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Help bring this yard back to life!

Hi All,

Hoping you can help me bring this yard back to life. We purchased our house north of Atlanta last year and the maintenance quickly outpaced what I could handle (first time home buyer). After this winter I'ma bit worried about the current state and luckily have more time to devote this year. The biggest things worrying me right now are:

1. Some trees / weeds I can't identify growing all over my yard (first picture below). I have no idea what these are, just that they are everywhere, multiply like crazy, and are almost impossible to pull out of the ground. Occasionally I can get one with the roots intact, but not often, and I'm worried about cutting them because they seem to shoot back up unless I get the root. Is there a way to take care of this without killing everything else around it? They are predominantly growing in the plants pictures, but also in some juniper bushes as well.

2. Bare spots around the yard where the grass is growing very thin. In some of those spots, I'm starting to see some moss growing which is worrying me. The fertilizing service I use said this was because of too much shade, but this lawn looked like a golf course when we bought the house (probably because the guy's job was manicuring golf courses). I don't know anything about grass, so any help here would be appreciated (I believe its zoysia).

3. At some point after the recent heavy rains and snow, old dead grass seemed to clump together everywhere in one part of the yard (I tried raking some of this away). It looks similar to how seaweed clumps to the shoreline after high tide. Any ideas on what I need to do prepare the yard (new grass is starting to grown in already)? 

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Posted 2015-03-28T20:32:58+0000  by robertfarnis robertfarnis
Hi Robert,

Welcome to town, and welcome to The Community!

Congratulations on your new home. I wonder how long the yard has gone neglected. Those weeds are substantial.

The definition of "weed" is an unwanted plant. Those woody shoots in the top picture could be off chutes of another plant that has its roots growing nearby. Compare the bark pattern to a nearby tree or shrub to find a possible source. Meanwhile, cutting them off at ground level will slow their development. A good pair of pruning shears or loppers will help.

Pruning them will not kill them, especially if you want them to die. That is the Murphy's Law of Gardening!

There are chemicals that will help to eradicate these brushy weeds, but you will need to determine that they are not coming from a desirable tree or shrub before you attack those roots.

Brush killers from Ortho and Bayer Advanced can be mixed to apply to the foliage of the unwanted plant, or it can be applied full strength concentrated directly to the fresh cut stem after you cut it with the pruner. If the growth is emerging from a desirable source, avoid the use of such chemicals because that source will be affected.

As for the bare and thin lawn areas, direct sun exposure is important to zoysia and all other warm season lawn grasses. About 6 uninterrupted hours of sun are required for the grass to thrive. Anything less than that will result in thinning. Golf courses are never the same type of grass in every corner, so mixing in some shade tolerant plants is recommended. The liriope that is pictured in the top picture is an example of a shade tolerant plant.

The zoysia has been dormant since last Thanksgiving and is beginning to emerge this spring. In your area (and mine!), the last frost will be as late as April 15th. The dead growth from last season will protect the new grass and give cover from the frost until then.

When the lawn becomes about 50% green, add a premium lawn fertilizer to revitalize the lawn. Follow up with another feeding in three months.

Mow your lawn to a height of 1 to 2 inches tall and collect the clippings in a grass catcher on the mower. The "seaweed" like clumps can be collected this way as long as the mower is capable of collecting them. This is a daunting task, but this is the yearly ritual of all warm season lawn people. Empty the bag often and clean your mowers air filter when your finished.

The new lawn will continue to green up and you will reap the rewards all summer.

We're glad you're here! Keep us posted with your results.


Posted 2015-03-31T19:03:38+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL
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