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Newbie needs help killing Hawkweed. Help!!!  RSS feed

 
                            
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I also posted this in a permaculture discussion thread I found on Hawkweed.

Please help me.
I am quite the dummy about yard care.
I live in Western Pa.

I mean well. I will not use anything except organic approaches. If this is a two- or three-year plan, that is OK.

If I did not live in a bit of a "lawn cult" neighborhood, I would probably let the weeds take over.

So ... my problem ...
My yard is being taken over by Yellow Hawkweed
http://www.msuturfweeds.net/details/_/yellow_hawkweed_25/

I had the soil tested. It is acidic. I was advised to add lime to the yard three times this year, and to add fertilizer three times as well.

I went to a local organic gardening specialist with the soil test report and photos of my yard. He gave me some advice.

Some of it I didn't like ... for example, he said organic weed killer will not work.

So, I am confused about the best way to:
1) get rid of the Hawkweed and
2) grow grass after the Hawkweed is out

I have not applied anything to my yard for years -- not fertilizer, no grass seed, nothing.
Currently, the Hawkweed is blooming.
I have cut the grass twice this season.

Here are my questions:

1) Should I spray the Hawkweed with something (Espoma 4in1?) to kill it -- and then dig it up?
2) Or should I just dig it up?
3) Do I use a rototiller to dig it up? Hawkweed spreads by stolons.
4) Once the Hawkweed is dug up, what is the best approach for growing grass on those spots?
5) Do I just buy a few bags of top soil, dump it on the bare spots, and plant the grass seed in it?
6) Should I put fertilizer on the grass seeds? Or lime first, and fertilizer later?

The front yard is my #1 priority. It is visible to the world. The back yard is not as visible.
The front yard is also much smaller. I will guess 50 feet x 60 feet.
The hawkweed patches in the front yard (two of them) are about 10 feet by 10 feet.

Thanks VERY much for any help you can offer!

Mary
AKA "Hawkweed Hater" -- NOT Hawktail hater -- argh! typo.
 
paul wheaton
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I mean well. I will not use anything except organic approaches.


In that case, I will help you.

Whereabouts do you live?

What is the pH of your soil?

I went to a local organic gardening specialist with the soil test report and photos of my yard. He gave me some advice.

Some of it I didn't like ... for example, he said organic weed killer will not work.


If nothing else, vinegar would probably work - but let's not mess with that.  You probably won't need it.

Spray nothing.

I wouldn't bother with digging it unless it brings you some sort of pleasure. 

It is an amazingly beautiful flower - you might want lots of bouquets. 

No need to till.

Read my lawn care article.  Make your grass happy and it will beat the hawkweed.




 
                            
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So YOU are the one who wrote that! I found that years ago and printed it out. I even spent time researching Scott's push mowers and was told it would not cut through weeds.

Fabulous article!

I live in Western Pa. 

The pH of my soil is 6.0

OK, if I don't dig it up, what do I do -- just put the lime on top of it? And then the fertilizer?

Do I dump soil on it? Then put grass seed on the soil?

 
paul wheaton
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The mower cuts the weeds fine.  The problem with it is that if you wait too long between mowings, it tends to push stuff over rather than cut. 

With a pH of 6.0, you don't need much lime.  I would put a thin dusting of lime out every month or two.  Earth worms really love a dusting of lime on the surface. 

Grass seed - for what?  Isn't there already grass there?

Hey, upload a picture of your weed here and in the other thread.  So other folks that read this thread will know what you are talking about.

If you have printed out my article, have you been following my advice?  If so, post a pic of your lawn.



 
                            
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Here is the Yellow Hawkweed in the front yard (with curving sidewalk) and the back yard.

You can read about the plant here:
http://www.msuturfweeds.net/details/_/yellow_hawkweed_25/

I have not been following the advice in your article. I do not water the grass, I have never put seed down, nor fertilizer, and the mower used (by the grasscutting folks) does not raise very high.

So, is your advice to:

-- put a dusting of lime on the grass in May, July and September
-- put organic fertilizer down in October

And that's it? The grass will grow and overtake the weed patches? I don't need to put grass seed down?

The weed patches are pretty large.

photos of yellow hawkweed may 2009 001.jpg
[Thumbnail for photos of yellow hawkweed may 2009 001.jpg]
photos of yellow hawkweed may 2009 006.jpg
[Thumbnail for photos of yellow hawkweed may 2009 006.jpg]
 
paul wheaton
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Can you get me a closeup pic of a problem area?  I have a reason for asking this.

Get a mower that will cut higher. 

Normal lawn watering should counter the herbicide that the hawkweed puts out.

Some organic fertilizer right now would help some too.

Are you leaving your grass clippings on the lawn?


 
                            
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Here are closeup photos of the Hawkweed:
photos of yellow hawkweed CLOSEUP may 2009 008 (1).jpg
[Thumbnail for photos of yellow hawkweed CLOSEUP may 2009 008 (1).jpg]
photos of yellow hawkweed CLOSEUP may 2009 008 (7).jpg
[Thumbnail for photos of yellow hawkweed CLOSEUP may 2009 008 (7).jpg]
 
                            
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Paul,

You are recommending that I put fertilizer down on the grass.

But -- somewhere else I read that fertilizing in the summer is just fertilizing the weeds.

Is this a different case?

Do you want me to email my soil test report to you?
 
paul wheaton
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It is true.  Don't fertilize in the summer or your are just fertilizing weeds.

It isn't summer yet. 

Look at the blades of grass growing between the flowers. 

Follow the advice I have given you so far and report back here in two months.

 
                            
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"It isn't summer yet."

Now this is exactly the sort of thing that shows how green I am.

Hah! Get it? Green!

No really, I guess summer is defined as "dormant season for grass" for folks in in the know. For me, a vampire, summer started a few weeks ago, when the Evil Star appeared in the sky and when the temps went over 75 degrees. I melt as I write this.

I love winter. It levels the playing field. All the "lawns" in the neighborhood are white, all the hedges are retarded, there is no lawn mower next door whirring accusations. Summer is the time of guilt and recrimination, of walking from the car with eyes averted. Of drawing the shades.



 
jeremiah bailey
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I thought vampires knew the summer solstice was toward the end of June. The 20th or 21st depending on who you ask. You definitely have time. For your sake, I don't see a problem with fertilizing at night either.
 
                            
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OK, I am not sure what fertilizer to buy.

I have read that you prefer Ringer.

My soil report says I should use fertilizers with ratios such as the following (these are just a few examples from the list of 14):

33-3-4

32-3-10

28-6-6

26-2-6

21-5-7

Does Ringer have a product with these (or equivalent) ratios?

Thanks!



 
paul wheaton
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jeremiah bailey
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The Ringer's Lawn Restore is similar in ingredients and analysis to Scott's Organic Choice Lawn Food. I don't have experience with Ringer. Scott's has 1% sulfur which may be counterproductive against liming. I don't know if Ringer has a sulfur content or not. If I had a local source for Ringer I'd use it myself, but alas, I have yet to find it.
I agree with Paul about the N. The high N recommendation is probably there to offset their assumption that most people bag or rake their clippings. Also, the organic lawn foods do other wonderful things besides feed the soil some N-P-K. This helps offset the "perceived" lower N analysis.
 
                            
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Hi,

Me again. The original poster. OK, I never did get around to doing anything last year. No watering, no fertilizing.

But this year I will. I went to the local lawn place today. They do not carry Ringer ... they have Espoma.

The ratio is 7-2-2.

Will that work for my weed problem?

Also -- my grasscutter guy says he cannot raise his mowers to 3-inch height.

Thanks for all your advice to me last year. I have read through all the hawkweed posts. So funny that some people like it ... if I didn't live in such a suburban setting I would probably like it too. I grew up with a large yard full of plum trees (and an apple, pear and peach tree) and pine trees lining the yard. My grandfather cut the grass with a manual push mower, no gasoline. We had clover and probably other weeds. At dusk we watched the rabbits play tag. Later I caught fireflies. It was wonderful to grow up in a setting like that. The neighbors didn't fuss and neither did we.

But now it's a different story and I really must do something about this hawkweed.

Thanks!
 
paul wheaton
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I think you need a new grass cutter guy. 

Expoma ....  I found this:  http://www.espoma.com/p_consumer/pdf/products/AllNaturalLawnFood.pdf

If you get the stuff that is specifically labeled "organic" I think that will be fine.

 
                            
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Hi Paul,

Thanks. I was concerned about the 7-2-2 ratio because it doesn't match the recommendations on the soil test report.

EVERY single grass cutter has told me that they cannot raise their mowers to that height.

Now, wouldn't you think they would want to set the mower high? As it would probably mean they'd be back at my yard more frequently?

 
paul wheaton
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Maybe what they mean is that they can't raise it to that height because they don't want to fiddle with it. 

So I'm at amazon and I looked up "lawn mower" and here are the mowers of the first 10.

1) "Choose a deck height between 1 1/4 and 3 1/2 inches"

2) "9 grass heights to choose from (1-3 inches)"

3) "You can choose between seven height positions, ranging from 1-1/2 to four inches"

4) lists four variations of the mower in one ad "Height Settings 1-1/4- to 3-1/2-inch 1-1/4- to 3-1/2-inch 1-1/2- to 3-1/2-inch 1-1/2- to 3-1/2-inch"

5) "1-lever height adjustment that adjusts all four wheels at once from 1 to 3-1/2 inches"

6) (could not find any height info)

7) (a crappy reel mower)

"7 different heights available between 1 and 4 inches"

9) "7 different heights available between 1 and 4 inches"

10) "7 different heights available between 1 and 4 inches"

I think you need to keep calling around.

And, if you wanna just do it yourself, I really like this new electric cordless mower.

 
Hey cool! They got a blimp! But I have a tiny ad:
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