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  #1  
Old 06-06-2011, 09:25 PM
zanemoseley zanemoseley is offline
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Should I try Berumda grass next year???

So I've had an interesting time of establishing my lawn in mid TN to say the least. I've got a 2 acre lot that required LOTS of land work and this mixed in all my top soil and has left me with mostly extremely clay heavy soil.

It has taken me a couple years to get any sort of a lawn going. My recent attempt was KY31 and dutch clover mixed. I was sick of wasting money on higher priced Tall Fescues so KY31 was my choice. I chose the clover as a means of keeping some green though the extremely hot periods as well as a way to draw in a bit of nitrogen for the Fescue.

As is par for the course for my lawn a wet spring led to a beautiful yard, by far the nicest in the neighborhood, this isn't saying much given some of the yards lol. However, June has arrived and 9 days of no rain and 90-95 degree temps have dried out the clay already and the signs of drought stress are becoming apparent in areas. I know this will progress, July and August will not be pretty, at this point the neighbor's "yards" (see weeds lol) will look great though.

So I've been thinking, Tall Fescue is predominant in my area due to the climate however it is a cold season grass which doesn't lend itself to doing well in baked clay in the middle of a fierce TN summer. Bermuda actually likes heat but I'm not sure if it will do any better due to the lack of irrigation.

I'm also curious if you can mix fescue and bermuda grass? There is no way I'm killing what I have to reseed so it will have to be a battle royal between the species to see which wins it out.

So should I keep my current maintenance schedule, 1# N per K in Early March, Mid Sept and Mid October as well as overseeding. Or, should I give Bermuda a shot??

Fertilizing would be tricky as the Bermuda would want it in the Summer but that is opposite from what I'm doing now.
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2011, 09:31 PM
zanemoseley zanemoseley is offline
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I should add that I'm open to other grasses if you think they'd do better. For instance Zoysia could work, there's actually a house up the road that has as small back yard area that is done in Zoysia but there soil is probably better.
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:34 PM
martman100 martman100 is offline
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I am in Louisville KY and I have opted to start getting bermuda into my lawn as well due to the same reasons as yourself. I have several areas I have seeded and have the bermuda coming in nicely and it loves this weather. Without killing what you have you could sprig bermuda into the 2 acres and let it roll. It will eventually take over the fescue though but it may take a while depending on how high you cut it. Bermuda will damn near grow through concrete to get to the sun.

I would not suggest trying to seed it since it takes a decent amount of moisture to get it started and awesome soil contact.

You may be able to rent a sprig machine which is neat.

Zoysia would also work but it is much slower growing and doesn't like a lot of competition when getting established and it also needs to be plugged.
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  #4  
Old 06-06-2011, 11:19 PM
zanemoseley zanemoseley is offline
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I just read that bermuda likes to be seeded when the ground temps are 65-70 at least. In early June here the ground temperature is already 78. So I guess that means I could throw seed out in early May perhaps, its usually pretty moist in May here at least. I doubt I could rent a sprig machine, the rental places around here don't even have nice slit seeders.

Also I could add the bermuda to a section or two a year so that I could water it to ensure germination and early growth.
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  #5  
Old 06-07-2011, 02:05 PM
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avguy avguy is online now
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Zane......here's a pic of my yard taken 20 min ago. The brown you see is where I cut more than a 1/3 of the blade & I got into the root. I'm going out to cut this afternoon but if I were to leave it for another day or two there would be no brown at all.

You guys have pretty much had the same weather over there as we have had here.......our last rain was on May 26th. IMO.....trying to grow anything other than a warm season grass without irrigation in our climate is an exercise in frustration

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  #6  
Old 06-07-2011, 04:13 PM
zanemoseley zanemoseley is offline
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Looks good. Is your soil pretty good or like mine and clay heavy?

I went by the farm supply and got 2lb of their common bermuda hulled seed, I will do a 1000-1500 sq/ft test section tonight. Hopefully raking will rough it up enough to get soil contact. I will water 2x a day to get it up and going.

One thing that is going to be tricky if I do convert to bermuda is how to weed out the fescue. I really don't want to nuke it with glyphosate so I may just get the bermuda going then start mowing shorter as it gets growing and fertilize in the summer which should weaker or kill the fescue.
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  #7  
Old 06-07-2011, 06:25 PM
zanemoseley zanemoseley is offline
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Here's a crappy cell phone picture but shows the general coloring of the lawn. If it only got this bad I wouldn't care but I know I'm in for MUCH worse as the dog days of Summer come.

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  #8  
Old 06-08-2011, 06:30 AM
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avguy avguy is online now
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I've got the same crappy clay that you have. When I had my soil test done a couple years ago the PH came back at 5.1. I put down a ton of lime which takes a couple of years to work it's way into the soil. I've also been fertilizing on a regular schedule given to me by the extension office.

If you want to seed some Bermuda get it down now. Water it several times a day.....don't drown it but don't let it dry out either. Those roots have a pretty short window to get established before it goes dormant in the fall. I seeded a little over an acre in the back last year. It was fertilized/watered regularly & I still had a few areas that didn't make it through the winter.

Why don't you slit seed an area around you house.....maybe 50' wide or so. See how it does & then next year maybe go out a little further. You really have a beautiful property without a lot of shade so I would think a warm season grass would do well. If you haven't had a soil test, get one so you know what you are dealing with. As I said before, my soil was so bad the extension office had me putting down fert & lime for 2 years before I ever seeded. They said the soil was so acidic that it was a waste of time & money to try do do anything until I got the soil corrected.
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  #9  
Old 06-08-2011, 07:55 AM
zanemoseley zanemoseley is offline
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I have had soil tests done and I am fortunate to have an acceptable PH. I put down a patch of bermuda last night in the back yard, lightly fertilized and watered. I will continue to water and fertilize through the summer. I also need to find a way to cut it shorter than the rest of the yard. I cut my yard at 3 1/2" if I remember but probably need to cut the bermuda at closer to 2".

Good to see you're doing well with bad soil too. Before building a house I would have never imagined it would have been this hard to get a nice yard going lol.
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  #10  
Old 06-08-2011, 08:28 AM
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avguy avguy is online now
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Good luck with it! I mow mine at 2".....if I try to mow any shorter than that with my rotary it will scalp.
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