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Old 03-15-2012, 05:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Native_Son View Post
Don't use a tiller if you have mature trees in your yard though! In that case I'd truck in a few inches of topsoil (4-6").
You don't want to put this much topsoil over the roots of mature trees. You risk suffocating the tree as it packs down and it will end up dying over several years. If you have a lot that needs a 1/2 foot of soil added, then unfortunately, your best bet is to have the trees & stumps removed and then replant. If this is a newly cleared lot then not a big issue as the mature trees are tall and spindly and most likely should be removed anyway. If it is an older neighborhood with a graceful shade tree, then yes, it's a tough decision.

My recommendation for grass around a mature tree that you want to keep is that you pretty much have to accept what you can get to grow there. Disturbing the roots is bad for these trees and if we are talking about trees in long established neighborhoods with lots of shade, then there isn't much in the grass department which will grow around it anyway. Best to keep it natural. A good rule of thumb is minimally disturb the ground around the 2/3rds of the crown of the tree.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf Howl View Post
What warm season grasses would be recommended for this area? It will get moderate to heavy traffic (kids).
I recommend most varieties of St. Augustine. It can be planted now. It's a nice wide blade grass, very common in the South, and it's well adapted to the Southern Piedmont and points South of here. It can be planted now. Centipede is an excellent grass for low maintenance and durability, but you shouldn't plant it here until the end of March maybe mid April and it shouldn't be planted in the fall. Both of these grasses make a nice regal looking carpet of wide blade grass that will self propogate and won't require reseeding.

Bermuda grass is my least favorite as it doesn't have the nice wide leaves of Centipede or St. Augustine but it does hold up well and is very drought resistant. This is more of a grass for the North as it can deal with cold that we don't have here in Charlotte.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:10 AM
 
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I like the hardiness of st aug, but it is decidedly rougher than Bermuda. I love my thin leaved Bermuda and it has held up well with minimal maintenance. It needs a low mowing height and a sharp blade though. The st aug seems to hold up better if the site is partly shaded.

I'm in agreeable about your comment about the trees, were I discussing bringing in clayey soils, but fluffy topsoil is fine on lawns from my personal experience. Its no different what would be on a forest floor every year (duff). At any rate 4" or less of organic-laden topsoil will deliver good nutrients and not stress a healthy mature tree.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Charlotte NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uber_bwnage View Post
....Stay away from Kentucky-31 Fescue. Its an old verity and newer turf-type fescues are far superior....
FWIW, last year I seeded with kentucky-31 and I still have neighbors knocking on my door asking what I did to my lawn to make it look so good. don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's better or worse than any other kind, but my lawn looks freakin sweeeet! don't rule it out!
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:22 AM
 
Location: The 12th State
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I also used Kentucky 31 Fescue this past fall in bare spots beneath Pin Oaks & Crepe Myrtle this past fall.
This winter it was lush green while rest of yard with rye grass was brown.
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Mooresville, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frewroad View Post
I recommend most varieties of St. Augustine. It can be planted now. It's a nice wide blade grass, very common in the South, and it's well adapted to the Southern Piedmont and points South of here. It can be planted now. Centipede is an excellent grass for low maintenance and durability, but you shouldn't plant it here until the end of March maybe mid April and it shouldn't be planted in the fall. Both of these grasses make a nice regal looking carpet of wide blade grass that will self propogate and won't require reseeding.

Bermuda grass is my least favorite as it doesn't have the nice wide leaves of Centipede or St. Augustine but it does hold up well and is very drought resistant. This is more of a grass for the North as it can deal with cold that we don't have here in Charlotte.
Thanks for the input thus far. How does St Augustine or centipede do from seed? Reading above doesn't sound like Bermuda is a good choice from seed. I believe my neighbor has St Augustine.

Say I go that route, what's the routine to get it down and more importantly, keeping it alive!
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Old 03-16-2012, 04:28 AM
 
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I have heard there may be St. Augustine seed these days, but it isn't normally installed that way so I have no experience with it. The best way is that if you know someone with such a lawn, you can simply pull up some of it, you will get runners of grass. Use scissors to cut off the individual sections with roots and use a small hand spade to open a slit in the ground and then close it. It's a very simple and inexpensive way to start or convert a lawn to this type of grass.

The second best way is to buy plugs. This method allows you to pick the variety. You will end up with a box of 3x3 plugs. You plant these strategically and they will start to spread across the yard. If the yard has been tilled, just stick them in the ground. If established, it's easier if you use a plugger though a simple post hole digger works really well if you have one. This is a bit of work, but once it's complete, it more than makes up for it with low maintenance once it's established.

Both of the above methods will start the lawn but it won't give you an instant lawn. The plantings will start to shoot out runners and they will take over your yard over a several years. They will choke out all clover, crabgrass, most weeds and the other planted grass. If you want to spend a lot of money you can have it sodded, but you will have to search around for a company that will do this.

There isn't much to keeping this grass alive once it starts grow. There is no annual seeding, aeration, detaching, etc etc required. Beyond mowing, a yearly feeding, and the occasional watering during really intense droughts there isn't much else that it requires.
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Mooresville, NC
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That's great information. One question, where would you get the plugs at?
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:07 PM
 
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When will the Bermuda grass turn green around here?
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelingice View Post
When will the Bermuda grass turn green around here?
when soil temps reach 65 degrees or so. about right now, lower your deck and release the green...
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