects. I applied fertilizer and weed killer every year but the new growth of the grass couldn't keep up with the growth of the weeds in the bare patches. The lawn (or perhaps field of weeds is more accurate ) is now almost if not entirely taken over by weeds. There are a few patches of grass near the fence to my front yard which was also St. Augustine when sodded but has since been taken over by Bermuda.




As you can see from the picture the yard is an eye sore to say the least. I have an assortment of various weeds and plan on trying a liquid selective weed killer to try to better gauge how much if any grass is left. I purchased a hose end sprayer and am ready to get the weed killer concentrate and could use some recommendations as to which is best. I'd like the strongest herbicide that won't affect any desirable grass that I may have back there but that also won't remain in the soil and prevent new growth since I plan on seeding with Bermuda in a few weeks. I know I don't want one that contains atrazine since that would interfere with new growth.

My other question is how to best handle the preparation of seeding of the new lawn. Since the yard is large I don't want to spend a fortune after having already spent so much sodding. I know it's recommended to loosen the soil to prepare it before seeding but this isn't realistic on my budget. I know winter grasses are often seeded here to have a green lawn during the winter months and those obviously are just over-seeded without any loosing of the soil. Since I plan to try to get up as much of the dead weeds and thatch by scalping the lawn and bagging it, would I then be okay just broadcast spreading the seed directly onto the unloosened clay soil? There are power lines directly behind my back fence that attract birds and I'm concerned with the seeds being eaten by them but covering 7,500 SQF of seed doesn't seem practical. Anyone have advice on the best way to handle this?

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Old 03-03-2012, 06:47 AM   #2
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Back yard redo - Weeds out of control


Think hydroseeding lad. Birds will not get through the crust. You still have to prep the soil as you would for regular grass seed or sod. Hydroseeding involves a mixture of seed, fertilizer and a a protective crust. It gets sprayed on. It establishes in a fraction of the time it takes either a seed or sod lawn to kick in.



Can you afford a basic lawn irrigation system? Your lawn may just have died due to the extreme conditions y'all (wanted to say that for awhile). But you were not allowed to water right? Went through this in Northern California. Our water got fed to LA and they were allowed to have pools and wash their cars on weekends as turf died up North.

You should probably get a soil test so you know how to ammend.


Last edited by user1007; 03-03-2012 at 06:49 AM. Reason: Added Pics
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:31 AM   #3
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Back yard redo - Weeds out of control


I was reading about hydroseeding but it sounds like it will still cost more than I'd like to spend to do the job. I spent about $2,000 5 years ago to sod the yard and it's hard enough to deal with that amount going out the window but to then have to spend a ton more for it's repair is all that much harder. I can cover the 7,500 SQF for about $50 as compared to around $1,000 or so for the hydroseeding.

As far as the irrigation goes, I was using a standard impact sprinkler. I went through a ton of them trying to find the one that worked best. The grass died due to my not watering it enough and disease/insect damage, not due to the watering restrictions but because watering the whole lawn was too difficult and time consuming.

The problem is the yard is not only large but the shape makes it difficult to water without inground sprinklers. The back left hand corner goes back a lot further than the right side but the yard over 150 feet deep on the left side by about 60 feet wide. It's a pain stretching across my hose and to water deeply as recommended takes well over an hour and to move the sprinkler around to hit the whole yard becomes a whole day ordeal. The grass died due to my not watering it enough and disease/insect damage, not due to the watering restrictions but because watering the whole lawn was too difficult and time consuming.

I'm interested in seeding with Bermuda, as I now have in my front yard, because I know it does well with less water and doesn't need to be watered as deeply. I'm hoping this will work better for me than the St. Augustine did. I know the new seed will require frequent watering (twice a day for the first week or 2 and then once a day after that) but I'm thinking about getting a traveling sprinkler (open to suggestions for the best large area sprinkler) once once the lawn is established to water the lawn more easily. I could just set it up the track and then turn it on a let it go. From quotes my neighbors have received, inground sprinklers would run several thousand dollars.

Last edited by carquote; 03-03-2012 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 04:23 PM   #4
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Back yard redo - Weeds out of control


Good luck. Bermuda can be beautiful much of the year. It needs to be dethatched at least once per year. It has very shallow roots so will always need lots of water and food. LOTS OF WATER AND FOOD. MORE WATER AND FOOD. Bermuda is one of the most expensive turfgrasses out there.

No offense, but if you are not committed to irrigating turf or plants in general, they are probably not going to grow well.

Last edited by user1007; 03-03-2012 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:38 PM   #5
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Back yard redo - Weeds out of control


Is this true of all varieties of Bermuda including the hybrids? I'm not sure what variety I have in my front yard that over took the sodded St. Augustine but I've found it to be fairly low maintenance although watering is far easier due to the size and shape of the front yard as compared to the back. Is there another seed type that you would recommend that fills in as fast as Bermuda but that is lower maintenance?

From what I've read it should be about the average 1 inch of water per week depending upon the soil type but since my clay soil retains water I would about 1 inch a week should be fine. Are you saying that Bermuda will need more than this and if so how much per week do you recommend?

Last edited by carquote; 03-03-2012 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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Back yard redo - Weeds out of control


Quote:
Originally Posted by carquote View Post
Is this true of all varieties of Bermuda including the hybrids? I'm not sure what variety I have in my front yard that over took the sodded St. Augustine but I've found it to be fairly low maintenance although watering is far easier due to the size and shape of the front yard as compared to the back. Is there another seed type that you would recommend that fills in as fast as Bermuda but that is lower maintenance?

From what I've read it should be about the average 1 inch of water per week depending upon the soil type but since my clay soil retains water I would about 1 inch a week should be fine. Are you saying that Bermuda will need more than this and if so how much per week do you recommend?
Where are you?

I had a 2500sf of beautiful Bermuda grass in N California. It was spectacular all growing season but people accused me of killing it when it went dormant. I was a professional turfgrass manager at the time.

I fed it well with 1pound of nitrogen per 1,000sf per month. I detached it twice per year and aerated the turf at least once per year also. I mowed (or actually paid someone) it short, which you have to do.

Bermuda grows mainly from runners or ryzhomes. The runners try to put down roots but say compared to a hybrid perrenial ryegrass? Root systems are not going to happen. Bermuda needs to crawl on the surface and put down shallow roots. You have, most certainly, picked up a strand of the stuff and yanked to realize your were holding 1,000 linear feet of turfgrass?

Plant something else. Or live with Bermuda grass.

Honestly, it will be loyal and green. Elephants can play rugby on the stuff and it will look perfect the next morning. If you feed and water it. It needs a high nitrogen fertilizer like ammonium sulfate, all growing season.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:24 PM   #7
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Back yard redo - Weeds out of control


I'm in Houston Texas, zone 9.

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