Will i have a lawn this year/

MarinewifencApril 4, 2013

We rent a house with a horrible lawn, we live in coastal north carolina zone 8 i think. The lawn is centipede grass and it is full of weeds. there were too many weeds to weed and feed. We seeded last week with bermuda, but just seeded over top of the existing lawn. Pulled the weeds first and filled in the holes and aerated the high traffic areas that were bare, seeded, applied a light layer of peat.

Wiill he bermuda be able to choke out the weeds and spread given proper maintenance to have a lawn this summer? Can the bermuda take over the centipede? the centipede was hurting anyways, spare and patchy. New weeds have popped up, should i continue to pull them while waiting on the seed, it would cause bare spots again, or could i leave them (mainly the clover keeps popping up)

We only seeded the backyard so far, it is what was in the worst shape, and due to the size of the yard it was unrealistic for me to be able to water twice a day front and back since i have to move the sprinkler so many times to finish the backyard. approx how long before i can lessen the watering.

will my lawn be able to repair itself / spread as long as some establish?

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I'm not a warm season grass guy, but I have picked up some info from the resident expert. I think your first issue is that you probably seeded too early. Bermuda likes to germinate in hot weather, high eighties in the day, sixties at night. Another issue you will run up against is the weeds and centipede. As you water the weeds and centipede will be growing fast, competing with the Bermuda seed. I think a better plan of attack would be cutting what you have short, then applying round up to it, then seeding the next day. That way as the old lawn dies the Bermuda will be germinating without competition, and the dying stuff will provide some protection from washout. This should be done at the right time of the year of course. Once Bermuda is established, it's one tough mother, and if you treat it correctly it will outcompete just about anything.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:30PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Good stuff from tiemco. Yes you are about 3 months early on seeding bermuda. If you stop watering the seed now, you will cut your losses and be better off. Just take care of it as if it were the perfect lawn until late May.

What makes you think you have centipede? Centipede is one of the more rare lawns. It happens to look a lot like St Augustine, which is a very popular turf grass. Centipede is usually only grown on extremely acidic and nutritionally depleted soils. Centipede needs no fertilizer and not really much care. If the care has been poor and the grass looks bad, it probably is not centipede. Centipede thrives with poor care. But at this point, if what you have is centipede and any of the bermuda seed sprouts, you are going to have a weedy mess from now on. Both require the same mowing height and that leads to the mess. If you start to care for the bermuda as described in the Bermuda Bible (Google it), the centipede will eventually go away. However if what you have is St Aug, it will compete very well with the bermuda.

At this point I would start to water deeply every other week to see what the "centipede" does. Set your mower to the highest setting (best for St Augustine) and see if it gets nice. If it does, then your problems are practically over. The next problem will be the bermuda seed sprouting in June. But that isn't really a serious problem. If you keep the mower up high, and keep it watered deeply and infrequently, the St Augustine will mask the bermuda for the most part. After you have mowed the grass at the highest setting for the second time, you can fertilize it. Just use a plain fertilizer - not a weed n feed. If it is St Augustine, it will spread 5 feet in all directions with the proper water, mowing, and fertilizer. That should take care of the sparse look.

If you want to spray for weeds, St Augustine is sensitive to most sprays. The one with atrazine are the ones to use. Spectracide makes one in a black bottle with a purple label. Try that one. Spot spray as much as you can. The sprays are meant to be used as a mist, not a soil drench. Use too much and it will set the St Aug back a few weeks. But if you use the ones with 2-4,d, it could really damage St Aug.

If you decide what you really want is bermuda, there are ways to convert without spending a lot. But I would devote the next 8 weeks to making the current grass the best grass in the hood. Then decide what you want to do.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 2:31AM
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My landlord said centipede i wasn't sure so i asked them. i know nothing about souhern grasses. I know this grass is terrible and can't handle the dog traffic.

The bermuda seed already started to sprout quite a lot, so now i am not sure what to do. it's filling in some of the spots hat i couldn't get anything to grow. the old lawn is still crunchy.

I'm not set on having a nice lawn, just having a lawn, instead of tons of bare spots and weeds. if i owned this place i would care a lot more but since i am renting and didn't cause the damage I can't justify spending much fixing it.

I mainly just wantsomething that can put up with a ton of dog traffic, my yard is pretty big but my dogs like to play and run a lot and there iare paths on their running trails, they run the same route over and over and i hate seeing it bare, and i hate the weeds, and the bare spots all around the deck and the back of my lawn was bare but the bermuda seed is growing in that spot now.

Is the bermuda going to die if this is too early for it? we will go down to 50 at night in the next few days, currently we are getting 80 degree weather, bit higher past few days and a ton of sun.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 12:20AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

What you are seeing might be crabgrass sprouting. Bermuda seed usually does not sprout until the soil temp is in the high 70s. I don't care where you live, you don't have that yet.

Crabgrass, believe it or not, might be your best bet. We always say, "no grass can put up with dog traffic." But we're always thinking of turf grasses. Crabgrass just might tolerate dog traffic. It is easy to get started. Just do what you're doing - watering frequently every day. That will sprout every weed seed there is.

Once this new grass becomes established, you can back off on watering just like as if it was a fine turf grass. Give it another few days and then back off on the frequency but hold the same amount. Eventually the goal is 1 inch per week, all at one time. That is actually a hot summer frequency. If you are in the influence of cool coastal breezes, you may never get up to that. Twice a month (one inch each time) might work for you.

If the dogs beat down the crabgrass, I like the mulch alternative. A deep layer of mulch will keep the mud off the dogs and give them something that feels good on their pads. They can pee and poop into it and its all natural. Find a tree trimmer with a chipper shredder attachment on the back of his truck. Ask him to dump a load in your yard. That is perfect for dogs and for your soil. It should be free.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 4:32PM
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