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Letting princess 77 take over current lawn?

Posted by skyline.citylights 11, Hawaii (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 1:54

Hi all, I am in zone 11 Hawaii.

My lawn: Common Bermuda, Centipede, & nutsedge, is very patchy ie: having many dirt areas and thin grass.

I had a landscaper over recently to fix my irrigation system and he suggested that I lay an organic mulch and simply seed the yard with more Bermuda. However, I would like to get Princess 77 Bermuda instead as it is more visually appealing.

My question is, if I seed the yard with Princess 77 will it eventually take over the common bermuda/centipede? or would the common bermuda/centipede win? So far it appears the common Bermuda is killing the centipede and since there isn't much grass in my yard I think now is the time to seed the Princess 77. Once it establishes itself I would begin spraying to rid the lawn of the nutsedge.

The conflict I have is that on Pennington's website (Manufacturer of the P77 seed) they instruct users to kill all grass first, till, and then lay seed. I wonder if that is simply for optimal results and if the way I plan to do this will work alright?

My thought was that since my lawn is more dirt than it is grass, I could dethatch the grassy areas, prep the soil, broadcast seed/compost, and watch the P77 grow and eventually take over.

I am a novice and if any of you could confirm or deny this that would be great. Thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Letting princess 77 take over current lawn?

So the Pennington website actually says to till the soil????? I have wondered where that advice was coming from. The last thing you ever want to do in preparation for bermuda is to till the soil. Tilling is a serious no-no. If you till, then within 3 years you have a very bumpy surface.

The following applies if you have a full sun yard. All you have to do to kill the centipede is to take normal care of the bermuda. Normal care means the following:
Monthly: Fertilize with a high N fertilizer. The monthly fertilizer alone will kill out the centipede.
Weekly: Water (unless you get one full inch of rain)
2x Weekly: Mulch mow at your mower's lowest setting or one notch higher.

Find the Bermuda Bible online to learn more about caring for bermuda. It is the highest maintenance lawn there is if you're doing it right.

I suspect, since you live in HI and have no grass at all, that you have too much shade for either bermuda or centipede. If you have shady lawn, you will be much better off with St Augustine. You can get bermuda seed to germinate in the shade but it will go downhill from there. St Aug is among the lowest maintenance lawns.

If you do have full sun, the Princess 77 should mix with the common and you'll not notice that much. If you do find the textures don't match, then you can kill the entire lawn with RoundUp when you want to make it all one grass.

RE: Letting princess 77 take over current lawn?

Great answer. Thanks. I will try the "no-kill" method first then.

After I remove the thatch, should I aerate as well for a better chance of germination?

By the way, my lawn is very sunny. It doesn't have grass because my irrigation system went out and I didn't keep up with watering it by hand. Good though, because now I'll have a better looking grass :)

RE: Letting princess 77 take over current lawn?

As soon as you start watering, the old bermuda will return to compete with your new Princess 77. It will definitely be a blend.

No need to aerate and probably no need to dethatch. Bermuda will only get thatchy if you water it briefly every day and feed with a liquid fertilizer. The runners you would normally see are normal and not considered thatch. If you want to run a thatcher over it, you will have a lot of raking or blowing to do before seeding. Otherwise all you have to do is scalp the bermuda down to expose only the brown stems of the plant. The seed will fall right through that. If the area is small you can just walk over every part of it to ensure the seeds are in contact with the soil. Then water 3x per day, every day, for a couple weeks until you have 80% germination. You only need to water enough each time to moisten the seed - not drench the soil. I don't know what your temperatures run in HI this time of year, but stateside, this would be considered waaay too late to seed bermuda. Bermuda seed likes hot weather. Once the seed germinates, you can back off on the watering frequency and go up on the duration. When it is mature the best watering regimen is 1 inch per week applied all at one time. If Mother Nature gives you all the rain you need, then you don't need to supplement.

RE: Letting princess 77 take over current lawn?

Ahh ok, got it! It's about a constant 90F where I live.

One last question.. If I decide to kill the current grass first, do I need to dig it all up so I'm left with a 100% dirt yard? Or, can I simply cut the dead grass as low as I can get it, rake it to roughen up/expose dirt, broadcast the seed, then apply a topsoil/compost blend and rake some more? Will the seeds grow this way amongst the dead grass? I am under the impression that so long as I rake the seeds into the soil it would sprout.

Furthermore, upon killing the grass, is it possible that later on the common bermuda will find it's way back anyhow?

If I can seed with the low-cut dead grass still present then I will kill my lawn first. If not, I will just settle for a blend.

Thanks a lot!

This post was edited by skyline.citylights on Tue, Oct 1, 13 at 0:02

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