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.
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
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
"Bluesman" wrote in message
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On 12 Apr 2004 09:09:31 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (Bluesman)
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
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.
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
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.
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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