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  #1  
Old 08-24-2013, 12:35 PM
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BlazersandWildcats2009 BlazersandWildcats2009 is offline
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Calling all professionals, home owners, any body with renovation experience!

Okay, I've made previous post and I think I did more confusing to anybody than anything. I'm even still partially confused myself. I decided I would just take some pictures of exactly what I'm working on and let you guys help me draw up the board. I'll notice in this post, I'm not a professional landscaper, not doing this for any money, just trying to make my own lawn look nice and come back to alive and any help would be greatly appreciated.

So a little bit about my lawn, it's covered in shade in the front. However, I did do a major pruning on the tree cutting limbs, branches, and anything from the bottom 10 feet of the tree. In the peek hours, the lawn is at least receiving a few hours of light a day in most parts. Notice I took this picture when it was receiving indirect sunlight, but I am receiving some sunlight throughout the days.

The previous owners rarely mowed, never watered/fertilized, nor took any kind of care of the lawn. The lawn was filled in with about 50/50 of grass/weeds. I sprayed some weed killer (lawn safe) onto the lawn approximately 5-6 weeks ago, which indeed took care of the majority of the weeds. Now what I'm left with is the remaining grass and a bunch of brown dead spots from where the weeds were.

Where the confusion comes in is planning the renovation, especially being on a budget. Keep in mind I will being all the work myself, and I would like to keep the lawn project to a couple hundred dollars, a hundred of which quality seed is already costing me.

From my research, I've read that tilling a lawn that was full of weeds, can bring up more seedlets of weeds to compete with the new grass. I've also read tilling can cause a bumpy yard if you don't have a large roller and other machinery. However, I've also read that tilling can improve the soil, pull the plugs, and etc. So my question one is, for my particular lawn, should I till or not till?

My second thought and question comes when talking about the soil. I'm looking at two different routes. Either having loam dropped off or adding a top layer of compost. If I go the tilling route, I can till the compost into the lawn.
The loam route, I've read you need to lay 4-6" of loam before seeding. But I've also read not to add more than .5 or an 1" at a time. Considering my yard is approximately 1700 sq feet, I'm looking at 15+ yards of loam to cover the yard in even 4" of loam. So my next question arises for you guys with experience. What is my best option, topping the lawn with quality compost or moving loam in before seeding? I honestly don't have the money to cover the lawn with 4" all the way across. I could get 7-10 yards and cover the yard at an 1". But from what I'm reading, isn't nowhere near 4-6 inches.

Some additional information; the lawn has areas that do need to be brought up to level off the lawn. As far as machinery, even though it would be useful, I'm far from a professional, and far from having the funds, if it takes me being out there from morning to dark doing it by hand with hand tools, it's easier on my pocket then spending money for machinery. My money is cherished, but I have lot's of extra free time if you understand what I'm saying.

I just don't want to waste several hundred dollars in the process. I've seen so much great advice from you guys and look forward to hearing your responses
and ideas. Keep in mind I'm very open minded and far from an expert so I'm truly looking forward to entertaining all ideas. Here are some pictures so you guys can give a better opinion.



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  #2  
Old 08-24-2013, 01:16 PM
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BlazersandWildcats2009 BlazersandWildcats2009 is offline
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Wanted to add something also.

I contacted by local supplier, they suggested using their mix, which is screened choculate loam and compost at a depth of 1.5 - 2". Does this sound right to anyone?
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Old 08-24-2013, 05:03 PM
ArTurf ArTurf is online now
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What desirable grass, if any is left. St Augustine?
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:11 PM
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BlazersandWildcats2009 BlazersandWildcats2009 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArTurf View Post
What desirable grass, if any is left. St Augustine?
Arturf,

If I honestly had the money, St. Augustine would by far be my route to go. But from my understanding, St. Augustine can only be done on sod correct me if I'm wrong? Even though St. Augustine appears to do fairly decent under large shade tree's and is definitely heat tolerable, I just can't afford to sod the whole yard being that I'm getting ready to start school back up and don't have the funds to cover a full yard in sod. I am planning to do a blend of some type of fescue. I know it's a cool season grass, but it seems it would do excellent under a large oak tree, correct me if I'm wrong again. Also, I know it's a cooler season grass, however I am putting in irrigation. As far as being high foot traffic I'm not too concerned as our yard won't have much traffic. From what I've read it seems as if I keep the Fescue irrigated year around I should be able to hold on to the Fescue in my conditions, even in the heat. Does this sound right to you?

According to my local agriculture center there are particular blends of fescue that will make it through the summer and definitely do excellent in the shade. Does this all sound correct to you, or am I looking at things completely backwards once again??

Check out these links and let me know what you think? Thank you for your response!


http://whttp://aggie-horticulture.ta...e-there-strain

I look forward to hearing any advice you guys have to offer. And I definitely appreciate the recommendation about the St. Augustine. I honestly know that's my BEST bet, but I simply can't afford it.

Thanks again for the help and your time!
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:17 PM
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BlazersandWildcats2009 BlazersandWildcats2009 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArTurf View Post
What desirable grass, if any is left. St Augustine?
Also, as far as anything being left. The lawn was about 50/50 or 60/40 of weeds-grass. After applying the broad leaf killer I'm left with less than 50% of the grass. If I was to take a more accurate guess, I was left with about 30% of the lawn which was "actual" grass.

I decided to start all over and remove all the weeds and current grass and start from pure soil. I played around a little today and went ahead and knocked it all the way down to the soil and removed all the old grass, weeds, etc. I have a half of a lawn of solid soil now.

After removing everything, I honestly don't see adding 4-6" of lome. Especially being that the lawn seems to have plenty of soil built up above the sidewalk level. I'm contemplating on adding a top layer of about 1" lome, all the way around, and mixing in a yard or two of compost, then seeding, and applying straw.

After scalping the yard to the dirt, the soil seems sandy and extremely compacted? Any ideas for this? Should I still avoid tilling? Will the compost and loam possibly help loosen up the current soil?
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:08 PM
agrostis agrostis is offline
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Are you sure about the spelling of that link? Shouldn't there be a www after the http not a whttp? I can't get that to work.
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:21 PM
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BlazersandWildcats2009 BlazersandWildcats2009 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agrostis View Post
Are you sure about the spelling of that link? Shouldn't there be a www after the http not a whttp? I can't get that to work.
Argrostics,

I apologize for giving you a dead link. Check this one out.


http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/a.../tallfesc.html
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:27 PM
windflower windflower is offline
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Since the St Aug seems like the best grass could you sprig it? It's late in thee season but it should cover next year. It can tolerate a huge amount of fertilizer and can cover in less than one season if cared for well. One good source of free sprigs is edging that hasn't been done in a while. Tilling would make sprigging easier. Could also chop sod into pieces.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:01 PM
agrostis agrostis is offline
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In the first paragraph of that article the author talk's about fescue's survivability in the northern part of Texas. The map in the article show's a fescue zone about 200 mile's north of your location. Fescue need's about 4 hour's of direct sunlight at a minimum and good air movement. You have fence's blocking the air and tree's blocking the sun. I don't think fescue is going to work for you. Austin is just too far south for cool season grass, even with automatic irrigation. I think you would just waste your time and money with that. St. Augustine sprig's would be your best bet, you might be surprised how quick you could get it to fill in with irrigation. Check your local golf course's, they might be throwing away piles of st. aug every year, all you would have to do is get it to the house. Remember, warm season grass get's planted in the spring, which for you would be about the 2nd week in March. Good luck.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:36 AM
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BlazersandWildcats2009 BlazersandWildcats2009 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agrostis View Post
In the first paragraph of that article the author talk's about fescue's survivability in the northern part of Texas. The map in the article show's a fescue zone about 200 mile's north of your location. Fescue need's about 4 hour's of direct sunlight at a minimum and good air movement. You have fence's blocking the air and tree's blocking the sun. I don't think fescue is going to work for you. Austin is just too far south for cool season grass, even with automatic irrigation. I think you would just waste your time and money with that. St. Augustine sprig's would be your best bet, you might be surprised how quick you could get it to fill in with irrigation. Check your local golf course's, they might be throwing away piles of st. aug every year, all you would have to do is get it to the house. Remember, warm season grass get's planted in the spring, which for you would be about the 2nd week in March. Good luck.

Why, Why, Why?

Agrostics,

Why didn't anyone tell me Sod was so cheap! I told you guys I was a homeowner and not a professional hehe. I just checked out some pricing on sod and I certainly didn't know it was as cheap as it its. I had the impression that the rich people and professionals sodded lawns. I was expecting a sodded lawn to cost a few thousand bucks rather then a few hundred. Now I'm looking at three different grasses which make much more sense now. Zoysia, St. Augustine, and something called GEO, which is suppose to also be fine leaf and shade tolerant.
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