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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About four years ago, I tore down an old house (Northern VA, near DC) and built a new one. Last spring, I had the soil tested (local county "master gardeners" and testing by the Virginia extension service), and according to the tester, I have about 15k ft of "warm season grasses (bermuda or zoysia grass)", and about 5k ft of "cool season grasses (fescue and/or bluegrass)" (quotes because that's exactly what they wrote, which isn't as helpful as it might be).

Their recommendations wrt fertilization had a lot of detail but amounted to "use a good fertilizer", twice in fall, once (optionally) in late spring ... and that lime wasn't needed.

They have a checklist for weeds, and checked off: crabgrass - smooth, Japanese stiltgrass, dandelion, plantain - broadleaf, yellow wood sorrel, white clover, lespedeza, chickweed - common, and yellow nutsedge. After a little research, I understood that the clover is kind of hard to deal with ... and headed down the road you folks are farther down than I am.

I've been using Trimec Classic, which seems to do a good job (at least on the clover, which I pay the most attention to), but after an application last spring & fall, there doesn't seem to be terribly fewer weeds. I just reapplied Trimec, and started doing more research. I applied Trimec (with a surfectant) to about 1000' (about half of an area with significant clover) a few weeks ago and waited a few weeks -- it really knocked it down, but like I said ... it comes back.

There are a couple of areas where there's sparse growth -- one in particular both gets a lot of sun, and has a fair amount of water travel across it when it rains a lot. I'd really like to get some good growth there.

I don't mow my own lawn (if you enjoy doing that, good for you, but the guys with the big professional mowers come about every other week).

Curious what recommendations you all might have?
  • Am I wasting my time with Trimec
  • Should I be using something else also?
  • As I understand it, a growth inhibitor encourages the grass to have better roots & spread and not spend energy growing 'up'. Is that right?
 

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I have no experience with Trimec but have killed clover easily with Weed B Gon CCO. However, Weed B Gon CCO shouldn't be used with Bermuda. I am having a hard hard understanding their description of your lawn. Are they saying that the warm season and cool season grasses are mixed together (3/4 warm and 1/4 cool) or that you have warm season grass here but cool season grass there? The fertilization schedule is for a cool season grass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Virginiagal said:
I am having a hard hard understanding their description of your lawn. Are they saying that the warm season and cool season grasses are mixed together (3/4 warm and 1/4 cool) or that you have warm season grass here but cool season grass there?
Sorry, I should've been clearer.

The original house had a lawn. Then we tore the old house down, regraded somewhat, and built a new one, as a result, the grass around the house is newly-planted (4y ago, 15kft warm season), and the grass in the backyard, beyond where the grading was done, is 'old growth' (5kft, cool season)
 

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Treat the two areas as two separate lawns. Post in the warm season forum for help with the Bermuda area, those guys know their stuff.

For the cool season grass area:
- Overseed in the fall with 4-6 lbs of fescue/K if your grass is fescue, because it does not spread. Use a high quality mix and stay away from Kentucky 31 seed, it's pasture grass.
- Fertilize with 1lb of N mid-September, mid-October and mid-November and 0.5lbs slow release N May 1st.
- Apply prodiamine (or dithiopyr or another pre-emergent) at 6 month rate March 1st - this is the only way to get weeds under control.
- Use the Trimec to spot spray any broadleaf weeds.
- Maintain a 3.5" height and only cut off 1/3 of the grass blade in any one mowing.
- Water when you see signs of drought stress until a 6" screwdriver easily penetrates the soil all the way to the handle.

Following the steps above should get you a really nice lawn into next spring, and we can discuss taking it to the next level at that point.
 

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Personally I would pick which type of lawn you want, and kill off the other. Many sprays are safe on one or the other but few are safe for both.

I made a video for cool season newbies:
https://youtu.be/PbGDH_JOM9w

But warm season has some differences. Prodiamine is safe on both and will prevent new weeds on both but there might be better pre-em for warm season?
 

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Warm season grass is fertilized during the summer and not in the fall. Bermuda is cut very short. Some herbicides are okay for some grasses but not for others. To know how to care for your grass, you first need to know what it is. Here is a website that can help:
http://turfid.ncsu.edu/ItemID.aspx?orderID=GR&orderDesc=Grass
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I may have been misled & mislead you guys. The county "master gardeners" identified the larger area as warm season grasses, but I was able to find the paperwork from the guy who seeded the lawn after construction. The notes say
10 lbs bluegrass
50 lbs Rebel Supreme
1:5 ratio
Which isn't as helpful as it might be, but google tells me that Rebel Supreme is Fescue. So, the area that the county "master gardeners" said was warm season grasses is Fescue/Bluegrass. That seems like cool season grasses to me.

Maybe they made a typo, or something. Perhaps I need to get them out here to look at it. I kind of feel like an idiot I can't identify the grass.
 

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Was the grass green or brown/tan in the winter? If it was green, it was cool season. If it was brown until recently, it was warm season. If it were Bermuda or zoysia, it would have been installed by sod or plugs. Since you remember it being seeded and have the list, the master gardeners seem to be mistaken. It is possible to have Bermuda or zoysia invade a cool season lawn. The invaders are considered weeds as they stand out as brown spots late fall to mid spring.
 

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No one has answered your questions about Trimec and growth Inhibitors. I have no experience with either. A month ago I read an interesting article on root growth:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://archive.lib.msu.edu/tic/wetrt/article/1995nov28.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwjL2p-ev53UAhVrAsAKHY-NA2kQFggdMAA&usg=AFQjCNH-XHXQziXmJAmLs64MLZsort_QCA&sig2=Eb2RYid4jq9N0Y1TKQYs6w

and googling brought up this article on prg and root growth:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://archive.lib.msu.edu/tic/golfd/article/2006aug56.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwiAztuau53UAhWCF8AKHT21De0QFghIMAU&usg=AFQjCNErt1YPXkeuaxw_zO4uV_iLKfB2jQ&sig2=qYGY1Bgx-5ukBXs76sbCRQ

I am interested in how we can best keep roots and crowns alive in our summer heat.
 
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