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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:37 pm
Posts: 9
Location: richland hills,TEXAS
Hello and thanks for looking and helping here.

Let me start by saying that I'm pretty GREEN when it comes to gardening and I need all your help... big time!

A little history...

The grass in the front yard and back were pretty bad with large patches and lots of bloody crabgrass (I hate that weed) I decided to have a go at retrieving the grass and getting rid of all the weeds. Guess who won... It was amazing battle which lasted for 3 months with pulling of weeds in the hundreds (well rooted crabgrass). I finally gave up the battle and retreated to fight another day.

This time in the fight I went right for the jugular and kick it's arse. I simply went ahead and scalped the grass and weeds and prepped the ground for NEW lawn. This is one way to win ;-)
I went down to Home Depot and bought a long metal rake and a gardening hoe and then nearly died prepping the ground in 100+ degree weather for 3 days.
After that I went ahead and just watered the ground and waited for weeds. Once the little buggers showed their faces I hit them big time with Round Up. This worked great and I did it again about a week later.

In my attempt to fight the devils garden, I came upon very large water bills which were a big shock to the system! It was costing a lot of money and attention (time). Don't get me wrong here, I'm enjoying going outside and getting into gardening for the first time. I found that fighting this garden was taking up a lot of time.
The only thing that I could come up with was to have a irrigation system put in. This was a time saver and money saver over time.

Now that the irrigation system and preparation work was done I went ahead and ordered the grass. I had 3750 sq ft. in the front yard. In the front yard I had a huge tree which gave out a lot of shade. Because of this I went with St. Augustine grass. I went with Bermuda grass (tif 419) in the back yard which was 8000 sq ft. Needless to say, it cost a pretty penny.

Now that all work is done now I have some questions which hopefully you maybe able to help me with. I will be on this board a lot in the coming weeks, months and years. I felt my first post should give you some idea of what I've been through and what level I'm at here right now.

Here we go then...

The back yard lawn is Bermuda tiff 409 and was installed 4 weeks this Friday. I cut the grass on 13 day and also the cut on the 21st day. The first cut was 3.25" and then the 2nd went to 2.75". What do I cut the next one? Do I keep it at 2.75" . If yes, then how long for? Should I go lower now? Can I go lower? The mower I'm using is a new Honda HRR216TDA. Any good info on this one would most welcomed.

Watering the back yard.

When I put the lawn down I watered 3 times a day. Some the grass was not growing or shocked. The lawn was laid in the 100 degree weather and you know that it's been hot here for about 40 days. I called the company who sold me the grass and he said water well in the morning and then do 4 short watering throughout the day. This really help bring back the grass right away. Now that the grass is almost 1 month old what kind of watering should I do now. Should I water in the morning or night? What's a good time to water? Should I water twice a day once a day? Should it be every day but just once a day? Any info on this would a great help. I have irrigation system rotors in the back yard.

Weeds in the back yard.

I've taken some photos of the weeds I'm fighting right now. I don't now what this weed is put for now I'll call it "scum bag" weed. This bloody weed keeps coming back. I've tried everything.

Ref# in the corner of the photos.....

A - 01 ... shows what the weeds looks like. You can see these weeds popping up above the Bermuda grass. When I cut the lawn, these weeds grow much faster than the grass.

A - 02 ... gives you a close up of the weed mixed in with the Bermuda grass

A - 03 ... shows 3 weeds I pulled

A - 04 ... shows a close up of the weed

A - 05 ... shows a close up of the weed root


Image


Any help with this weed would be a great help - I HATE THIS WEED!

Lastly on the back yard. I have a set of photos to show you on what's happening to some of the grass in parts of the lawn. I think it maybe just some shock or it's simply dying. It also could be shade. I'm having some tree pruning done to help with the shade.

Here's the photos

C - 01 ... this shows the patch I'm talking about. There are about 3 or 4 of these on the lawn. This is the worst one.

C - 02 ... this shows a close up of the damage

C - 03 ... in this photo you can see that the grass is very thin - When looking at this from a angle it looks pretty good until you get up to it, then you see the grass is pretty thin. I have a lot grass that looks like this in mostly shady areas. I don't think the shade is helping the grass and I believe it only gets about 2 to 3 hours of sun light a day. This is why I'm pruning the trees. Will this grass come back when I cut the trees back and more sunlight comes in or is the grass dead and should I think about seeding these area. Any help in this would be a great help - cheers


Image


The front lawn....

The front lawn was laid 12 days ago and is St. Augustine grass. I'm watering 3 times a day right now. I water at 8.30 am 1.30 pm and 5.30 pm - I water 15 minutes on the sprinkler and 30 minutes on rotors each session.

The photos...

These photos shows the St. Augustine grass height and condition

B - 01 ... this photo shows the height of the grass - approximately 5 inches - some grass is taller put most of it is around 5"

B - 02 ... this photo shows the condition of the grass so far which looks like it has a lot of dead grass or thatch (brown straw like stuff) in it.

B - 03 ... this photo gives you a better idea of the grass from distance

My questions are.. Do I keep watering 3 times a day? for how long? Will the grass spread out and get fuller? When will it be time to cut the lawn. Remember it's only 12 days old today. This grass is growing tall. Any help in this area will help a lot - cheers


Image


Well that's it for now and hopefully I did not impose too much on you all.

Every bit of advise is most welcomed.

O yes I forgot - When do I use fertilizer? and what do I buy? do I go organic or Scotts?

Do you have any Ideas what would be good - cheers

anyway. thanks for your help again

BigGreenToes ;-)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:11 am 
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Hi Biggreentoes and welcome to the Dirt Doctor. I apologize for not getting to you sooner. Ever since they changed to the paid version of this website, I have issues logging in - for some reason their website is not compatible with my browser, so I have to make special plans to use their approved browser. Unfortunately I've been using it less and MUCH less lately. But anyway, I'm here. But also, you guys and gals, I'm not the only one contributing here. This is a forum, not a dictatorship.

Okay hopefully you have started to water less by now. At this point you should be watering no more frequently than once or twice a week. A goal for the winter months would be once a month. Your grass may not need it but your soil microbes need it even when the grass is not growing.

Did you say you have bermuda in the shade? :shock: Oops! Bermuda needs full sun. If you have any trees, buildings or fences between your bermuda and the horizon, you need to get rid of them (or the bermuda :) ). St Augustine will grow great in the shady areas, but bermuda and buffalo need 25 hours a day of full sun. Actually bermuda can get by on 6-8 hours of full sun with up to 2 hours of filtered, but it really only thrives on full. If St Augustine invades the bermuda, you will eventually have a St Augustine lawn, so be carefull. The way to keep that from happening is to not water the St Aug all summer and it will die out leaving the bermuda in charge.

Crabgrass ( :x )will die all by itself, so you don't have to worry about it one bit. Crabgrass needs certain conditions to even get started. First it needs seeds but crabgrass seed is literally everywhere, so there is nothing you can do about that. Second it needs frequent watering for the seed to germinate. In fact it needs exactly the same watering frequency as you were applying to get your sod established. This is why it is a great idea to get your sod established in the fall if you can. But bermuda really needs to get started in the summer so you're sort of screwed with that. After that crabgrass needs lots of sunlight (again like bermuda) or the seedlings will not establish a root. So to summarize the way you control crabgrass is 1) water only once a week in the spring and summer, 2) keep your grass mowed so that it is at maximum density to shade the soil and crabgrass seed. One saving grace in your shady area is that there isn't enough sunlight for crabgrass.

How do you mow bermuda for maximum density? Like this. Keep your rotary Honda mower for the St Aug but get a reel type mower for the bermuda. A hand pushed reel will work until the grass gets too dense and then you will wish you got a powered reel. A good mowing height for Tiff type bermuda is anywhere from 1/16 to 1/2 inch. That is measured from concrete to the bottom of the cutter blade. When your bermuda is mowed low it will take on a prostrate growth habit. It grows and spreads sideways instead of up. If you do that your grass will look like a putting green. When bermuda grows up, it starts to thin out and allow the sunlight down to the soil.

So how do you get your grass that low? Mow it one eighth of an inch lower every week, but mow it twice that same week at the same setting. So you would lower it every Saturday, mow, and then mow again on Tuesday or Wednesday at that same setting. When bermuda is at its best, you walk ON the grass, not IN the grass - just like a putting green, and anyone can do it at home.

Okay, now how to manage the St Augustine: St Aug is the dominant grass in the area IF you water it once a week. If you let it go "dormant," in the spring or summer, it's dead, not dormant. The only time St Aug goes dormant is in the winter. And if you continue to water it weekly throughout the winter, I've seen it remain green and growing 52 weeks a year for years and years having never gone dormant. With St Aug you need to mow that with your Honda set to the highest setting. There is never any reason to mow St Aug at any setting lower thant the highest one. This is will give you the best roots, best grass, best color, and most density. I hear this over and over again from people who take this advice on blind faith - about this time of year they write in and say, "I set my mower to the highest setting and didn't change anything else and my grass is the best looking on the block!" Over and over I get that. Continue to mulch mow weekly during the growing season (52 weeks??).

I fertilize with organic fertilizer on the federal holiday schedule. I start on President's Day, then Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. If I was mowing all year I would hit it again on Christmas or New Year's Day. I use corn meal from the feed store at 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. This year I used corn gluten meal at 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet along with greensand at 40 pounds per 1,000 square feet (one time application per year during the rainiest days). I use corn meal because it is super cheap and works well. I could also use soybean meal, cottonseed meal, flax meal (linseed), coffee grounds, alfalfa pellets, or any other ground up grain, seed, bean, or nut. The application rate of 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet holds for all of them. Consider it a starting place. If your grass starts heaving up out of the ground at one rate, then cut back next time. Your bermuda can use fertilizer every month at the maximum rate while it is green. For corn meal that would be 40 pounds per 1,000. For corn gluten meal or soy that would be 20 pounds per 1,000.

Watering is done once a week at MOST. Water as long as it takes to get enough water to last all week. If the grass looks dry before the week is up, water right away and water longer next time. I water for 1-3 hours, per zone, per week depending on the summer heat and humidity. If it rains an inch, I don't water for about 10 days afterwards.

Your pictures aren't coming through :( . I went to the website where they are posted and they aren't there either.

Now about your chemical use. If you want to continue with an organic program, you may use this site but the only advice you'll get on chemicals here is to STOP using them. No RU, no Scott's, no Ortho, no Bayer, no Peter's, no nothing. You will find that simply using organics and a good maintanence program you will not need any chemicals.

This should keep you busy absorbing the plan. Since you have two different turf lawns, you have different needs and more to absorb. Best wishes to you.

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 Post subject: Bermuda grass height
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 6:00 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
Mr. Hall,
From your response to biggreentoes am I to understand that you keep bermuda grass at a height of 1/2"? My impression has been that this will invite weeds to take over.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:42 pm 
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I can't grow bermuda. I live in an area where there are about 250 live oak or other trees per acre. Bermuda is scarce in here. But otherwise, here's the deal on bermuda.

Well, first I need to say something about turf weeds and turf weed seeds in general. In order to sprout turf weed seeds, you need nearly constant moisture, like you would get from watering several times on a daily basis. The second thing you need is for the seeds to be on the surface so the sunlight can reach them. Veggie and other seeds need to be deep but grass, grassy weeds, and most turf weeds need to be on the surface so the sunlight can pour energy into them at the surface. Okay, now on to bermuda...

If you let it grow up tall, it gets spiky. The tall spikes do not do much to prevent the sunlight from reaching the ground. The tall shoots have a couple leaves branching off and growing up and out. When you mow it high, you mow all those leaves off which allows even more sunlight down into the soil. But when you mow it at a very low height, bermuda takes on a prostrate growth habit and spreads along the ground. It has to grow leaves, so the leaves grow out horizontally. When you mow it then, you clip a little bit of the leaf off but not the entire leaf.

Having said that I can't say that low mowing prevents all the weeds. There are some that will love the same mowing height as the bermuda. Thus you do have to continue your vigilance. The Weed Hound tool seems to make weeding a lot more fun and effective. You might investigate those. They're about $20 at the big box stores.

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