questionscan you help me with some lawn care? and is this…

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I know very little, but the first thing to consider is what kind of winter weather you have. You're a couple of "growing regions" warmer than my own, but I'm not at all sure planting grass seed in what may be a time of natural dormancy will work well.

I'd talk to a local nursery or two to ask if you should be looking at seed or sod, and when is the best time to do either of them. They'll also be able to advise you on the best varieties of grass for your yard conditions.

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@nmchapma, I can help, but have a couple of suggestions.

I suspect that what you have is a Bermuda Grass lawn. If you do, removing it is NOT trivial. It gets planted in certain areas of the country for a reason. It's hard to kill.

If this is your autumn, and you are pretty sure that a killing frost is at least a month away, now is a great time to put seed in the ground. However, if you're trying to encourage other grass to grow, and compete with the bermuda, you are going to find that it fails.

I didn't look at your mailer, but strongly recommend what @magic cave also said, which is to speak to a local (NOT BIG BOX) nursery about what's suggested for your area. You should fertilize in the fall if you're expecting winter. Lawns should be fertilized at least twice a year, where there's winter.

Toss the coupon. Trust me.

Back in a while...

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@magic cave: I had done some reading and it looks like fall is the best time to plant here so the roots have time to take a good hold before the sweltering summer heat sets in. I probably will visit a nursery to ask some questions but last time I did so they wanted to come out and give me a qoute and weren't interested in answering my questions. I've read the turf grass management page from NC State University and I have a list of good grasses for the area. I just don't know what is involved in replacing what I have or if I can kill it and plant over it. Everyone on the interwebs has a different opinion of how to do it so maybe I'm hoping someone has some personal experience? maybe even from my growing region (Raleigh, NC)

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Do you know anyone who works for a landscaping company? Or who does lawn maintenance? You can always ask those people. Sometimes they are knowledgeable, sometimes not. Also, do you know any fanatic gardeners? They can be excellent resources, as can local garden clubs and the membership. Sometimes ppl in your new neighborhood are good for these issues. Ask around at the houses where the yards look wonderful.

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Sounds like Bermuda. Good luck getting rid of it! Yes, you could use grass killer, but you wouldn't get it all, not the first time anyways. I would suggest waiting at least one full season before making any decisions regarding changing your turf. If you're going to DIY, you're on the right path, look up the recommended fertilization/weed control/aeration schedule for your area and do your best to keep to the schedule. Live the grass through a year and then see what you think (don't let lawn envy cause you to make a rash decision just yet).

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NC State U. in Raleigh has an Ag school. You might head over there w/ a sample and see what help they might offer.
Sometimes you can run into someone or a program that might just be able to give you the advice you need.

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@nmchapma: I have been fighting this NC clay soil all my life. The main grass in my area (I'm about 2 hours from you) is a fine bladed fescue (a cool season grass). Some people do have Bermuda grass but it's considered a weed here and most people will kill it with Round-Up. You can re-seed within a few days if you decide to go that route. FYI, Bermuda grass turns brown in the winter so it's very ugly. Now is the only time of year you should seed. You should core aerate, seed and fertilize. Unfortunately, you'll have to water every day to keep the seed moist. My lawn is fertilized 7 times a year and is treated for weeds. Also, brown patch is another problem in our area. I have that treated 3 times a year. Don't get frustrated, it takes a long time to get a beautiful, weed free lawn!

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I don't even have a lawn but ... I do listen to our local news channel and they have a garden expert giving tips all the time so, yes, this is the time to seed. Fall is also a good time to put down corn gluten if you need to deal with weeds or fertilize.

I would check to see if any of the ag departments, your local government, or a local newspaper knows of community resources such as http://www.ahs.org/gardening-resources/master-gardeners. (maybe http://ncmastergardeners.org/ or http://www.ncstategardening.org/extension_master_gardener/index.php) There are usually lots of people around who love helping others -- the trick is just finding them.

cf cf
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Could you post a picture of your lawn, just to make sure?

I lived in NC, and had a problem with the lawn. The house had been vacant for a while before I moved it (I was the first owner) and the lawn had been taken over by an unwanted grass, and I for the life of me can't remember the name. It wasn't an annual, like crabgrass, so use of pre-emergent control wasn't going to help.

What I ended up doing was getting a company to use a non selective herbicide (twice) to wipe out the lawn, then cut it very short, rake up what was left over, then they did professional seeding. It gave a pretty good result.

I tried to do something similar here in Georgia. I killed off the back lawn, then tried to seed manually. That didn't work too well, the soil was too hard. I then decided to till up the entire back lawn and seed again. Initially, that worked well. (continued)

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The bluegrass I planted sprouted up fine. However, what I didn't realize was that when I tilled up the soil, I also tilled up a whole raft of dormant crabgrass seed. The crabgrass then proceeded to take over the entire back lawn. On the bright side, it took care of the erosion problem.

So, now I have to decided if I want to just try and kill off the crabgrass, or start again all over. If I was going to do this again I'd use a power seeder (rent from Home Depot or wherever) to seed the lawn. Overall, I think that getting professional help is probably the way to go.