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Old 04-21-2003, 02:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Another lawn thread...

OK, so we just bought a house and the backyard is shot to hell. We already went through it with mower/weedwhacker to get the lawn area looking clean, but the problem is what to do now? The grass that was there is pretty much dead, except in patches. The weeds almost completely took over, and I'd like to make the lawn semi decent-looking to spare the embarassment when people come over.

I guess my question comes down to this: what can I do to get the lawn green in the quickest manner possible? I think it bears consideration that I live in phoenix so bermuda grass is the grass of choice to reseed.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-21-2003, 04:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: tentative, at best
Well, speaking as a 22-year (former) resident of Arizona - what are you doing with grass in your backyard? Save the water for people to drink - you live in the desert. Bermuda grass is very thirsty, especially with the heat and low humidity in Arizona. Let it die and put in some decomposed granite. Go buy the book "Plant for Dry Climates" - there's an amazing amount of low water use plants that thrive in the desert - many of them even tropical-looking.

However, if you insist on being irresponsible and having turf in your backyard, have some patience - bermuda is a very fast-growing and fast-spreading turf grass. One season of decent watering and fertilizing will bring it back - then overseed around Halloween with some ryegrass or fescue (general rule for overseeding - wait until the "low" daily temperature is below 60 degrees for two weeks straight). Also, give it some sulphur - the pH in Phoenix is horrendously high, and it will make the soil more acidic, which will allow plants to absorb nutrients. If there's no automatic sprinkler system in your yard - install one - you'll thank yourself later. It makes it easier for you to water, and, more importantly - it's more efficient than using a hose.

But - again - the desert is no place for turf, unless you're irrigating with effluent. At least compromise and devote a certain small area to turf, with decomposed granite areas and pathways - you can make it look real nice - better than wall-to-wall grass.

If you're dead set on growing grass and have any more questions - ask. This is finally an area I know something about.

Edited later to add: One more thing - are there shade trees in your yard? I ask because bermuda doesn't like shade.
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Last edited by yournamehere; 04-21-2003 at 05:20 PM..
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Old 04-21-2003, 04:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know what you're saying, since we just moved here from Tucson, where desert landscaping is the norm, and a lawn is indeed a rare sight.
Actually, this house has mainly rock landscaping, it's just a small part of the backyard that has grass ( the area around the back porch). While I would prefer a no-nonsense backyard myself, this section is already set up with a sprinkler system(which was broken until 2 days ago) and brick borders so the grass area stays.

Thanks for the tips though, I'll also be talking to someone at the nursery to see if they have any further advice.
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Old 04-21-2003, 05:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: tentative, at best
Glad to read it's a small area.
You're right - Tucsonans are much more water-conscious than their northern neighbors.

If it's truly a small area - you might want to just manually remove the weeds. If it's not too bad, though, a healthy bermuda lawn will out-compete most weeds for the available water. This is the time of year for bermuda to really start growing well - it loves the heat. If there are still large bare spots, you can go to a nursery and buy one (or more, if needed) piece of sod, and cut it into one-inch square pieces, and place them (in holes the same size) about 6 inches apart throughout the bare areas - they should all grow together within a month or so.

Good luck.
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Old 04-22-2003, 08:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: N'York
Use a fertilizer high in nitrogen....like Urea 46-0-0, I live in North Eastern US, and some people use urea on their driveways to melt the ice in the winter time...come spring time, the runoff of urea onto the lawn produces a thick green grass. This is because of the nitrogen blast to the roots of your grass. Urea is dual purpose like this...I know you probably don't get the snow that we do up here, but for others, keep this in mind when you go out and by an $18.00 bag of calcium chloride to melt ice. Another benefit to urea, is that it won't harm your driveway. You can find this stuff at most Agricultural farm and garden type stores...good luck.

edit...oh yeah urea should only cost you about $10.00 for a 50lb bag. (a whole lot cheaper than trying multiple fertilzers at a huge cost...)
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Last edited by GuttersnipeXL; 04-22-2003 at 08:27 AM..
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Old 07-01-2003, 09:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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throw down some seed, and cover the entire grass section with hesian, like the stuff onthe back of carpet, it keeps the moisture in and after a few weeks it should be perfect
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Old 07-02-2003, 05:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Northern VA
What about sod? My lawn has dead patches but you can still see the borders for some sod patches. I talked to someone and they said its no good reseeding and that I should wait until september because it will all die during the summer and I will have to do it again during the fall (worlds longest run on sentence). Any suggestions?
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Old 07-04-2003, 02:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: norcal
whatever you do, put in an appropriate irrigation system BEFORE you put in the grass. You will want one eventually and will feel real bad trashing your lawn to put one in when you could have just installed one in the first place!
good luck! If you have any irrigation Q's, send them my way. Im in the business.
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Old 07-06-2003, 12:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have had the best luck seeding during the fall. I would probably kill everything that is there about a month before reseeding. Then rent a tiller and till in peat moss, fertilizer, etc. then I would overseed. I usually lay down hay over it and then try and keep it moist. Make sure to use a starter fertilizer otherwise it will burn out the seedlings.
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