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Lawn Renovation Project- Help!

Posted by UtahUtah Northern Utah (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 16:53

Hello everybody.

This is my first time on this forum, or any forum for that matter. As I have looked for solutions to my problems I have often been pointed to this website so I thought I would give it a try.

Here is my dilemma- My wife and I purchased our home in Northern Utah last November. When spring rolled around I began to notice patches of prickly grass that started popping up taller than my normal grass (KBG). I tried pulling some of it out and found that it was attached to a vine that ran beneath the surface. At first I didn’t think it was a big deal but the more the weather warmed up, the worse it got. It was popping up everywhere.

I decided to have a professional come out and he informed me that it was Bermuda Grass. His advice was simple- “you need to make peace with it or start over”. I decided to start over.

For the remainder of the summer we applied Killzall every couple of weeks (4-5 total applications). We went all the way into fall before the Bermuda finally stopped popping up. That stuff is nasty resilient! Hopefully we got it all and it wasn’t just the cool weather that caused it to go dormant. It was pretty minimal for the last couple applications.

After the first application ran its course, I set the lawnmower to the lowest setting and scalped the entire yard. After the last application I rented a power-rake and raked the whole yard as well. We were able to remove a lot of dead grass but a lot still remains.

So here I am, waiting for winter to end and wondering how best to proceed come spring.

Help me forum! Everybody I talk to has a different idea and most of them seem to be guesses at best. We want to lay sod (KBG) this spring.

What I really want to know is- Can I continue to rake out the dead grass until there is semi-decent soil contact or does the dead grass need to be completely removed? I don’t have the $/resources to take the sod-cutter approach. Do I need to bring in dirt? Should I till? I was kind of hoping I could just lay the new sod on top of the dead, thinned out sod. Is this a possibility?

Thank you in advance for your knowledge!

This post was edited by UtahUtah on Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 19:09

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Lawn Renovation Project- Help!

You almost nailed it. Glyphosate sprayed four or five times over eight to ten weeks should keep bermuda out for a least for a few years. Bermuda grass is a perennial grass that spreads by stolons and rhizomes what you are doing each time you spray is killing the bermuda back to a point, because the herbicide can only translocate so far. Then when you spray again two weeks later whatever you did not kill the first time has rolled out new leaves is susceptible to the herbicide. By mowing after the first spray you may have reduced the efficacy of the herbicide. As far as the raking goes, any bermuda grass that did not get killed by the herbicide sprays quite possibly was spread around your yard with the rake. Your best bet bet would have been to spray and then left the yard alone for the winter. Then in the spring bring out the sod cutter and resod. However, if removing the dead sod is not an option I would just lay the new sod right on top of the dead sod. I would skip the top soil as well. The only advantage to bringing in topsoil is to level your yard if needed. When you bring in topsoil there is always the possibility that the topsoil will have some bermuda grass sprigs in it, and then your back where you started. Tilling is not necessary either all your going to do is spread the bermuda around. You might also need to raise any irrigation heads after sodding. If you don't have irrigation then I would suggest tall fescue it is much more drought tolerant. To keep the bermuda grass out of your new lawn make sure you keep a healthy actively growing lawn through out the summer. When and if the bermuda starts to come back you can spot spray it out with selective herbicides turflon and acclaim, if you go with tall fescue, and then reseed. If you go with KBG then just use round up on small spots and resod. Good luck.

RE: Lawn Renovation Project- Help!

I love it! This is the first post by joneboy that I completely agree with!

I will offer a different alternative for the future, though. See if this lawn looks good to you...

That lawn belongs to bpgreen, a Salt Lake City resident. It is comprised of various wheatgrasses (Western, Streambank, and Crested), blue grama, and a little strawberry clover. There is also some residue of KBG in there, which is what he started with. This lawn goes without supplemental water until about June. Then his lawn care program starts. He mows once per month and waters about once per month for the rest of the growing season. I believe he fertilizes once per year in the fall. It doesn't get any easier than that and the results are pretty darned nice.

Google "bpgreen wheatgrass grama" and try the first couple of links. I would link directly, but that is a no-no from Gardenweb. That other site is their biggest competition for lawn care forums.

RE: Lawn Renovation Project- Help!

This is a good idea by dchall, unless of course the OP wants to spray any broad leaf weeds (dandelion, buttercup, chickweeed, henbit, mallow, spurge, etc.) that pop in or around a patch of clover. Also, the herbicides used to control bermuda grass will kill the clover and may injure the kentucky bluegrass. Blue gramma is more of a warm season grass that will be dormant most of the year.Blue gramma also does not do well over 6500 ft of elevation. However, the pic dchall posted looks like it is about ninety percent kentucky bluegrass. Other options include buffalograss and fine fescues. Buffalograss, also a warm season grass, requires less inputs once it is established but you run into to problems trying to control bermuda grass with herbicides again. Buffalograss establishment is very slow, and does not do well above 6500 ft elevation. A blend of fine fescues would be another low input option and no issues with herbicides, but the fine fescues are not very traffic tolerant and are also slow to establish. Really it all depends what your looking for in a turfgrass. Kentucky bluegrass will give you the highest quality turf if your willing to maintain it at a high level, more water, fertilizer, and more susceptible to disease. Tall fescue can also give you a high quality turf, especially with the newer varieties like Bullseye, with less inputs than kentucky bluegrass and more tolerant of the herbicides used to control bermudagrass. Tall fescue, however, will not be as tolerant of traffic as kentucky bluegrass

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