Desperate need for Lawn help

DaynaPJune 4, 2013

I have neglected my backyard lawn, I admit it. My front yard lawn looks great and I take care of it, the backyard, looks awful. It is OVER RUN with weeds, way more weeds than grass. Hardly any grass at this point really. I really don't know what kind of weeds they are but I can post pics if that will help. I would like to get my lawn back but I don't know where to start. Someone suggested Weed N Feed but I am not sure that will help. Do I need to rent a dethatcher and start all over??

Thank you!!

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

None of that for now. Let's get some background and ask a few questions.

Zone 10? Where do you live? Certainly you are in a warm place. Your basic choices are bermuda (if you don't mind a little extra work and cost), St Augustine (if you have shade and can live with coarse bladed grass that MUST be watered once a month), or zoysia (which cannot recover fully from any damage within one growing season). Another choice if you have full sun is buffalo.

If you neglected your yard and most of the grass is gone, then you likely had St Augustine. The only problem with that is, like I mentioned, it must be watered regularly or it will die. The southern other grasses will go dormant, but SA will die. Some people are absolutely unwilling to water the grass. If that is you, then don't consider SA.

Sodded varieties of bermuda are excellent but they require mowing 2x per week and monthly fertilizer to look good. Seeded varieties of bermuda require the same thing to look good, but if you let them go, they get seed heads which look really shaggy.

What do you want to use the yard for?
How much work/money are you willing to put into it now and forever?
Are you willing to water as much as once per week if necessary?
And where do you live?
Have you thought about organic or chemical fertilizer?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:56PM
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I live in South San Francisco, CA. It is a mild climate, I live fairly close to the ocean. We don't get really hot weather, it stays in the mid 60's normally. My yard gets full sun for most of the day.

Basically I just want to have grass in the yard rather than weeds hahaha I do have dogs so I will need a hardier type of grass. They are not destructive, they don't dig or anything.

I don't really know how much I am willing to spend because I have no idea what it will cost to get the grass back in good shape!

I have no problem watering the lawn at all, I can definitely do once a week.

I have not thought about organic or chemical fertilizer simply because I don't know much about them, but I will consider whatever will work best to get my lawn back in shape.

Would Kentucky Bluegrass not be the right grass for my situation?

Thank you!!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 8:20PM
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New grass is coming in black and almost slimy-
we've had tons of rain, and now 4 more inches,since
grass seed was put down.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:26AM
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Sounds like your new grass has pythium blight, also called grease spot disease. It is fairly common for new grass when conditions are favorable for it, which includes lots of soil moisture and warm temps. Pythium can devastate an entire stand if conditions allow it. A curative fungicide is the best option to stop the disease.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 2:19PM
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Just bringing this back to the top, hoping dchall_san_antonio will respond and help :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 2:18PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

San Francisco. This is exactly why the zones are worthless.

Yes, KBG would be fine. Once you get rid of the fungus (look back at tiemco's suggestions), the KBG should fill in nicely.

Forget about weed n feed. If you need fertilizer, use fertilizer. If you need herbicide, use a spray type so you can spot spray individual weeds. The weeds only need to be moistened, not drenched.

You don't need a dethatcher, either. It sounds like you need to change your watering schedule and/or duration. Weeds are often simply a problem with watering too frequently. This time of year in your area, for mature sod, you should be watering about twice a month. If you don't know how long it takes to get a full inch of water, put some cat food or tuna cans out when sprinkling. When you water you should water about an inch all at one time. Then watch the grass for signs of drought stress. Usually there is a color change and the blades fold together. Then when you water, water deeply again. If it had not been a full 2 weeks since you watered last time, water more deeply this time. The idea is to develop very deep roots which can draw moisture from deeper in the soil. That way the soil at the surface will dry completely before you water again. Weeds have trouble getting started when the soil is dry.

If you are not mowing at the upper half of your mower's range, change that now. Tall grass needs less water (it grows deeper roots) and helps shade out low growing weeds.

If you go to the Organic Gardening forum there is a FAQ section with a FAQ on Organic Lawn Care (bottom of the list). Read that for an orientation to modern organic lawn care. Some things have changed since I wrote that but not much. If you are interested we can get into that topic more deeply.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 8:12PM
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I don't have a fungus. Tiemco posted in response to albany1's post that he posted on this thread.

Honestly, I have water the backyard in months. From the reading I have done in the last few days it seems like I need to fertilize the weeds and grass I do have and then about 2 weeks after that spray with a broad spectrum herbicide. Does that sound right? Do I do a deep watering before I fertilize?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 8:38PM
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