Any Houston Lawn Experts (Spring, Center: HOA, Home Depot, to buy)
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So I got my first letter from the HOA today requesting that we 'weed' our front lawn. Just so you know the background we moved into a new property last October and the developer put in grass and a sprinkler system. We sprinkle for 10 minutes twice a week in the morning (and our water bill is huge even with that small amount) and we have our grass cut twice a month. However we have noticed 'tufts' of dark green grass that grow quicker than the other grass. I guess this is what the HOA are calling 'weeds'. I have attached a photograph and would appreciate if anyone could tell me what these green 'tufts' are and what to do about them.
I am in no way a gardener and can't even keep a houseplant alive so please help
spread weed n feed twice a year... spring and fall. Plus, you need to water more than ten mins. Water for at least 30 otherwise the roots will be shallow and more prone to diseases. Mowing weekley will also keep weeds from growing.
You can go to a feed store, box hardware store, most garden stores, and even Walmart, and purchase an Ortho product that will kill a range of weeds, including that crab grass you have.
You don't appear to have too much, have you considered pulling them out? Yes, the work sucks, but it gives you a good excuse to be outdoors and visit with your neighbors, especially during this 'cooler' week.
I have kids and so I pull the weeds out when there are not too many, but in the Spring, I sometimes have to use an herbicide. I've had good luck with the Image product, and it kills nutsedge, one of the worst to eradicate. Image also kills crabgrass, and most broad leafed weeds.
As for the brown in your lawn, you have chinch bugs and/or grub worms. You will need an insecticide for that, and probably a couple of applications about two weeks apart. The damage is done to your St. Augustine grass, it won't come back strong until next year as this summer is almost over!
Thanks guys - I just thought it was a different type of grass. OMG there are loads of them - pulling them out would take forever. Will go down to Home Depot and get some weed and feed and one of those spreader thingy's. It's due to get cut tomorrow - do you think this would be the best time to do it ? I will also increase the watering - the sprinklers are on for 10 mins and use 1350 gals of water each time - scared what this might do to my water bill - but at least the grass will look nice
Than spreading granules, the effects happen almost overnight, plus if there is a downpour, it could wash away the granules. Either way, also use a face mask, as the spray and dust are not good for you, obviously.
If you spray, I'd wait after the grass is cut to allow more blade area to absorb the herbicide. If putting down granules, it may not matter.
BTW, if you have a lawn service, they usually do this for you so you won't have to purchase anything to do it... just ask them to do it for you.... for an extra charge of course.
Last edited by HookTheBrotherUp; 09-01-2009 at 01:59 PM..
I'm not an expert but I've lived here long enough that I've made most every mistake at least once.
Not sure what the heck that is growing in clumps, but it's definitely not St. Augustine, so unless you planted it there that makes it a weed. It really doesn't matter what it is, what matters is it should not be there and how it came to find an opportunity to grow so well.
St. Augustine is well suited for our area, but you do have to do stuff the right way to keep it healthy enough to keep other grasses and weeds from popping up. See the brown stuff in your photo? That's your St. Augustine dying off. Notice how tall and green the weeds are? The things you are doing are hurting your grass and making the weeds happy and healthy.
You're not cutting the grass very often to save some money, I guess, and they're probably cutting it too short when they do. Grass is a plant, and it needs deep roots to get water and nutrients and leaf area to suck in sunlight and CO2 and expel oxygen and water vapor, yada, yada. Just like you learned in 6th grade science class. If you whack the blades of grass down too low, the lawn's ability to transpire is curtailed. It gets weak, other plants come in and you get something that looks like what you have. You also might have an insect problem, like chinch bugs munching on all those tender grass roots.
I don't think you've been watering enough either. Watering St. Agustine is not just a matter of x times a week. It's the amount of water the lawn gets that matters. There are a lot of factors to consider, most recently it has been the incredible heat and lack of rainfall. You're not going to like this, but in the summer when it's hotter than hell, you should water at least an inch every two to three days. I know, water is expensive, but so are HOA fines. When it gets a lot cooler you can cut back to once or twice a week.
How do you figure out how long to run the sprinklers to equal an inch? Take an old tuna fish can and lay it on the lawn, run the sprinklers and when you fill up the can you've got an inch. Or close enough anyway.
Set your sprinkler system to go off early in the morning, real early, like before the sun comes up. You'll have less evaporation that way.
You will know that your lawn is healthy and well watered when a walk across the yard has a resilient feel. If it feels like you're walking on concrete and you hear a "crunch" every time you step, you're not watering enough.
To get rid of those nasty clumps and get the HOA off your butt - go pull em up by hand. Your grass is drought stressed right now and if you go out there and put some kind of herbicide on it you'll have a real disaster. They might come back because the St. Augustine is pretty weak.
Wait until the weather turns cool (cool for Houston), say October/November, and buy a pre-emergent herbicide. I use Barricade, which you won't find at Home Depot or Lowe's, but Houston Garden Center carries it as will most garden stores. Not on the same day, but around the same time (a week or so) you can also put out a winter fertilizer. After that, come next spring you should be able to figure out a regular schedule for when to put out fertilizer and pre-emergent herbicide. You can still get some weeds even if you use the pre-emergent herbicide, but they make weed killers that are safe to broadcast onto your lawn - provided it's been watered properly and is not stressed.
After you get it healthy you can always be lazier and just use a combined weed/feed that you can buy anywhere and that goes out in a single application.
Last edited by DrLizardo; 09-01-2009 at 01:13 PM..
Thanks DrLizardo, that's some great advice. I will check how many inches of water the grass is getting and take that into consideration. Lawn Service comes tomorrow so I will drag my son out this afternoon after school (since it is cooler for once) and we will see how we get on pulling those weeds out.
We moved from Scotland where the weather is always cold (by Houston standards) and there is plenty of rain and to be honest our grass used to just take care of itself (apart from mowing obviously!) who knew that a lawn could be so much work
and the same with cutting it....letting it grow up and scalping it down is the worst for a number of reasons and probably a reason for some of those brown patches
also weeds hate to be mowed....now the weeds you happen to have are not going anywhere even with mowing......but most other types of weeds especially broad leaf can be mowed out of existence with frequent cuttings of just a little off the top
you should buy some hose on weed and feed wait until just after a big rain and ALL the runoff stops and go out there and spot treat the areas
I would probably skip the lawn chemical service places.....they will try and hammer you being from "elsewhere"
you should just contact your homeowners group.....tell them you are trying to keep them mowed down and that you have chemicals and are waiting for the appropriate time to apply.....like when your lawn has some water
if you are really worried you could get granules of weed and feed glove up and mask up and apply right to those areas at dusk and then run sprinklers in that zone only until just before runoff starts
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