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Some lawn repair advice please


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eoinp00
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Joined: 18 May 2015
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Location: Tallaght, Dublin

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 2:52 pm    Post subject: Some lawn repair advice please Reply with quote

Hey guys, i'm new here and have been having a few minor issues with my garden, nothing too major.

---Sumarry: Patchy / thin/ weedy lawn. Thinking of core aerating and top dressing with compost then overseeing it. Advice appreciated!! ---

I consulted the guide on this site last year prior to laying my turf / planting my seed, and i figure i'd be best asking for help before taking any further steps.

Basically, my grass is a bit patchy / covered in weeds.

I did 2 sections, one in roll out turf - this is mostly fine (apart from some thinned out bits where the soil feels very sticky, possibly clay. I threw some seeds on top in an effort to thicken some parts out.

the other section, i laid grass seed i bought from B&Q. Mostly growing fine, apart from a hefty amount of weeds, and 3rd of the garden being quite weak.

Prior to renovation, the garden was full of weeds (i mean full, waist height and some being like trees!) I killed off most with roundup and removed the debree.

I had a digger come in to turn the soil (in the process he buried some rubbish in the soil) I think in some patches it was dug a little too deep bringing up some undesirable soil.

I then bought some good quality topsoil and added it, probably a tonne and a half . spread that evenly.

I am not sure if i put too little seed on, or maybe too much in one area. Haven't fertilised as i'm giving it a year or so to "settle'

Since i have dug up weeds, filled the holes with compost and seeded. Also overseeded the patchy / thin bits. I tried not to over do it as i want to see how things work before taking further steps.

I've also pitch forked the whole lot.

I am thinking of getting a core aerator? (maybe over kill?) and top dressing it with compost and then overseeding again. (maybe with sand added, but i am afraid to fill the pores so might leave it out?)

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eoinp00
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it seems my pictures were too big! will try make them smaller and upload when i am home!
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome along. A lot going on there. Another possibility is insect damage, possibly crane fly larvae. The weeds could be an ongoing thing for a while. They say one year of weeds will give seven years of seeds, if you let them go to seed before you sprayed them. Pictures would be good to give a better idea. If the weeds are that much of a problem it could take years to get rid of them. Might, in the long run, be better to let them all come up and give everything another dose of roundup before they start seeding again and start over.
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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

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eoinp00
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 10:09 pm    Post subject: Follow up pictures Reply with quote

Pictures as promised!

I do worry that the weeds had got a chance to seed. I try to mow regularly, but they seem to grow faster than i can mow!

Never looked into insects as a possible cause. Maybe the pictures will guide some answers!

Thanks Smile



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The front is grass seed, the back is roll out turf.
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common weed in the garden
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Patchy / weak growth area
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Another Patchy / weak growth area
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Roll out turf. Some of this soil feels sticky
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More of the roll out turf, bit patchy, but generally still strong.
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IMG_20150519_182355592_HDR.jpg
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Arial shot. Some of the circle holes are from pulling up weeds. Some parts get really strong thick/long growth. Others get sparse slow weak growth
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi! One detail that hasn't come out above is the age of the property. Am I correct in thinking it may be a new(ish) build? The block wall and the fact that you knew it when the weeds were huge and out of control, suggests you might have seen the place go up? If this is so, you don't know what soil movement the builder did during construction and this may give rise to patches of varying soil and therefore growth. Another problem is that lawns are the most difficult to weed. In a veg plot you can engage in weeding between crops/plants but this is ten times worse with grass.

I'm also not a fan of Roundup-type applications. They look as though they're solving the problem but, as Tagwex says, seeds lay dormant in the earth and, by nuking the existing weed growth, all you really do is make room for the seeds to grow on. I could show you the field behind us which was 'done' a few weeks ago but already the first green shoots coming through are the thistles that think it's their birthday. You also don't know what harm is done to things like worms which are one of nature's drainage agents and this can be a problem if your soil is heavy. I also suppose, to be realistic, you may have to question the quality of the turf you laid, unless you know where it was grown.

With what you have now, farmers have treatments that kill everything bar grass and one of these may help but, as the plot doesn't look too big and, if you regard a perfect lawn as one of life's essentials, I'm wondering whether laying 'ground control' fabric, followed by a thin sand/compost/peat mix would lay the foundation for either re-seeding or a new lot of good quality turfs?

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eoinp00
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 12:28 pm    Post subject: Age of property Reply with quote

Hey Blowin,

The property is about as old as myself! I'd say a little over 26 years. Garden has was lovely before it fell to ruin!

I'd love a "perfect" garden, but reality wins and i'll have to settle for as good as i can currently afford!

Before seeding, i did spread new decent quality top soil over, maybe i should have mixed in some compost along with it? Would top dressing with pure compost help with this? Re-seeding may be an option, but at the moment, a bit too much money was spent on it to give up just now!

Thanks for the reply Smile

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, anything you put on now will help both grass and weeds. My thought about the ground control - that black stuff that people put under gravel to prevent weeds coming through - was that it would seal off everything underneath. The thin layer of sand etc would then be just enough to allow the new grass or turf to get a hold.

You don't say where you are but, if you've got one of the farmers' co-ops nearby, they'll probably advise what it is they use on fields. Good luck with it.

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eoinp00
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you are saying to reseed the whole thing by putting black weed control fabric and sand down and then seeding it?

I think before i take such a step, maybe top dressing it to see if it improves the grass would be a good idea? At least that way if i re seed it there will be good compost to be mixed in with the soil.

I'm just hoping there are other options than starting again.

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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He is indeed. Top dressing will only feed those weeds. If they are that abundant then you will never be rid of them. How about spot spraying with glyphosphate and then carrying out localised repairs. Will look terrible for a while but at least you will be rid of them.
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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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eoinp00
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 2:08 pm    Post subject: Spot spraying Reply with quote

Yea, i still have some roundup there.

So spot treat them, wait till they die... then should i over turn the soil a bit? Or just remove the dead vegetation, plant some grass seed and throw a little soil on top of that?

I assume that weed killer doesn't affect weed seeds? Would i be best waiting a while for those seeds to germinate before doing this?

As for the previous suggestion of starting again with the weed control fabric and sand... should i spray everything to kill it first then do it?
Can i plant seed into the sand? Or would i have to put a layer of soil down on top of the sand?

Sorry for all the questions! But thanks for the help Smile

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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once the round up hits them there will be nothing left so need to turn the ground over. Mix seed in with sand and fill in the gaps. Round up only kills green vegetation and not the seeds so it is just a matter of you persevering and staying on top of it. Spray all the existing if you want to but the fabric will kill it all anyway. The grass once thickened up will suppress the weeds.
A funny story..... I have an old aunt who, years back, decided to brighten up the front entrance a bit so she had a big raised bank made up against a wall. Then she spent a small fortune on shrubs and ground cover. After a while the weeds got in so rather than getting on her knees, as she wouldn't have been able to, she bought some weedkiller and sprayed the lot thinking that the product does exactly what it says on the tin!!!!! The air was blue I can tell you.

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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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medieval knievel
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blowin wrote:
No, anything you put on now will help both grass and weeds.

i thought lawn weed'n'feed only killed broadleaved plants and left the grass alone?
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, MK! Unless I read it wrongly, his original intention was to put a general feed of compost etc on it, i.e. nothing to kill weeds in it, and that's what prompted me to say it would feed everything, weeds and grass.

As I've also said, the local co-ops round here sell something that kills everything bar grass - not completely successful from what I've seen but maybe better than nothing.

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Greengage
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reluctant as i am to suggest Herbicides, insecticides etc.....
Spray it off with MCPA it is a selective weed killer which will not effect the grass, feed it, then aerate it in Autumn add some sand ask the local golf club where they get their stuff foor top dressin greens probably blesington, feed again in autumn with something low in Nitrogen or none, keep cutting it every 10 days at about 50 mm high, good lawns require lots of work but it can be done, If you can cut it with a cylindar mower and collect cuttings, it gives a nicer cut without tearing the grass.
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jdquinn
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've a decent patch of lawn I did a couple of years back now. I had spent a small fortune 2 years before that doing the lawn originally. The guys that did it weren't very good and after a year the place was full of weeds and lumps and bumps everywhere. I Clinic ace'd (Glyphosate based weed killer) the lot, put 60 tons of a topsoil and grit mixture on the top and seeded out. The garden looked amazing last year (it's first full year of growth) but this year the weeds have gotten out of hand because I didn't address the problem when it started at the end of last year. I've just went and killed off all the weeds with a selective weed killer bought at a local Farm shop, left it for 3 weeks to ensure the weeds were dead before lightly scarifying and fertilising.

All that work was for nothing as immediately after fertilising the weeds popped up as strong as ever!! Everytime I cut the lawn I can see a mass of white fluffy dandelion seeds all over the lawn. I can tell you I don't feel so Dandy about that, but there's little I can do until my hedge gets established and blocks the weed seeds from being blown in.

When I cut the lawn it still looks great as most of my weeds are creeping buttercup which seem to stay low. If I leave it without cutting for 6 or 7 days it starts to look really bad due to the buttercup stunting the grass growth around it and also the strong weed grass which just won't die. I've accepted it now to a certain extent and will just carry out basic weed killing procedures a couple of times a year in the hope they will eventually fade out.

My escapades with the lawn can be read a few posts down entitled New Lawn Care.

Unfortunately I'm too 'Green' to gardening to be able to offer any helpful advice. Hope all goes well in the end.
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