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Lawn (weeds) in rental house a problem

 
                    
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Hello. Can anyone give me some suggestions. I am about to move into a rental house that has a large backyard that I would say is about 90% weeds and 10% grass. I have a small dog with fluffy hair who gets covered in all kinds of sticky, hideous weeds when he goes on that "lawn." I would like to do something to kill the weeds and encourage lawn to grow. There is no sprinkler system, so I would have to water by hand or a sprinker on the hose. I don't want to use anything toxic because of my dog. I live in San Luis Obispo, CA. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks so much.
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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The soil environment is such that it is more accomidating for the weeds than the grass. Change that.

Fertilize for grass. Mow high and frequently. Water infrequently.
 
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