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Recovering neglected lawn

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by mazchazo, May 15, 2011.

  1. mazchazo

    mazchazo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I bought a house and the lawn was untouched for a year. When I moved in, the front yard was covered with weed and a few crab grass. There was barely any grass left, only 30% of the land is covered with grass and a few patches here and there existed. The sides of the house was okay since it is shared with the neighbors so their grass is shared with ours. The backyard is a disaster. there is a lot of crab grass in the way and only 10-30% grass exists in it. The rest is covered with weeds and same with the front yard. The drought killed the grass and the weed took over. There are dry dead patches here and there too.

    The only treatment I did to it is I bought weed and feed to kill the weed, which it did but the weed regrew, but it is better than before.

    The irrigation system is broken in the front yard because of a busted pipe but the backyard still works and it waters the backyard for 10 minutes everyday at night. I was hoping the existing grass would spread through out the yard, but it seems that it didn't much.

    What should I do?

    The type of grass that still exists is St Augustine. I want my yard to look good with the cheapest way possible. I don't care if it means killing my grass for new grass or mixing it with something else, just want the cheapest way to make it look good.

    BTW, I have lived in this house for 2 years, I just want to fix it now, I never really tried doing anything to it when I bought the house until now because I didn't know much what to do, it's a complicated lawn. The weed and feed was added in 2 months ago.

    I live in TX, there is a drought right now, barely any rain, the winters are cold enough to kill plants, but sometimes not. Hot and dry summers.
  2. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Fix your front irrigation system for starters. If you have to dig up a broken pipe,
    there's no sense doing it after you redo that lawn.

    Others from your area will add to this, I don't have that type of grass or its
    problems up here. Good luck
  3. cuttin-to-the-Max

    cuttin-to-the-Max LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,337

    Yeah well Im from michigan so this could be a different story But I bought a foreclosure CHEAP... And am renting it out...
    From the sounds of it the grass was the same as in your situation... People dont take care of their lawn then the weeds takeover...etc....

    What i did was sprayed the lawn with weed b gone.....about twice a week then all the weeds died. Cut the lawn and Put Over 300 Pounds of Kentucky blue grass seed down...I know the guys at the yard where i get my materials from so it didnt cost me much! :)

    THen my workers and i threw 3 yards of Michigan Peat down Just lightly enough for the seed to grow into it and somewhat start fresh....
    Watered it daily... Fertilized it once the new grass came up..

    Now my second house has lush grass..... But the key is to water it regularly and Spray the weeds when you see them.... I usually just take a beer around the yard and spray them with my spray bottle with weed b gone. :drinkup:

    I dont think a normal homeowner would do this but i felt that i had all the resources i needed and was up to taking the risk... Because i knew the grass couldnt get worse!

    Start with fixing your sprinklers then Use this: Hooks onto your hose and kills most weeds and not your lawn.
  4. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Is that a 2,4-D with mecoprop and dicamba type solution?
    We don't have many pesticides up here any more.
  5. mazchazo

    mazchazo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    The broken pipe is not hard to fix. It's located in the flower bed, not in the lawn, so it's not a problem.

    The grass you mentioned above, I don't think it will suit here because I have St. Augustine grass, Idk if it will bother neighbors and spread to their lawns, etc.

    Doesn't weed and feed do the same thing as you showed? Does that spray also cover crab grass?

    If I kill all the weeds, I have no more green in the rest of my lawn because there is no grass at all in the patches. Like I said , there are many droughts and St. Augustine grass isn't well suited in droughts/dry climate.
  6. mazchazo

    mazchazo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I have heard people telling me to seed the lawn with rye grass, but I found out that most weed and feeds and weed killers will kill it and if try fertilizing my lawn, it creates competition between the 2 types of grasses I have in my lawn. I am confused.
  7. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,248

    Fix the irrigation as mentioned; then check the pH of the soil with a test from the Ag office--correct if possible. Then the weeds can be treated with Celsius, Methsulfuron, Image. Resodding with St. Augustine as soon as possible but you are going to have to keep that sod wet for two (2) weeks for it to take hold this time of year. If that is cost prohibitive then you could buy sod and split the pieces into thirds as St. Augustine grows in very fast. Late autumn when the heat subsides is better as it will not dry out the sod as fast. Fertilize with Essentials Plus and 20-20-20 soluble fertilize at 1/2lb/K every month. New sod needs a proper starter fertilize, and St. Augustine loves Nitrogen because of the stolon production. Spoon feeding it with a soluble fertilize will ensure that the leaves take in the Nitrogen and the roots will be fertilized with The Essentials Plus--Growth Products has a "New" product called "Recover" which is Aspirin for sod that has been stressed due to drought and fungal disease. Haven't located it just yet but suspect that it would be worthwhile because of the salicylic acid. Rotating it with Essentials Plus every two weeks would probably be enough to get the sod growing and spreading. Of course, watering these products into the sod is super important. That sod will dry out quickly and will need more than just a sprinkle once a day. Oftentimes, I water three times a day for about a week or until I see the sod take hold.
    I know you are in TX. and not like the coast and you will have to adapt your conditions and watering cycles. Finally, you are still looking at a considerable investment into the care and feeding of St. Augustine. Just be glad you are not dealing with centipede because it is even more critical. St. Augustine is much more tolerant of the wrong fertilize than centipede.
  8. mazchazo

    mazchazo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Sorry I was wrong before. I guess it is okay to say that the only St Augustine that exists is a small patch in the backyard. The front yard has these other patches of grass, it doesn't look like St. Augustine. Maybe a small patch of St. Augustine by the flower bed.

    I guess the house had sods of St. Augustine, but after droughts and winters, most of it died out and the last owner put another type of grass in the front yard. The backyard has some St. Augustine left, but only around the perimeter of the fence and house, that's it.

    The front yard has bare patches with no grass, which looks like because of the recent drought.

    I think it's better to avoid the St Augustine sod because the neighbors don't seem to have it and I don't want to re-do the lawn and cover it up with sod, I just want to find the matching grass it currently has to cover up the bare patches. One side of the house seems to have a mixed grass with St. Augustine, the other side is some other grass.

    I can't figure out what type of grass it is. I think it is centipede or fescue. Also I was thinking if I put down st. augustine, it might get ruined soon because of the other type of grass from the neighbors.

    IDK what to do now. I think I can post some pictures of the grass if you guys can help me determine what it is, but idk what kind of picture I should get from the grass.
  9. mazchazo

    mazchazo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Sorry I checked outside, the St. Augustine seems to create a bit more patches.

    The St. Augustine in my backyard spread a bit and it seems to have covered 45% of the backyard. There's now just this patch of weed and crabgrass. I think I will use Round up weed killer on the crabgrass, since there is really no grass around it.

    I don't know what grass is in the front yard, but whatever it is, it created more patches.

    Does Weed-B-Gone take tolerance on all types of grasses or only some lawn grasses? I don't want it to kill my grass if it doesn't.

    I don't think I can plant any type of sod/seed at the moment because the weed and feed said do not do it for the next 6 months, and it will be early september when it's over I guess.
  10. mazchazo

    mazchazo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Oh does Weed-B-Gone kill crabgrass as well? Also is it safe for pets, I have guinea pigs that are let out sometimes to eat the grass sometimes.

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