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Help take over my yard  RSS feed

 
                            
Posts: 17
Location: Central New York
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Hey,
I just bought my first house and want to get the lawn into shape.  The front corner of my yard had a tree removed a month or so before I got the house, and since then, that corner has been filling in with weeds.  They have been spreading outward and they are all fast growing and look terrible so I want to stop them asap.  There are some bare spots at the very edge of the lot, but as you get further from the corner, where the weeds are encountering my grass, they get thicker and thicker.  Not only that, but this mysterious bright green very fast growing weeds has started popping up (it's always a blade or two in a spot).  Any ideas on what to do?
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22340
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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What kind of tree was taken out?

When you talk about the weed, you mention "blade" - a type of grass?

Any chance of getting a pic?
 
                            
Posts: 17
Location: Central New York
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By the way, I'm a big fan of your site.  Anyways, I just went out and took some pics and signed up for a free webhost to get it on the web.

http://www.angelfire.com/crazy/lawn/

I have no idea what the tree that was taken out was.
About the bright green grass.  It's real rough and does not feel good when you step on it.  It grows extremely fast.  I have also noticed it has very very shallow weeds, when I pull them out they just come out root and all.
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22340
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I'm thinking either quackgrass or ....  tall fescue! 

Probably quackgrass. 

Hmmmm ....  wherabouts are you?  Or, more importantly - does it freeze where you are?  This will help me to figure out if this is a warm season grass or a cool season grass (although I'm betting on cool season).

 
                            
Posts: 17
Location: Central New York
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I live in central new york, syracuse area, and it definatly freezes here, first frost is mid-end september (or so i've heard)

and what should I do about the corner with the tree.  That's my main concern right now.  As of now I'm just going around my yard pulling the bright green stuff and crab grass by hand.
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22340
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Take some samples into your local extension agent.  Along with some samples of the grass you already have.  Chances are they will be familiar with weed grasses in your area and will be able to identify it.

The first picture is the one that stumps me .... 

In fact - maybe you could e-mail your local extension office and send them a link to the same pictures.

If nothing else, it is a grass weed.  And if I had to place a bet, I would say quackgrass.  Which is going to be a challenge to get rid of.  As a perennial grass - it does almost everything the same as your lawn.  Plucking the grass blades will take away the energy source.  Pull it the same way you would pull bindweed or canadian thistle.

I'm used to seeing quack grass grow more along the ground than straight up.  That's what makes me wonder if it isn't quackgrass. 

And by looking at the blades of mixed length, I'm guessing that you only recently started to mow high.  I kinda wonder if mowing high will produce some benefits over the next few months that will help in your war against this weed.



 
                            
Posts: 17
Location: Central New York
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I will email them right now.  I think I am going to have to pull them out too.  I actually cut the grass friday, just the bright stuff grows sooo fast.  I have started mowing high(er)  I am also composting a lot of the weeds i've pulled out pretty sucessfully (actually I have forgotten to bring the can to the curb a few weeks in a row and after opening the can up to put in the new weeds in yesterday, I noticed everything had been composted).  Anyways I'm gonna put that in all the bare spots I have from pulling the crab grass.  Do you have any suggestions for the corner?  There is barely in grass there, it's mostly weeds.  Anything you know of that I can do instead of starting that part of the yard from scratch?
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22340
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Well ....  I always like cheap stuff that will do my work for me ...

I currently own a 100 pound sack of pea seed.  I would mow low and then dig the ground up a bit and seriously overseed with peas.  Then water every day or two.  Peas are a cool season crop and will grow up until a really hard frost.  In about two months, the peas will make a mat about two feet thick and smother everything underneath - inlcluding grasses.  Then the patch will be virtually weed free next spring and ready for grass seed.
 
                            
Posts: 17
Location: Central New York
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sorry paul, but I broke the cheap and lazy rule.
I've started to pull out the weeded area, and got some more compost from a guy I know.  Been seening the nice tall fescue grass seed when I'm at walmart and figured I might as well.  But getting rid of what's there is a pain.  I think i've spent maybe 10 hours with a hoe and got maybe 100 sq ft if not less.
Is there another way to get rid of the sod?  I was thinking vinegar, but would that hurt the seed if I planted it right after?  Anyone got any suggestions?
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22340
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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if you wanna start over and you don't want to do the peas trick, maybe you should use a rototiller.  Be prepared to till twice.  The second time would be to kill anything that survived the first till.

 
Scott Perkins
Posts: 32
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I love my weeds. I have a yard whereby Darwin has selected the most hardy and robust plants to act as ground cover and require less mowing
than any superbred grass. If I could buy weedseed I would as I think they are wonder plants and my yard is made more interesting by
small clusters of different types of ground cover..... the prettiest I would guess to be the clover. I urge you to let nature take its course
and supply you with what grows best and requires the least maintenance.
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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Is quackgrass the same as couch grass? I think it looks like couch grass, which definitely can grow high - when we first got our allotment it was waist-high with mostly couch grass! And I'm sorry to say it's a killer to get rid of. We didn't rototill it, but we did dig and double-dig the raised beds, 3-4 times per year for two years, each time pulling out every bit of rhizome that we could see... and it still wasn't gone. We also mulched some areas with a mixture of approaches - plastic sheets, cardboard and woodchip sheet mulches... and it still wasn't gone. I think our problem was that we were approaching it bed-by-bed, but the rhizomes go so far laterally that it was just invading back in from the paths, and the neighbouring plots. If it is couchgrass, I would say that you need to treat the entire area affected, plus at least a meter or so around it if possible, at the same time. If I was doing it, I would try the following: rototill the whole area and leave it bare, then till again in a month or so, then either mulch with something that can be pulled off later, or plant a dense green manure like Paul suggests with the peas, then in a few months/after the winter pull off the mulch and rototill again, or till in the green manure. If it is couch, expect it to take at least a few seasons to get rid of - we had stuff under thick mulch for 2 years and when we pulled it off, the rhizomes were still totally viable.
 
Ken Grunke
Posts: 82
Location: SW Wisconsin zone 4
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Yup, couchgrass and quackgrass are the same. We have our good share of it on our property. With all due respect to paul, rototilling is the worst thing you can do to quackgrass (or the best thing if you want it to thrive). Every root that is cut/chopped doubles it's chance of survival. All of our garden beds were hand dug with spades and the grass manually removed after shaking the dirt out.
A green manure cover crop is a great idea, also. We have been using Russian comfrey with great success, it's leaves cover the ground very well. Another approach is scalping the grass with a hoe or a weedwacker, so the roots eventually die off from lack of photosynthesis.
 
Tom Kozak
Posts: 91
Location: Sudbury ON, Canada
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Might I suggest chickens?
if your city allows them.
 
Marj Baker
Posts: 10
Location: Ontario, Canada
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looks like quack grass to me, hard to kill without chemicals, but you could try covering the area with black plastic and leave until it's all dead, reseed with a grass mixture
that works for your area, but don't stir up the soil in case some weed seed is lurking below the surface, just seed and water. A soil test is always suggested, if the soil
has the right nutrient balance for grass, the weeds will not get a start. And remember grass seed can take 2 weeks to sprout, just keep the soil damp. Seeding is best done in late
August - early September.
 
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