My lawn is a disaster, need some help...

Greetings,
I have a small back yard, maybe 50 x 100, that is in horrid shape. A couple of years ago my dog did his business everywhere, and I think all that piss messed up the soil.
For the past 3 years I have laid lime, fertilizer and seed, as well as grub killer the past two years, but my lawn looks like a lot in the ghetto. About 1/2 grass of 5 different shades of green, 1/4 giant mutant weeds and 1/4 bald spots.
I have been using a mulch mower - should I switch to bag? Different chemicals? start all over? Pave it? I don't want Fenway Park, just something that looks somewhat green w/o having to spend a fortune.
Thanks,
Bluesman
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Till the entire lawn and plant new seed. If a hot dry area, cover the new seed with straw to keep it moist. Water every day for two weeks. Rake up straw after 3 or 4 weeks.
Then use a weed killer which will "kill the weeds, but not the grass". These come in a spray bottle and you can go around about once a week and spray any weeds you see. Do this for two years and most of the weeds will be gone.
So far as fertilizers to apply to your lawn, just use regular lawn food and follow the directions. If you want to be more scientific, get a soil test done. This can be done for about $100 and will tell you exactly what fertilizers you need to apply. Ask your local university agricultural school where you can get soil testing done. When you get the test results back, you may not understand it. Take it to a farm supply or university agricultural extension department and they should be able to tell you what is needed and where to buy it.
Some specialized fertilizer is only available at farm supplies, but not at retail stores. Some of these will be labled something like 20-0-0 and will not have any instructions on the bag, so ask how much you should apply and when.
"Bluesman" wrote in message

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Bluesman wrote:

Sod
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On 12 Apr 2004 09:09:31 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (Bluesman) wrote:

Urine should not "mess up the soil" unless there is a lot of it. After a year of "no dog" the soil should have neutralized itself. Different shades of green means there are different grasses growing which is a good thing. A mulching mower is better than bagging, unless you are cutting much more than 1/3 of the grass blade. If you still have the dog, forget about having a really nice lawn. Spring is the time to treat the weeds (when they are young and growing) and spot-treating is better than "punishing" the entire lawn, although in your case that may be necessary. Do a pH test before you use lime. Don't buy cheap seed. A pre-emergence can be used for crab-grass control, if you have that.
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Bluesman wrote:

Lime? Is the soil acid? Had it tested? You can buy a kit to test pH, or take soil samples to extension service. It would be worth sending/taking soil samples to extension service to test ph and for pests. Dog urine, like fertilizers and other chemicals, will "burn" plants if underwatered because they cause dehydration - just like when people eat a lot of salt.
Spring is time to seed. Water deeply when you water. Fertilize. When the grass has taken hold and growth is more rapid, put on a broadleaf weed killer. Seed again, if needed, and mow at proper height. If it is too shady, too compacted, consider planting something else.
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I vote for a soil test. Who knows what condition your soil is in now. You will need to get the soil in condition using the right tools first.
Depending one where you are, this may not be a good time to start a new lawn. In most places fall is the best time for a new lawn so I suggest you start now by getting the soil in shape, eliminating any insect or disease you may have now. That with proper mowing and watering and maybe some weed control, may bring your lawn back to life and by fall you will not need to bother with replacing it.
Don't treat for a problem you don't KNOW you have.
In short, get the soil straight before investing money anywhere else.
Check with your local county extension agent (phone book) for soil test and help.
BTW, I believe the biggest lawn problem in most of the US comes from cutting the grass too short. It's not a putting green, don't true to treat it like one.
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Joseph E. Meehan

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My lawn is probably worse than yours. It's so bad I'm not going to bother with chemicals because I doubt that they were intended for lawns as bad as mine. I'm digging it up and sifting through the soil and throwing out anything that appears to be anything other than dirt. Once I've done that I'm left with something close to a normal amount of weeds that chemicals might actually be useful on, but just the same I might try digging everything up again for round two before I try the chemicals to finish them off.
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<snip>
Agreed! An extension agent is a great resource. Call and ask about soil testing. They can suggest a grass that's appropriate for your climate, amount of shade, soil type, and use. Tom Baker
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