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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:51 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:31 pm
Posts: 3
Had to move with my mom 3 years ago The yard was a mess. Slowly I am tryin to bring it around. Last year in spring and fall I tilled it completely and used a dethacher type thing from Sears to just pull out all I could and burn it. She and my aunt had a man mowing before i got here and his idea was just mow the grass and weeds and stickers and let them fall that will take care of the stickers. Well I see now that the stickers themselves can ge in the ground for several seasons and then up they come.
I have started trying to do some natural approaches. I am working on the front for now which maybe be about a quarter of her one acre lot. I did put down some corn glutenmeal and some dried molasses and some organic ferilizer. This last fall and spring.
This land is almost sand and I guess that really helps out the stickers. She has also had burr colver. I replanted some bermuda from seed. I have some bermuca but am still in a mess. Been so hot not easy to water but have done some watering and some is perking up.
I am open to any and all suggestions. I wanted to perhaps add some good top soil but mom is going to be 100 and we are both on social security. Mom still gets around and always has suggestions and then I just do what ever I am going to do. Guess I am blessed to still have a mom. My wife and I both try to cook and do things for mom but of all things she goes out some with her walker and pulles up stickers. Well thanks for letting me add a little more of my life to my post. Al in the Whitney, TX area.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:05 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Hill Country
Any lawncare is going to be tuff right now. I believe I have seen you make this post in the past.

Good weed control includes several things, when not utilizing weed killers (non-organic)...

*You need a good watering regime, one which promotes a healthy perennial grass lawn, as opposed to helping germinate weeds. Once you have grass established, this is simply deep watering, no more frequent than necessary.

*You gotta keep a thick lush lawn, that means optimal fertilization, and proper mowing.

If you can ever get a thick sod (from seed), then you will be set. In bermuda grass pastures (i.e. coastal, one of the best ways to out-compete the weeds is applying a high dose of nitrogen) doing so gives the bermudagrass and edge, as it's amount of growth is very dependent on fertility.

Bermudagrass seed is fairly cheap in reality, so I would keep throwing on more in bare areas, during a normal yr. This however is not a normal yr... and I would personally wait at least till we get some fall rains, to do much of anything.

For now, I would focus on things like adding organic matter (i.e. manure compost to your lawn) rather than spending money on corn gluten meal and molasses. Honestly, corn gluten meal is very expensive, and not very effective, unless you apply very frequently... which ultimately makes it cost prohibitive, and not worth the money.

If you really want to utilize molasses, I would focus on utilizing liquid molasses... If you can locate feed molasses for say $5 dollars per gallon or less, then you have a good deal. The horticultural grade molasses goes in the $10 dollar range.

Manure compost will add most of the nutrients your lawn needs, while also building up orgnaic matter in that dry sandy soil that you mention.

Also, for weed control, both of your two main enemies are burrs... So, get out some old carpet and drag it across your lawn... this will pick up a lot of the burs out of the dirt, then simply discard the carpet. Repeat this process after each season of burr production.

Lastly, when you do finally have some good bermuda, start mowing HIGHER. The taller the grass is, the less sunlight that hits the ground surface, and therefore, the less weed seeds you have germinate.

Good Luck!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm
Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Oh my. I've been reading many forums for 10 years and almost all the advice above runs contrary to the collected wisdom of the Internet. Some is good, though so lets pick out that.

The blanket to pick up the stickers is very good. Drag it across the stickers and comb them out onto some cardboard or paper to collect them and burn or trash them.

You cannot establish grass seed without water. It must be watered 3x to 4x per day for 15 minutes each time. Do that for 3 weeks or until you have what you believe to be 80% germination. You need to get that done NOW because the window for bermuda seed germination is closing. Bermuda needs HEAT to germinate, so when the summer heat breaks, you missed your chance.

Save your money on compost. Compost is nice but it is not a fertilizer. It is the single most expensive thing you can put on your lawn. Corn gluten meal is the single best thing you can put on your lawn but this year it is very expensive. It is fixin' to get a lot more expensive with the corn crop failures across the country. Second best thing you can put on your lawn is soybean meal. This year it is relatively cheap. It has a lot of advantages not the least of which is that it will flow easily through a drop spreader set wide open. With bermuda you could apply soybean meal at 40 pounds per 1,000 square feet every week and still not get enough. Bermuda LOVES the nitrogen from soy (or corn gluten). Since you are on a budget, use what you think you can afford. Ask for broken bags at the feed store. Another alternative fertilizer is alfalfa pellets (Purina Rabbit Chow). Any of these materials will put organic matter into your sand. Eventually it will become very dark to black in color as the organic matter accumulates. The sand will still be sand but you will have a lot of water retentive organic material in there helping you with your gardening. Compost costs about $70 per 1,000 square feet while soybean meal costs more like $4 per 1,000 square feet. You can apply a lot of valuable soy for the same price as compost.

Sticker burrs are a symptom of poor fertility. That is why they are so common in sand. The only thing you really needed to do in the first place was water and fertilize. Stickers cannot compete with grass in well kept soil. They really are easy to get rid of simply by watering and fertilizing.

Bermuda becomes most dense when mowed at 1 inch or lower. There are issues with most home owner bermuda when mowing lower than 1 inch so that is a practical minimum. In the hottest heat of summer you can let it get up to 1.5 inches. That means when it is 2 inches high, mow it back to 1.5.

After your new grass becomes established, back off on watering as was stated by the other poster. Bermuda can tolerate the absence of water for a long time, but not forever. It seems to work very well to water it deeply once a week in the summer. In your sand you might need to water every 4-5 days. Then in the winter water it every month as a minimum. The soil/sand and microbes need moisture to perform the miracles they do in the cooler months. When you water do it all at one time. Don't water every day for 10 minutes. That is where weeds come from. When you let the soil surface dry out between waterings, the weed seeds cannot germinate and take hold.

Since you rototilled the soil first, you can expect to find a bumpy surface developing over the next few years. That can be fixed in an established turf fairly easily. You might not want to do it yourself, but it is not a difficult thing for a couple of strapping youngsters.

David Hall
Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum

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