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Old 08-11-2003, 12:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: Memphis
What to do about the lawn

The back yard of our new house has been overgrown for at least a year. I started excavating over the weekend and discovered several flower beds and paths. There are several plants in the beds we can dig up and save, but the yard itself seems beyond help. It's difficult even telling what kind of grass is there.

So, what should we do? The yard is fenced and fairly small...maybe 30' x 45'.

The only advice I've received so far is to blast it with an industrial strength herbicide and reseed in the spring.
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Old 08-11-2003, 12:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: NorCal
1) Roundup (or another herbacide)
2) Wait until everything looks dead.
3) Water until all the seeds and shoots come to life.
4) Roundup again.
5) Rototill the plot
6) Repeat steps 1-4 (optional)
7) Plant a new lawn
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Old 08-11-2003, 12:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: Memphis
Thanks clavus.

Is there a certain time frame I should be thinking of? Is it too late in the summer to plant the lawn?

Also, I live in Memphis, any advice on what type of lawn to plant? Also, seed vs. sod?
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Old 08-11-2003, 02:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
Insane
 
Location: All up in it...
If you kill with a herbacide and till the ground then re-seed, be prepared to have several weeks or months of mud for a backyard before you have enough new grass to create a ground cover. SOD is the quick fix but way more expensinve.

Also, if I were seeding this late in the summer I would plan to come back in November/December timeframe and also sew some type of winter grass like rye. This will give you some live grass as ground cover during the winter if you do not have a good spread of the new summer grass you planted previously. Most other lawn grasses go dormant in our winter months... (I'm also in Memphis).

Another option to think about instead of starting from scratch is to get a broad-leaf herbacide and do several sprayings over a few weeks. This should kill everything that is not lawn grass so you can really tell what you have on the yard as far as grass. Just getting all of the broad-leaf plants out will make the grass grow better/faster.
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Old 08-11-2003, 05:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm no mega earthy-crunchy or anything, but here is what I would do:

forget the herbacide - solarize it...

Your plot is small enough to do the following:

Remove any larger plants you don't want and any paths or beds or edging, etc. and set your grade to where you will want your lawn. Make sure that you have enough top soil and that it is a good mix of sand and humus, etc. Now would be a good time to put in any piping if you want permanent sprinklers (system). There are easy diy kits in your hardware store - I would at least put the pipes in now.

Buy some thick poly sheeting, enough to cover your yard, and then some. This should be BLACK poly.

Mow the yard, as low as you can. You might have to get a sythe or rent a brush mower/gravely, I don't know how bad it is. Be sure the soil is about the right moisture level, not too wet, not too dry - lay out the sheeting, covering the entire yard and Put bricks or rocks, etc. around the edge to hold it down - so it won't get blown away. The sun of the late summer and early spring will "cook" or solarize the soil - killing any vegetation and seeds, grass, weed,or other. The black poly heats up the soil under to really do a great job.

Plant your grass seed in the spring. This is the best time anyway as the grass will get a jump on the weeds. Find out from garden center or club, extension service, etc. when you can first start grass seeds in the spring. Too early and it won't gertminate and will rot, too late and it won't be as good next year as you hoped. Remove the poly, rake in some air, make sure the moisture level is right in the soil, check the PH for liming, etc. and plant a HIGH QUALITY seed - the right one for your shade and traffic level. Don't buy bargain seed it is junk. Use starter fertilizer and stick to a good fert. / insecticide regime. Water every day until established or seedlings may perish. You will have a smokin' lawn!
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Old 08-12-2003, 01:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: Memphis
Wow!

Thanks everybody for the great advice. Ms. Sipsake appreciates it as well. We're still mulling over our options, but we don't feel quite as lost now. Thanks again!
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Old 08-13-2003, 04:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Seattle
I agree with jbrooks. It's best to try a natural approach in tending your property. What's really sweet is to choose native plants and ground cover, not just green grass. Then it looks nice and requires less maintenance than a grass lawn. I found this link really helpful a few weeks back:
http://www.seattleaudubon.org/Conser...LifeGuide.html
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