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 Post subject: Battle of the Turf
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 6:00 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Carrollton,TX
I moved to a new house two years ago and knew then I was headed for a battle. After two summers, I'm ready for some advice.

When we moved in, the yard was a combination of Bermuda and Dalisgrass. The shaded parts of the yard had just been sodded with St. Augustine that spring. After two years of mowing and bagging the seed heads, trying to kill the Dalisgrass by digging out clumps, dowsing with vinegar, and attempts with Crabgrass killer, the Dalisgrass is denser (mostly in the Bermuda sections). Meanwhile, the St. Augustine has spread to more than half the yard.

It's clear that the St. Augustine will eventually take over the Bermuda, but will it crowd out and eliminate the Dalisgrass too? Is there anything short of a sod cutter and/or roundup that will remove this scourge? (I don't think the city will let me burn it off.)

Any advice is welcome.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 9:45 am 
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Here are the steps to follow for growing great grass. If you are not following these three steps, then you are on the way to hassles with weeds and fungal disease.

1. Water deeply and infrequently. Deeply means at least an hour in every zone, all at once. Infrequently means monthly during the cool months and no more than weekly during the hottest part of summer. If your grass looks dry before the month/week is up, water longer next time. Deep watering grows deep, drought resistant roots. Infrequent watering allows the top layer of soil to dry completely which kills off many shallow rooted weeds.

2. Mow at the highest setting on your mower, and do not bag the clippings. Yes, I know you are trying to prevent the weed seed from contaminating your yard, but I believe you are not getting the benefit you might be thinking. Weed seed is everywhere no matter what you do. Most grasses are the most dense when mowed tall. Bermuda, centipede, and bent grasses are the most dense when mowed at the lowest setting on your mower. Dense grass shades out weeds and uses less water when tall. Dense grass feeds the deep roots you're developing in 1 above.

3. Fertilize regularly. I fertilize St Augustine 4 times per year using organic fertilizer. Bermuda can be fertilized every month during the growing season. Which fertilizer you use is much less important than numbers 1 and 2 above. If you fertilize with ORDINARY corn meal each time, you should never have a fungal disease.

You are correct that the St Augustine will totally take over your yard. I am not sure how it will do when it hits the dallis grass. I have dallis grass but not in my lawn, so I'm not sure what will happen as the two merge together. If you soak the dallis grass roots I think it can be pulled out easier.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 6:00 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Carrollton,TX
Thanks for the advice.

I water twice weekly. I'll start backing off, and keep an eye on the lawn and the foundation. I already mow at the highest setting. It'll be tough to not bag, but I'll give it a go. I do plan to re-sod the densest places which are next to the sidewalks.

A question about the corn meal. Is that all I should fertilize with? I already bought corn gluten meal, and I currently use both molasses and Texas Tee fertilizer in spring and fall.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:25 pm 
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I usually suggest ordinary corn meal for folks who might not be interested in paying extra for commercially bagged organic fertilizer. Texas Tee is the best organic fertilizer I've ever seen. You shouldn't need anything else.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:09 pm
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
This year has been so dry that the only grass growing in my yard is around the foundation where I use a soaker hose to keep the soil moist (the hose averages a distance of about 18" from the foundation itself). What grows there now is Bermuda and weedy stuff. I'm preparing to dig up around the foundation and put down a thick layer of mulch and transplant a few of my yard's more water-needy shrubs into the area. I'm cutting back on watering, so the rest of the yard can be xeriscape, but since I feel I must water my foundation, I might as well put a few plants there that will enjoy it that won't make it in the rest of the yard.

My plan is to introduce Buffalo grass into the lawn and let it gradually get established by benign neglect--if I don't water the grass much, the buffalo grass should prevail (shouldn't that be "bison" grass, by the way? :D ).

I'm going to try putting a barrier between the shrubs and the lawn (the flashing someone suggested burying several inches deep) and hope that once the lawn is established there isn't much Bermuda to have to keep out of the shrub bed.

I grew up in the Puget Sound area where yards and lawns are lush and shrubs and trees are fat and sassy. That is okay in the land of lotta rain. I have lived in various parts of the U.S. over the past 30 years, and I find wherever I am, I'm happiest when my yard looks like it actually belongs in the region where I'm living. (This is my defense against the need to establish and maintain the ubiquitous urban "lawn"). I am not going to put in a gravel bed, but I'd like the adapted and native grasses and plants to be what grow in my yard, and if it's sparse, well, sobeit.

Not exactly the best advice for someone who came to this thread looking for a recipe for thick and lush grass, but perhaps reassuring for the someone who needs a reason to let the grass fend for itself. :)

Northwesterner


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