Spurge

redvq(7)July 20, 2011

Well my entire lawn gets full sun except one side of the house where shadows cast. My lawn is hybrid bermuda 419 and has been on a strict organic program for 4+ years. The lawn is mowed @ 3/4 inch every 3 days and fertilized(alfalfa meal/milorganite) every 15 days(Red clay soil). I use to water once a week to 1 inch(tuna can) until I got tired of brown stems and under performance. I found out watering 2-3 times weekly did the trick for me. I know most would suggest fertilizing once a month and watering 1 inch once a week. However, I seem to have gotten better results by changing to 15 days on the fert. and 2-3 times a week on the water.

Well Last year I noticed my neighbors on both sides of me having massive spurge invasions. Well this year I was unfortunate to receive double the dose as parts of my lawn that no weeds could punch through have this Spurge stuff thriving in. I've seen this weed all growing season this year and pulled when I could. However, I did not realize how much of my lawn was overtaken until a week ago when it rained almost everyday for a week and I couldn't mow. My bermuda went from 3/4 inch to about 2+inches or so and this Spurge stuff was EVERYWHERE. I see sections where it appears the spurge is winning the fight against the bermuda.

Is there a home remedy to kill this stuff that doesn't involve hand pulling?

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

There is no need to "fertilize" any turf once a month, at most turf grasses only need to be fed a couple of times each year.
Spurges produce seeds very prolifically, but those seeds need a fairly moist soil to germinate in, which may be why you see them now after that rain. Some spurges also root quite easily from bits of stem left behind when the plant is pulled. I am not aware of any "weed" killer acceptable to an organic gardener that will kill this stuff, so hand pulling is the only method available. Vinegar, of high acetic acid, will kill it but will also kill the surrounding grass. Baking Soda is known to kill crabgrass and might also work on this but it too will kill any other grass it clings to.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:33AM
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redvq(7)

Sounds like this weed is a pure pain in the rear.

On the topic of fertilizing only a couple times each year with tif 419. I would like to hear more about how this is possible while not sacrificing the dark green appearance? The lawn is maintained at .75 inches in red clay.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 7:54PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

In reality that dark green appearance many lawns have is the result of too much Nitrogen applied and is unnatural. Depending on what grass you have that lawn needs only about 1 to 2 pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet each year. Anything more then that simply runs off (either with surface water or flows out of the soil with the excess water) and pollutes the groundwater. Many people have found that that unhealthy dark green color also means more problems with diseases and insect pests.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 7:52AM
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redvq(7)

I have Hybrid Bermuda Tifway 419. From the organic books I've read along with the Bermuda Bible, they all say to apply 1 pound of nitrogen per month for hybrid bermuda.

What I did was fed the lawn in late March with a 50 lb bag of alfalfa pellets. Then each month I put out milorganite. As of right now I was cutting the bag of milorganite in half and spreading it out on the 15th and 30th of the month. The reason I did this was because the "green" appearance appeared to slightly "wear off" during the long month so I recently started cutting the bag in half and it seemed to solve that problem.

However, I will research what a possible scale back would do. Thanks for the reply

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 7:41PM
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bpgreen(5UT)

Bermuda is a heavy feeder and 1 lb of N per 1000 sq ft per month during the active growing season is the "standard" amount for for it. It's not impossible to get that much using organics, but it's difficult. If you want to have a healthy Bermuda lawn with organics, you probably will need to use very high N products, such as CGM or Milorganite.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 1:40AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Most everything I have seen about feeding the lawns has been adapted from what the manufacturers of synthetic fertilizers have recommended. Much recent research has shown that applying a Nitrogen based fertilizer every month simply allows a lot of that Nitrogen to flow out of the soil and into the ground water. Same thing with the Phosphorus which is why many places have banned Phosphorus containing fertilizers.
If the soil your grass is growing in is a good healthy soil you should not need to apply fertilizers every month. The fertilizer sales people will tell you that you should because they make more mney selling you something you do not need.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 8:00AM
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