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Old 05-19-08, 04:32 PM   #1
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Perfect lawn...any tips?

I did something in a moment of madness this evening. I got fed up with all the weeds in the lawn so I sprayed the whole lawn with weedkiller (the kind that kills averything and anything). Then I thought what if I can't grow a new one any better?

Any suggestion welcome.
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Old 05-19-08, 04:50 PM   #2
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lawns are for suckas. no lawn is the best lawn. mine gets a bit smaller every year

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Old 05-19-08, 05:02 PM   #3
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First, choose the grass. Make sure it is appropriate for your area as far as cold hardiness, sun tolerance, etc. Some grasses, such as St. Augustine can only be started by plugs, sprigs or sod. Others, such as Bermuda can be seeded. Once you have selected a grass find out its optimum pH range and have your soil tested. Adjust soil pH to match grass.

Consider having an inch or two of compost added to your lawn and then till. and rake smooth. If you start with rough soil, you end up with rough grass. You can get a section of chain link fence, a landscape timber and some cinder blocks and make yourself a drag to smooth out the soil after tilling. Pull it back and forth across the soil to smooth it out, fill in low spots and break up larger clods. Add a starter fertilizer low in nitrogen, high in phosphorous, and low in potassium, like a 10-20-10.

Make sure you have enough hoses and sprinklers to be able to water the lawn without having to drag hoses all over the newly seeded lawn if you go with a seed type grass.

If you go with sod, rent a lawn roller from a tool rental and roll the sod in after you lay it.

If you go with seed, make sure night time temps are consistently in the 60s to insure good germination rate.

PM me if you have specific questions.

BTW, just noticed you are in London. My horticulture experience is all in Texas, so double check all of this with a local nurseryman.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 05-19-08, 05:06 PM   #4
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Best way to deal with weeds is to pull rather than poison them. However, what's done's done. Before planting new grass, figure out what will work best for you. The mixes are very different and it does matter what you get.

One way to turn any lawn into a perfect lawn is to put a dog in it.
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Old 05-19-08, 05:09 PM   #5
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One way to turn any lawn into a perfect lawn is to put a dog in it.
Except my yard has dead patches from the dog pee....
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Old 05-19-08, 05:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
First, choose the grass. Make sure it is appropriate for your area as far as cold hardiness, sun tolerance, etc. Some grasses, such as St. Augustine can only be started by plugs, sprigs or sod. Others, such as Bermuda can be seeded. Once you have selected a grass find out its optimum pH range and have your soil tested. Adjust soil pH to match grass.

Consider having an inch or two of compost added to your lawn and then till. and rake smooth. If you start with rough soil, you end up with rough grass. You can get a section of chain link fence, a landscape timber and some cinder blocks and make yourself a drag to smooth out the soil after tilling. Pull it back and forth across the soil to smooth it out, fill in low spots and break up larger clods. Add a starter fertilizer low in nitrogen, high in phosphorous, and low in potassium, like a 10-20-10.

Make sure you have enough hoses and sprinklers to be able to water the lawn without having to drag hoses all over the newly seeded lawn if you go with a seed type grass.

If you go with sod, rent a lawn roller from a tool rental and roll the sod in after you lay it.

If you go with seed, make sure night time temps are consistently in the 60s to insure good germination rate.

PM me if you have specific questions.

BTW, just noticed you are in London. My horticulture experience is all in Texas, so double check all of this with a local nurseryman.
Just a personal prejudice. Do not use sod. Sod is grown in large farms with perfect conditions for light and water, and the seeds that sprouted and grew were perfect for the sod farm but I assure you your yard is not the same. it is expensive and sometime will not take root in the dirt below the sod no matter what you do. If you plant seeds the ones that grow best in your yard will grow crowding out the others. I also am not a big fan of mixed lawns. Buy the seed that you want to predominate your lawn regardless of germination period, it might look bad longer but it will look much better in a year or two.

i am sure jsharr will school me, but i dont care, I might learn something.
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Old 05-19-08, 05:14 PM   #7
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Except my yard has dead patches from the dog pee....
Taking care of dogs and taking care of grass are somewhat incompatible goals. The dogs are just a million times more fun.
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Old 05-19-08, 05:16 PM   #8
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Here is what I do to get the envy of my neighbors. Hire a lawn guy. Hire Chem Lawn or similar company to spray for bugs, which is different than spraying for weeds. Get the whole nine yards. And the best part is, I do not have to lift a finger.
$50.00 a month for lawn guy to cut, weed, edge, and trim trees.
$39 a month for Chem Lawn for weeds and bugs.


Cheaper than a mower.
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Old 05-19-08, 05:19 PM   #9
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A bit of advice once your grass re-grows in. I found the trick to weeding your lawn is to follow it up with overseeding in the areas you just picked. Make sure you keep it watered. This will avoid frustrations having to re-weed the same areas. After a while it's simply maintenance, picking the occasional weed.
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Old 05-19-08, 05:20 PM   #10
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Except my yard has dead patches from the dog pee....
They make great practice putting areas.
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Old 05-19-08, 05:20 PM   #11
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Waste a ton of water, waste a ton of effort, waste a ton of time, use a bunch of gas and create a bunch of noise keeping it mowed (and waste space storing the mower, edger, and assorted tools to do so), then start again.

Or let it die, then spraypaint it green.
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Old 05-19-08, 05:30 PM   #12
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Have you considered checking with your local 'extension agent'?
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Old 05-19-08, 05:30 PM   #13
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lawns are for suckas. no lawn is the best lawn. mine gets a bit smaller every year
I hear ya. Except for the fact that I have little kids who need a place to kick the soccer ball around and set up the slip 'n' slide, I'd tear it out and replant with native species. Once they get older, that's exactly what I'm going to do.
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Old 05-19-08, 05:34 PM   #14
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Thanks Jsharr for such a detailed explanation.

It seems I have just given myself a much bigger task than I thought. In fact I think the lawn was overly compacted and the grass was getting really patchy with weeds filling the gaps. Maybe it was time to dig it up anyway and get some air back into the soil. The soil is heavy clay and digging it is such hard work..worse than doing a century! Even after digging I end up with big hard lumps which i then have to break up with a fork. I have a suspicion I might lose a day of cycling this coming weekend to dig it up.

As for the dog...I can't even look after grass. What are the chances of a healthy happy dog cared for by this lazy ass. My neighbours do have a few cats; I guess I could entice them into my garden and encourage pooing. One came in earlier and I had to chase it out as it started chewing on the poison laden grass.

I just want a beautiful putting green! Something akin to Augusta National wouldn't be too shabby.
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Old 05-19-08, 06:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
Best way to deal with weeds is to pull rather than poison them. However, what's done's done. Before planting new grass, figure out what will work best for you. The mixes are very different and it does matter what you get.

One way to turn any lawn into a perfect lawn is to put a dog in it.
My dog must be some Egyptian breed, because she keeps leaving pyramids everywhere.

Hey who knows how to get those cool diagonal lines on your lawn, like the guys who are paying for lawn service have? I have a zero-turn mower, and two teenagers who eagerly await my next lawn care orders. How do you get the cool lines?
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Old 05-19-08, 06:56 PM   #16
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Just a personal prejudice. Do not use sod. Sod is grown in large farms with perfect conditions for light and water, and the seeds that sprouted and grew were perfect for the sod farm but I assure you your yard is not the same. it is expensive and sometime will not take root in the dirt below the sod no matter what you do. If you plant seeds the ones that grow best in your yard will grow crowding out the others. I also am not a big fan of mixed lawns. Buy the seed that you want to predominate your lawn regardless of germination period, it might look bad longer but it will look much better in a year or two.

i am sure jsharr will school me, but i dont care, I might learn something.
Some grasses are vegetative, meaning they only grow by shoot, sprig, sod, etc and do not go to seed, and cannot be grown from seed. St. Augustine grass is an example of such a grass.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 05-19-08, 07:02 PM   #17
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Heavy clay soils need organic matter to loosen them up and make them workable. Talk to a nurseryman or someone in the nursery trade about how to best deal with the soil types in your area. Get some good compost to work into the soil. There are soil amendments, such as lime that will help loosen heavy clay soils. Most tool rental centers will rent you a core aerator that will remove plugs of soil to allow air and water to penetrate to the roots.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 05-19-08, 08:04 PM   #18
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Some grasses are vegetative, meaning they only grow by shoot, sprig, sod, etc and do not go to seed, and cannot be grown from seed. St. Augustine grass is an example of such a grass.
Sorry, I just meant anything other than sod. In Mid Indiana that is ususally blue grass seed or something like that.
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Old 05-19-08, 08:12 PM   #19
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man, grass has been growing on its own in some places for hundreds of years. it comes it goes. its green its brown. but its still there. i say do nothing and let it ride. oh wait, you already nuked it. never mind. later.
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Old 05-19-08, 08:20 PM   #20
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You can spell dirty words in lawns with salt...


Other than that, I have no use for them. I let my wife worry about such things.
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Old 05-19-08, 10:12 PM   #21
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There are lots of new artificial turf otions

Have a pro put it down then do no more

Lots more time for riding...

Now if I could just afford it
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Old 05-20-08, 10:58 PM   #22
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Buy some green gravel and then all your upkeep is with Roundup and maybe a little spraypaint.

As I type this my grass is over three feet tall because my lawn tractor is in the shop waiting parts. Now I will have 3/4 of an acre waiting to be cut.

Steven
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Old 05-21-08, 03:12 AM   #23
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IMO- there are more important things to attend to than making the lawn "perfect",
it is an exercise in futility.
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Old 05-21-08, 03:38 AM   #24
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There are lots of new artificial turf otions

Have a pro put it down then do no more

Lots more time for riding...

Now if I could just afford it
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Old 05-21-08, 03:56 AM   #25
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Isn't there a fad in California right now to completely pave every square inch of lot space due to the need for parking vehicles? That could be an option, although fairly ugly.

You could do the rock garden thing if you wanted area that is relatively low maintainence.
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