Need a plan

flyfisher22July 12, 2014

Hello everyone.

We purchased our first house last year, February of 2013. New construction with a starter lawn. Didn't water enough and large portions died. Now we have multiple types of weeds, including tall weeds covered in black seeds that are taking over. They are back to a foot high 5 days after mowing. I am quickly learning that I am helping them spread with my mower.

I am in Charlotte, NC. Rocky, clay soil. Little over a third acre. A hill that slopes from the sun is 90% good. The large majority of the lawn is in much worse shape, full sun. I don't have irrigation but will purchase multiple hoses, sprinklers and timers. I need to do something, my neighbors all have very nice lawns and I fell like the neighborhood $&$()&.

I have been told to aerate and over seed in October and do a pre-emergent in January. Is this the correct advice? Is there anything I can do now to start killing off the weeds? What type of grass should I go with in my climate? I really need the experts to help me develop an action plan. Thanks in advance for the help and please let me know what other info is needed.


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From the sound of it without having seen a picture, you might have Bahiagrass taking off. Its more of a pasture type grass not for a house lawn.

As for aerating and overseeding, will you be overseeding with a cool season grass or a warm season grass. Most lawn in your area will be Fescue which is a cool season grass. I would overseed with what your lawn is currently.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 6:02PM
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Looked at pictures online, Bahiagrass it is. I thought it was a weed, is this going to be harder to get rid of since it is a grass? Was hoping it would die out in the winter and pre-emergents and fescue would control it.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 11:49PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

What kind of grass did you start with?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:32AM
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Builder put in fescue seed originally.

Actually there are two builders in the neighborhood, half the lots are fescue and the other half are zoysia. I don't border any of the zoysia lots though, I am separated by one house.

I am assuming it would be best to stick with fescue at this point? Would there be any benefit to trying to transition to zoysia?

Thanks for the responses.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 9:07AM
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forsheems(Lexington, NC)

I would also look at Dallisgrass as possibly being your weed. It looks similar to Bahiagrass and is extremely difficult to control once it gets started. Either way, Round Up will be your friend. Best bet would be to kill everything and start over. Ideally in Charlotte the first two weeks in September are going to be the best time for seeding. That gives more time to get the root system established before winter plus give you time to reseed any thin spots. Buy the best seed you can get because there is a difference.

Once you get it going a good pre-emergent early spring should keep the crabgrass at bay. Depending on what you use, a second app later in the season could be needed.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 10:22AM
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I have googled and see the difference in the 2 grasses, I will see if they have the Y shaped heads or if they have the alternating arms.

I do see that, if it is Dallisgrass it can be controlled by the same post-emergent products that kill crabgrass, but it needs at least 5 treatments in 2 - 3 week intervals. If I do determine it to be Dallisgrass would this route be advisable?

I could spread the post-emergent 7/18, 8/1, 8/15, 8/29, and 9/12. Then quickly core aerate and over seed mid to late September.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 10:59AM
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forsheems(Lexington, NC)

I did a complete renovation on my lawn last fall due to crabgrass, common bermuda, wild violets and dallisgrass. I really didn't find any selective herbicide that did much on the dallisgrass other than slowing it down a little. Nothing killed it. I sprayed everything with Round Up early August and once it was all dead started watering to germinate any seeds that might be left. I had to spot spray a couple of times but otherwise the initial app killed it all.

I used Prodiamine for pre-emergent applied on March 1st of this year. So far there have been a few sprigs of crabgrass that popped up but absolutely no dallisgrass so I'm very happy.

As a side note, all of the neighbor's yards surrounding me are a mixture of common bermuda, fescue, crabgrass, dallisgrass, dandelions, plantains, and other assorted weeds. They scalp their yard anytime they mow and can't understand why my lawn looks so much better than theirs. I'm not bragging about my yard, just letting you know what i'm up against. The biggest challenge this year since the reno has been keeping their junk out of my lawn and so far it's worked.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 11:26AM
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The thought of starting over on 10K+ square feet of lawn sound fairly daunting and expensive right now. I will research it as an option but I am scared it will be out of my current price range.

Would spot killing the dallisgrass with round-up, then pulling and putting a little soil and seed down in those areas, along with the fall over seed be a decent option? Should i do this now, or closer to the fall over seed? I imagine I would be killing several spots but need to find a happy medium.

Is now a good time to put down the post emergent for the other weeds, crabgrass etc?

Thanks again for all of the replies.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 12:53PM
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forsheems(Lexington, NC)

My renovation was 20k square feet. The grass seed alone was $500 but I ordered the good stuff and $100 of that was for shipping. At that rate you would be looking at closer to $250 for 10k but it could be a little cheaper if you go with something from the box stores.

If your lawn is full of weeds it can be much easier to kill it off and start with a clean slate. Round Up is cheap if you buy the brand that Tractor Supply sells. You're looking for 41% Glyphosate which runs about $70 for 2 1/2 gallons if you go with Tractor Supply's store brand. Do some research and see if this will work with your budget.

If a complete reno won't fit the budget spot spraying the dallisgrass will work. No need to add soil to those spots. Just kill them and just before seeding mow it down as low as you can and bag the clippings. You can hand seed the bare spots and then do your overseeding with a spreader.

Most of the selective herbicides shouldn't be used when the temps are over 85 degrees or they can harm the real grass. Right now it's been pretty hot and dry here and the grass is already stressed so now would not be the best time. Whatever you do, don't use a weed-n-feed type product. It's best to buy the concentrate and a small pump up sprayer and spot spray the weeds. it is a little more time consuming but in the end much cheaper and much more effective. I would definitely use a pre-emergent early next spring to help keep any weeds from coming back.

The complete reno is the quickest way to a nice lawn. It is a little more work and money but can be well worth the effort. It all depends on what you want to end up with and how much you are able/willing to spend.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 1:26PM
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OK, those numbers are way within the budget. I was thinking thousands of dollars. I will do some addition research on the complete overhaul.

I am waiting on a soil test and will post those results. I know that everything in my area is going to call for a ton of lime though. Assuming it comes back with those results would I be OK to apply lime in early August to start preparing the soil? Then kill the grass in early September to prepare for the new lawn?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 1:45PM
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forsheems(Lexington, NC)

On the seed, get in touch with the Hogan Company. Just Goolgle Hogan seed and it should be the first thing that pops up. Their pricing isn't too far off from the best stuff at Lowes or Home Depot but it's much better quality. The shipping is really what makes it more expensive. I went with their recommended tall fescue blend after speaking with them and I couldn't be happier. I never realized the seed could make that much of a difference.

You can apply lime anytime. It's going to take a while for it to work down into the soil. Serveral applications over some time are much better than 1 huge app so take your time there but get started as soon as the test results are back.

To do a complete reno, I would do the first Round Up application in early August. Once everything is dead (about a week) mow it as low as you can bagging the clippings. From there you need to lightly water 3 times per day for a couple weeks. This will allow any remaining weed seeds to germinate so you can nuke them with Round Up.

From there, you will want to put out the seed sometime in the first two weeks of September. Have everything ready and as soon as the weather forecast gives you a a good week without storms get the seed on the ground. If possible, rent a lawn roller and roll the seed in to get good soil contact and begin the watering 3 times per day for 5 to 10 minutes per section. All you need to do is keep the seed and top layer of soil moist. If you get this right you should have germination beginning in a week. I used a bunch of cheap $5 spike sprinklers and 50' garden hoses from Tractor Supply to build a redneck sprinkler system. Took 14 sprinklers to cover my 20k so you should be able to get by with 7 or 8 to get full coverage.

I would estimate $500 to $600 should get you through the complete reno.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:25PM
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I have closely examined the invading grass vs internet pictures and it is definitely Bahiagrass. Two seed heads on each stalk in the Y formation.

Anyone had luck removing Bahiagrass with a Post-Emergent?


    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:16AM
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