View Full Version : New backyard lawn has failed. What to do? A lot of pictures

07-25-2010, 01:32 AM
I'll start this by saying that I'm a new homeowner, and other than reading about a 1000 posts on this website in that past week, I have no previous lawn care experience other than mowing my parent's "lawn" when I was a kid.

My house is in western North Carolina near Asheville. Moved into a new house in the middle of April. Backyard was crazy, couldn't even push a mower over it because it was so bumpy. It had nothing but weeds and crabgrass. So, I hired a landscaper to come out to till, grade and hydroseed. The front yard was mow-able, but in poor shape as well. He overseeded the front yard. This work was done in late April. (which I now know was about the worst time to do this work)

Backyard 1 (pre-work):

Backyard 2 (pre-work):

Frontyard 1 (pre-work)

In progress:

Backyard 3 (after tilling, grading, hydroseed)

So, 3 months+ later and the back yard is now about 75% crabgrass (nutsedge I think) and the rest is tall fescue. There are still very thin parts where there is not much of anything. The front has thickened, but still a ways away from what I want.

I'm trying to get my calendar worked out for the rest of the year with regards to lawn work.

When is the best time for me to try and kill the crabgrass? What products do you recommend? Sedgehammer for the sedge?

I am also wondering when the best time to overseed is going to be. I shouldn't need to aerate because of the recent tilling, right?

Front as of a week or so ago:

Back a couple weeks ago.

07-25-2010, 01:45 AM

07-25-2010, 01:49 AM
Closer up pics are needed. Can't tell what is what from that far back. No way it looks like 75% from these pics. Get the camera about 3-4 feet away and point down.

Who hydro seeded??? It looks pretty thin and the coverage looks terrible unless it was how the photo was taken. The entire surface should be blue. I see maybe 40% covered.

Also was there massive grade issues in the backyard?? The grass that was there could have been worked with especially looking at "backyard pic prework". If the grade was fine there was no reason to bulldoze everything and start from scratch.

07-25-2010, 01:59 AM
I was thinking the same about the color after he finished the hydroseed, but really didn't know what I was talking about at that point.

There were more issues in the backyard than the pictures really show. I used the line trimmer on the whole backyard once because it was above my knees when we moved in. I then tried to use a push mower, and it was impossible due to it being so bumpy. Mower would ground out on the mounds, then leave grass 8 inches long in the 'holes.' Not to mention there were lots of building materials let behind that he was able to get up while grading. (2x4's, bricks, concrete blocks, etc.)

I'll take up close pictures in the morning when the sun comes up. It'd definitely not even close to the same type of grass that in the front yard. And it stays wet all day, and grows faster than anything I've seen. Mowing once per week and am barely keeping up in the back yard.

07-25-2010, 09:26 AM
I saw the nutsedge, in your, before picture. That is an example of : when tilling, be sure all those types of weeds are dead, before moving forward.

So what type of grass, were you supposed to have? From the hydroseed?

07-25-2010, 09:56 AM
Was supposed to have tall fescue. Here are two closer up pics. The second is what is all over my backyard if I wait a full week to mow.



07-25-2010, 11:14 AM
There is a product called "Drive" if you can find it. It will get rid of the Crabgrass. It's a little "Iffy" in the heat but if you have good irrigation, you shouldn't have a problem. The problem is the application (getting an even through coverage). I would check for a PRO in your area to do this for you. Could be expensive, but Crabgrass is an annual that sprouts from seeds the previous year. If you get it now and apply your pre-em (multiple applications every 60 days) in the spring, it should be under control.
Where do you live? I'm over in Kingsport and come through Asheville quite frequently and would be glad to look at the lawn.

07-25-2010, 02:52 PM
I recognize the CG, is there any tall fescue at all? I think it is time to start over. Keep everything dead, until planting time.

07-26-2010, 09:50 PM
Ok, getting a bit of conflicting advice, but that's ok. So, can anyone help me with estimates on the best time to do these next tasks?

Possibly kill the backyard?
etc. ?

07-27-2010, 10:02 AM
Up here we seed in the late summer early fall. The new grass needs time to establish b4 winter. When I was in NC, it was only winter for 3 days, out of 3 years, so I'm not sure of your best timing.

07-27-2010, 10:41 AM
If you want to start over, round everything up now and seed in mid to late September. Use a premium seed (low weed seed) with a blend. You get what you pay for. Rake old stuff out, Aerate, and spread new seed. Put down high n starter fert.

If you do not want to start over, just skip the round up. Make sure you get preemergents down in the fall. It will take a while to get all the crabgrass and nut sedge out. Be patient.

Best thing to do is hire a reputable fert guy in your area. That lawn should be about $35 per app, 6 apps per year. You can't buy the product to do it yourself with for that price. They can do the seed also. Should be about $60 per 1000.

07-27-2010, 11:25 AM
My two cents.

Keep the "weed" grass from going to seed right now.

About 1 month or so from your best time to do a fall over seed, use a selective to get rid of the undesirables. Depending on what you use, once the appropriate time has passed, do a heavy over seed with a high quality TTTF once you have done whatever prep work is necessary. Then top dress (1/4-1/2") with a good finished compost.

Do it again in the early spring, this time a lighter over seed just to get some seed out there, with a light top dress of compost. Then plan on doing an over seed every fall with a compost top dress.

07-28-2010, 08:08 AM
This is a good website: http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/

Also, as far as what is the best time to seed.Western Region Only! (See September-November for Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions.) Overseed thin, bare areas as grass begins to respond to cooler temperatures; about August 15 to September 1. Use a blend of tall fescue cultivars at 6 pounds per thousand square feet. Apply a starter-type fertilizer at the time of seeding. Keep the seedbed moist with light, frequent sprinklings several times a day to ensure good germination.

Here is the whole maint. calendar for tall fescue in NC. I'm in Eastern NC.

07-28-2010, 09:37 AM
Will crabgrass, freeze off in a typical NC winter?

07-28-2010, 03:13 PM
Will crabgrass, freeze off in a typical NC winter?

It will by the end of October, plenty cold enough.

07-28-2010, 06:01 PM
Will crabgrass, freeze off in a typical NC winter?

Yes. Around here it starts to die around Sept.

07-29-2010, 06:57 AM
At least there can be a strategy for that stuff. Imagine if it never died on its own. What a mess that would be.