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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, everyone! My girlfriend and I have recently purchased our first house in the Raleigh, NC area and I have taken it upon myself to get this "lawn" somewhat presentable.

From what I can tell we are in the transition zone (6/7) and have been blessed with old used up farm land accompanied with dense clay as our sole soil type. Multiple bare spots with what seems like the entire family of broadleaf are the main bullet points. I'd like to repair these bare spots and get everything uniform but am having trouble with identifying what I already have. I think its some form of commercial grade Bermuda.

I have taken a few pictures of the small portions of grass that I have and would really appreciate some guidance. Thanks for everyone's help in advance!







 

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Welcome!

The first pictures looks like tall fescue. They're a bit blurry, but you will be able to distinguish it because it "bunches" a bit, and also has what almost look like pinstripes running the length of the blade.

The second 2 pictures look more like crabgrass than bermuda. Bermuda has a bit thinner blades in my experience. An easy way to tell will be to spray weed b gon with crabgrass killer. The quinclorac will knock out crabgrass but not bermuda :lol:

Which grass do you want? Bermuda will go dormant (turn brown) in the winter but thrive in the sun. Fescue will likely require regular overseedings after hot summers.

If you've got bermuda and want to keep it, then it's time for fertilizer, water, and spraying a weed killer: weed b gon will kill everything except the fescue. Also read the bermuda bible it's pinned at the top of the warm season forum.

If you don't want bermuda, the best thing to do right now is to embrace the weeds because they are green. In the middle of August, you can start the process of grass growing. You can either kill off the whole lawn with glyphosate at that point, or use a selective herbicide (weed b gon). Water lightly every day for a couple weeks, spray again, and you'll be ready to seed.
 

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It looks like you have multiple grass types. To me some of it looks more like Zoysia. I guess it could potentially be common bermuda, but I would be skeptical. Potentially centipede? I'm terrible at IDing things.

Obviously need to get a good ID on your grass type so people can help with treatments. But a few common questions that more than likely will also need to be asked. How much shade are in these areas? How large are the bare spots? Is this small patches of yard that has grass and everything else is weeds? Pictures could go a long way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Both the front and back yards with the exception of the areas along the sides if the house are fully open air areas with no covering. The main bare spot/eye sore is directly in the front portion of the lawn and is probably about 100-200sqft of very small (VERY small) patches of whatever grass/weed is growing there. The only other bare spots that I have are much smaller than that main one and in fine with just letting them fill in over time. I would say its around 60/40 (grass/weeds) at this time. And all of the grass with the exception of a small portion of actual Bermuda leeching in from the neighbors is of the same variety as seen in the pictures. When I get home from work tomorrow I'll try and get some better pictures of what I'm trying to work with here.
 

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+1. We still need to positively ID your grass type you want to keep as well (if it isn't a complete redo). Maybe grab some clearer pictures of that as well. From the pictures it doesn't look like bermuda. But I've been wrong a lot lately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Will definitely get some clearer shots of the what I think is the actual grass while I'm getting the larger overview shots. I'd like to avoid the complete renovation technique if at all possible. With that being said, its not off the table at this point. I'd like to at least give it my best shot in getting an actual lawn before I say screw it. It must be a newfound homeowner pride thing :lol:
 

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@covert24 you do have both tall fescue and bermuda. The bermuda appears to be a "common" bermuda, meaning wider blades and longer distances between internodes. As you can tell, the two don't blend well together, so you may want to research both and decide which you prefer to encourage and which (if either) you wish to eradicate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@Spammage I would really like to keep the Bermuda for the very warm weather down hear and short winter seasons. It does get pretty cold in the early spring but always bounces right back up to 70-100 late spring/beg summer. Which would be easier to get rid of is my main issue? Seems like the Bermuda would be easier to erradicate but I'm worried the fescue would not tolerate the heat and soil type I have too great.
 

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covert24 said:
@Spammage I would really like to keep the Bermuda for the very warm weather down hear and short winter seasons. It does get pretty cold in the early spring but always bounces right back up to 70-100 late spring/beg summer. Which would be easier to get rid of is my main issue? Seems like the Bermuda would be easier to erradicate but I'm worried the fescue would not tolerate the heat and soil type I have too great.
The fescue will be easier to get rid of. Celsius herbicide is labeled for tall fescue control as are some other sulfonylurea herbicides, but Celsius is probably the best overall for the number of weeds controlled and safety in heat.

Remember that bermuda is not tolerant of shade and requires 8+ hours of direct sunlight to thrive. I only say this because tall fescue is one of the most shade tolerant grasses and that may be why it's already there.
 

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Welcome to new ownership and the triangle area --- my wife and I recently moved to raleigh as well and we have recently bought a home that was sodded with Tiftuf bermuda before we moved in..

I am not the best resource for herbicide advice but I will say this about Raleigh lawns --- my neigborhood has both a mix of fescue and bermuda lawns and in the late spring/summer/early fall the bermuda lawns are way better looking in my opinion. Sure, the fescue lawns look pretty good in Nov-March, but after that they are dead and really patchy looking.

Good luck with the new home and you are gonna get lots of good advice on this site
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Took some quick pictures before I left for work this morning. Didn't get a chance to get some more closeups of the actual lawn clusters but I got some good broad shots of the front yard and the bare spots that are present. If "common" Bermuda grass is what I currently have, what should I do as far as seed supplier for the bare spots/overseeding to match up with what I have? I had no idea Celsius was used for actual turf grass. Thought it was another broadleaf herbicide but for the pros :). The last picture has a very large brown patch due to a trimec application with the good old backpack sprayer









 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just for the record, I just mowed the lawn yesterday so it may look better than it actually does believe it or not. The second to last picture is the side of the house and our property ends at that tree width wise but goes all the way back (hence the almost 20,000sqft). The picture showing the opposite side of the house shows our property line ends at the grass color difference. I believe the major issue with these large patches of straight clay is the runoff down to our beautifully crafted drainage trenchs. However there are some other houses in our subdivision that have excellent grass on even steeper variations of this type of valley trench which I don't understand.
 

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Well, you have your work cut out for you. I wouldn't buy seed unless you want to start over and kill all of the existing grass first. I would start with a soil test to try to see if a deficiency or pH issue caused the grass to thin. It could have been neglect or a combination, but restoring the grass will be easier if the soil is right. After that, the bermuda bible will start your restoration. Fertilizer, water, sunlight, frequent mowing and time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'll give the soil test a shot in a few weeks as I just laid down some Milo over the entire lawn and I don't want to get any erroneous nutrient readings due to the app. Since this is at least some form of Bermuda, I'm assuming "mow low is the way to go"? Have my lt1045 that I got for free that I've been using for mowing and it goes down to whatever height " 1" means. Assuming its inches as I've never actually measured it. I'll begin the mowing low process and not put any Milo or anything else down for a few weeks and then get my soil test done to get a better course of action.

In your guys honest opinion (don't worry, I can take it), what would you do in this situation? Restore or renovate? The back yard has much more grass than the front but about 3/4 of the way to the end if the property line is mainly ONLY weeds with the small patches of grass. Just want a realistic opinion from you knowledgeable folks :bandit:
 

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It depends on what you are wanting. I have an area about 4000sf that has no irrigation, rarely gets fertilizer (due to the lack of irrigation), and is a mix of common and pasture bermuda. I cut it with a John Deere rider at 1.5" twice a week and it beats the crap out of the rest of the lawns in the neighborhood. If you are wanting a showcase lawn, then a complete renovation is likely needed. @J_nick and @Tellycoleman and @Colonel K0rn all have successfully completed bermuda renovations with improved varieties. Their journals are here on the website if you want to do some reading.
 

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Spammage said:
It depends on what you are wanting. I have an area about 4000sf that has no irrigation, rarely gets fertilizer (due to the lack of irrigation), and is a mix of common and pasture bermuda. I cut it with a John Deere rider at 1.5" twice a week and it beats the crap out of the rest of the lawns in the neighborhood. If you are wanting a showcase lawn, then a complete renovation is likely needed. @J_nick and @Tellycoleman and @Colonel K0rn all have successfully completed bermuda renovations with improved varieties. Their journals are here on the website if you want to do some reading.
+1. What are you looking for in an end result? I think assuming yall are still below 90 degree daily temperatures, I would start with a liquid weed killer applied with a proper sprayer. I'd start with 2,4D and some added Quinclorac for the crab grass. Wait a few days, cut it short, and the fertilize and water it, and see what lives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
End result I'm hoping for is just a uniform lawn (turf type wise) that's "easy" to take care of and less maintenance other than the usual fert, water, now, weed, rinse, repeat. Id also like to crowd out all or most of the weeds as there is quite a bit of spurs and id rather not pick them out of my dogs paws every day. I'll see if I can get some quinclorac locally by itself as I already have the trimec with the 24d in it. With the heat index I think we've been just a hair over 90 some days but usually just mid to high 80s for the past few weeks/months. Since weed killer w/crab grass control usually includes the 24d and quinclorac, my assumption is that I'll be good to mix the two up without any issues and get to spraying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just ordered some quinclorac and some surfactant from domyown. Hopefully it gets here in time before I have to leave for Missouri on Wednesday so I can get it down. Going to mow the lawn when I get home today at setting "2" on the cadet (setting "1" will probably through the belt or just act as a sod cutter :lol: ) which should give me plenty of wait time before putting down my trimec/quinclorac mix. The Milo is still visible in the grass as we have not had a huge amount of rain so the iron/fert should be plenty to prevent any undesirable yellowing from the mix when the time comes. Trying to stop myself from buying any seed until I give this at least a few months to try and grow out. I'd rather have a fescue/Bermuda mix with a full lawn then a bare desert/bermuda mix. Figure after its healthy and full, I can start killing off the fescue and have the Bermuda take over. Then I'll think about seeding in the bare spots :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got my quinclorac and surfactant delivered today. A little windy out so I haven't sprayed it yet. On a side note, I have a large patch (around 300sqft) of mainly this with very small blades if grass trying to poke through. Wondering what the hell this is? Dies within a few hours with glyphosate but just curious as to what it is



 
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