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  More weeds than lawn, how to fix?
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More weeds than lawn, how to fix? Sign In/Join 
Picture of blur411
posted
As I posted in a previous post, we just bought this house in May and it's our first owned home so we are new to everything. I've done some reasearch on-line about seeding grass and tried it in April (we lived in the house a few months before closing). It didn't work, and I have a lot of bare spots. I think part of the problem is that the dirt is so compacted, and it suggested using a rake, well that didn't really do anything to loosen the ground.

Anyways, the yard is actually mostly covered in weeds (Clover, dandelions, and those *****ly weeds) with just patches of grass. I've heard that planting seed in the summer (here in Ohio) is a bad idea, but is it OK to get rid of the weeds now? If so, what is the best way to attack these weeds without harming my garden area, or my dogs?

Thanks again for all the advice you guys have given me so far, I really appreciate all the help I can get!


*Amber*
 
Posts: 33 | Location: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 11, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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If weeds are growing well in your yard, that is probably a good sign that you can grow grass this fall. Your local county agricultural dept (check the phone book) may be a big help with suggestions for your area too.

What we did on most of our yard, 30 years ago when we purchased this home, was to cut it all very short in mid August (as low as the mower blade would go) and pick up and dispose of all the clippings in the early fall/late summer. We then power raked it DEEP setting (really beat the ground up), but you could also have someone aerate/plug the lawn with many passes or even roto till it and then even it all out to create a good bed. Plant your grass seed with some starter fertilizer on the flattened soil and keep it watered/damp as it starts to germinate and take root. (Not an easy project, as you do not want the seed to dry out as just begins to root) It often needs sprinkling several times a day in hot, dry late summer weather.

Don't worry about weeds in the beginning, as you want the grass to be growing well before you tackle them. Most come up in the spring, and die back in the fall anyway.
Apply a pre-emergent next spring to keep crab grass and other seed weeds from germinating and you will be on your way to a new lawn.

If you have dogs who need an area of lawn in the meantime, you may need to do this in a couple stages with temporary fencing or just plan on sodding a section later?
 
Posts: 9596 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of blur411
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We we're planning on spraying the lawn with weed and feed this week, should I just wait until we till the yard and replant seeds and worry about the weeds next spring?


*Amber*
 
Posts: 33 | Location: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 11, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of rubyruby
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Not sure what kind of grass you have. but if it were me, I'd probably pay a service to come out and get the weeds under control. If you have bermuda, I guarantee it will fill in. If you have bare spots and it's in a shady area, it's because Bermuda won't grow very good at all in Shade. I'd seed only after i got the weed issue under control. sow seeds directly into bare spots and then cover with a light coating of topsoil...or even sand if it bermuda. birds will eat the seeds if they can get to it.


"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt"
 
Posts: 1174 | Location: Houston, Tx Zone 9 | Registered: Jul 13, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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You live in Ohio, either zone 5 or 6?, just a guess here.... but I would think you might be apt to have bluegrass or fescue as your common turf grasses? Most annual weeds die back during the cold winter months. This is something your county agriculture agency can help with too.

They will be your best and most accurate source of diy information.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: conrad,
 
Posts: 9596 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of blur411
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I looked up Franklin County Agriculture society on google and all I get is info for the county fair and a bunch of worthless documents. I want to pay someone to take care of it, but I just don't think it's in our budget as we are getting married in November. I know it isn't bermuda grass, its a different blend (Sun/shade mix) and I tried to put the top soil lightly on top and it barely grew, but I think that was due to not getting the ground loose enough. I'm guessing I'll have to rent something for this? The rake I used did nothing.


*Amber*
 
Posts: 33 | Location: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 11, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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Try calling the number on the link below?
http://franklin.osu.edu/

They should have a master gardener available during the week that can help answer some questions for you. It will be a start for you anyway. Another source for general information is just a full service, local plant nursery, like Earl Mays or the like?

You are right that it really helps to loosen the soil, so that the grass can root deeply and live through the winter and survive the summer. We only plant a finer blade, sunny area turf fescue now when we reseed in either sun or deep shade. We have found it is tougher (once established), and more drought and dog resistant than any bluegrass blend ever was. From a local seed store supplier, I was able to get a 50 pound bag for about 50 dollars last year. (large locust came down and the drought killed off most of the lawn) Only used half of it on our back yard, but it was still cheaper than the smaller bags of nursery seed.

Make friends with your neighbors too (be sure to compliment them), if they have nice lawns. They can be a terrific source of information and local help/advice, if you are lucky.
 
Posts: 9596 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ga.karen
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Blur, what you need is your county EXTENSION office. Most phone listings are listed that way. Look under you county listing and then look for county Extension office.
And being a Master Gardener here in Ga. myself, ask the extension agent and not one of the Master Gardeners.

From the pic you posted in that other thread, it looks like blue grass to me, but it has been so long ago since I had to deal with it I'm not positive....I've lived down here close to 30 yrs.
A couple of things you can do...mow high...3-4" and mow often. That gives your grass time to form a better root system since it isn't using all it's energy to grow green blades, it helps shade out the weed seeds, it keeps moisture down where the grass needs it...and mowing often makes sure that the weeds don't set any more seeds.
Give the weed & feed a chance to work before you do anything else. Then ask your extension agent what is the best time to seed in your area.


"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
 
Posts: 4756 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of blur411
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Thanks again for all of your help. I tried talking to the nursery in April but it was so busy no one had time to explain, I will try that again when I go on Monday, and then resort to making a call (I really hate phone calls). So my plan is the weed and feed, kill the trumpet vine, and hopefully buy some on sale perennials to plant!


*Amber*
 
Posts: 33 | Location: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 11, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ga.karen
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Do you have a Lowes nearby? They have mark down racks...ask where they are. I've gotten LOTS of my perennials from there for half price or less. Also ask about if you buy 10 of the marked down ones, will you get 90% off. Most of the Lowes do that from time to time.

Just something to keep in mind...nurseries are trying to sell things, the extension service is information & backed up by your state university. Most of them you can contact by email and you can include pictures.


"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
 
Posts: 4756 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of blur411
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Thanks again, Lowes is where we go for most things, as well as the nursery 1 block away. I will check out that link more thoroughly


*Amber*
 
Posts: 33 | Location: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 11, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of blur411
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I just wanted to post that the master gardener returned my message already and it is as follows:

My advice would be to wait until early fall. Spray the yard with a weed killer. Wait three weeks. Depending upon the size of the lawn, either work up the top few inches slightly or rent a drill seeder and reseed the lawn. Water well. Fall is my favorite and best time for planting grass.

Good luck.

-Dale Nienberg Thank you for allowing us to help you with your gardening questions.



Thanks for your help guys!


*Amber*
 
Posts: 33 | Location: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 11, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Loonie
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While it is true, fall is the best time to grow grass because there is less competition from the weeds that you have.
Its fine and dandy to suggest that you should let your grass grow high...shades out the weed seeds, but first, you have to get grass to allow to grow high.

The weeds I assume are what you have...no grass to speak of, so you can do the weed killing the chemical way "Roundup" or you can try digging up your ground and remove the weeds manually.

One thing you should be aware of, you cant kill a weed unless you kill the root. Cut a dandelion off above the soil...the root is still very much alive and will return bigger, better than ever. That is true of other weeds.
If you dig up the lawn, you have to remove the weeds before they re-root.

Getting a nice lawn is an ongoing ritual. You cant obtain a nice lawn in one season unless you let a professional do it.
Dig up the lawn, remove the weeds, add amendments which you dig in at least 4" deep...6" better...level, look to its drainage, and do one of two things.....seed....or sod.

Sod is like liquor...its quicker. Seed is less expensive...but to that, bad seed wont grow in the best of soil while good seed will grow in the poorest of soil.
So buy the best seed you can afford; it will pay off in the long run.

The grass seed you buy in the stores in Columbus, Ohio, is going to be a mix...generally, 3 types, kentucky blue, perennial rye, and fescue.
Each gives its best to the conditions that is relative to Ohio....shade, sun, drought, rain.
The package will state to what ratio each grass type is in the package. The Kentucky Blue is usually the highest (40%), perennial rye (30%) and fescue (30%)....or thereabouts.

Sod --if you choose that route, will probably be the same mix---but ask the dealer before you buy.
If you hire a professional to do the job, get estimates from at least 3 and ask exactly what each plans to do, and at what cost. Get all estimates "in writing".
Never...never...pay up front. Discuss how payment should be made beforehand.

If you decide to D I Y...then plan the work out, get the ground ready to receive the sod before you order. Sod can die very fast sitting on a pallet after 3 or 4 days.
Learn what you have to do to get the sod going so that all the work doesn't go for nought.

Plan on getting a decent lawn in 3 or 4 years and learn what you have to do to keep a lawn in the best shape.

Get ideas and help from your neighbors who have a nice lawn. You'd be surprised at how much help a neighbor will give if you compliment him on his lawn.

Lots of work....back pains, leg pains, sweaty brows.........
then smiles.

Sometimes you might actually think its all been worth it.
That's home ownership!
 
Posts: 458 | Registered: Mar 22, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ga.karen
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Blur, just be aware that if you use roundup it will kill any grass you have as well as the weeds. That was why I suggested weed n feed.

And what the Master Gardener told you sounds like it came right out of the book.


"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
 
Posts: 4756 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The problem with planting grass in the fall in Ohio is the leaves. You don't want to plant grass in October or else you will lose the lawn. If you have trees or there are nearby trees the leaves will blow on your new loan and choke it out. many years ago, we moved into our home in the summer and we were fine to seed the lawn. The neighbors moved into their homes in late August and all of them lost their lawns when the leaves fell down. They all started over the next spring.
 
Posts: 3145 | Location: Ohio | Registered: Feb 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Loonie
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Paws, you just brought out why leaves have no business staying on a lawn...they smother it.
Contrary to what you say about 'not putting in grass in the fall'....grass grows much better in cooler weather and after a hot summer....which you should never plan on putting in a lawn, autumn is the best, the absolute best time to put in a lawn.
Plants slow down....by October, we have finished fertilizing which allows plants to go into dormancy naturally.
With less competition lawns grow.

As far as late planting, you can reliably put down a sod lawn as late as November in northern zones.
 
Posts: 458 | Registered: Mar 22, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of nance425
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paws: I could see how leaves would blow down and cover the grass seed, blocking out light.
And how could you rake the leaves off wo disturbing all the seeds. I guess if you didn't have trees in your yard or area, it would work in the fall.

Loonie: We've been told that Fall is the absolute best time to put in sod, too. Sometimes it's not always feasible though, especially when your new house is finished in spring or mid summer. It's just harder to keep the grass moist. But we did it. A lot of folks around here have an irrigation system which helps a lot. We don't but had another means. Smile
 
Posts: 4582 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: Dec 01, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of blur411
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Thanks again for the further information. TO clarify I might have been exaggerating, I do have a fair amount of grass, just a lot of weeds as well. I really just want to control those a little better and fill in the bare spots. I don't really have 5 years to give my lawn, as I only plan on living in this house for 5 years so I just want it to be a little nicer while we are here. I plan on raking the leaves in the fall for compost, so I should be able to keep it off the lawn. We sprayed weed and feed early this morning, it hit 90 degrees here for the whole day and very sunny and nothing died yet. We also attacked the trumpet vine today, cutting down the large one, going after the shoots and we used vinegar to spray those areas (expecting brown spots in the grass). I want to avoid round up if at all possible, but will do so if this attempt doesn't work. We have two large garbage cans full of weeds after today, and we're going back at it tomorrow for round two!


*Amber*
 
Posts: 33 | Location: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 11, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ga.karen
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Blur, the weed/feed will take a few days to show results. You may not need to replant much once the grass gets that "feed". That may just be the boost it needs to fill in better.
Don't rush yet, give things a chance to work.


"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
 
Posts: 4756 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ga.karen
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Sending you a pm!


"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
 
Posts: 4756 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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