I just bought a new property in Deep East Texas and the lawn is all St. Augustine but for every blade of grass, there's a weed!
I hate chemicals but will consider herbicide to retrieve this pretty yard.
Mow regularly at 4 inches. Water deeply (1-2 inches) when needed. Spray blackstrap unsulfured molasses with ortho dial sprayer every few months and fertilize with soybean meal at the rate of 15lbs per 1000 sqft. You can get it cheap at animal feed store. Just don't tell them what it's for...
Oh yeah, one time application of compost at the rate of 1 cubic yard per 1000 sqft. Simply dump in various spots with wheel barrow and use leaf blower till all have been flitered into the ground.
Should be much better in 2 years without ruining soil biology...
COMPOST, DEFINITELY! -- though I'm waiting till chance of frost is over. We are in Houston. I will plan our compost application around the end of March -- may not be necessary to wait, others may know better but I apply compost twice a year, spring and fall. We have the best lawn on the block and water the least. We also always mow no shorter than 3 inches.
I may try Lou's tip about the molasses and soybean meal. Always fun to dink around with the lawn. Let us know how yours turns out.
while putting down compost twice a year is nice, it is not really necessary. All you really need is one time followed by soybean meal and molasses to keep up the soil biology that you introduced to the soil from the compost. Just a lot cheaper and less work that way. Plus compost is too expensive to be using regularly for most homeowners unless you have large land to have enough organic materials to produce enough compost to cover the entire area.
Frost in Houston? It's classified as zone 9, not 8. I grew up there and my mom still has a house there so I go there every once in a while to do major yard chores. Doesn't seem like her area gets frost at all. Her lawn is very green apparently from greensand that I put down over thanksgiving. Looks like spring right now with roses and azaleas blooming right now. I also had used soybean meal but greensand seemed to have dramatic effect on the front yard while the backyard that didn't get greensand isn't as green. it has 20% iron by weight plus loads of micronutrients.
Thanks for the info, Lou. My front yard is quite small if I exclude the driveway and sidewalks (approx 30 X 20 (maybe less), we live in a very urban part of Houston. Since it is so small, compost expense isn't too bad (especially since I make most of it myself) but still sounds like it would be good for me to migrate to soybean meal (or greensand).
It sounds like the Height inside the loop off Ella or somewhere around there? I assume somewhere inside the loop based on your description. I suppose that size makes it easier to stomach more expensive organic products in Houston like Southwest Fertilizer off chimney rock (i think) or Wabash feed store off Washington not far from Memorial park. I grew up right outside the loop and 290. I used to run at memorial park all the time. Still my favorite place to run. Why do you put your zone 8? It's zone 9 up to Conroe area. Granted, it has been since 1980s when we had a lot colder weather... It's cyclical for the most part. I'm sure it will come back sooner or later. I'm not really sure where you'd get greensand for cheap. I got them from Lowe's up here but I never see them in Houston. They are different from each other.
Guess I was using the temperature chart to determine zone 8. My pipes burst about 10 or 15 years ago when we had freezing weather for several days so I thought 15 to 20 degrees hardiness wasn't that far off (it was that cold for a couple of days at least, BRRRR). I'm amazed that it appears that Austin is even in Zone 9. Guess Global Warming might be affecting this zoning to some extent. (I live a little north of Rice U.)
Actually, the hardiness zone is back to where it was before 80s. The 1960s hardiness zone looks to be same as the new one now. I personally don't think it has to do with 'man made' global warming. It's just normal cyclical pattern, probably most likely to do with solar activities. Mars has been getting warmer as well and as I recall, there's no people living there. Extra carbon dioxide isn't really that bad anyway. It makes plants grow more and do better with less water! :)