Holy Ajuga!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Malrex, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Malrex

    Malrex LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    A client just moved into a house, the previous owners had a rock garden with the plant Ajuga (ground cover)...I guess they switched it back to a lawn before they sold it to my current client. She has Ajuga all over her front lawn, and spots of it in the backyard and its starting to creep into the neighbor's lawn on her side yards. She wants her grass back!

    She refuses to have me use any type of herbicide as she has pets and she absolutely hates the stuff. I'm the poor guy trying to give her an estimate on this. Her lawn is about 6k sq. feet and the Ajuga problems cover about 1k sq. feet of her lawn. She wants an estimate for just taking out the Ajuga areas and an estimate for redoing her total lawn. I have experience with redoing lawns but not enough experience at estimating them. Is there a calculation hint for sq. footage for installing a new lawn with seed or do I just have to go through the steps of what I need to do and try to come up with a price like I do with everything else.

    Depending on which direction she wants to go, my plan was to rip out both the lawn and ajuga with either a sod cutter or skid loader. Then I was going to add cardboard to block out any sunlight on any Ajuga that I missed. I would then install new topsoil/compost on top of the cardboard, seed, and straw. I figured the cardboard would block the sunlight and retain moisture for the new grass seed for a bit before it decomposed. Has anyone else had experience going headon with an invasive plant? Does my plan seem sane? My only worry is that there may be more Ajuga lurking in her planting beds underneath all this other groundcover--Pachysandra, and may try to creep out again into the new lawn. I didn't see any but the randomness of where this stuff has popped up makes me worried. It even jumped a sidewalk somehow. This Ajuga may very well take over the world! Any tips or advice would be very much appreciated.
  2. alanauer

    alanauer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    "Mrs. Client, I wish my other customers were as responsible as you. They want a spray today and no weeds tomorrow.

    "There is a solution if you're patient. Instead of digging or poisoning, I could apply a growth stimulant. Grass is happy with it, but plants with wide leaves, like your aguga, grow too fast from it and get weak.

    It's not an instant cure. I usually do around three applications a few weeks apart, and spot applications if new infestations appear. The weather has to be just right for it, and I'll be careful not to get any on the good plants. When the ajuga starts weakening we start strengthening the grass, which will make it harder for any weeds to come back.

    Would you like me to do that for you?"
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    It will just come back if you don't use any spray. I'm afraid that even with a sod cutter or skid steer you'll never get it completely gone.

    You can try, just make sure you have them sign a disclaimer stating that it won't be 100% eradication.

    Only thing to do would be to up-sell and do a monthly check on her lawn and hand pull whatever is left over.
  4. FLCthes4:11-12

    FLCthes4:11-12 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    will it come back if you till it up, rake smooth and sod?
  5. Woodland

    Woodland LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 207

    I would agree with alanauer post. In the past two years I have started using Green Guardian lawn spray. I was skeptical at first, but after trying it on a couple of lawns I was impressed. It really knocks down the weeds and greens up the grass. We did an aggressive set of applications to start and then spray once a month during the summer. It is more expensive than a traditional weed & feed program but, in my opinion, more effective and healthier for the lawn in the long run. If they balk at the price, explain that there request of no weeds and no herbicide is unreasonable. You have to pay if you don't want the norm.
  6. alanauer

    alanauer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    Thanks for the plug but I was referring to 2-4-D, not the organic product that Green Guardian franchises.

    And I don't think you can just say "weeds" Kevin. As examples, I find that with a diluted spray, nettles and burdock seem to wilt before I turn around. With regular concentration, dandelions take days. And with double concentration, that blasted ajuga continues to thrive.

    Tell me that GG works on ajuga and I'll be impressed.
  7. Woodland

    Woodland LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 207

    From what I understand, GG is basically a growth stimulant as you described in your post. Unfortunately I can't say that it works on ajuga as I have never applied in a situation where ajuga was present. The lawns that I have used it on primarily had populations of dandelion, ground ivy, clover and plantain and all were substantially reduced while turf density increased. These are not scientific results, merely my visual interpretation. This is not to say that it would not work on ajuga, just I have not experienced it one way or another.

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