Reno from St Augustine to Yukon Bermuda

iriasj2009April 28, 2013

Hi all!! New to the Forums!!

I have been lurking around and i have finally decided on how to approach my renovation.

Location: Houston Texas
Soil type: What they call black gumbo.
Size: 2k sq ft

Steps so far -
1. I rented a sod cutter and removed all of the sod. my backyard is full of trees and yard was neglected, so i used it to resod the back yard.

2. i hired a guy to grade (box blade) the front yard after all of the sod was removed. $150 for his services. The yard was EXTREMELY bumpy.

3. I spread 2 yards of sand to level out edges. We had rain in the forecast and i figured it would smooth out things. There was a tree in the yard that had been taken out, and while raking debris/big clods of dirt after final grade, i noticed some roots so i pulled them out and filled with sand. Yes a lot of work.

4. 4/27 Timing was almost perfect and we received about 2-3 inches of rain. A bit messy but i took notes of any low spots, very few bc i had the yard graded. But overall it smoothed out pretty good. s

I will keep you updated.

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iriasj2009

Where tree used to be (Huge tree). Found a lot of dried up roots after grading (even they took out a lot)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:11AM
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iriasj2009

Final grade and sanding. Tomorrow 4/28 i will be posting pics after our downpour.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:17AM
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iriasj2009

After receiving 3.25 inches of rain. Could have been worse.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:04AM
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iriasj2009

Another shot.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:08AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Of course you are going to relevel the sand from the pics, right? You are plenty early as bermuda seed won't germinate in any numbers until the soil temp is much warmer. Usually for Houston that would be late May.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 11:41PM
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iriasj2009

Yes i am, i just want to make sure i dont have any issues when mowing with my reel mower. I will level to perfection once the lawn is established. Unfortunately i pulled the trigger a bit early. i was hoping since its been in the low 80s that the ground would heat up faster since it is exposed. Another reason why i planned a bit early was because May can be pretty rainy here in houston and i was hoping to get my seed germinated before any big rains. If it weren't for that cold front we are expecting i would have seeded already.But theres no going back, i can just hold off on seeding.

so.. what do you recommend for me to do? Wait another 2 weeks to seed? By this sunday we should be back to the 80s. So maybe i could seed then?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 1:08AM
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iriasj2009

Day 1:

Seeded sunday 5/5/13:
10 day forcast -- 82F high avg -- 67F low avg.
House faces South.

Question, i have a pecan tree (TOP LEFT OF PIC). So far that section of the yard is getting sun from about 130pm-630pm. Should i have issues seeing results on that section of the yard. Once i trim up a bunch of limbs, I should get 2 more hours of sun on that section of the lawn. I just have not been able to trim them up, yet.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:58AM
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texas_weed(7A)

Problem I see is in every picture you have posted I see deep shade cast on the seed bed. Bermuda is a full sun grass.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 12:13PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Texas-Weed,

House faces south so the OP probably took the pictures when the sun was setting (or rising). Looks like plenty of sun to me.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 4:36PM
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iriasj2009

i took most pictures an hour before sunset i believe. Most of the yard gets full sun from 11AM - 7PM. Next to the driveway, my neighbor has a 30ft tree but it is about 40 ft away from the yard. My concern is the huge pecan tree you see in the picture. Im hoping to get enough sunlight after morning hours to make that section look OK. i really did not want to cut it down :/ So only time will tell.

**Meant to post this right after texasweed

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 5:03PM
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iriasj2009

Question- we might get some rain friday/saturday. Should i be too concerned? i did roll the seed in..

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:59PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

This happens every spring. Someone jumps the gun on seeding bermuda and follows up with a litany of questions about this and that. I sound like I'm complaining, but we will help with what we can. The problem is the bermuda seed will sit there for weeks until the soil temp gets up high enough. Meanwhile crabgrass seed will germinate starting about the 3rd day of continual watering. Had you waited until June, there would be a little less crabgrass getting going because more of the bermuda would come in. Well, it's not quite that simple, but you would have been much happier waiting until June.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:45PM
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iriasj2009

I guess i should have read a bit more before starting my reno. Now i will just post my progress so that others can see my results and have a better idea of why you should wait til warmer weather. So we had an inch of rain and might have another inch by the end of this storm. Now i just gotta be patient and see how much seed did not wash away. I will keep everyone posted.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:22AM
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texas_weed(7A)

Rain is good as long as it is not a toad strangler that causes erosion.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:43PM
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iriasj2009

Well it has been 1 week & 1 day since i seeded.

After receiving 3 inches of rain thursday and friday, i have decided that im going to sod the area.Reason being: i had spread 2 1/2 yds of compost after seeding and after receving all this heavy rain, most of it washed onto the street, and im afraid a lot of the seed did too :/... I know there will still be seed that will sprout but I dont think i can wait for it to all fill in. Yesterday i notice germination but only here and there (Not much at all and only where water would collect after watering). I just dont feel like respreading and releveling everytime it downpours (going into our raining season). This brings up my next question. Can i sod and hope to cover up any seed left behind? Will it rot once sodded? i really dont want common crepping up since i will be going with a hibrid (tif/celebration for areas around tree). i would love to be able to wait to get more germination, nuke it, and then sod, but will take to long and i cant keep up with all my soil being washed away.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 11:47AM
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texas_weed(7A)

Just sod it, no problem. However if shade is an issue only use either TifGrand or Celebration. Just be aware the claims of TifGrand and Celebration are over stated.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 12:12PM
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iriasj2009

Texasweed - Shade is only an issue around my huge pecan tree (i have a bedding area around the tree as well) and i still receive 5-7 hours of sun and the rest of the yard will be full sun 8+ hours. Thats why i wanted to sod celebration on my "less sunny areas". I looked around for comments on mixing tiff/celebration, not much info... SO IS IT NOT A GOOD IDEA? Or will it blend just fine?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 3:19PM
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iriasj2009

5/18/13 update after sodding. I used a lawn roller as well.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 7:32PM
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iriasj2009

6/29/13
3 days after a light application of sand. mowing at 1"

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 7:46PM
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iriasj2009

7/17/13
Mowing at 1"
Having runoff issues. used shampoo
Soil is very hard.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 7:48PM
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iriasj2009

10/2/13
Mowing at 1"
Soap has helped some. Had a lot of crabgrass issues.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 7:53PM
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iriasj2009

11/7/13
Mowed to 1/2 inch. I will be core aerating in hopes to relieve compaction. Going to plant annual ryegrass as an experiment in hopes to add organic matter once it dies off and help aerate the soil. Only and last time using ryegrass.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 7:59PM
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iriasj2009

10/8/13
After HEAVY core aeration. I picked up most of the cores. Soil is very clay like even though after jar test, i had very little clay ("Black Muck").

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 8:03PM
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iriasj2009

**Previous post date is 11/8/13 and NOT 10/8/13

12/4/13

3 and half weeks after seeding annual rye
Mowed at 1 inch

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 8:07PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Thank you SO MUCH for posting these 'after' pictures. They give confidence to others who might be on the fence about taking on a project like that.

If your soil is still hard, keep using the shampoo. Increase the amount per 1,000 square feet and do it more often. One of the gurus on another forum was spraying about 50 ounces per 1,000 square feet on a weekly basis with no ill effects. I believe that was more of an experiment to see how deep he could soften his soil rather than a necessity to overcome a hard soil problem.

Yes, do not get into the ryegrass habit. Come this next spring, scalp that rye down low to let light into the bermuda. Otherwise you might not get bermuda back until May or so.

Your soil might be heavy in magnesium which would make it act like clay. Only a good soil test (Logan Labs, not TAMU) would tell.

In the earlier pictures of bare soil I had a question about the middle being a low spot where water would accumulate. Looks from these after pics that there is no low spot - good news.

Crabgrass can be a problem in thin turf and in low-mowed turf. Bermuda always looks best when mowed low, so there you go. Keep an eye out for it. Baking soda will kill crabgrass (search at YouTube for a video about that). But it also kills bermuda, so you have to be careful with it.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 7:05PM
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iriasj2009

UPDATE!!

Thank you dchall for your reply.
I mowed the rye grass at around 2 inches since my last post.

picture above was taken 4-5-14. Highs low 70s... Lows 50s. mowed at 1.5 inches. i was unable to scalp short early this spring bc i was out of town. Crabgrass preventer was spread out as well.

im working on my flower beds so i have been mowing at 1inch. Temps now mid 80s and the rye is showing little stress but not much. I can see the bermuda as well.
I will be installing an irrigation system this weekend and right after i will be scalping the lawn to 1/4inch and fertilize and will maintain it at 1/2inch.

will be performing a leveling project

Questions: Should i add more crabgrass preventer?
Is crabgrass preventer also a preemergent for other weeds?

I will be posting more pictures soon.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 3:35AM
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iriasj2009

5/01

Right before installing irrigation system. Mowed from 2inches to 3/4 inches. Fertilized with milgornite on 5/07 at 30lbs/1000sqft.

Notice brown spots close to mower, due to tree roots

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 11:50PM
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iriasj2009

5/14

Mowed @ 3/4 inch. Lawn received an inch of rain on 5/12.
Rye grass still growing pretty strong.

I can see how having rye grass slows down the Bermuda grass, big time. I used perennial rye and not annual as stated before.

I won't be watering the lawn and will fertilize heavy in about 1 week with urea.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 12:00AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

What crabgrass preventer did you use?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:55PM
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iriasj2009

Halts. Applied around March 1st. How often/late can you use halts without harming the grass?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 10:09PM
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iriasj2009

Update: 6/11/14

I finally bought a powered reel mower so I mowed down to 7/16" and bagged all the clippings. Perennial grass was still growing but not as fast and it slowed down the bermuda grass. I bought a yard of masonry sand and spot leveled. I also been using milgornite along with my usual nitrogen application. I have been using baby shampoo as I had hard soil issues. All in all my soil is much softer than what it was a year ago. I'll be mowing at 9/16" in order to kill off most of the perennial rye that is left.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 3:35PM
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iriasj2009

6/22/14
I have been mowing at 9/16"
I can still see the ryegrass but 95% of it is gone.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 3:41PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

It would be nice if this topic could stand as a lesson in not using winter rye, but I'm afraid it won't. Hard to believe you still have it in late June.

What are the bare spots from?

How did your spot leveling work out?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 8:42PM
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iriasj2009

That will be the LAST time i use winter ryegrass on my lawn. It is just not worth the hassle. I rather have a healthy/lush looking lawn 9 out of 12 months out of the year than having to deal with transitioning 6 months out of the year. I feel that by now, my lawn should be completely lush and thick, it is not. Its really hard to see the rye grass but it is still there, although it is not growing at all. You can only see it close to the pecan tree (upper left of pic), that area gets 6.5 hrs to 7.5 hours of sun. I want to say other than the shade it receives, the reason the perennial rye hasn't disappeared is bc May wasn't terribly hot (mid 80s) and June has been a cloudy/lower 90s month. I was mowing as short as i could too ( around 7/8").

I do gotta say that ANNUAL ryegrass does die much quicker than PERENNIAL. I used annual on my back yard since i have dogs and it died much quicker.

Bare spots, installed an irrigation system and added some edging. along the driveway/street i removed about an inch of soil to make the yard level to the driveway. i also lifted up some sod to try to remove old tree roots.

Spot leveling: worked out great. used a push broom and a rake. Bermuda grass seems to love to spread out on that sand.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 9:59PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Bermuda spreading out on the sand is an optical illusion. It loves to spread over concrete at the same speed.

Both annual and perennial are considered to be annual grasses in South Texas.

This has been the weirdest fall/winter/spring that I've ever seen. Still, if all you had was bermuda, you would have been out of these woods back in late April.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 10:06PM
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