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Need help with the lawn issue

Posted by mitthakkar Texas (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 20, 13 at 16:56

This is the first time for me seeing any issues with the lawn and dealing with them, so expect me to have minimum to zero knowledge of lawns.
I have issues with my lawn and can't identify what should I do with them?
Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance...

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need help with the lawn issue

Some other pics

RE: Need help with the lawn issue

One last one!!

RE: Need help with the lawn issue

The top one looks like white clover, Trefolium repens. Second could be some kind of Sonchus. You could spot weedkill the Sonchus but as for the white clover it is soft, neat and green. The lawn is scruffy, brown and looks dead. Why not encourage the clover? Many people do. It stays green and captures Nitrogen. No idea on the third.

RE: Need help with the lawn issue

Agreed. The actual grass may just be dormant (which also makes it inferior IMO) or could have been killed by drought last summer (more inferiority.) You'll know in spring...

Pic 2 - those have a taproot, and are possibly prickly, I remove them if they are prickly. If you're attempting manual removal, use a dandelion fork or really long flathead screwdriver. Plunge perpendicularly, then pry. Not hard or time-consuming once you get the hang of it. If you do it right (get the whole root out,) individuals won't be back but more seeds could be lurking out there to sprout new plants.

RE: Need help with the lawn issue

Picture 1 looks to me like Black Medic which many people confuse with clover. Difficult to control even with "weed" poisons. Picture 2 looks like a thistle, as in Canadian Thistle. Picture 3 is difficult to identify.
As a rule "weeds" get established and grow when the turf grass is not and that is often because of a soil related problem. The soil may not have enough available nutrients to feed the grass. There may not be enough soil moisture to support the grass for a number of reasons, but if that lack of soil moisture is the result of drought there may not be anything you can do, at this time.
These simple soils tests can help you understand more about your soil and what you could do to make that soil a better place for grasses to grow with less of a "weed" problem.
1) Soil test for organic matter. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. For example, a good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains� too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.

RE: Need help with the lawn issue

First picture looks like white or dutch clover, 2nd picture resembles wild lettuce, hard to tell on the third although there appears to be some clover in it, as well.

The main issue here is that your bermuda grass is dormant during the cool weather and the clover and other plants growing handle cool weather well and can grow without competition from the bermuda. You can use broad leaf herbicides to keep the lawn looking dormant until warmer weather when the bermuda greens up, or you can seed it with something like annual rye that will stay green and choke out the weeds during the winter, but die out in warmer weather when the bermuda takes hold. If your lawn isn't thick and healthy, that helps provide a good environment for the weeds to take hold, too. I'm sure there are other ways to keep the weeds at bay in winter, maybe change the lawn over to something other than bermuda. In my case, I'm fortunate to have cold weather and frozen ground to keep the weeds at bay while the grass is dormant.

RE: Need help with the lawn issue

Our original poster is from Texas. The grass species grown in the warm climates have an entirely different metabolic system than those in colder climates. They are supposed to be brown in the winter.

Permanent warm season grasses, by their very nature, go dormant during the cold season. They have evolved to thrive in the heat and not the cold. The main warm season grasses are centipede, St. Augustine, bermuda, bahia, zoysia.

Overseeding with ryegrass can do irreparable damage to the much more important permanent grass...which doesn't really die in the winter. The blades simply go dormant while the crowns and roots are alive and well.

Overseeding can so weaken the permanent grass that disease, weed, and insect problems become a year-round reality. Ask the manager of any southern golf course!

The control of winter weeds in warm season lawns is not difficult. Please visit your local extension office for some technical advice. Take pictures with you.

For the long term, anything you can do to improve the health and vigor of your permanent grass is essential to pest control. By 'pest', I mean weed, insect, and disease pests.

RE: Need help with the lawn issue

Annual Ryegrass is a "weed" even though some recommend it as a good winter cover crop. Once introduced into your lawn you cannot get rid of it because what will kill Annual Ryegrass will also kill off the more desireable grass species.

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