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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 10:05 am 
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Hello everyone. I wanted to ask about my bermuda lawn with was hydromulched nearly 4 years ago. It was the most beautiful lawn in the neighborhood and then 2 summers we went on vacation and the sprinkler system didn't run (for nearly 1 1/2 weeks in July). After that we started seeing a course weed with little purple aster-looking flower sprout everywhere in the turf. We hand pulled mass quantities and crossed our fingers for the following growing season. Same thing. What can we do?? We apply the regular fertilizations and also added molasses. Perhaps red lava sand (which won't run through our spreader and we have an acre to apply it to). Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated. We sure would like to see our beautiful lawn back this year. :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 10:48 am 
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Anytime I see large acreages of turf I have to wonder if you have three times as much in ground covers and beds? Generally the prettier landscapes are a mix of turf (1/4 to 1/3) and the rest is beds and ground covers. But you didn't ask about that.

One and a half weeks without watering should not have caused a problem, IF you are doing the things you should be to develop a drought and weed resistant turf. Are you doing any of the following?

1. Watering less than once a week but watering a lot each time.
2. Mowing as low as your mower will go (preferably with a reel mower).
3. Fertilizing every 90 days with a good organic fertilizer.

If you do all these things your bermuda should keep the weeds out. You can start now by (1) watering monthly (unless you get rain) until the bermuda greens up. After that then wait until the grass gets that bluish look or looks wilty to you. (2) Reset your mower as low as it goes. If you don't have a reel mower, consider getting one. The folks who do usually slap themselves for not getting one 10 years ago. (3) Apply an organic fertilizer starting at least a month before you expect the bermuda to start to green. For me that date is Valentine's Day. For bermuda you could fertilize every 60 days. I use ordinary corn meal at a rate of 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Get that at a feed store in 50 pound bags for about $6.50. You'll need 9 bags for your acre of turf.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 9:29 am 
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Thanks for the reply. The only thing we could think of that we did differently was the absence of watering during the hottest time in the summer for nearly two weeks. Prior to that we maintained the same regime. We water twice a week with an automatic sprinkler. Howard Garrett recommends having the mower deck at a higher setting to retain moisture. Having the deck at a low setting or lowest, as you recommended, would only expose the base of the blades to the extreme heat and dry the lawn out quicker. The wild aster (which I'm assuming is what it is) seems to thrive on dry soil (as evidenced by my neighbors yard who waters very infrequently and is covered by the same weed). I'm thinking the best thing to do is apply red lava sand (which would mean by hand since it will not go through my spreader) across the property. You mentioned beds on my property. They are mainly in a 4'-6' perimeter around the house. My yard right now is peppered with dead, course wild aster. I'm still uncertain as to what to do about this problem that will most likely crop up again this summer. :?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 10:52 am 
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The reason the grass died in 2 weeks is because you normally water twice a week. The root system you have developed only goes down deep enough to suck out the moisture on top of the soil. If you would change to watering only when the grass needs it, you can stretch the length of your roots out to incredible lengths (like 10 feet or even much more). Once you have deep roots, a 2 week hiatus from watering should not cause such a problem. I watered four times last summer. My neighbor has not watered one time in 4 years, and her lawn looks better than mine! Imagine leaving for the entire summer and having your grass look great when you return!

Regarding mowing short: when you first start, you will expose the grass shafts as you said; but soon the grass will take on a prostrate growth habit that is extremely dense and soft underfoot. Until you see it you won't believe it is the same bermuda grass.

You might consider using corn GLUTEN meal against your weed. If you weed pops out in the spring time, then you missed your chance to use CGM. If it is a summer weed, then you can put down CGM in March to try to control the seeds in your soil. I suspect it is probably a spring weed, though.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 7:00 pm 
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Location: Garland, Texas
GreenThumb1,

If you have been mowing your Bermuda grass at the highest mower deck level, that is the beginning of your problem. Because I have a mixed lawn including Tall Fescue, St. Augustine, and Bermuda, I tried mowing my Bermuda at the same height of the other grasses. Over the years, that resulted in thinning Bermuda even in a healthy soil environment.

As Dchall suggested, for the Bermuda lawn 1)lower your mower setting to @ 1-1" 2) water deeply and infrequently. Apply an organic fertilizer anytime between now and February. Keep reading the forum and listening to the radio program. Ask questions often :)

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 2:42 pm 
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To just throw in another viewpoint here -- I get this "wild aster" in my lawn in the fall and welcome it! If yours is the same as what I get, it reminds me of the aster wildflowers that grow in the Rockies. (It's not the same thing, of course, but it make s me cooler just looking at it!) If you learn to accept that something besides a perfect green expanse of lawn can be beautiful, you can learn to love all kinds of beautiful "weeds" in your lawn. And yes, I love dandelions and clover, too!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:11 pm 
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kathiec,

I share you embrace of diversity in the lawn. :D There is room in my lawn for the dandelion and clover as you mentioned. But....though the small flowers of the Wild Aster are pretty enough, though not really that showy, their vegetation is extremely rough and not "barefoot friendly" at all. I like to walk barefoot through my yard. 8) This plant joins the false onion/garlic and Virginia Creeper which are not welcome in my landscape.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 4:30 pm 
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Location: florida
so is there no cure for this problem?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 9:58 pm 
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Scott Fl,

Physical removal can be tedious, but when the soil is damp (ie. a day or two or three) it is an easy weed to remove. It will also likely take more than one season to eliminate it, but I think I've made some inroads on mine.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:12 pm 
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so labor is the main way of removing? no liquid or granual solutions out there?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:39 pm 
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I'm certain that you could "burn" it with the vinegar/orange oil spray, but I would still want to remove the remaining vegetation for the reason stated above. So for the sake of time and money, I would eliminate the spray step and go straight to pulling the plant up. It is one of the easier plants to physically remove.

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 Post subject: Impossible task
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 2:02 pm 
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Since this same aster problem is wide spread in my acre lawn, I believe hand pulling is out of the question. :cry: It is also low-growing so unless you are mowing in scrape mode you will not bother it. You are right that it is easy to pull after the rain but this particular weed comes in during prime hot, dry weather. Aarg!


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