Multiple Issues - Need Advice and Encouragement (long post)
Three years ago, we moved into a new home with a dirt yard. I saw a few patches of some kind of vining weed before the landscape company leveled the yard with a Bobcat and laid down the sod. If I had known it was bindweed, I would have dug it out, or resorted to some sort of chemical annihilation, but anyway, now the entire yard is infested with it. My first question is this: Is using the mulch mower, as is recommended for organic lawn care, making the problem worse? Or is it more likely just spreading the usual ways, through underground runners, and prolific reseeding? I spent over three hours pulling the stuff this morning, and I am not even half way done with the front yard. It is overwhelming! I realize that there isn't anything that will kill bindweed, that won't kill the grass, so short of ripping the entire lawn out, eliminating the bindweed root system, and starting over, I know that it will never go away. I'm just looking for some way to manage it, that doesn't require me to spend hours every day pulling it. I seem to remember someone mentioning a mite that is specific to bindweed. Does anyone know where I can find that?
Next problem: Grasshoppers
I live in a high desert climate, and we have grasshoppers in plague proportions every year. Last year, I used Semaspore, which didn't seem to decrease the population, though it did seem like they died out a little earlier than usual. I realize that there are not a lot of organic options for battling grasshoppers. My question is how much damage to a lawn do they actually cause? Once they are 1" or larger, they tend to move into the perennial and vegetable beds, but I'm not sure how much they eat while they are young.
Third issue: There's a fungus among us!
Large areas of my lawn are dying from what appears to be a fungus. Down at the base of the affected areas is a white substance that I am assuming is some type of fungus. What are the options for dealing with fungus organically?
Lastly: Roly Polies (Pill bugs)
I have read that they only eat decomposing material, but I have also read that they will damage the root systems of young seedlings. There are many thousands of them in the lawn. Are they there because the fungus, grasshoppers, etc. are killing the lawn, or are they part of the problem?
Honestly, I am completely discouraged. I had a lush, green lawn three years ago. Now, after using soybean meal, and corn glutean meal as fertilizers, moving high, mulch mowing, and watering deep and infrequently, my lawn looks horrible. No wonder so many people resort to chemical lawn care!
Someone please tell me there is hope!