After reading several posts I realize I've already made tons of mistakes with my semi-bermuda/mostly dandelion lawn. On a positive note, I haven't used chemical weed killers, fertilizers, or pesticides for well over a year, but I neglected the lawn in January when I didn't put down the CGM like I did last year. Needless to say, I'm paying the price now.
On a Saturday about a month ago, I aerated my lawn thoroughly with a rented aerator and had 4 yards of organic compost and a half yard of lava sand (mixed) dropped in my driveway. As a data point, I learned that 4.5 yards of compost mix dumped in a driveway on a sunny day in early spring can be pretty much evenly distributed over an average front yard by ten neighborhood kids ranging in age from 4 to 12 using nothing more than buckets/small plastic trash cans from their own garages in a little less than an hour and a half . Hey, don't get the wrong idea, I didn't even ask for the help, they begged and begged until I finally caved. Even the mention of cow manure didn't sway them. The other neighborhood dads looked on and commented with envy. An operation like this could only be pulled off with as much success once a year, at best.
My time in the limelight, however, was short-lived. Two weeks later, my lawn was easily the worst looking lawn on the block, and probably a dead heat with the worst in the whole neighborhood. Some of my neighbors assumed that compost I had delivered was chugging full of weed seeds. But, to be fair, the weeds were already there. They just came up through the compost mix with renewed vigor.
Well, I've been manually pulling weeds for two straight weeks. I've won some small battles (smallest area to largest, a weed pulling snowball, so to speak), but I'm still definitely losing the war. Oh sure, my heart is in the right (organic) place, but I just got a letter from my HOA. Evidently, they're even less impressed with MY version of the organic program than my neighbors are. The heckling is all in good spirit, of course. "You know, they make a real easy spray for that."
Now for the questions... I've got the makings for a spray (not the spray my neighbors are peddling, mind you). I have orange oil, molasses and vinegar, but do I really want to spray that down when I seriously have more dandelions than I have bermuda grass? Seriously, I might as well broadcast spray the stuff and kill everything. That said, maybe I should I just start over!? It looks like the sprinkler heads would still clear above a new layer of bermuda if I put it down right on top of this mess I have. After all, I'm guessing the bermuda under the compost is in pretty bad shape anyway. I just learned after reading some of your posts that the top dressing probably should have been spread a whole lot thinner in the first place. But, even if I do buy new bermuda, would I be able to get some that was grown organically?
Bottom line - My yard is bumpy, full of weeds, and sparse in the way of grass. It is, all in all, a deeper green than my neighbor's yards (thanks, cow manure), but they're not going to be knocking down my door any time soon asking for lawn advice.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.