Hubby wanted a 'natural' lawn

joyce_6333August 13, 2011

This is my first time posting, and sure hope someone here can offer advice. We just built a new home on a couple acres of wooded land. After final grade, DH had 6" of black dirt spread out, and then seeded it with a wildflower mixture from seedland.com. -- just around the house where the trees were disturbed. Then he put straw over the top. He and I totally disagreed on this whole process. I felt for the amount of money he spent he could have had it all sodded. But that's another story for another day. Anyway, now we have a yard full of the most awful weeds. Tall, thick grasses that grow at least 3' to 4' tall, oats (yes oats!), many broadleaf weeds that are HUGE and very little wildflowers. It's absolutely horrible. Where do we start to rectify this mess. I've been pulling these tough grasses and weeds until I'm blue in the face. And now we have clover, I mean HUGE clover. Impossible to pull out. I doubt even tilling the whole yard would help. Any ideas? I'm afraid this is a long process and may take years to get a nice lawn. HELP! and thanks.

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tracyvine(6 NE Ohio)

UGH! I hate to say it because I really hate using chemicals but... it sounds to me like you are going to have to spray the area with weed killer and start over after everything is dead in the areas.

My first attempt at gardening way back when I had put down some of the same seed mixture and gotten the exact same result. Mind you it was only a tiny area that I did and thank heaven for that. I was able to pull it all out by hand in a short time.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 10:59AM
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texas-weed(7A)

Spray it with Round Up, wait a week, mow the whole mess down and remove the debris. Then get a tractor with box blade and regrade the area. Once that is done you are ready to either seed or sod.

Secondly just before you do this, get a good Family Practice Lawyer, you might need one for a divorce. :

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 11:17AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

What you have is pasture. That would be a fine mix if you had cattle or goats.

My first thought is to remove the 6 inches of dirt unless it was needed to create proper drainage. Do that with the box blade mentioned by texas-weed. The result of the box blade will be a perfect surface for sodding or seeding new grass.

How does the hubby feel now about grass, though? Are you willing to water, mow, and fertilize?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 3:05PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Perhaps there is something in between you can compromise on. How large a lot do you have again? Why did your hubby want the natural yard? Is he a hippie, a wildflower lover, or does he just hate mowing?

Missouri has this great stretch of hiking trails at the Shaw Nature Preserve. That has to be what your husband wants.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 6:14PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Excellent questions from toronado - gets to the root of the issue...so to speak.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 9:54PM
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joyce_6333

Thanks everyone for listening and for the suggestions. I was afraid that's what you were all going to say. But I'm willing to bite the bullet to get a nice yard. As for DH's desire for a natural yard, it comes from living in a 6500 sq ft house that sat in the middle of a city block. Talk about mowing! He's just plain sick of it.

Yesterday, we had a neighborhood DPP (Deck & Patio Party), and most of our neighbors have these beautiful expanses of green grass, surrounded by the forest, with lots of beautiful flower beds and shrubs. I kept oo'ing and ah'ing, and I think he was starting to see the error of his ways. I am willing to start over, and can put up with a bare yard for awhile to get a nice lawn. Thanks for the help. Was hoping there might be a simpler solution. Thanks for the advice. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 10:40AM
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goren

Sad to say but as you describe the problem the only thing to do is to let RoundUp have a go at it.
That said, read the instructions and follow to the letter---more is not better.
It may take a couple of applications but considering the glyphosate kills all greenery be careful where and how you apply.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 11:30AM
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bob64(6)

A lawn, a meadow and a prairie are three different things. Try and find out which one you two can agree on. There are also degrees to how pristine a lawn needs to be. There are low growing grasses that don't need so much mowing by the way. No matter which of the three you chose there is no escaping lots of prep. work and at least some maintenance. There are also low growing flowers and forbs. I wouldn't worry too much about what the neighbors think but that's just me and it sounds like your own preferences are not exactly being expressed. I have seen some very beautiful native plantings in place of lawns but they still require work and lots of weeding and mulching. Don't know which you purchased but a lot of "wildflower" packets are loaded with annuals, weed seeds and invasives. Tilling would probably make it worse. Your imported soil or your mulch may have been loaded with weed seeds as well. Some of the wildflowers also don't look great for the first year or two so maybe there are a few gems hiding in there which, hopefully, don't get overwhelmed by dandelions and such. Mowing will encourage grasses and discourage other plants to some degree.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 9:00PM
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texas-weed(7A)

As for DH's desire for a natural yard, it comes from living in a 6500 sq ft house that sat in the middle of a city block. Talk about mowing! He's just plain sick of it.

Huh? With that kind of financial status one would think he could hire someone to do it.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 11:16PM
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Jesse

Ditto weed.
I was beginning to wonder if it is time to hire a professional lawn service.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 7:57AM
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joyce_6333

Oh, please don't think we're in a high income financial status. Property had been in DHs family for 70 years, and we purchased it for $115,000 10 years ago. Put alot of money and work into the place to make it nice, but we took a big hit when we sold it because of the economy. We do Ok for a couple old folks, but certainly not ubber rich by any means. We did have a lawn service at the old place that did all the fertilizing and weed/pest control, but we always did our own mowing. I've pretty much convinced him that's the route we should take now. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 11:46AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Okay I'm confused. How much actual turf are we talking about right now? I think we are thinking that you live in a 6,500 square foot mansion which is the only building in a city block. The rest of the city block, we are assuming, is the turf your hubby is tire of mowing.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:20PM
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texas-weed(7A)

Joyce sorry I did not mean to offend, but like others, I am a bit confused. 6500/ft2 home on a city block lot sounds pretty big to me. Where I come from a city block is anywhere from 10 to 40 acres, and acreage in cities are not cheap in most respects.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 6:58PM
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dwrecktor

I believe the OP and her husband used to live in a 6500sq/ft house, that's why the husband is tired of mowing. They now have a new place and the husband wanted a "natural" lawn so to cut down on the mowing.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 2:41PM
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Jesse

I was wondering if that was the case. That they moved, and the previous place gave them a bad taste of mowing.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 2:49PM
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doze

I would probably give it a full set of seasons to mature, there may be some areas you really like that can be incorporated into a landscaping plan with a proper lawn. I assume you have a lawn tractor so get on a regular mowing schedule and try some products to control your broadleaf weeds.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 2:25PM
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