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Old 04-02-2012, 03:14 PM
 
58 posts, read 177,492 times
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I'm not sure if this would be better asked on some landscaping website, but here goes...

I'm wanting advice on how to make my lawn/grass look like something other than the victim of nuclear fallout. I moved into my house in 2008 and am in my mid 20s so the yard didn't concern me at first. Sure, I cut it weekly and threw grass seed here and there, but now I care and it looks awful.

I have always had a problem with weeds so last year I used weed killer to kill off the dandelion infestation (seriously, some of these were as thick as three fingers put together). Well, new lettuce looking weeds, yellowish clover and other junk has moved in this year (along with the darned dandelions again) and I again used weed killer. It worked on the dandelions and the yellow clover is dying, but it looks like my yard has been bombed or was the victim of a brush fire because most of the weeds are turning black. I barely used the allotted amount of weed killer so I know I didn't use too much. Do I just wait for the weeds to decompose or should I be more proactive?

Have I messed up on concentrating on the weeds when I should have been planting grass seed? I did plant Scott's Kentucky Fescue a few weeks back on dirt patches in my yard where I didn't use any weed killer and it started to pop up a little until July heat moved in and pushed it all back into the ground. My next door neighbor planted Bermuda grass two years ago and it's creeping into my yard which I'm fine with because it's green and we've had such hot summers lately that it's outlasted all the other grass, but unfortunately, it looks bad in the colder months (if we ever get those again).

Should I concentrate on Bermuda or should I just call a company like Tru-Green? I love cutting my grass and working in my yard, so whatever I need to do I'll do, but I am limited in my knowledge and am probably making my yard worse than what it was. If hiring a company that can get my yard looking better is what it takes, I'll do that too as long as the price is reasonable. I just want a green yard. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Gallatin, TN
3,787 posts, read 7,282,252 times
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First, I wasn't sure if this thread was about a certain illegal herb or if it was about lawn care.

I'm a big believer in bermuda. It's very forgiving, tolerates heat and drought pretty well, and when fed and watered it will choke out a lot of weeds. Of course, it will also spread into your flower beds, your neighbor's yard, and is seem by some as a weed itself. And as you mentioned, it is pretty rough looking during the winter months.

I have seen people with bermuda lawns overseed with winter rye in the fall with varying degrees of success. I live in a neighborhood where everyone has bermuda so it doesn't bother me if my yard looks rough...everyone's does.

As for weed killing measures, sounds like you did the right thing. The best time to put down weed and feed type products is in late February/Early March (normally...this year the weeds came out early I think). The idea is to put the weed killer down before they germinate and spread. The catch is, you never want to use it if you are seeding your lawn because the product will also stop your seeds from sprouting as well.

As far as this year goes...you may want to just not do anything until the late summer/fall. Then aerate your lawn and start putting down bermudagrass and give it plenty of TLC. It will take awhile to sprout up but once it does, water the heck out of it and it should reward you for your patience and effort come May.

Hope that helps. There are some good green thumbs here on the forum who can help much more than I can I think.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:21 PM
 
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Wish I had advice. But I have many of the same problems. I do have some grass that's hanging tough in the yard (fescue clumps) but I'm getting a warning letter (!) from the HOA because our weeds are marring the TV set perfection of most people's lawns in my Brentwood nabe.

(Seriously, many of the lawns look so green and weed-free that they could be made from plastic.)

I tried to do everything myself organic and natural because I'm growing vegetables, but I recently broke down and started spraying with Round Up to kill off large clover and oxalis patches. (Oxalis is the yellow clover-like weed the OP is seeing.)

I've heard that zoysia grass has some of the benefits of bermuda grass without being quite as invasive.

Even better than zoysia might be buffalo grass, a native grass, although it's not really tested as much in our climate as in the West. Newer strains of buffalo grass have apparently been bred for southeast heat and humidity.

One drawback with buffalo grass -- and possibly with zoysia too -- is that you need to go with plugs or sod rather than seed, so it's pretty $$$$.

And I worry whether those grasses, especially buffalo, would grow thick enough to outcompete the weeds.

Anyway, just to say I feel your pain and hope this advice helps a little.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:53 PM
Status: "chickpea soup" (set 27 days ago)
 
18,764 posts, read 56,506,947 times
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Dandelions are good eats. The flowers make good wine. I wish I had yours.

The real issue is that there are a TREMENDOUS amount of exotics now. A perfect lawn is only for the obsessives. We had tru-green in Florida for a while. They helped some. They also killed some ornamentals. When we moved to north Alabama country, we gave up all pretensions to a "lawn" other than it being stuff mowed to keep the ticks in check.

Call one of the control companies and get a quote. Then put that money in a retirement account.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:18 PM
 
Location: ๏̯͡๏﴿ Gwinnett-That's a Civil Matter-County
2,117 posts, read 5,495,681 times
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My advice would be to start phasing out your lawn.
Plant shade trees and begin to restore your yard to native habitat.

The concept of a lawn originated in a country where it never gets about 75 degrees and it rains practically every day.

Keeping a cool season lawn alive in nashville with the heat, drought, humidity, disease, pests, weed infestations, and bermudagrass encroachment depends on a lot of time, money and effort and in the end it does little or nothing to increase your home value. Whereas shade not only helps keep the neighbors bermuda at bay, it also helps with the energy bills and adds value to the home.

With the bermuda already creeping over, it's a battle that was lost before you even started.
April's a good time to plant trees.

Last edited by cittic10; 04-02-2012 at 06:07 PM..
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:13 AM
 
58 posts, read 177,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cittic10 View Post
My advice would be to start phasing out your lawn.
Plant shade trees and begin to restore your yard to native habitat.

The concept of a lawn originated in a country where it never gets about 75 degrees and it rains practically every day.

Keeping a cool season lawn alive in nashville with the heat, drought, humidity, disease, pests, weed infestations, and bermudagrass encroachment depends on a lot of time, money and effort and in the end it does little or nothing to increase your home value. Whereas shade not only helps keep the neighbors bermuda at bay, it also helps with the energy bills and adds value to the home.

With the bermuda already creeping over, it's a battle that was lost before you even started.
April's a good time to plant trees.
Thanks everyone for your inputs. One thing I have done was plant several trees since I've been here. I've planted four Leyland Cypress trees, two crape mytles, a japanese maple, two rain trees, a weeping cherry tree, among several plants and bushes. So I feel like I've added trees that make my yard look nice, it's just the problem of the grass. I don't want to spend my entire life on the lawn because it's not important for it to look picture perfect, but I would like it to look green and not have so many dirt and weed patches. Also, I need to add that my yard is made up of VERY hard clay soil so if it doesn't rain for two to three days, it's as hard as the limestone that it rests on. Does that make it more difficult to grow grass? Would it be a good idea to buy top soil to place in those really hard dirt patches?
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:30 AM
 
Location: ๏̯͡๏﴿ Gwinnett-That's a Civil Matter-County
2,117 posts, read 5,495,681 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiderstudent View Post
Thanks everyone for your inputs. One thing I have done was plant several trees since I've been here. I've planted four Leyland Cypress trees, two crape mytles, a japanese maple, two rain trees, a weeping cherry tree, among several plants and bushes. So I feel like I've added trees that make my yard look nice,
You clearly had good intentions but not a single one of those trees restores the natural wooded landscape that was there before your home got there. I could make points about each of those trees but instead I'll just say that they don't go far enough in providing a deep shade and truly valuable private wooded lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiderstudent View Post
it's just the problem of the grass. I don't want to spend my entire life on the lawn because it's not important for it to look picture perfect,
But you will and that's my point. It's a never ending battle and waste of time, money and hairs that aren't gray yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiderstudent View Post
Also, I need to add that my yard is made up of VERY hard clay soil so if it doesn't rain for two to three days, it's as hard as the limestone that it rests on. Does that make it more difficult to grow grass? Would it be a good idea to buy top soil to place in those really hard dirt patches?
But of course it is. That goes without saying. You didn't think you were going to be blessed with soil that was ideal for growing grass, did you?

A little late for the topsoil now. But it would have been a good idea when the house was being built. (if you wanted a lawn, that is.)
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:42 AM
 
58 posts, read 177,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cittic10 View Post
You clearly had good intentions but not a single one of those trees restores the natural wooded landscape that was there before your home got there. I could make points about each of those trees but instead I'll just say that they don't go far enough in providing a deep shade and truly valuable private wooded lot.



But you will and that's my point. It's a never ending battle and waste of time, money and hairs that aren't gray yet.



But of course it is. That goes without saying. You didn't think you were going to be blessed with soil that was ideal for growing grass, did you?

A little late for the topsoil now. But it would have been a good idea when the house was being built. (if you wanted a lawn, that is.)
Well, at least I'll know what to look for in my next home. I planted those trees because the cypresses add a barrier between the house behind me. I don't plan on living in this house for too long. My parents live two miles away and their soil isn't clay at all it looks like (older home). These new neighborhoods being built are terrible! The builders just dump everything on the soil and throw down cheap grass that will die with the first little heat.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:05 AM
 
Location: ๏̯͡๏﴿ Gwinnett-That's a Civil Matter-County
2,117 posts, read 5,495,681 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiderstudent View Post
Well, at least I'll know what to look for in my next home. I planted those trees because the cypresses add a barrier between the house behind me. I don't plan on living in this house for too long. My parents live two miles away and their soil isn't clay at all it looks like (older home). These new neighborhoods being built are terrible! The builders just dump everything on the soil and throw down cheap grass that will die with the first little heat.
100% correct.

Just as a side note about leyland cypress.
I don't have the deep hatred for those that many have but they're almost always planted for the same reason you planted yours. To screen the view of a neighbor's mess and to give more privacy. And they do that pretty effectively, at least until they get a disease and die. But the problem is they also draw attention to the fact that your neighbors are really close. So when your house is on the market and prospective buyers are looking out the window or in the yard, they can see an obvious attempt to screen something that they might not have noticed otherwise. But our first house is always a learning experience.

So going back to your lawn, it won't be long before you have a yard full of Bermudagrass. That will be the lawn, whether you want it to be or not. So if you're 100% set on moving, you can further encourage the bermuda by mowing short, mowing often and fertilizer, fertilizer, fertilizer. At least there will be grass there and it won't look as bad. It'll eventually choke out the fescue. Any fescue that manages to survive the convection oven we call summer can be sprayed with non-selective herbicide when the bermuda goes dormant.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Floribama
15,871 posts, read 32,932,833 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cittic10 View Post
My advice would be to start phasing out your lawn.
Plant shade trees and begin to restore your yard to native habitat.

The concept of a lawn originated in a country where it never gets about 75 degrees and it rains practically every day.

Keeping a cool season lawn alive in nashville with the heat, drought, humidity, disease, pests, weed infestations, and bermudagrass encroachment depends on a lot of time, money and effort and in the end it does little or nothing to increase your home value. Whereas shade not only helps keep the neighbors bermuda at bay, it also helps with the energy bills and adds value to the home.

With the bermuda already creeping over, it's a battle that was lost before you even started.
April's a good time to plant trees.
Yeah, he could plant a mixture of Shortleaf pines and Red oaks, as the trees big bigger he could underplant them with azaleas and hydrangeas, eventually getting rid of the lawn, or at least reducing it to a manageable size. The pine needles help hold everything down to keep the leaves from blowing around.


This is pretty much what I'm doing, except I'm using Longleaf and Slash pines, with magnolias and white oaks.
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