Effectiveness of "chem lawn" treatments

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  #1  
Old 08-11-12, 10:30 AM
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Effectiveness of "chem lawn" treatments

Our lawn in Northern California (originally tall fescue) has been taken over by weeds - mostly clover but also some "nut grass" and the very thin grass that almost looks like small rice reeds. I fertilize 3 or 4 times a year with a weed and feed, but it's now about 50% weeds.

How effective are the "true chem" or "green chem" companies that promise complete removal of the weeds with their treatment services?

Are there any at home treatments that could be effective in reducing the level of weeds?

I've almost resigned to the fact that we're eventually going to have to re-sod but I'd like to save myself $2000 if I can.

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-11-12, 04:19 PM
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If you have the money and don't want to do the work I think services like that can work. That said, I don't think they do anything that you cannot do on your own for much less.

I think weed & feed's are OK. Fertilizer and herbicides usually need to be applied at different times so packaging and applying them together is a compromise at best. They are easy and expensive and in some cases adequate. When I lived in VA many years ago my sub 1/4 acre lot responded well to the famous brand weed & feed. The two bags required to do my yard were not too expensive and they worked so I was happy. Here in NC the same product just did not do well and it was too expensive for multiple acres. Now I buy more individual fertilizers and herbicides and apply them at appropriate times of the year.

As an example I have a very small section of highly manicured "pretty grass". It really should only be fertilized in spring and fall but it needs treatment every 4-6 weeks to prevent fungus. If you package the fungus treatment with the fertilizer it works spring & fall but is counter productive for the 4 months of our summer since fertilizing actually promotes the fungus problem. If you separate the fertilizing from other treatments it gives you a lot more options to do things right.

One downside to doing your own thing is that many products are not sold in package sizes for the small lawn homeowner to use in a single application. The smallest package in which my fungus treatment is sold costs about $50 but is enough for three or more years and plain old fertilizer comes in 50lb bags for $10 but my pretty lawn needs only about two pounds a year. $50 may sound like a lot for a small package of fungus powder but a big name lawn company would be close to $1k per year for my little patch of pretty grass.
 
  #3  
Old 08-14-12, 07:00 AM
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Weed grasses are tough, as most of the chemicals which will kill them will also take out the desired grass. Lawn services can do a nice job with weeds (though not all do).

We have something around here we call bunch grass which the lawn companies can't touch - we deal with it by pouring RoundUp into a cup and using a small brush to paint it on the leaves of the offending grass - makes a non-selective herbicide selective.
 
  #4  
Old 08-14-12, 05:05 PM
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Try buffalo grass

I'm also in California, and we replaced our lawn with buffalo grass. It requires less water and no fertilizing at all. I mow it once a year, and it forms a pretty thick mat that keeps the weeds out. It is fighting a couple of patches of hold-out bermuda grass, but the buffalo grass is winning.
 
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