Lawn frustrations-- moss, weeds, dead grass HELP!

ksviatko(5)April 2, 2012

Good morning!

I really don't even know where to start. I've done many searches but get a LOT of conflicting information, so I figured I'd post here to see what you all think.

We live in the NW Suburbs of Chicago. (Zone 5). My 1/4 acre lawn is on a slope. The West side of the house yard is mostly moss, dead grass, cloves, bumps, and weeds. Creeping charlie, wild violets, dandelions, you name it- it's there. The front (north) side of the house is on a major slope with dead grass, creeping charlie, and it slopes downward, so when it rains the little grass I do have looks like it has been run over.

We are on a very limited budget, and I've tried it all. We've done the "lawn tonics", used some of the "Anytime" Scott's fertilizer, and hand pulled weeds. It is so terrible and quite an embarrassment. I might add that we also have about 25 trees or so (hickory and oaks), and we've already removed 12 of them.

We have very acidic soil. I've contemplated ripping the whole yard out and starting from scratch, but I don't want the same problem to happen again.

I do believe thatch is a problem. Is it too late to de-thatch and aerate? If we do de-thatch, should we rent a de-thatcher, or attach a blade to the lawn? Many searches that I've done say if you de-thatch, you need to mow the lawn first. Well, there's nothing to mow! It's so thin, short, and mossy.

I know having a beautiful lawn is time consuming, which I don't mind, but being on a very limited budget seems to be hurting the most.

Any ideas, thoughts, advice is much appreciated! Thank you!

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Well I'm sure Garyinchicago will chime in soon since he is practically a neighbor, but I will give my two cents. First step, get your soil tested professionally (if you haven't already done so). You say your pH is very low. This isn't conducive to having nice grass. You need to lime, but of course without a good soil test, you need to know which lime to use. It will probably be calcitic as most people are deficient in calcium, but you never know. So while you are waiting for your soil test you need to either kill the weeds, or else they will go to seed. If you don't want to kill the weeds because you will be left with just dirt, then mow them as you would a lawn, this will reduce the seed production. Applying a preemergent now will kill any weed seeds as they germinate. Use something that lasts 3 months so you can seed in late summer. Kill off your moss now with Moss Out liquid. It is an iron solution, non toxic, and very effective. The moss will turn black and decompose over time. Once you get your soil test back, you need to get all the nutrient levels up to snuff, and this includes raising your organic matter levels, so you might as well start applying organic fertilizers at a pretty high rate, once a month minimum. In July you will be killing everything and planting good grass seed. You can do this with Round-up, or Solarization, although solarization takes 2 months, and really needs a lot of sun to work well. So again, soil test now (, $20 basic test) and mow or kill your weeds.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:32AM
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Hi, ksviatko! Tiemco has given a lot of great information. We noticed that you said you're on a limited budget. With that in mind, Spectracide products are perfect for your weed control issues. Our products will give you the long-lasting weed control you need and they're priced for limited budgets. Spectracideî Weed Stopî for Lawns would be an ideal solution for your weed control issues.

You can find more information at
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Hope this helps!
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    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:14PM
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