Hopeless Lawn

KCSummer(6)March 27, 2014

I have pictures of my lush green lawn but they are from 5 years ago. Ever since, I have been fighting to get my lawn back. Despite buying lots of seed, doing lots of watering, before my grass can get established my neighbors weeds take over. People want to say its me that I'm doing something wrong, putting down too much seed or whatever but I am not and I know what I'm doing. How could I have always had a nice lawn but suddenly its not? I'm 64 years old and fed up. I have tried seeding in fall and seeding in spring and all I have is cracked ground, weeds and a depressed me. I used to like mowing grass because it looked so nice when I got thru but now I hate it because I'm mowing weeds and it makes me want to cry. I have never had such problems, people act like maybe I just don't know what I'm doing but I have always had a nice lawn. Its cost me a fortune in time, money, seeds, water and for what? I am exasperated - my son says just give up already. But the thing is without a nice grass cover it creates a problem with rain and the subsequent mud my dogs track in so it seems all I'm doing is cleaning the floor and my sofa - I'm fed up.

Here it is early spring and I see coming up healthier than ever this hateful weeds, clumps of ugly "grass". I sprayed them AGAIN a week ago with weed killer mixed with spreader sticker and it hasn't affected them at all. I have grass seed to put down AGAIN but what's the use if the weeds are already up so I need to kill them but i can't.

People who take no care of their lawn have nicer grass than me, I just want to scream or cry or move.

When I spray how much is supposed to get onto the weeds, I try to be very careful applying it but its not doing any good. I have hoed up these weeds and they come back I hate my neighbor whose the source of this blight. YES, it does come from his yard - you can see it start from that side of the yard and spread out.

I am seriously ready to just move - leave my house and say to heck with it.

Don't laugh, I have never been more serious. I don't even enjoy pictures of my yard with the beautiful flowers and grass from previous years gone by, it just makes me sad to see the horrible ugly things taking over.

This post was edited by KCSummer on Thu, Mar 27, 14 at 17:31

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A virulent weed came into my garden from a neighbor's yard years ago, and I am still battling it.

I usually finally resort to covering the weedy area with a plastic drop cloth to suffocate the weeds. It's not pretty, but it eventually does the job. I don't like to use weed killers; many of them are bad for people, too. imo.

I never discussed the neighbor's weed with him, but one day when the soil was quite moist I was able to pull up a large pile of them, which I left for him piled neatly in his yard. I noticed after that he did a better job of controlling them on his side.

I'm sorry you are having such a problem with this. It is really disappointing to work hard gardening and then develop a problem like this.

The only other thing I can think of is to add some soil amendments (humus, etc) to help the grass out, since you say your soil is cracking. Maybe also do things to help aerate it?

I am wondering if perhaps the lawn problem is symbolizing other things that disturb you about your neighberhood, too. If you are beginning to feel uncomfortable there, perhaps it is time to seriously listen to yourself and ask why this is.

Hopefully others will also have some suggestions for you.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 6:09PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Not laughing at all. You have legitimate issues--a good lawn keeps your dog from tracking in dirt. So you need a good lawn. That is 100% reasonable!!!

More information would help. Do you have large bare spots, or is the lawn thick but mixed with that particular weed from the neighbor? Do you have a picture of the weed so we can figure out why the weed killer doesn't work? Are there other weeds? Do you have large trees that possible have roots that are interfering with the lawn? Is the lawn in a lot of shade? What type of grass do you have? What climate are you in--generally. We don't want to invade your privacy, but climate matters. How is the drainage?

Knowing exactly what the situation is can get you the best help.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 6:24PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Well I do want to invade his privacy. I would rather know what town you live in. That gives us climate and soil situation.

What kind of grass do you have and want?

What weed killer are you use and as hoovb asked, what weeds are involved?

Is shade an issue? A maturing tree with a dense canopy can completely change the situation on the ground below it.

When you water, how long do you water and how often?

When you mow, how high/low do you mow?

Generally spring is a poor time to plant new grass for two reasons. One is that the new grass will not have time to develop mature roots by summer and will die in the heat. Second, the crabgrass seeds are germinating this time of year. If you water your seed enough to get it to germinate, the crabgrass will germinate faster and take over more quickly.

But that won't matter if you have shade, or if you're using the wrong weed killer, or if you're watering wrong, or mowing wrong.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 5:10PM
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Soil test? Healthy soil breeds healthy turf.

I have a neighbor who knows nothing about lawn care. I've been known to accidentally "blur" our property lines when spreading pre-emergent or spraying for weeds. Even hit some poision ivy and thistle that he wasn't taking care of. Which, I might add, would be illegal if he hadn't given me consent, which he has. Not suggesting you do the same (or am I?) ;-)

I second those who ask for more details about what weeds you're dealing with and what you're using to fight them.

I'm genuinely sorry to hear about your frustration. On one hand, a lawn seems like such a silly thing, yet you see it a dozen times a day, and when it's not what you want it to be (especially when you've put SO much work into it, it's very frustrating. You're with like-minded people here and we love to try and help.

My advice would be to get a better grip on the factors at play in your lawn (weed identification and soil test), and develop a plan of action from there. You gotta have good intel before you go into battle! :-)

This post was edited by JonCraig on Fri, Mar 28, 14 at 22:52

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:50PM
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I'm sorry I didn't get an email that anyone had responded but I just checked and see that thankfully someone understands my frustration. I have attached a picture though having problems uploading to my computer so hopefully this will suffice. This weed I picture grows in great clumps and in a month or two will have very broad blades that are thick and tough. I dont know what it is maybe some kind of grass type weed. It grows in clumps and takes over the nice fine bladed grass. This picture doesn't do it justice, its already 10 inches or so tall and growing and its gotten a really early start.

I have had my lawn aerated a few years ago, I also hoed up much of it in order to get it ready for new seeds, I killed out temporarily the weeds and was hoping to finally get some grass growing. I didn't put down any winter fertilizer because there wasn't any grass to fertilize.

I live in Kansas City MO, it has been dry here lately, moreso than normal. I have a yard that gets a mix of sun and shade, the place where the concentration of this stuff is highest is in the sunshine. It always starts there and moves across the lawn but its gotten an early start this year.

I know the best time to seed is in fall and I have done that but before the grass gets going the leaves fall and I can't rake it or disturb the seed but under the leaves it doesn't grow.

I actually plant grass both seasons trying to get it going and a couple of times, one in particular, I had some decent looking stuff that was on its way to being a good cover but before it gets thick enough it is overtaken by the weeds from hell. This picture is only the early weeds, later in season what little grass that has survived gets overtaken by virulent crab grass that I have sprayed, hoed and cussed a few times too -- when I come back in a week or two it looks as though I never touched it.

I will try to post a picture of my lawn when it was very nice to proveI can do it, my sons say I must be overseeding, underseeding, overwatering, not watering enough, they think its got to be me which is a whole other frustration. They think I'm not being "fair" to my neighbor but those are the times we live in where its not the people creating the problem that get criticized, its those that complain that are criticized.

Actually, another lawn forum I visited a few years ago told me to stop being such a perfectionist - he said if I don't like my neighbors lawn then instead of griping about it I should FIX IT. So I guess by his standards I'd be working to fix 2 lawns. Actually I did mow the lawn several times when someone else lived there who was sick and it may be partly how I got it going in my yard, picking up the seeds on my mower, but anyway, I was about in tears when after listening to a couple of people on that site. Im 64 years old and after having a car accident and a broken neck my mobility in my neck is bad and so it is painful to have to look down for a long time which I did yesterday when I soaked the heck out of this stuff with two gallons of triple strength (the prescribed formula didn't do a thing) spectracide mixed with spreader sticker. Anyway, there are 4 young people living in that house who don't do a thing to control the weeds and I'm only one older person who has tried spraying, I have pulled weeds till my fingers are stiff.

It is, as someone else suggested, only a part of the problem. The thing is I used to have equity in this house, I did a lot of nice work to it and my lawn and flowers were among the prettiest around. But then the banking/housing thing fell apart and now I lost all my equity plus I owe twice what I could ever sell it for. Because of the housing thing lots of people lost their homes (in many cases they were sold to people who couldn't have kept them anyway even without the housing crisis - it was part of the "give loans to the underserved or whatever". Anyway, now I owe twice what this house is worth after being here 20 years. The neighborhood is an eyesore, its grown violent, peoples housing getting broken into, my house was broken into while I was on my patio and came inside while they were still here but luckily not face to face. I saw them go out a window and run down the street carrying both my computers. Anyway last week, some poor souls were moving into a house in the neighborhood and while in the process of moving furniture in were robbed at gunpoint. I never wanted a gun but I have one now, another lady shot one of the guys trying to kick her door in - she shot him thru the door good for her. I have never wanted a gun but if I don't have one and something happens to me then it wasn't like I didn't know. But even that is no cure unless I want to carry it with me in my own house always - when they broke in here I wouldn't have it on my patio and they could have found it themselves.

I used to have such a beautiful lawn and now when i go out to cut what's out there I just end up being either sad or angry, so much so that I did do what someone else here mentioned doing, I took a basket of the crap I pulled up and dumped it at their front door. They have weeds growing over the fence and invading my ornamental bushes and killed one of them so I decided if they wouldn't trim it I would and some of it fell into their yard which finally got their attention so much so that they called the police to report I damaged their weeds. So I did what the police suggested and called the Codes Enforcement who came out and gave her a citation and 2 weeks to get it cleaned up and they didn't do a thing - not one weed growing through the fence, they never went near it. I keep my shrubs trimmed but they don't do a thing. Anyway so then because they didn't fix it she (it is a woman who owns it and she has a about 3 or 4 guys renting a room I guess, they are all probably 30 to 35 years old) had to go to court and when she found out about that she went off the deep end and came over here banging on my door but I didn't answer it so then I went out on my patio and she went into her back yard and was cursing and screaming at me. This place that used to be my sanctuary feels more like a prison. So yes, there are other issues, I am sad that I see all my work come to nothing. I seriously consider just moving out - leaving the keys in the mailbox - I don't have anything for them to sue me to get, my social security and they can't take that unless they rewrite the rules. This time of my life I should be enjoying has turned into something I hadn't planned on. I don't go out into my front yard I stay inside my back yard - I have beautiful fragrant flowers but I think I am going to leave this little place I wanted to have to give to my children when I died. I think I'm just going to leave because its getting to be too much.

Last year I almost had a good crop growing but it got taken over - the ground cracks in summer when it gets dry. I have spent a fortune on my water bill trying to get it going - I have spent a fortune on seed and spray and fertilizer. I can't even really talk about it because I get too depressed. I bought some fescue grass which is popular around here, I also mixed in some blue grass and I tried planting annual rye grass hoping that would keep the weeds out while the other stuff got going but its all dead again. Really I'm probably crazy for trying, its just that if this is my last summer here I would like to see it beautiful again one more time.

I have to stop writing now or I will ruin my evening and my dogs always sense my mood and seem to get bummed out too. I will have to find another home for one of my dogs an apartment would never let me have 3. I feel overwhelmed, my physical strength is leaving me and somehow I have become the problem for not just giving into the weeds but they are so ugly. I fought hard to hang onto my home after the bank collapse and said there's nowhere I'd rather be but after all the changes, the empty houses and yards never mowed or raked, its too depressing.

This isn't supposed to be a mental health or dear abby, I was just responding to what someone said about maybe there were more issues than just the lawn. I'm realizing I'm getting older and I just want peace in my life which is getting harder to find.

I stayed home for several months watering faithfully to get my grass growing but it all came to nothing. I think this ground and me must be cursed or something because it used to be nice and now I'm just a problem.

This post was edited by KCSummer on Sun, Mar 30, 14 at 21:18

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:34PM
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I didn't rake leaves last fall because the ground was bare mostly in so many spots that I put down straw so the dogs wouldn't get so muddy and if I had raked then I would have defeated my purpose. So there are leaves in the picture too, I have the grass seed all ready to put down but I can see I haven't got much of a chance, for over 5 years it hasn't happened and with these weeds already up and growing daily - I hate feeling like "what's the use". I used to love my home. This entire country is getting to be unrecognizable. I'm getting old and less able to defend myself or do things - my son lives an hour or so away but the traffic is bad so I don't blame him for not coming often - everyday someone dying in the traffic. Kansas City has been having trouble with violence for years - in the top 10 cities usually for likelihood of being a crime victim. When I moved here this neighborhood was struggling but still nice, I don't need fancy or perfection. The best thing I did for my house was putting a patio cover out back where I love to spend my summers and my dogs too. i have five of my canine babies buried in the pet cemetary here, who will know they ever existed, who will remember the fun they had chasing squirrels. Who will feed my songbirds or welcome the wren who comes faithfully every year. This home was neglected when i bought it - I made it bright and cheery, put in new windows, there wasn't a thing growing in back - I planted trees and flowers, my paradise is probably on the way out like me.

I wish my children understood why I'm sad and/or angry about losing my beautiful grass so green and nice -- they don't understand this is my last shot -- I would just like to have a couple months at least this summer to savor one last summer here so i can remember bird songs and take them with me wherever I go. I have no money to start over.

My favorite tree I planted is a birch tree with the peeling bark. I have mock orange bushes that smell so nice in summer, and lilacs in the spring that scent even the inside of my house. I think its time to say goodbye to it. I'm sorry I didn't mean to get into this - I just wanted some advice on my lawn but I think I'm being silly

I do appreciate everyone responding - at least some of you might understand my frustration, somehow I lost my green thumb and my green grass. I feel lonely here and more than a little sad and scared sometimes too.

I like this picture you can see one of my little passed away angels who lies in the cemetary now. Her name was Sweet Pea and she was a character.

I did a lot my landscaping than what you see here, I was just getting warmed up! For a while I even had a little ornamental goldfish pond that I dug myself.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:54PM
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shadeeladee(z5 KS)

I live in KC too, so I know gardening and lawns can be a challenge. Forgive me if I am asking questions you have already answered. Did you put down crab grass preventer early this spring? Is your grass seed actually coming up or DOA? We too have sun/shade and use Macho Mix grass seed for overseeding. It was developed by KU I believe especially for this area. It does well in sun shade and is a fescue blend. I got it from a grass seed store in south Overland Park. i know I'm probably not supposed to mention store names, but the guys there can generally tell you what the best combo of fertilizer, soil amendments, and seed that are best for this area. You can even take them some of your weeds to ID. I'm sure this is probably true of some other grass seed or nursery stores too. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:24PM
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Here's a picture of my favorite tree which still looks nice at least.

I did not put down pre-emergent for crab grass control. I tried that a couple years and it didn't seem to help. The thing is I cannot get anything going - I need to get something established that will resist the invaders. I think if I could get my lawn established it would be able to resist being taken over.

I was hoping for some feedback about what kind of weed this is (I have others but this is the immediate problem) or what to use if the triple srength spectracide and spreader sticker is not doing the job.

Its supposed to rain for about 3 days which would be an excellent time to put out my new grass seed but right now with this other stuff already in a place to dominate so to speak what's the use.

I'm so tired of fighting this. you'd think I could get some help from the city - I trying like heck to hold off the blight that is taken over this neighborhood - maybe they would work with me. But instead I'm the problem, not the people trashing my neighborhood but me for complaining.

This is a difficult discussion so i can understand why people might choose not to get involved.

I'm hurt that my family blames me for not just giving up. I'm sure they are tired of my complaints about my lawn but I'm tired of trying to deal with the problem. I know there are far healthier lawns than mine in yards where people don't do anything.

Why is it unreasonable of me to want what I used to have back.

I have tried every kind of grass seed imaginable. I've been getting this kind last year and again this year that says it takes less watering to get started.

The truth is that my neighbor is a slob. This house became a rental - it used to be a nice house and yard but over the years its been deteriorating and now its just big ugly globs of "grass" and I should just give up fighting but what hurts is there is no second chance for me. This was my one and only home and there will be no other, I think I should burn the pictures I have of when my yard looked so pretty because I get no pleasure from them, just sadness and pain.

Several years ago a lawn care company took pity on me and did a verticutt and re-seed for me. Though I watered and watered it was dry that year and before it got going the weeds took over.

People used to tell me I had my own little paradise and I did but I lost it somehow.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:33PM
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I guess I screwed up when I didn't realize people had responded here wanting more info and a picture of the weed that is already up and growing healthy and strong.

When i bought this house there was nothing growing in the back yard, no trees, no grass, no flowers, just weeds.

This yard use to be so nothing and I made it into my temporary paradise. There is no way I can show you all the beautiful things I planted so that you might understand why it hurts so much to see it all sliding back to nothing. I wonder if anyone will notice when my house becomes the empty, vacant eyesore that attracts more thugs and thieves to this neighborhood. I guess it doesn't matter.

This is my yard BEFORE - 20 years ago.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:44PM
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This place was my haven, my sanctuary, my peace on earth.

This is just a simple ranch house, nothing fancy, built in the mid 60's but I made it cheerful and nice where it was dark and dreary.

Each year I added more plants and shrubs and covered my patio.

It was really beautiful but the backdrop for it now is ugly cracked earth in the middle of summer. I try to hoe out the weeds which is backbreaking - would it be better to just let the weeds go? I guess probably so but it breaks my heart.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:52PM
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This was my yard BEFORE when i just moved in.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:54PM
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