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Old 05-11-2013, 06:31 PM   #1
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Bringing my Lawn back from the Dead!


2-3 years ago I had sod professionally installed, Marathon Max or some strain like that. Also a sprinkler system put in. It was a very expensive project and looked great. Unfortunately with in a few weeks of install, lost my job and had to rent the house out for a few years to keep the mortgage payments up. Well, it's safe to say nothing was done over these past few years. We get a little rain now and then (Santa Barbara, CA). But other then mother nature nobdy has paid this any mind since it was installed. Some parts look better then others. Where do I go from here? I know there is a lovely lawn in there just waiting to be lured out. Can the lush lawn I had for 3 weeks be pulled out of this mess without having to go the SOD route again?
There are 4 different sections, the first 2 are in the front of the yard which look the worst, here are some shots:




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Old 05-11-2013, 07:33 PM   #2
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Bringing my Lawn back from the Dead!


#1 Go back and add your location to your profile, just got to quick links to edit.
Get a soil test to see what it needs.

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Old 05-11-2013, 08:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
#1 Go back and add your location to your profile, just got to quick links to edit.
Get a soil test to see what it needs.
Thank you, I updated my profile.
Regarding soil testing, seems to be a number of approaches. DIY Kit, sending a sample to a lab. I am sure I could hire a professional soil test but like anything else in my area that would be cost prohibitive.
Thanks.
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:57 PM   #4
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Well. You might get away with overseeding some of the more promising sections. But for areas like in photo one, you better start over.

I have posted procedures for preparing and planting a lawn recently and in every year since joining this site as have others. You might try the search function.

I will hype hydroseeding though. It will cost you a fraction of what sod does and actually establish a lawn faster. You have to prep the soil whether seeding conventionaly, hydroseeding or laying sod though.

If overseeding, you might get by with scarifying the soil, broadcasting seed, top dressing and keeping it moist for the germination period of the species.

Given your Southern California climate and that you may not get away with using as much Northen California water as you want and may be subjected to rationing like they are? I would think about cutting back on the amount of turf you have in favor of some drought resistant ground covers suited to your climate.

The Sunset Garden Book is a great reference to have if you do not have a copy.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:18 PM   #5
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you could try drought resistant grass like Zoysia®. They are drought resistant but are somewhat aggressive. Some people swear by them but others curse them. They dont work well in colder climates because they brown faster when it turns cold.

Just my 2¢

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Old 05-11-2013, 10:52 PM   #6
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Yes, I have only allocated a few small sections for actual lawn, everything else will be drought resistant. Santa Barbara water is very expensive when you get in to phase 3 and up. I would like to see if I can bring these patches back (the first two sections) which is my front yard. Once I get the soil sample and figure out what's going on in there, where am I? Can I do some sort of seeding operation myself to fill the low density patches?
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:07 PM   #7
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If you look up the Zoysia stuff, it is a full plush lawn and is quite resiliant to foot traffic etc. It is very cost effective and easy to plant. It fills in quickly on its own.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bcgfdc3 View Post
If you look up the Zoysia stuff, it is a full plush lawn and is quite resiliant to foot traffic etc. It is very cost effective and easy to plant. It fills in quickly on its own.
Weeds (which Zoysia actually is) usually are. The problem is it's quite invasive ingrowth into areas where you don't want it very rapidly. It's also quite difficult to get rid of once established.
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:08 AM   #9
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If you look up the Zoysia stuff, it is a full plush lawn and is quite resiliant to foot traffic etc. It is very cost effective and easy to plant. It fills in quickly on its own.
Doesn't do especially well in S California though as I remember. But it has been awhile since in the turfgrass business so don't trust my memory completely. I never used zoysia in N California though. Nothing against it. But you are best off to grow zoysia by sod or plugs if memory serves me well. I think it needs full sun and not sure about Ph.

My own front lawn (not necessarily by choice but the shoemaker's children have no shoes) was bermuda and the back was creeping bent putting green type turf. Both were extremely high maintenance and shallow roots made them fairly drought intolerant. I had a gardener though. Unless N California water, being shipped mainly to S California was rationed so S Californians could keep their pools full, and the bikini clad could wash their cars, water early in the morning kept it looking nice. The bermuda turned brown in winter though. Some dye it but it always looked tacky to me. I never had luck overseeding it with annual rye for the winter.

It is hard to beat a blend of hybrid perennial, not annual, rye, bluegrass and fescue. The latter would do best under the shade of that citrus tree but if fruit is allowed to decompose keep an eye on your Ph. The citrus tree needs an acid environment and acid loving plants might do better than turf under it. Azaleas on a drip and mist system could work nicely and give you some color but they are shallow rooted so will not hold up to drought or hot temps. Otherwise some nice colored and textured ground covers would be a possibility. I forget the climate zone for Santa Barbara but you get some coastal cooling through the year as I remember and you are not stuck in a pocket like LA and the Valley?

By the way, a soil test should not cost you a lot (he says) in S California but you may have to ship samples off inland somewhere to the farming country. You will want to process samples from different places in your yard. California used to do nice tests for homeowners for free through ag extension at universities but I don't have to tell you about budget cuts. One should have a nice list of labs though. Your county may have a list as well otherwise swing by a golf course of park mainenance shed. My crews would have spent some time talking with you.

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