Do I need to start over on my lawn?

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Hey everyone, I'm a total newbie, but I've purchased 2 books about grass/lawn care and one of them was Scotts "Lawns", a guide to a "beautiful lawn". It's a great book and I highly recommend it, especially for greenhorns like myself.
In December 2005, I purchased a home in San Antonio, Texas. During the Spring, we had a severe drought condition and, being new to this whole lawn thing, I neglected and did not take care of the grass. I've attached some pictures of my lawn in hopes that it will help provide some clues as to what is the best way for me to tackle this problem and how I can bring it back and have the "toe-ticklinest turf in town!"
Pics: http://www.ogmda.com/temp/lawn
My grass type: St. Augustine Soil Test Results: Should be received this week! I am waiting for this before I make a move on feeding the lawn
Question: With my lawn condition, should I just do some lawn patching or do I need to renovate the lawn by killing the whole thing and then starting over? What would you do?
What's the fastest way to get this lawn back in top shape?
Thanks for any advice!! P.S> I had Scotts do a free lawn analysis and they gave me the following info: Turf density: Thin, Moderate shade, Aeration needed/ compacted soil, Clay loam, good mowing, drought stress, weeds: clover, dandelion, dollarweed, oxalis, crabgrass, foxtail, goose grass, chinch bugs(?)
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Too busy here to respond in detail at the moment, but:
I'm not a big fan of dogs, but you apparently are. Keep in mind that the Scott's franchises are in business to sell chemicals, none of which can be legally tested for safety in humans. I have no idea if they've ever used dogs as test subjects. Probably not.
I see you have some vegetables in the raised bed thing. Most lawn chemical companies hire high school children to apply chemicals. They lie to these employees, telling them that the stuff they're spraying is safe around food crops. My one experience in this area involved walking out of my house about 30 seconds before a lawn spray child was about to contaminate MY vegetable garden with a chemical which he claimed was safe, but was NOT legal to use anywhere near food crops.
Everything else they told you is probably true (soil quality, etc), but you can get that information in other ways. I would recommend that you contact the cooperative extension service and get some advice from them. It's free, and they don't sell anything. It's a service of your state university. It exists to advise farmers and homeowners on agricultural issues. Go to google and search using the words "cooperative extension texas". You'll find it.
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The extension services I am aware of, especially Penn State are product pushers.
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.

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Some extension services use volunteers, so it's likely you're hearing their personal opinions. Since we have two very accurate surveys proving that a little over 50% of the population is pathetically stupid, you have to take everything you hear with a grain of salt.
The best thing for gardeners to do is hire private detectives to help them find their local library. Then, read some books, and take the least poisonous or invasive approach to solving problems.
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But you will anyway, Doug Kanter.

Many people enjoy a dogs company Doug, you advocate killing your neighbors dog if you can catch him or poison him with a bowl of antifreeze.

Scott's franchises are in business to sell chemicals, none of which can be

You hate dogs, you talk about leaving bowls of anti freeze out for them.

Really? High school children?
I'm sure you have some data to back up your claim of children spraying control product on lawns in the USA, right?

They hire grocery stock boys at that age first, ask your dad and your son, then yourself.

They lie to these

Most real applicators are pesticide certified by the state they're doing business in. You can't lie to them.
Now go get your shine-box, stockboy Doug Kanter aka JoeSpareBedroom.
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High school children. Exactly what I said. I've seen it. Prove me wrong. Right the fuck now.
Prove me wrong.
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wrote:

In Connecticut, you can't be employed to apply pesticides or herbicides under the age of 18. I realize YOU were probably much older than that when and if you finished High School, but most kids are about 17 when they graduate.
CWM
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Apparently, things are different in NY.
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Apparently you don't know your ass from a garden weasel, Doug.
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Charlie Morgan wrote:

I would guess that would be the same in most states, but they probably do allow under aged "helpers", not licensed to apply the pesticides, but there to help keep the hoses untangled, get tools when needed, etc. And I can see where Billy Bob SR. of BB's Bug Control would let Billy Bob Jr actually do the application especially if he had been helping Pops since he was 12.
Lar
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Exactly. And, since people that young have ZERO historical perspective, with regard to chemicals, they'll believe anything they're told.
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Have you trained your son in the fine art of poisoning your neighbors dog with a well placed bowl of antifreeze yet, Dougie?
Never mind, he doesn't believe anything you say anyway stockboy.
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Hey everyone I wanted to report on my backyard's progress since I last posted my message. Almost two months later, my backyard has DRAMATICALLY improved. Now, get this, I spent 0 dollars and check out the before and after pictures:
Before (March 31):
http://www.ogmda.com/temp/lawn/backyard1.jpg
Today (May 28):
http://www.ogmda.com/temp/lawn/by2.jpg
I must admit that Mother Nature is proabbly responsible for the dramatic turn around. We've ben getting about 2 inches of rain per week for the last few weeks and it has been cooler than usual. Also, I did the following to my yard: 1.) Got a soil test done and saw that I only needed to add nitrate. Luckily, my neighbor had some and I was able to save money. 2.) I hand pulled all the weeds myself--and after two weeks of doing this, I no longer needed to do this as the grass was starting to take over and crowd them out. 3.) I never watered. The rain did it for me. 4.) I laid mulch on the lawn's bare spots 5.) I built a bird house for a bird that specializes in eating the kind of bugs I had in my grass. 6.) I cut the grass with a minimum height of 2 1/2" inches for my grass type.
That's about it. As you can see, I did not need to resod. However, my frontyard is going a little slower and I am probably gonna have to resod some parts of it.
Thanks for all the tips.
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skunker wrote:

Looks like...Florida.
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My opinion is your area is probably Texas. Or something inline with central USA. All have been getting an unusual amount of rainfall. SE USA is definitely on its way to a drought.
All my St. Augustine was in the condition in the first photo last summer/autumn. Most of it has returned as in your second photo. Same fix. Mother nature's cooler temps, overcast even when not raining preventing dryup of the upper soil surface, and regular rainfall. Dave
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That's exactly it. I am also located in San Antonio.
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Wimberley outlying area here. I've heard much praise about rain, but that's only half the factor. So much daily overcast, it became depressing. But, it kept the dampness in the upper soil when it wasn't raining/drizzling. Add that to our lower temps. Formula for all things green to grow and spread.
Am anticipating bugs galore attacking the garden when it heats up again. Native stuff will dry up as it always does in the summer. Those bugs gotta eat something. I've never seen katydids out here. They're here now. Still, no bees. Dave
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Time to get up close and friendly with yer veggies.
- Bill Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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Had some armyworm types, but not sure what they were. They were eating the parsley and I let them do that for a bit. Now they are gone. I wonder if birds may have gotten them? So far not too bad on the insects...mostly had ladybugs and wasps, but those are "good" insects, according to this book I have. Also fire ants on the corner of the lot, but I will deal with them later.
Been pretty quiet, but the morning doves are getting really on my nerves. I hate their coo coos. I do enjoy seeing the bluejays flying around and some finches (not sure) have taken residence in the trees.
Just a few minutes ago I saw a bird break its wing and I had to push him out into the street so he doesn't get boxed into my backyard. Poor guy. Can't believe I got so depressed over it. He was real droopy and I think he needed water. WIsh I could do more. Two days ago I had to knock a squirrel out after i found him lying in a coma state in the middle of the street (stupid drivers driving too fast in my neighborhood, probably got hit by car). I think I made it worse, wasn't sure what to do, but couldn't decapitate it. GOsh, I'm such a wuss. But the more I spend caring for the landscape and watching the animals, the more they become a part of me.
-N
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Nope. You can't be employed in that field younger than 18. Under 18 can't work at anything that is considered "hazardous'. That includes operating most manufacturing machinerey as well.
CWM
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