What to do with this disaster of weeds?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by JFGauvreau, May 7, 2011.

  1. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Well I'm thinking about moving to the states so I can use pesticide again. It just sucks that Canadians are stuck to organic garbage or manual weed picking.

    Check out this lawn: it's horrible, I know. I gave him a price to take out the clay and replace it by 6inches of top soil, with new sod installed, Kentucky blue grass but he decline because he doesn't have that much money to spend.

    I'm considering to top dress his lawn and over seed, but still, the weeds are almost choking out the grass. Any suggestions??

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  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,672

    Is that aeration? Skunk damage? Grubs? The main thing he needs is plenty of water during hot spells. Remember those arbor vitae tree roots will draw out moisture near the root zone. Heavy fertilizer will make this grass more dense. Use quality slow release type. Do soil test. Overseed with one of the more dense sportsfield type grasses. Hand pull a few dandelions--once they have been mowed twice the yellow flowers disappear. One of my customers hated weed killers, so we agreed I hand pulled weeds for ten minutes each time I did an application. Eventually he ok's spot spraying in October.
    Does anybody know of a type of grass that is so dense it resists weeds?
  3. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    The holes you see what me doing some weed picking. The thing is that 10mins just not enough for his lawn, next time I'll come the dandelions will have time to double.

    The bare spots could have been grubs from last season, but I dig some holes and didn't see any grubs, and its probably a bit early in spring yet for grubs.

    I did a soil test, nothing was to bad, apart from the horrible clay base he has.

    I just don't think fertilizer would be enough, since the weeds are like 70% and grass is 30%, so fertilizing would only make the weeds grow even more.

    My lawn is entirely Kentucky blue grass, that I keep mowed during the summer at 3", In my opinion, it's the best turf grass available in my area, for cool season grass. The downside about it is the germinate time, that's why I don't really use a lot of it for slit seeding/ over seeding. My lawn has 0 weeds, but I maintain it very well, this guy however, he skipped 2 years of maintenance, including fertilizing and watering in drought season.
  4. Hineline

    Hineline LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    Slit seed Blue/Rye several directions to achieve a 6-7 lbs/K seeding rate, 25lbs/K milorganite and some starter. Rake up the excess thatch you bring up with the seeder slicer and use that to mulch the bare areas and hope for timely rain for awhile. The weeds will basically almost disappear in a think lawn. Fertilize again when you see the blue starting to tiller.
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,672

    some experiments--which I cannot find--at Michigan State Univ, found much less weed problems at high rates of fertilization and high mowing heights. Crabgrass nearly disappeared.
    For this situation I would go with sod. At least it would start out perfect. Then you can blame whatever happens on his maintenance--or lack of same. Sod grass types are denser and highly rhizomatous--they have to hold together and knit fast so it can be harvested and rolled. If you cannot kill it with Roundup, just lay the sod on top. Smother the old grass and weeds because of no sunlight.
    Smallaxe , for example, suggests sodding over existing green grass.

    I recently saw a weeder at a store. A cane with four sharp prongs. You force the prongs into the soil around the dandelion, then turn the handle. A ratchet allows you to keep turning like a rachet wrench. You sort of unscrew the weed.
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    1st option)... Remove clay, Bring in topsoil, and Lay sod is too expensive...
    2nd option)... 10 minutes pulling dandelions is too long...

    How about a 3rd option and pulling the dandelions? How would that compare in price to option 1?

    Loosen up thesoil in the dead zones and qui watering so much and that will help, (with grubs) :laugh:
  7. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Ya thanks Riggle and smallaxe.

    I told the customer that he must do his part, because their is so much I can do, I can't be there every week to do 1 hour of weed killing. I told him he show keep his grass mowed to 3" and pull as much weeds as he can. He said he will do his part (but I can never be to sure of that)

    I'm going to get some good concentrated round up and kill the patches of weeds and re top dress and over seed after.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,672

    Sod is cheap--compared to labor.
    Grown by a professional sod farmer with major equipment, crabgrass and weed-free--already thick and mature.
    No need to aerate, roto-till topdress, power rake, slit seed, control weeds and crabgrass after seeding. No need to worry if homeowner will water new seed. Lay the sod. Take the check. Whatever happens you don't guarantee against future problems.
  9. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Ya sod isn't to bad, of course a bit more than seeding, but it's an instant lawn.

    Our sod farm are able to use pesticide to kill weeds (since they are considered farmers) So the sod is always weed free and very thick. Its pure kentucky blue grass, which is a very thick lawn that has a propagation of both rhizomes and tillers.

    But the big cost for him would be to take out 6-8 inches of clay everywhere, to haul it to the dump + order 6-8 inches of new top soil. That's where the money goes in. It's just sad that he doesn't want to invest in it.
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,672

    Why take out the clay--grass (and weeds) and cedar hedges can grow on clay.

    And take a look at this video about phos runoff from unfertilized turf from U of Minn. It includes a few seconds of T-3000 spreading. And more important, shows how weeds increase in a major way on unfertilized grass areas.

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