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Try to overseed or start over and sod it

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by jcschlic, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. jcschlic

    jcschlic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    My wife and I moved into our house in November of 2008. Sod goes back twenty to thirty feet into our back yard. My father in law tilled and seeded the rest of our back yard after I removed all the construction debris from the crappy soil. He tilled and seeded spring of 2009. That grass took a while to grow. It came in looking like a bunch of weeds, but it isn't. He laid down a mixture of bluegrass and fescue. Of course since it was the spring time the bluegrass didn't really take very well and the tall fescue grew like crazy. It looked like weeds at first, so I hired Trugreen to help get that area of the lawn under control. Well obviously after I realized that it was not weeds and in fact tall fescue I am sick of dealing with this area. It grows much faster than my sodded area and there is a large contrast between the seeded area and the sodded area. It wasn't until the last year that I have been able to learn about lawn care (as much as I know now) because it is my first lawn to take care of. You must understand that considering the quality of the soil, things are growing quite well, but this fescue sticks out like a sore thumb and I have been trying to figure out how to ease my mind about it.

    Here are the options I think I can do:

    1. Manually kill the tall fescue with Roundup, which would take forever because I would have to spray the individual spots and try to avoid the bluegrass that is trying to fill in. I could continue to kill/pull (as much as I can) until the end of the summer when it would hopefully be brown and gone. Then in late August I could aerate and then rent a vertical mower to cut out all that browned/dead fescue. Then I could overseed with more bluegrass as soon as the time is right. This will mean that between now and the end of this summer the seeded area of my lawn will continually look like crap, as the Roundup kills off that fescue. It may prove to be a small investment in Roundup all in all and will take a long time and be incredibly manual.


    2. Kill EVERYTHING in the seeded area with Roundup. Mow everything real short. Spray with Roundup. Let die, mow again, rent a vertical mower or have someone rototill for me. Then, purchase and have sod delivered and I would have to lay it myself because hiring someone else may be too expensive for me. (I may be able to get help from neighbors/family who can help lay the rolls of sod) This would be an instant lawn obviously, and will cost anywhere from 600-800 dollars I'm guessing.

    What do you all think of this? Do you have any other ideas? What would you do?
  2. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    Pics would help.

    If you got the sod route you might as well do the entire yard, because the sod will more than likely be a different color than the grass that is there now.
  3. jcschlic

    jcschlic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Here are a few pics. The area of discussion is roughly 12-13000 sf.


  4. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    Are those clumps grassy weeds or tall fescue clumps??

    That looks like a grassy weed to me all over the place not tall fescue, but I can't really tell I need a wider shot of the ground maybe 3 feet away not right up close like the 2nd picture.

    If it is tall fescue that is pretty odd it is like that all over the place.
  5. jcschlic

    jcschlic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    It is a tall fescue. It was around all last summer too and if it was a weed then last year's Trugreen applications would have gotten rid of it then.

    Is the only way to get rid of it is to crowd it out?

    Or should I just continue to pull it/Roundup those clumps?
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    LOL!!! Don't be too sure about THAT! Look who we're talking about, here.
    Ok...here are a few remedies that may help. The first,will be taken with little consideration, and I'll explain why. There is a product called Corsair that is designed to selectively kill the tall fescue within other grasses. This stuff is expensive, but since you are dealing with such a small area, it may be feasible. However, because you also have a fine fescue in the mix, you will lose that too. Eventually, you are going to lose the fine fescue to the Kentucky Blue anyway, if it is in a sunny area.
    The second, get yourself a wicket applicator. This is a hockey stick shaped tube applicator that has a sponge at the bottom of it. Mow the grass short, and when the tall grass is higher, you will walk through and sponge the foliage of the higher stuff sticking up. This way, you don't exactly have as large of holes in your lawn from just spraying Roundup. Trying to dig or pull these up can be a fruitless effort, as you are still not getting all the growing roots - and can actually contribute to the spreading of the plant. Whatever you do,...do NOT till the area up. You will still ave the same problems you do now...just worse. Frankly, what I would do? I I would call another company to come out to treat it. Go with a private local company, and it is about guaranteed you will not only get this taken care of (because they will customize to address this), but you will end up with an overall nicer lawn as well, because they more than likely won't be using the junk food that you are very likely getting now.
  7. jcschlic

    jcschlic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    What do you mean "the junk food that you are very likely getting now."?? I'm not sure what you mean by this.

    I've been told by a local private company that the way to go *might* be Certainty. They would charge me $175 for the chemical, and $50 for the application. They can not guarantee it will work though because they haven't been using it for very long...

    Perhaps I will just continue to spot spray with Roundup (as I have about 38 ounces of the concentrate left) and get rid of the larger clumps of the tall fescue. Question: when the clumps brown up and die, and I reach the end of the summer, will simply aerating then overseeding with a desirable seed be the best thing to do over everything?
  8. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    There is no product that I know of that will kill the tall fescue and leave the other grass.

    I reallly have never seen a situation like this, very odd that the fescue would be popping like that is soooo many little spots. Usually you might have a clump here or there, but nothing like that.

    As painstaking and tedius as it might sound, the best option might be to spot spray all the little clumps, power rake it after they all die and then re seed the areas. That yard looks pretty square you could grid it out with string as you go to make sure you don't miss any spots and just do a little bit at a time.

    That $225 they want you to spend will likely go right down the drain.

    The other option is to kill it all and sod it, but that is a very expensive option. Depending on how cheap you can get the sod that is anywhere from 3k-4.5k for the materials alone plus about 3 days of hard labor.
  9. GrassStitcher

    GrassStitcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    If you go down the route of spot spraying with round up and then end up with dead spots through out your yard, just take a Grass Stitcher www.grassstitcher.com and make perforations through the dead grass (leaving the dead grass) broad cast seed in those areas and keep moist for next few weeks.

    I think this would give you biggest bank for the buck.

    Otherwise I would kill the whole area in the fall and slice seed.
  10. GrassStitcher

    GrassStitcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    FYI - You can buy your Grass Stitcher at any John Deere Landscape service center, if you don't see them in the store ask them to order some.

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