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Best way to fix my weed filled yard?


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Our backyard is full of weeds.  There is very little grass.  I’ve done weed and feed on it before, but it didn’t do much.  Part of the yard is very shady and part gets a lot of sun.  We don’t have the money to pay someone to rip everything out and put down new sod.  We are on a half-acre lot, so this is a lot of space.  It has the potential to be a wonderful yard, but the weeds make us avoid it.  What’s the best thing to do on a budget?  We are in N AL if that makes a difference.

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Ooh!!!! I got this! I'm a lawn care nut 🙂

There are a bunch of videos and channels on youtube about this, look for The Lawn Care Nut and Ryan Knorr. 

First question is, what kind of grass do you have, where you have it? You absolutely do NOT have to sod. you can seed, but what kind and when depend on what you have and/or what you want. 

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7 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Ooh!!!! I got this! I'm a lawn care nut 🙂

There are a bunch of videos and channels on youtube about this, look for The Lawn Care Nut and Ryan Knorr. 

First question is, what kind of grass do you have, where you have it? You absolutely do NOT have to sod. you can seed, but what kind and when depend on what you have and/or what you want. 

I have no idea what kind of grass we have.  It’s not the kind that most people around here have that’s slower growing and turns very brown in the winter. I don’t like that kind, but I’d be happy with anything that was not weeds at this point.

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What kinds of weeds? 

You can mow them to keep them short. Grass monoculture isn't natural and does not provide good habitat for insects that in turn can feed birds.

Edited by regentrude
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1 minute ago, athena1277 said:

I have no idea what kind of grass we have.  It’s not the kind that most people around here have that’s slower growing and turns very brown in the winter. I don’t like that kind, but I’d be happy with anything that was not weeds at this point.

can you get any photos of it? I'm guessing in alabama it is a warm season grass,but that includes bermuda, centipede, st. augustine, etc. Cool season grass would likely be turf type tall fescue. If it struggles the most in the summer, probably fescue. If it struggles or slows down he most in the winter, likely a warm season grass. 

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Athena, I am in exactly the same situation you are. And guys, I know you’re trying to be helpful, but you have to understand I have NO idea what kind of weeds or grass I have. Like, there’s not enough grass to tell, and I can’t tell whether it’s fescue or crabgrass or another. And as for weeds, we have a ton, but I can;t identify them beyond simple ones like dandelions. 
So...dumb this down a little for me.  

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Looking at some info, I'd say bermuda is your best bet. If you are far enough north you might get by with fescue, but given that you don't have winter dormancy in your yard (bermuda does) I'm guess you already have fescue, and that is why it struggles. It just gets too hot for it. Also you'd have to wait for fall to plant it. Warm season grasses you plant in the spring, cool season grasses you plant in the fall. 

You can get bermuda seed, and plant that, and it will spread and spread if you water it and fertilize it. Best would be to kill off the weeds you have now though, or watering will just make them grow too and they will overtake the yard before the bermuda seed can grow. Round up (generic) is the only option really for that, other than burning it, etc. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Annie G said:

Athena, I am in exactly the same situation you are. And guys, I know you’re trying to be helpful, but you have to understand I have NO idea what kind of weeds or grass I have. Like, there’s not enough grass to tell, and I can’t tell whether it’s fescue or crabgrass or another. And as for weeds, we have a ton, but I can;t identify them beyond simple ones like dandelions. 
So...dumb this down a little for me.  

If you have little to no grass, and want to start fresh, just kill what you have and then plant new. To kill what you have you'd want to use at least two rounds of a round up type product. Do it once, water and wait for new stuff to sprout, do it again, then mow it or rake it and then plant the seed. 

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We are slowly working to remove/cover/repurpose our weedy lawn patch of a yard. Cardboard+mulch is a winning combination. 👍 

I much prefer hardscaping, raised garden beds, flower beds and so on to grass, but you have a huge area. I’d make some nice usable area near the house and just let the rest just do what it does, honestly. No lawn is worth wasting water, using fertiliser, maintenance time and so forth IMO. 
 

Sorry if that’s of no use.

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1 minute ago, MEmama said:

We are slowly working to remove/cover/repurpose our weedy lawn patch of a yard. Cardboard+mulch is a winning combination. 👍 

I much prefer hardscaping, raised garden beds, flower beds and so on to grass, but you have a huge area. I’d make some nice usable area near the house and just let the rest just do what it does, honestly. No lawn is worth wasting water, using fertiliser, maintenance time and so forth IMO. 
 

Sorry if that’s of no use.

Blasphemy! LOL, just kidding...sort of. I actually REALLY enjoy my lawn. The kids love to play in it now (not just mine, all the neighborhood kids, because mine is the only one with actual grass not just dirt and weeds - and turns out our weeds HURT - burr weed/sand spurs in the summer and a type of stinging nettle in the cooler months) and I get such mental health benefits from taking care of it. Some people love to have flower gardens, some people love to sew, I love my lawn.

I did however plant two pollinator gardens to make up for the lack of flowering weeds. And put up feeders for the birds, complete with mealworms as well as seeds. Sort of like companies buying carbon offsets I guess, lol. 

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9 minutes ago, Annie G said:

Athena, I am in exactly the same situation you are. And guys, I know you’re trying to be helpful, but you have to understand I have NO idea what kind of weeds or grass I have. Like, there’s not enough grass to tell, and I can’t tell whether it’s fescue or crabgrass or another. And as for weeds, we have a ton, but I can;t identify them beyond simple ones like dandelions. 
So...dumb this down a little for me.  

This is me.  I have no idea what any of them are called.

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1 minute ago, Ktgrok said:

Blasphemy! LOL, just kidding...sort of. I actually REALLY enjoy my lawn. The kids love to play in it now (not just mine, all the neighborhood kids, because mine is the only one with actual grass not just dirt and weeds - and turns out our weeds HURT - burr weed/sand spurs in the summer and a type of stinging nettle in the cooler months) and I get such mental health benefits from taking care of it. Some people love to have flower gardens, some people love to sew, I love my lawn.

I did however plant two pollinator gardens to make up for the lack of flowering weeds. And put up feeders for the birds, complete with mealworms as well as seeds. Sort of like companies buying carbon offsets I guess, lol. 

My oldest has complained before that the weeds don’t feel good when barefoot.  Grass just makes it look so much more inviting.

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4 minutes ago, athena1277 said:

This is me.  I have no idea what any of them are called.

It's actually kind of fun to learn 🙂

But for the time being, you want to get rid of them all and start fresh, so doesn't really matter. 

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Katie, you have a green thumb. A couple of years ago we had some sidewalk work done and I had bare dirt and decided I could seed it myself. So I sought advice, bought seed, watered religiously, and then two months later paid a landscaper to do it because I grew exactly zero blades of grass. 

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31 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Blasphemy! LOL, just kidding...sort of. I actually REALLY enjoy my lawn. The kids love to play in it now (not just mine, all the neighborhood kids, because mine is the only one with actual grass not just dirt and weeds - and turns out our weeds HURT - burr weed/sand spurs in the summer and a type of stinging nettle in the cooler months) and I get such mental health benefits from taking care of it. Some people love to have flower gardens, some people love to sew, I love my lawn.

I did however plant two pollinator gardens to make up for the lack of flowering weeds. And put up feeders for the birds, complete with mealworms as well as seeds. Sort of like companies buying carbon offsets I guess, lol. 

That is wonderful - as long as you maintain your beautiful lawn without poisonous herbicides like roundup that then end up in the water. 

Edited by regentrude
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3 minutes ago, regentrude said:

That is wonderful - as long as you maintain your beautiful lawn without poisonous herbicides like roundup that then end up in the water. 

That’s part of my concern- I don’t want the weeds but I love the wild birds that I attract to my yard with feeders. I don’t want to do harm just to get rid of weeds.  

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44 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

If you have little to no grass, and want to start fresh, just kill what you have and then plant new. To kill what you have you'd want to use at least two rounds of a round up type product. Do it once, water and wait for new stuff to sprout, do it again, then mow it or rake it and then plant the seed. 

How would you go about using roundup on such a large area?  Is there a middle ground between ripping it out by hand and massive amounts of chemicals?

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I have the same problem.  I have found orange oil / industrial vinegar mixture to be a wonderful herbicide. I live in the gulf coast and we have a long growing season.    A gallon of 30-40 percent industrial vinegar mixed with about 4-5 oz of  orange oil (not orange cleaner) and 3 ounces of dawn dishwashing liquid will kill it all.    Amazon has a weed sprayer for large area, (and even seed for Bermuda as well as the other ingredients). https://www.amazon.com/Chapin-International-20000-1-Gallon-Translucent/dp/B000E28UQU/ref=sr_1_3?crid=248NW55LEPAUZ&dchild=1&keywords=weed+sprayer+pump+2+gallon&qid=1585256295&sprefix=weed+s%2Caps%2C198&sr=8-3

   If you are subtropic like me, a bonus is that the fire ants hate it.  Thanks for the tips for youtube videos above, I can kill them, but don't know what to do next.

edit: I haven't done research to make sure that this mixture is completely safe. 

Edited by SilverBrook
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I did however plant two pollinator gardens to make up for the lack of flowering weeds. And put up feeders for the birds, complete with mealworms as well as seeds. Sort of like companies buying carbon offsets I guess, lol. 

 

Adding a little clover to your lawn might also benefit the environment somewhat.

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2 hours ago, Annie G said:

Katie, you have a green thumb. A couple of years ago we had some sidewalk work done and I had bare dirt and decided I could seed it myself. So I sought advice, bought seed, watered religiously, and then two months later paid a landscaper to do it because I grew exactly zero blades of grass. 

It might have been your grass seed - some brands work better than others. Did you water several times a day, small amounts? Did you cover it with a bit of peat moss or straw, or rake it in? It needs seed to soil contact, and to stay wet. The seed coat has to absorb enough water to swell and then trigger germination. If it dries out it wont' germinate. 

2 hours ago, regentrude said:

That is wonderful - as long as you maintain your beautiful lawn without poisonous herbicides like roundup that then end up in the water. 

I used round up the one time, and was careful not to do it before rain, etc. I sometimes use an herbicide, but not often, always with proper and careful measuring, not on a windy day, not when it will rain, etc. And I know you know this, but for general purposes, glyphosate is a safer option than some of the stuff people are turning to as an alternative (regarding other brands/types of herbicide). But not for everyday use, for sure. 

2 hours ago, Annie G said:

That’s part of my concern- I don’t want the weeds but I love the wild birds that I attract to my yard with feeders. I don’t want to do harm just to get rid of weeds.  

With birds, they don't eat the grass itself. You need to make sure not to apply herbicides and pesticides to flowering plants that they might be getting seed or nectar from. If I need to apply something I make sure I've been mowing well enough that there are no flowering weeds, that I caught them before they flowered or went to seed. And for small amounts, hand pulling is the way to go. Also, some products are harder on the environment than others. I use those least likely to impact non target species - so using Spinosad, an organic treatment for caterpillars to kill the armyworms that were destroying my yard - it doesn't hurt spiders or the predatory wasps, etc that prey on the caterpillars. Making sure NOT to get it on the flowers in the pollinator garden (so good spray equipment and when there was no wind) and even then applying at dusk, to avoid pollinators. For soil insects chlorantranipole (or something like that) is one of the most environmentally friendly, per both my biologist friend and my entomologist friend. (yes, I have nerdy friends, lol). It happens to be the main ingredient in grub ex now, so another of my  top choices if I need to apply anything. For fire ants my local university ag extension office reccomends bait products as the safest for the other critters, as they won't eat it. And does reccomend treating for them, as they are non native and a danger to the native insects I guess. 

1 hour ago, athena1277 said:

How would you go about using roundup on such a large area?  Is there a middle ground between ripping it out by hand and massive amounts of chemicals?

So..what equipment do you have? Riding mower? You can get sprayers that you pull behind a riding mower, that's an option. Or rent a sodcutter to just dig it all up. I bet there is a bigger option for bigger areas. Equipment rental places are awesome for stuff like that. 

There is the lawnforum.com that is fantastic for advice, but has a bit of testosterone flair, lol. Or the facebook lawn care nut group, or Grass Goons, also on facebook. But also, check out your local county extension office - they will have local advice. Many have lots of how to articles on their websites. 

You will also need to figure out a way to irrigate it in the beginning - there are a lot of DIY ideas on line using just a hose and timer and sprinkler on a stake, if you don't want permanent irrigation. 

I do think that it is a valid idea to designate a certain area as the yard, and do it, and let the rest go a bit. 

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3 hours ago, Annie G said:

Athena, I am in exactly the same situation you are. And guys, I know you’re trying to be helpful, but you have to understand I have NO idea what kind of weeds or grass I have. Like, there’s not enough grass to tell, and I can’t tell whether it’s fescue or crabgrass or another. And as for weeds, we have a ton, but I can;t identify them beyond simple ones like dandelions
So...dumb this down a little for me.  

 

Hey @Rosie_0801 wanna help me convert these people to becoming dandelion lovers? What better ground cover could there be?

😁

 

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Katie, we bought the seed recommended by the landscaper and covered it with a light layer of straw. Watered it twice a day per their instructions.  (The guy ran a nursery but also offered services). Once he did the seeding, I did the same watering schedule and it grew like crazy. So I really don’t know what I did wrong other than some people just don’t have a knack for it. 
 

As for killing all the weeds with chemicals I do want to do it without upsetting the animal life, and I don’t know that’s possible.  I’m a weirdo, I know....I actively kill fire ants but don;t want to hurt any of the other living things that my birds like to eat.  I’m probably going to start with a small area and see how it goes.  lord knows I have time.g 

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7 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

Hey @Rosie_0801 wanna help me convert these people to becoming dandelion lovers? What better ground cover could there be?

😁

 

When I see a soccer field that is made of dandilions rather than grass, I'll become a believer. Maybe. 

 

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1 minute ago, Annie G said:

Katie, we bought the seed recommended by the landscaper and covered it with a light layer of straw. Watered it twice a day per their instructions.  (The guy ran a nursery but also offered services). Once he did the seeding, I did the same watering schedule and it grew like crazy. So I really don’t know what I did wrong other than some people just don’t have a knack for it. 
 

As for killing all the weeds with chemicals I do want to do it without upsetting the animal life, and I don’t know that’s possible.  I’m a weirdo, I know....I actively kill fire ants but don;t want to hurt any of the other living things that my birds like to eat.  I’m probably going to start with a small area and see how it goes.  lord knows I have time.g 

Also, you don't need acreage of lawn. Section off a reasonable area big enough for kids to kick the ball around, whatever, and make that the area you work on. A barrier of some sort between that and the rest would be helpful though - hedge, fence, mulch path, something. 

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3 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Blasphemy! LOL, just kidding...sort of. I actually REALLY enjoy my lawn. The kids love to play in it now (not just mine, all the neighborhood kids, because mine is the only one with actual grass not just dirt and weeds - and turns out our weeds HURT - burr weed/sand spurs in the summer and a type of stinging nettle in the cooler months) and I get such mental health benefits from taking care of it. Some people love to have flower gardens, some people love to sew, I love my lawn.

I did however plant two pollinator gardens to make up for the lack of flowering weeds. And put up feeders for the birds, complete with mealworms as well as seeds. Sort of like companies buying carbon offsets I guess, lol. 

 

Same here. When we took over from the previous owner the lawn was a hot mess. We really don't even need irrigation to maintain it, he just didn't bother to do any maintenance at all. It's now so much better (although my projects for the deck area are now on hold). The original owner was a master gardner and she did a marvelous job planting low-maintenance, region friendly, things. We actually have flowering plants and beautiful spring ground cover under our giant pine trees so...yeah...it can be pretty and nature friendly. We have squirrels, rabbits, and TONS of birds. 

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6 minutes ago, Annie G said:

Katie, we bought the seed recommended by the landscaper and covered it with a light layer of straw. Watered it twice a day per their instructions.  (The guy ran a nursery but also offered services). Once he did the seeding, I did the same watering schedule and it grew like crazy. So I really don’t know what I did wrong other than some people just don’t have a knack for it. 
 

As for killing all the weeds with chemicals I do want to do it without upsetting the animal life, and I don’t know that’s possible.  I’m a weirdo, I know....I actively kill fire ants but don;t want to hurt any of the other living things that my birds like to eat.  I’m probably going to start with a small area and see how it goes.  lord knows I have time.g 

 

Soil test. Ours was really acidic due to the lack of maintenance and the aforementioned pine trees (read: needles).

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3 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Also, you don't need acreage of lawn. Section off a reasonable area big enough for kids to kick the ball around, whatever, and make that the area you work on. A barrier of some sort between that and the rest would be helpful though - hedge, fence, mulch path, something. 

That I can do!  We’re empty nesters so we have time to experiment. Just bought this property last year so it’s a new project for us.  When the grandkids come that play in the woods - I wish the whole thing was woods! (not really. I like sitting outside in the sun)

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5 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

When I see a soccer field that is made of dandilions rather than grass, I'll become a believer. Maybe. 

 

 

Believer in what?

sports organizations have similar anti-dandelions prejudices to lawns enthusiasts (possibly a bit more warranted as the dandelions might bounce and spin the ball differently than turf). 

https://globalnews.ca/news/4155595/edmonton-sports-fields-dandelions/

our local elementary school has a large amount of dandelions in its play field.  It does create “issue” of young players getting distracted and stopping to pick the flowers instead of chasing the ball.   Guess it depends how much one cares if the 7 yo group  are totally balldriven or if one feels stopping to admire the flowers is okay.

😁

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38 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

 

Same here. When we took over from the previous owner the lawn was a hot mess. We really don't even need irrigation to maintain it, he just didn't bother to do any maintenance at all. It's now so much better (although my projects for the deck area are now on hold). The original owner was a master gardner and she did a marvelous job planting low-maintenance, region friendly, things. We actually have flowering plants and beautiful spring ground cover under our giant pine trees so...yeah...it can be pretty and nature friendly. We have squirrels, rabbits, and TONS of birds. 

I'd love to see photos of the ground cover under the trees! I have big oaks in the backyard and have given up, lol. I sectioned off and fenced off an area for the kids to play, and the rest is oak leaves right now, lol. No grass or weeds or anything. Too shady. 

34 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

Believer in what?

sports organizations have similar anti-dandelions prejudices to lawns enthusiasts (possibly a bit more warranted as the dandelions might bounce and spin the ball differently than turf). 

https://globalnews.ca/news/4155595/edmonton-sports-fields-dandelions/

our local elementary school has a large amount of dandelions in its play field.  It does create “issue” of young players getting distracted and stopping to pick the flowers instead of chasing the ball.   Guess it depends how much one cares if the 7 yo group  are totally balldriven or if one feels stopping to admire the flowers is okay.

😁

The issue I meant is that weeds don't stand up to much foot traffic. As they thin out (unlike an aggressive turf grass species) they expose the soil, meaning erosion, not to mention muddy kids. Turf is designed to stand up to heavy traffic (well, any turf worth considering for my personal yard, with kids on it constantly and 70 pound dogs as well). Weeds are not, and you can see that in any of the yards around me. Also, they don't grow a thick turf usually, so again, mud/dirt/erosion. 

So if it is just to look at, not to use, I think clover or such is a great option. For actual heavy use as a play area for dogs or people, grass works better. My preference in my ideal yard is grassy lawns for play and sitting on and such, mulch beds of flowers and mulch paths, and wild areas around that for whatever critters. 

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

I'd love to see photos of the ground cover under the trees! I have big oaks in the backyard and have given up, lol. I sectioned off and fenced off an area for the kids to play, and the rest is oak leaves right now, lol. No grass or weeds or anything. Too shady. 

The issue I meant is that weeds don't stand up to much foot traffic. As they thin out (unlike an aggressive turf grass species) they expose the soil, meaning erosion, not to mention muddy kids. Turf is designed to stand up to heavy traffic (well, any turf worth considering for my personal yard, with kids on it constantly and 70 pound dogs as well). Weeds are not, and you can see that in any of the yards around me. Also, they don't grow a thick turf usually, so again, mud/dirt/erosion. 

So if it is just to look at, not to use, I think clover or such is a great option. For actual heavy use as a play area for dogs or people, grass works better. My preference in my ideal yard is grassy lawns for play and sitting on and such, mulch beds of flowers and mulch paths, and wild areas around that for whatever critters. 

 

Sure, I'll take some tomorrow. We have azaleas (which, surprisingly, do well under the trees with filtered sunlight), white camellias, purplish hellebores, 'green and gold' a plant native to VA, and some other colorful tree shrubs. I bought some hastas, ferns, lilies and astilbe to plant this spring too. This pic was after reseeding in the fall. We had SOOOO many bare patches. Those big mushroom shrubs on the left are being removed as part of the patio project. Le sigh. Our yard is pretty big but the giant mushrooms block the flow. 

IMG_8231.jpg

Edited by Sneezyone
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14 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

The issue I meant is that weeds don't stand up to much foot traffic. As they thin out (unlike an aggressive turf grass species) they expose the soil, meaning erosion, not to mention muddy kids. Turf is designed to stand up to heavy traffic (well, any turf worth considering for my personal yard, with kids on it constantly and 70 pound dogs as well). Weeds are not, and you can see that in any of the yards around me. Also, they don't grow a thick turf usually, so again, mud/dirt/erosion.

 

I don't buy it. If turf is so sturdy, why do all my parks local to me block it off periodically so nobody can even sit on the stuff, with signs saying that it's for the health of the lawn?

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Ok, so I took some pics of what we currently have under our pine trees. Our neighbor has a big overhanging oak on the far left side too.  As I said, ignore the giant mushrooms. They are not long for this world. Lol.

I don’t know the names of all of these plants but you can see the white and polar pink azaleas, white and red camellias, white and purple hellebores, gold and green, and some of the variegated shrubs too. There are also some grasses that bloom in summer like liriope. We use the pine straw for mulch.

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Edited by Sneezyone
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32 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Ok, so I took some pics of what we currently have under our pine trees

Very pretty.

On another note (to all):

In this time of crisis, when we need to shelter and need fresh greens for optimal health, DANDELIONS ARE NOT WEEDS, but are a valuable "crop."

Nurture your dandelions. Harvest them by gently picking off leaves (as one would do with baby greens). Treat the leaves gently  (so as not to "bruise" the leaves if you want salad greens. Bruised leaves make a fine sautéed vegetable.

Embrace your dandelions. I served both lunch (dandelions sautéed with pasta) and dandelion salad with dinner.

Washed well, dandelions make a delicious, nutritious, and available (if one is lucky to have them) food source.

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Spy Car said:

Very pretty.

On another note (to all):

In this time of crisis, when we need to shelter and need fresh greens for optimal health, DANDELIONS ARE NOT WEEDS, but are a valuable "crop."

Nurture your dandelions. Harvest them by gently picking off leaves (as one would do with baby greens). Treat the leaves gently  (so as not to "bruise" the leaves if you want salad greens. Bruised leaves make a fine sautéed vegetable.

Embrace your dandelions. I served both lunch (dandelions sautéed with pasta) and dandelion salad with dinner.

Washed well, dandelions make a delicious, nutritious, and available (if one is lucky to have them) food source.

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

Hear, hear!

(A fine policy outside of crisis times, also. We'd all benefit from being more aware of the foodstuffs all around us.)

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14 minutes ago, Spy Car said:

Very pretty.

On another note (to all):

In this time of crisis, when we need to shelter and need fresh greens for optimal health, DANDELIONS ARE NOT WEEDS, but are a valuable "crop."

Nurture your dandelions. Harvest them by gently picking off leaves (as one would do with baby greens). Treat the leaves gently  (so as not to "bruise" the leaves if you want salad greens. Bruised leaves make a fine sautéed vegetable.

Embrace your dandelions. I served both lunch (dandelions sautéed with pasta) and dandelion salad with dinner.

Washed well, dandelions make a delicious, nutritious, and available (if one is lucky to have them) food source.

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

I truly wish I could eat dandelions.

They are Way Too Bitter.

I'm genetically a bitter taster though so I imagine not everyone experiences the bitterness so strongly.

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1 hour ago, Tanaqui said:

 

I don't buy it. If turf is so sturdy, why do all my parks local to me block it off periodically so nobody can even sit on the stuff, with signs saying that it's for the health of the lawn?

Could be those are areas with different turf, not for playing on? Like alongside walkways? Some grasses are more sturdy than others - and if it isn't for walking on, I agree it doesn't need to be turf grass. 

But even turf grass needs some recovery, depending on how much use it is getting. It's just better at it than weeds are. And not all turf is the same - i have bermuda because it is aggressive at filling in damage. Zoysia is slow growing, and would not withstand that same amount of damage. But Zoysia is so pretty and soft and grows very densly, so very little need to use any weed killer if properly cared for - it's too dense for the weed seeds to hit the soil and germinate. 

8 minutes ago, maize said:

I truly wish I could eat dandelions.

They are Way Too Bitter.

I'm genetically a bitter taster though so I imagine not everyone experiences the bitterness so strongly.

Me too. Spinach is as bitter as I can go. 

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We hired help for our mess of a front lawn.  I can’t help there.  They do what they do, and it’s supposed to be environmentally friendly and safe.  They are very aware that we live next to a pond with wildlife.  

But for our backyard ... we finally gave up.  It was so liberating!  We have a yard that is mostly wooded, with smaller vignette type areas - a pavilion seating area, a firepit area, a flagstone patio, path to pond, herb garden, just various different, defined areas.  We put in hardscaping - flagstone paths - to some areas, and for others we did stepping stones through mulch, with some nice plantings thrown in to keep it interesting. It is such a relief not to fight with the fragile grass back there now!

We have woods as well, which we let stay very natural, for wildlife.

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1 hour ago, Spryte said:

We hired help for our mess of a front lawn.  I can’t help there.  They do what they do, and it’s supposed to be environmentally friendly and safe.  They are very aware that we live next to a pond with wildlife.  

But for our backyard ... we finally gave up.  It was so liberating!  We have a yard that is mostly wooded, with smaller vignette type areas - a pavilion seating area, a firepit area, a flagstone patio, path to pond, herb garden, just various different, defined areas.  We put in hardscaping - flagstone paths - to some areas, and for others we did stepping stones through mulch, with some nice plantings thrown in to keep it interesting. It is such a relief not to fight with the fragile grass back there now!

We have woods as well, which we let stay very natural, for wildlife.

Yeah when you have trees that is the best way to go,for sure. 2/3 of my back yard is shaded by oaks, and gradually will be mulched and some shade plants put in. No point in fighting for grass there. Not unless we really thinned out the oaks a lot which we are not doing right now for money reasons. (I'd like to eventually, not for grass but so that the swimming pool gets more sun and less oak pollen!)

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18 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

Sheep! Turn in the sheep! And then hogs. Weeds eaten, ground tilled. Then plant. 😁

I have seriously been tempted lately to get a goat.  Besides the lawn problem I have flowerbeds overrun with English ivy.  Nothing kills that stuff.  I tried 2 rounds of roundup last spring and the nasty stuff just laughed at me.

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5 minutes ago, athena1277 said:

I have seriously been tempted lately to get a goat.  Besides the lawn problem I have flowerbeds overrun with English ivy.  Nothing kills that stuff.  I tried 2 rounds of roundup last spring and the nasty stuff just laughed at me.

Unfortunately, goats usually eat all your trees and shrubs first!

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Most greens, including dandelions, are  a lot less bitter when young. Like, in the spring when the bright green, tender leaves have fresh popped out of the ground. Though honestly, I've never found dandelion greens worth stalking like that.

Quote

Could be those are areas with different turf, not for playing on? Like alongside walkways? Some grasses are more sturdy than others - and if it isn't for walking on, I agree it doesn't need to be turf grass. 

 

Only if both the NYC parks department and also the state parks department or whoever it is that manages Battery Park City are totally incompetent. These are the lawns that you're supposed to be allowed to play and picnic on when opened... and honestly, it's NYC. Anybody putting grass in a park and not expecting people to walk all on it is incredibly dim.

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36 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

Most greens, including dandelions, are  a lot less bitter when young. Like, in the spring when the bright green, tender leaves have fresh popped out of the ground. Though honestly, I've never found dandelion greens worth stalking like that.

 

Only if both the NYC parks department and also the state parks department or whoever it is that manages Battery Park City are totally incompetent. These are the lawns that you're supposed to be allowed to play and picnic on when opened... and honestly, it's NYC. Anybody putting grass in a park and not expecting people to walk all on it is incredibly dim.

They are certainly worth stalking to me (in this moment).

Delicious lettuce without leaving my yard. Precious resource for me.

Bill

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1 hour ago, Tanaqui said:

Most greens, including dandelions, are  a lot less bitter when young. Like, in the spring when the bright green, tender leaves have fresh popped out of the ground. Though honestly, I've never found dandelion greens worth stalking like that.

 

Only if both the NYC parks department and also the state parks department or whoever it is that manages Battery Park City are totally incompetent. These are the lawns that you're supposed to be allowed to play and picnic on when opened... and honestly, it's NYC. Anybody putting grass in a park and not expecting people to walk all on it is incredibly dim.

Oh, well that might just be too much foot traffic for anything then.

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All the new soccer fields in my town have AstroTurf. It’s not the painful indoor/outdoor carpet-type stuff I remember from 80s football fields. It’s really soft. It looks so real. I only know it’s turf because I went and touched it because it looked a little TOO perfect. 
 

My lawn standards are that it needs no coddling or chemicals and is comfy on my bare feet. I just scratch up the ground with a rake and sprinkle a shade grass and clover mix. It get the green carpet look when it’s mowed, but the grass/clover/soft weeds blend doesn’t have to be cut as often and stays greener in the summer. I’m only ever going to water grass when I plant seeds. Once they sprout they’re in their own. I’m slowly expanding from forest floor to “lawn.”  I only need a little bit of lawn to get me to my various garden beds and have an area for kids to play. 
 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've torn out all our grass and put in meandering gravel paths with mixed beds of flowers, roses, herbs, and drought-tolerant and/or native plants.

Pretty, but a lot of work. The CA drought just made lawns feel wrong.

But before the big tear out I had our St Augustine looking amazing, like a thick carpet. Lush.

What was the secret? Let me tell you. Feed the lawn with alfalfa in the form of either meal (harder to find) or pellets (which breakdown after a few waterings) in combination with soybean meal.

For both you need to make sure they have no salt added. Feed stores often carry big bags (which is the economical way to do this).

Not my invention. Read about this combo years ago on what was then Garden Web in the Organic Lawn section. 

People were raving about the combo. I tried it. The bomb! Trust me. 

Helps create a whole healthy biome and the grass grows thick, lush, and vibrantly green. Perfect.

Previously my lawn didn't look bad. But it wasn't worthy of a photo spread. After a couple of rounds of soybean meal and alfalfa pellets, people took notice.

It is all gone now. Boo hoo.

Bill (who is literally serving dandelion salads daily, which family members are loving).

 

 

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