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Old 08-30-2008, 02:31 PM   #1
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What do I do with my lawn


Hello,
I posted on here earlier(May) knowing that it was too late to plant seeds, but I proceeded with it anyway. Well it all turned to weeds as I expected, but my lawn was not level and all compacted so I wanted to till it up and level it anyway. It looks green, but it contains almost all weeds. I would like to put the same seed down again. I used the reseed supreme maximum durability fescue. What is the next step to getting my lawn more full and containing more grass?

Do I have to kill the weeds?


Do I loosen up the ground?


When should I put down seed if I live in Virginia Beach, VA?
How many times do I water per day and for how long?


A step by step breakdown would be great, or a link to some website that can help.


Thanks in advance

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Old 08-30-2008, 04:10 PM   #2
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What do I do with my lawn


kill em all! kill em all! sorry i have no good advise as i too have the joy of going out every two weeks to mow my weeds. i will follow this thread now to see what everyone has to say.

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Old 08-30-2008, 05:03 PM   #3
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What do I do with my lawn


You have to attack as much as you can at once. The weeds are a major problem, so start there. Trouble is, it's hard to really get rid of them until the grass gets strong enough to crowd them out. Start in sections if it's too overwhelming -- if there are natural places to break without it looking obvious. I'd go to a local nursery and ask what works in your area. They can also walk you through the steps.
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Old 08-31-2008, 01:56 AM   #4
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What do I do with my lawn


Check with your local ag extension. I wouls use a good pre emergent herbicide to kill whatever weed seeds are already in the soil. This will delay you being able to seed your lawn though. Then just mow, mow, mow in combination with a lawn safe broadleef weed killer.

Make sure you mow the weeds before they have a chance to reseed.
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Old 09-06-2008, 04:02 PM   #5
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What do I do with my lawn


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I wouls use a good pre emergent herbicide to kill whatever weed seeds are already in the soil. This will delay you being able to seed your lawn though.
Kap-
Close but no cigar. You are right, more or less, in that the Pre M will kill the weed seeds and delay being able to reseed. Actually it depends on which product you use; several prevent elongation of the root structure after germination but, more importantly, it will delay being able to reseed. Time is a luxury right now.

golfer,
I presume that you have not begun this task yet. Having said that, begin with a non-selective herbicide (the most infamous being Round-Up) and kill out everything there. I know, but either that or fight with the remaining weeds as you try to establish the new lawn. After everything dies back, cut it close with your mower, wait a few days and spray everything that comes back again. Round-Up (glyphosate) takes a week to brown out, many other products will give you results in a few days. Your time, your choice.
Soil preparation is never a waste of time. Grade it like you want it and till it. Wouldn't hurt to throw a little starter fertilizer in there (18-24-12 or similar) as you prep but not necessary.
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:25 PM   #6
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EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT GRASS BUT DIDN'T KNOW WHO TO ASK.


Yes find your local Agricultural extension office. If your whole yard is acting the same, still take about 1/3 of a Zip-Lock sandwich bag of dirt from the front and back yard down to your local Agricultural Extension. Don' take it to a nursery because they can't do even close to the testing that will be done on your soil through your Agricultural Extension. They only charge a buck or 2 and they send the samples to a university where students will analyze your soil.


Among other important things concerning your soil they will tell you what the Ph is. If the Ph of your soil is off enough the grass you are putting down can't even absorb the fertilizer you're throwing on it.


If you look on the back of a bag of (I think it's “Sunny Land”) crushed limestone at Home Depot you will even see a list of the proper Ph level for different types of grass. If you have a lot of oak, acorn type leaves or are downwind of a disgusting coal burning power plant you're going to need crushed limestone. They will tell you how much you need to put down per sq ft. At least in Florida they tell you how long or how much rain to wait to let your soil reach the proper Ph. You might have to go the other way with your Ph and would use sulfur.


Once you've gotten the Ph correct you grass is in “Happy Dirt”.


I can't remember the name of it offhand, but Home Depot carries fertilizer from a company that only did professional golf courses. Their plant fertilizer is killer as well.


If your weeds are that bad make sure that you hit them so that the poison will be gone as early in Spring as possible. Not sure of the weather where you are. As soon as you can in the spring get rye grass growing in your yard. A local nursery will be able to tell you what type will die off once it gets warm enough. They should be able to tell when to seed over the rye with the grass that you want to grow in your yard. They rye will protect the seeds while they get going and as the rye dies off the good grass will replace it.


The rye will also cut down on evaporation and you won't have to use as much water as you would normally have to. With your Ph level correct you'll find that you'll need to water a lot less than you did before.


That's what they do with golf courses. Rye during the cold and regular grass when summer hits.


Once everything gets going a good local nursery should have a special mixture of fertilizer that is designed for use in your area. If you yard starts looking a little shabby, time to send a sample in.


I learned all this the hard way. A house in Florida that had been empty for 2 years and basically didn't have a yard. I ended up with the St. Augustine runners covering my lawn from both side. I'm on the water, so my yard is the yuck the dug up when they made the canal behind my house. It drove the neighbors crazy.


I snuck out one night and sprayed the front yard with liquid iron. I don't water mu grass either. The yard turned green as can bee. The nice guy that I am, I let all the neighbors in on what I'd found out and we have a very green neighborhood. The only trouble when you get as far south as Tampa is that you have to bag your grass. We get a lot of rain, but it dries so fast that the mulch won't decompose. I had to scrape my whole yard with one of those long handled 3 finger rakes (fun weekend.)
Hope your yards looks good by early summer.


BJ
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:59 AM   #7
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golfer2b:

http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pu....html#Planting

This will save me a lot of typing. Bear in mind this is GA, but will give you good basics.

Soil samples are $8.00 in GA, probably close to that in VA. Work is done by university lab; students may help but it is not like getting a $2 haircut at the local vo-tech school. There is much more to "Happy Dirt" than pH. Yes, pH is important but so is structure, fertility, etc.

Glyphosate is absorbed through the leaves and is deactivated by bacteria in the soil. By the time you can see what was killed, you can replant.

Rye, or anything else that is growing will compete for water. Mulch saves on evaporation. Not sure I understand planting a crop in the spring, nursing it for a month, then planting over it just as it gets going, but there's a lot I don't know. Maybe that's a good idea in Fl, but I wouldn't do it in GA or VA. Winter (annual) rye dies off in the warmer early summer; per. rye simply goes dormant.

HD carries Lesco, which is primarily a commercial brand but is more available now in the DIY market. Call a local Lesco store, they can advise you on their products better than HD, then go to HD if they are closer and see what you can find.

And I thought I was going to save typing.

Good luck!
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Old 09-07-2008, 07:38 PM   #8
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I didn't know the rye went dormant up there. In Florida once the heat of summer kicks in it just flat out dies.

I was on a golf course that messed up and it was pretty funny. They put the rye seed down for winter and didn't close the corse long enough. The greens were covered with foot prints from golfers carrying the rye onto the greens! They had to mow the greens about 3 times a day.

I'll have to remember that a lot of things that work in southern Florida (there's a line about 100-150 miles north of Orlando where there is a distinct change in the climate) doesn't work in other places.

BJ
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Old 09-08-2008, 04:15 PM   #9
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I didn't know the rye went dormant up there. In Florida once the heat of summer kicks in it just flat out dies.
Quote:
Winter (annual) rye dies off in the warmer early summer; per. rye simply goes dormant.
Annual vs perennial
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:56 AM   #10
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It is a tough call as to what type of lawn to plant here in the tidewater area. We are in a transition zone betwee warm weather and cool weather grasses. If you have mainly sun and don't mind brown in the winter then a hybrid burmuda lawn is good. Fescue lawns do well in the tidewater area except for in late June, July and August. Fescue requires more maintenence than burmuda.
If you have clay soil I would recomend airating heavily and adding compost after you have killed everything with round up. If you choose to plant fescue seed the best time is in late September and early October. Burmuda should be put down in mid summer.
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Old 10-06-2008, 02:18 PM   #11
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What do I do with my lawn


I didn't see any reference to prepping your soil. You say it is compacted and that is one reason that grass won't grow but weeds will.

If you till it up it will just compact again and you are back to square one with the same problem.

Here is what to do.

First take a good sample of your soil. Fill a quart jar half full of the soil. Put water in the rest and put the lid on. Shake up the soil and let it settle for a few hours.

You should have about 1/3 heavy soil that has settled to the bottom, about 1/3 water in the middle, and about 1/3 organic material that will float at the top.

If you have too much soil at the bottom and very little at the top you will have to till in some organic material to help prevent compacting of soil.

Tell me if I am wrong after you do this test but my guess is that you don't have much in the way of organic material, hence the the compacting.

You also live in an old flood plain if you have lots of clay and little organic material.

If you put in some organic material and till it up you shouldn't till deeper than the depth of the organic material you are putting in. In other words if you put in 2" of organic material then don't till deeper than 2 inches. This will give you a 50/50 mix of sand/clay and organic material.

Your grass will do much better and keeping the weeds down will be easy with selective weed killer rather than broadcast spraying.
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:45 PM   #12
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What do I do with my lawn


Quote:
Originally Posted by golfer2b View Post
Hello,
I posted on here earlier(May) knowing that it was too late to plant seeds, but I proceeded with it anyway. Well it all turned to weeds as I expected, but my lawn was not level and all compacted so I wanted to till it up and level it anyway. It looks green, but it contains almost all weeds. I would like to put the same seed down again. I used the reseed supreme maximum durability fescue. What is the next step to getting my lawn more full and containing more grass?

Do I have to kill the weeds?


Do I loosen up the ground?


When should I put down seed if I live in Virginia Beach, VA?
How many times do I water per day and for how long?


A step by step breakdown would be great, or a link to some website that can help.


Thanks in advance
Forget the lawn and what you have now.

Rent a sod cutter and remove everything. Don't use chemicals, b/c there will be a waiting period.

After the sod (weeds) is removed, put down soil conditioner/compost, some sand, and till all that together and do a preliminary grade.

Put down sod.

Roll over sod with a roller.

Water every day, maybe 2 times a day, for the first week, and make sure the sod is always moist.
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by handy man88 View Post
After the sod (weeds) is removed, put down soil conditioner/compost, some sand, and till all that together and do a preliminary grade.
I would be careful about sand. My guess is that already has enough sand. If he does the water test this will show how much sand he has.

My guess is that he has 80% of the soil in sand/sediment.
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:54 PM   #14
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What do I do with my lawn


Golfer
I suppose there are varying degrees of "right." Perhaps it would be useful to ask how nice of a lawn you want to achieve. Nothing wrong with stripping all the current vegetation away, adding this or that amendments, etc. but it is not necessary to get a nice yard for the average home.

Quote:
I didn't see any reference to prepping your soil.
Don't know everyone's definition of "prepping" is, but
Quote:
so I wanted to till it up and level it anyway
definitely comes under what I would consider that to be.

Assuming you are correct in that you soil is compacted, I don't know why anyone would suggest not to till, or at least a very good aerating job.

Quote:
If you till it up it will just compact again and you are back to square one with the same problem
Depends upon how much traffic is on it for one thing, but a very, very good case for regular aerating.

Let us know how you come out. As Snuffy Smith said, "Balls o' fire, times a wastin!"
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by downunder View Post
Golfer
Depends upon how much traffic is on it for one thing, but a very, very good case for regular aerating.
The problem with clay is that it will self compress just by watering. No traffic needed.

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