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Old 05-06-2011, 03:54 AM
 
Location: Laguna,California
58 posts, read 157,166 times
Reputation: 44

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I have purchased a home which is a foreclosure, and the backyard has been sitting for about two years with nothing done to it. It is full of quack grass and russian thistles. I am being told that I need to kill off the matted grass/thistles and plant new grass. Can anyone tell me if this is the best solutiion????

Would installing artificial grass in this area be an option?? I am out of state, and not sure if this would work in Boise????

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated-I do not have unlimited buckets of $$$$ to spend on this project, but would like to be able to go out into my backyard with my Scotty dog and enjoy the area without getting stickers in our feet, etc.

Thanks-there is an attachment of a picture of the backyard-if I did it right!
Attached Thumbnails
Neglected backyard in boise area full of russian thistles and quack grass?-imgp4462-small-.jpg  
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Laguna,California
58 posts, read 157,166 times
Reputation: 44
I have now found out that the thistles are Canada Thistle and look like they multiply like rabbits.
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
30,602 posts, read 55,901,541 times
Reputation: 51065
I'd till it all up, remove the weeds, and plant grass seed, whatever type is best for your climate.
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:30 AM
 
25,631 posts, read 28,383,328 times
Reputation: 23000
Mr/Mrs potato head.

You need to physically kill every thing in that yard and start over. It is a multi step process to do it correctly.

1) Any plant material that you know is dead can be removed.

2) Any thing that is green should be cut down to about 4-6 inches above ground and sprayed with a multi spectrum weed killer. Especially the grasses which are voracious self replicators. The Thistle can be removed and spot treated if you have any new plants pop up.

3) Do not till anything into the ground. Kill and Strip it bare after everything is dead. Then you can till in amendments.

4) I would recommend watering the bare ground to force new weed growth and treat it a second time with weed killer.

This is a laborious process but it will be the most effective at reducing future maintenance issues. Many will say to just rip everything out and get to landscaping. That is an option but will cause you lots of maintenance time in the future. Better to take care of it now before having to take care of it after your new back yard is finished.

If you don't have a lot of money, stay away from artificial turf. This process if not done correctly will be a thorn in your side if done by a cheap bidding contractor.

Remember when hiring a contractor, Referrals, three bids from different contractors and check everyone's license through the state agency who issues those contractor licenses.

Good luck.
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:15 PM
Status: "You meet the nicest people on CD..." (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Out there somewhere...
38,061 posts, read 43,540,016 times
Reputation: 104108
Do not till it up. You'll only add to your aggravation by turning seeds into the soil.

As Bulldogdad said, spray the area(s) with a herbicide, like Roundup, that is selective only to active vegetation and has no residual effects in the soil. Scalp or scrape the dead vegetation off, then water thoroughly again until any new growth appears. When the new growth is about 6 inches tall, spray again with Roundup, wait a few days, then scrape that dead off.

Ideally now you should rototill the soil down 6+ inches adding amendments as you go along. Till it once to loosen it up, pile on layers of mulch/peatmoss etc and till that thoroughly into the soil. Level it off and plant. This would be a good time to install a sprinkler system for your grass before you do seed or sod. Then after seed or sod water thoroughly for proper growth.

Never use herbicides that are non selective soil sterilants (like Ground Clear) as it will prevent anything from growing for years.

My son put in artificial grass, it cost him for a quality job a few years ago at $6.00 sq ft installed.
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:32 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
30,602 posts, read 55,901,541 times
Reputation: 51065
I don't use chemicals.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,751 posts, read 3,488,504 times
Reputation: 3514
Idahoe,
If you live in another state now, do you plan on moving to this home?
Are you selling it?
You can hire landscapers to come in and clear the yard for you without
using any chemicals at all, which would really be worth it, but if they
lay sod, and you don't live at this location, how will the grass get the water
it needs to establish?
Is that why you want fake grass?
No maintance issues?
If you plan on keeping this home as a second home, get the fake grass.
Grass is very high maintance, and if you aren't around, you won't be able to
care for it.
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Laguna,California
58 posts, read 157,166 times
Reputation: 44
Bulldog and Nitram~thanks for the advice! I have had 6 people come out and look at this yard. I have been told basically what you both said-do not till, it will just chop up the canada thistle, and it will still multiply-so you have to kill the yard-scrape and then use top soil and sod. I was thinking fake grass might be an option, but that option is way too expensive for me! I have too many moving expenses for this luxury. I am told that the irrigation water that I have to use to water the yard with is filled with seeds from the Canada thistle and other weeds-which causes the weed problems-so they are also advising using weed barrier in my planting areas-and regular spraying for the weeds when I see any. It looks like it is going to cost me about $1100. to get the yard squared away-not what I wanted, but I want it to be able to be used when I move in in late June or July-I have a scottish terrier that wants a yard after living in a patio home for 5 years and being walked on a leash!
Butterfly=yes, I will be living in the home, I am just not there yet-after getting half way through escrow, I became ill, have just had gall bladder surgery, and am looking at possibly more surgery-so the timing is really bad, however, the house is lovely, and I can hardly wait to get well enough to pack, and get moved. I am a single woman and have my 79 yr old mom with me, so I have some care taker duties-and don't have time to be working on the yard on a daily basis.......this yard will never be cleaned up if no chemicals are used-read about Canada thistles and you will understand.
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Old 05-14-2011, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Laguna,California
58 posts, read 157,166 times
Reputation: 44
I should add~until I get moved, my fabulous real estate agent is watching my home for me, and will be checking on the yard progress. Right now, there is still enough rain going on that the front yard, whiich is cared for by the HOA is doing fine-and sprinklers are on timers........so no worries there. Once I get the sod put in, I will have to arrange for a gardner to check the yard every week, and get the sprinklers all squared away in the back-they are in and working already. Just a very big job to co-ordinate from far away. If I had only known what I know now--but isn't that always the case????? Once I get there, it will be so worth it.............

Last edited by IdaHoeHotPotatoe; 05-14-2011 at 11:09 AM.. Reason: info
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Old 05-14-2011, 03:29 PM
 
25,631 posts, read 28,383,328 times
Reputation: 23000
Cool IdaHoeHot!

1100 sounds like a good price as long as they do a good job. If it were me i would not have then install anything until you move in. Spraying and prepping the yard is fine. However you want to be there to inspect all the installation. Just saying.

Also Full strength vinegar works very well on thistle. For some reason its very sensitive to it. I am very suspect about what you stated with regards to weed seeds being in the water? Is this non potable reclaimed water used just for the yard? The weed seeds are already in the ground as well as they blow in on the wind through out the year.

Anyway good luck and take some pictures to post during the summer after you get moved in.
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