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Horrible weed-infested spotty lawn


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mllejules
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Joined: 23 May 2017
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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 1:28 pm    Post subject: Horrible weed-infested spotty lawn Reply with quote

Hi,

I have inherited a really bad looking lawn with the house I am renting in Malahide. It is a new build, so unfortunately, itís a mess. The soil is a little stony, but in general does not seem to be bad quality, or over-compacted, having done some digging in it. It is, however, very lumpy and uneven at the surface, which made mowing a very hard job. What grass there is is very patchy. It gets a lot of sun except at edges where high-ish walls keep it in shade.

I have bought some lawn seed and lawn care in various mixes. The one I used first promised to kill weeds and plush up the grass. I applied super carefully and evenly and wetted it, following all directions. Two weeks later I intended to apply again, but the lawn actually looks worse. There is far less grass, and itís simply taken over by weeds. Prickly thistles and couch grass (or something similar) abound, nettles hide at the edges, goosegrass/cleavers, ramping-fumitory, and I have already cleared by hand a huge network of what I think was wild vetch in a mulched area. I may have misidentified some and there are others that I havenít identified yet.

Iíve never had to take care of a lawn before, so Iím feeling out of my depth. And Iím only renting, so I donít want to invest a lot in this, though Iím willing to go to some trouble and expense. Itís a real horror though, certainly not something a kid could play on unless you were aiming for torture. And so I donít know how to proceed. I feel like I could fight these for eternity and I will never have a nice looking lawn out of it.

Should I have the whole thing tossed and redone? Wouldnít that cost thousands? Help please, I feel bad every time I see this sorry excuse for a back garden!



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tagwex
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Location: Co. Wexford

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are in a bit of a bind there. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Are you wanting to do this for kids of your own to play on? Most landlords don't give a damn as long as they get the rent. My advice is to rip it all up, kill everything, put down a sand bed and buy in some grass turves. Ask the landlord first and see will they do it, if not then offer to go halves. How much of an area is it?
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks like self heal and thistles. This is what I would do.
1. Spray it with MCPA maybe twice that will sort out the weeds.
2.Rent a scarifier and scarify the bee jeez out of it.
3. Reseed and keep well watered. ( The soil moisture deficit is very low so if you want a lawn this year water water, Now this will give you problems with the conservationists who abhor watering.
Most landlords don't give a damn as long as they get the rent. Don't mind that comment its not true only those who are not landlords say this it is a general sweeping statement and has nothing to do with your lawn. Part of your contract may state you have to maintain the lawn. it may not be St Andrews but you do have a lawn if you had not children it would be great for wildlife add a bird table with niger seeds and maybe a bird box and Colin Stafford-Johnson may show up to make a film of it. God luck with it.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there! As you say, it's a new build, shorthand for level the builder's rubble/concrete/plaster and chuck some seed on it. Rolling Eyes

I do so sympathise, I can't call mine a lawn, it's just grass (moss, dandelions, speedwell, daisies etc) It has got better over the years by doing just what you are doing. With a limited budget, I'd rather spend my money on the rest of the garden.

When you use weed and feed, the grass often looks worse at first but it does improve. Some weeds are harder to shift but it is slowly improving. Trouble is, if you carry on at that speed, your children will have left home before you have a decent lawn!

I think Tagwex's suggestion is the way to go, but it all depends on your landlord. To care that much you are obviously a good tenant and if you are planning to stay there a while he/she would be a fool not to encourage you.

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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tagwex wrote:
Most landlords don't give a damn as long as they get the rent.

@Greengage: If I make a statement I can usually back it up. I have dealt with so many landlords over the years in a professional capacity that I have lost count of them all. I can easily say that the majority have little or no interest in investing money into the upkeep and maintenance of their properties other than doing what is absolutely essential and the care and maintenance of a lawn is usually so far down that list you wouldn't believe other than occasionally getting it cut.
Furthermore, I have put my three kids through universities in Dublin and all in rented accommodation, one still there and the oldest rents a flat in Dublin since she finished Uni 6 years ago. So I have plenty of experience of landlords and have formed, what may be a generalised opinion, but it is based on facts. I rent a place myself and can easily say, without any hesitation, that the last two landlords that I have had are soooooo far down the league table, they are/were absolutely terrible.

And I wholeheartedly agree with Lady Fermanaghs last sentence.

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ďItís my field. Itís 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!Ē

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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mllejules
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I attached a pic. Don't know the size, but hopefully it gives a good idea.

I am certainly willing to put work into this. I'm busy like everyone else but not so pressed for time that I can't take care of a garden. Money is more of an issue, as my husband doesn't care for gardens/gardening and will absolutely abhor investing in one we don't own. Dealing with the landlady is - just trust me - a bad idea. She won't mind me messing with the garden as long as it's an improvement, if she ever even notices.

I've never used a scarifier. Sounds scary! (*cough* sorry) I presume by renting you're referring to the electric types that look like a push mower, and not some more physical version of raking and forking. I maybe could manage raking and forking myself over a few weekends, if I can take how brutal it would probably be. Would scarifying allow me to till in fertiliser too? Other websites I've seen recommend to always have soil testing done so you know how to fertilise. That seems like overkill to me, how necessary do you think it is?

I also saw a suggestion of covering the lawn with black tarp for days to make everything die, and then raking it up. How much of an option is that? Will it save me having to rent a scarifier?

And will I be okay to lay seed in summer? I'm sort of worried about getting the timings all wrong, and having this lawn for a whole year.

Presumably scarifying and/or raking will allow me to get it even, as well, which should help with bald spots in the future?

(p.s. I don't have kids myself, but the neighbour kids often have their balls or their arrows or their nerf darts ending up here and they come over to get them. I realised how bad the problem was when a bare-foot little girl almost cried walking across the lawn to get her unicorn ball. Sad It's a very kid-friendly neighbourhood and I can imagine a nice family moving in after us and having something like that - pffft. I can't bear it.)



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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it doesn't look THAT bad! Not as bad as mine when we moved in. Laughing
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Keeks
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would take Greenages advice here.

1) spray with MCPA to get rid of the weeds. I will leave this step as an option. You will never get rid of all weeds and they will come back but it is probably a good idea to start with this as it will give more space for new grass seed to grow in. You won't need to do this, but it wil take longer fo rhet grass to outcompete with the weeds.

2) Important Step - Scarify. You will need to remove the thatch and moss from the lawn. This will give it more air for the lawn to breath and allow the grass to grow. Get a sprine tine rake and rake away. A lawn that size shouldn't take too long. My 70+year old neighbor does his lawn this way every year and it looks amazing. Putting green surface.

3) Overseed and water, water, water.....

I would repeat steps 2 & 3 again later August/Early September.
I would also Aerate the lawn then as well. Just go along and stick a Garden Fork into the ground at regular intervals.
If you have already fed the lawn now, I would leave it alone again until August/September.

IF you have a hole/large divot in the lawn an easy way to repair it is to basically cut a "X" shape with a garden spade in the center of the hole and basically fold back the lawn sods. Fill in the hole with some earth and fold back the sods back into place ensuring that the hole is now level.
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mllejules
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to do the MCPA step.

Question 1: Where can I buy MCPA without needing to have a farm account and/or buy 10L of it? Not having much luck on google. (I don't have a car, so was hoping to buy online.)

Question 2: Can I apply the MCPA with an ordinary watering can? I realise it will take a while, but it saves the expense of buying a hose contraption.

Question 3: How long between spraying with MCPA and scarifying?

Question 4: Are you suggesting I scarify ONLY by raking? Or is raking the after step to scarifying?

I really appreciate this help! I'm feeling a lot better about getting the lawn sorted.
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi I dont know where you live but any farm supplier will have it. Try.
http://turfcare.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/TurfCare-Catalogue.pdf
http://cropcare.ie/golf-courses-fertilisers/
http://www.nad.ie/
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mllejules
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've contacted two companies and they've both told me I have to have a PPU number (professional pesticide user). One of them suggested Dicophar instead.
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmmm. Yes you have to have PA1 and PA2 to apply chemicals, good they asked you for that, as it confirms that their is a lot of nonsense of people applying Chemicals willy nilly. You need to do the course and have the number.
Looks like you will have to go to your local garden center and see what they have.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would Grazon 90 be overkill for this project? Pricey but it sure delivers a good kill.
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ďItís my field. Itís 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!Ē

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Ado 2
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My tip is ...when buying new seed ask for shady grass seed for that shaded area you have.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lidl's do a grass seed that makes a lovely, tough lawn.

A friend paid a small fortune for fine grass turf. Instant beautiful lawn. Trouble is it need a hell of a lot of maintenance - that it is just not getting. I seeded another area of the same garden with Lidl seed. It gets the same lack of attention and irregular mowing, yet it always comes back a lush green . Highly recommended.

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