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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:05 pm 
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Hi, we have an old( atleast 50yrs) st.augustine lawn in dallas, on a hill that slopes from house to sidewalk 30+ish degrees(hard to hold the water), lots of shade(gets 2-3 hours sun a day depending on the spot), fair bit of tree roots in some areas. nurtured it over the last 20 years with plugs,garrett juice, higher mower blade, different watering, tree thinning etc. each season and it all worked ok until...we made the HUGE mistake of over seeding with winter rye, knowing it was risky..... has not worked out well here on 7/27/10 as you can sense. got green shoots and a lot of dead rye atm. water 15 min/ day every other day(sprinkler system) other wise the flower beds die. waited this long in the season monitoring and hoping it would come back but not looking good for the home team.

What are your best organic(or other) thoughts to revive at this late stage of the seasonI(or next), other than trimming the trees, or scraping the entire thing and putting something else in(ground cover, other grasses etc.)? we understand the watering schedule/sun is not spot on and this is not the ideal grass for what we have. should we plug or punt?
thanks for any ideas we appreciate it!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:05 am 
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I always get messed up when I make assumptions. Are you saying that the St Augustine has not yet recovered from planting winter rye last year?

What direction is the slope? Is it north facing, south facing, or what?

Why are you watering for 15 minutes per day?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:10 pm 
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Yes that is exactly what we are saying. St. Augustine has not recovered from planting the winter rye last year. The slope is from south to north. We are on the south side of the street as well. North side ie., across the street definitely gets more sun and the winter rye lawns on that side have recovered their SA great. The watering every other day for fifteen minutes is to keep the flower beds alive during the 100 degree plus heat.otherwise they toast, Perhaps we can figure out a way to recalibrate /bifricate the system to water the beds more frequently and the grass less and longer. Its all on an auto sprinkler. four stations some hit both grass and beds. hard clay soil. perhaps aerate, sand, mollasses,fertilize more? May be to late/hot to fill in with plugs. tree trimming coming but late....needs sun for sure to spur and save.Also large oaks competing for grass water there.

Thanks!
Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:26 am 
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Location: Dallas, TX
Its definitely not too late for plugs or sod. Obviously, right now isn't a good time, but you have a great window for new St Augustine to get established in Sept/Oct.

The benefit of doing most of your planting in the Fall is that plants get in, get comfortable, then go dormant and hit the ground running come spring. On the other hand, you can plant in the spring but the plant wastes the spring growing season getting established instead of growing. For this reason Howard recommends fall planting over spring.

Your sprinkler system definitely needs to be addressed for dedicated lawn zones and bed zones. If you just cannot water St Augustine every other day and expect it to stay healthy.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:33 am 
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Thanks for the input E. What would you consider the optimum watering schedule for our scenario?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:59 pm 
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Deep and infrequent are the key words for watering. A good place to start is 1 inch of water, all at once, one time per week. With my shade, soil, and humidity I have backed off to 3/8 inch per week. For me with my oscillating sprinkler, that takes 3 hours to deliver. During our drought last summer I nearly lost the lawn. I took two weeks of 1 inch to get back on track. Then I dropped to 1/2 inch into winter. I started again this spring with 3/8 and have maintained the lawn very well with that.

One reason for deep and infrequent watering is to discourage weeds. Weed seeds need to be continually moist. If the soil surface never dries out, the seeds will germinate and you'll have a weedy turf. By letting the soil dry out, it gets hard and seeds don't germinate.

Another benefit is the grass roots will develop to a deeper depth in the soil. Deeper roots will gather water at deeper levels for a longer time thus allowing you to go longer between watering. You normally can't go cold turkey into infrequent watering. Start by watering longer and then stretch it out.

If your garden beds need water more frequently, then I would address that with hoses and sprinklers. Still I would try to develop deeper roots in the beds, too.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:22 pm 
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thanks Dchall. We definitely need to re do and recalibrate our system.
did any one see the DMN article today 8/19/10 in the guide daily section E page 8 discussing Skip Allen/Nicholson Hardy's idea regarding replacing Dallas clay soil in your yard with "loose,rich,well draining soil...including compost and expanded shale and sandy loam in the yard to promote Dallas lawns etc? We think one of our st augustine issues in addition to everything discussed above is the soil. we have the hard clay and its like getting through cement when you plug the SA. Perhaps we dig out the clay. What do the summer grass gurus think? sounds like a lot of work but if its a winner we may be willing to give it a shot. or perhaps we could toil it, turn it, aerate it and then just mix in the sandy loam , shale,rich draining,compost, etc, and then plug this fall.Love to get your thoughts on this or any variations to regen our wiped out SA.
Thanks!!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:18 pm 
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Location: Dallas, TX
Quote:
Allen, who is quick to acknowledge that he is stubborn, says it was not until year three that he sought advice from professionals about making a garden. The salespeople at Nicholson-Hardie Nursery, on Lovers Lane west of Inwood Road, convinced him that nothing would flourish until he replaced the native clay with loose, rich, well-draining soil.


What a sucker. :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:26 am 
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Are you saying he got sold a load? :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:26 am 
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Location: Dallas, TX
oh yeah.

Sure, doing what he did was great for his garden but totally unnecessary and a complete waste of money. To convince someone that "nothing would flourish" from native soil is ridiculous. Our native clay is not ideal for several plant varieties, but it's nothing a few amendments and an organic program cannot remedy.

"You think you hate it now, but wait till you drive it!"
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:05 pm 
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Back to the window of opportunity to re-plug St. Augustine this September/October, what are the optimum temperatures to do it. We are still running low 90s most days here in Dallas but starting to get below 70 some nights. Hopefully the 100+s are gone for this year. Are we good to go?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:53 am 
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Location: Dallas, TX
I saw the rain in the forcast this week for DFW so I laid down some Raleigh yesterday.

I think you are in the clear.

I like these guys, http://www.brokersqualitygrass.com/

They don't carry plugs, only sod, but they sell by the piece for a buck and some change or by the pallet for less than a buck per piece.

Read up on your varieties. I like Raleigh because it is SAD resistant.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:17 pm 
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I think ours is primarily Palmetto. Thanks for the referral to the BQS guys. Will sample what they have and see how it goes. Sod in the past has not taken on the hill herel but my sense is it was too hot and the black clay had not been tilled sufficiently. Do you mix anything else in with the soil before you slap it down will optimize chances of success?
Thanks


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:03 am 
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Adding Texas Greensand is probably a good idea. You could also add clay busting amendments or add a layer of top soil if you really want to break a sweat. http://soilbuildingsystems.com

I don't think tilling is a good idea though as it will result in a lumpy yard.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:10 am 
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Thanks EA!


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