PDA

View Full Version : I need to grow grass


draggar
04-12-2009, 04:57 PM
First, I'm not taking about marijuana. I'm talking about a lawn. :)

Now, I live in (very) south Florida - the only grass that does well is crab grass, yes, the crap everyone else tries to get rid of. :) I think Bermuda grass is the same thing.

Now, where it will be will be partial to full sun. A few months ago, I laid down 3 large bags of peat moss then put sod over it. The sod didn't take - even with watering.

So, I fenced off an area so the dogs wouldn't go in there and put some potting soil over the sod and planted this:
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100618533&marketID=2&locStoreNum=6312&categoryID=502278

It grew OK but once I opened it up to the dogs, within a week the grass started to die. I'm having bad luck.

So, are there any suggestions?

Partial to full sun
May not get watered all the time
High traffic - including dogs going to the bathroom on it (we clean up the poop when we can but can't clean up pee).

These are the worst conditions for grass. I would even consider a nice ground cover plant, like grass.

Suggestions?

Edit: I forgot to mention that this is on top of concrete.

The weather in south Florida:

April/May to November / December: Tons of rain
November / December to APril / May - no rain

AdminAssistant
04-12-2009, 05:18 PM
My folks have Bermuda, and I think it's fine. Grows like crazy and it's hard to kill.

draggar
04-12-2009, 05:24 PM
My folks have Bermuda, and I think it's fine. Grows like crazy and it's hard to kill.

Then I've easily done something that is hard to do. :D

With the new shed I put in last weekend I also extended the drainage pipe all the way behind the shed - I may incorporate some troughs to go around the patio area, along the fence, to spread the water around the edges of the "lawn" when it rains.

PsychoTeddyAppear
04-13-2009, 04:17 PM
I work in lawn care and I can try to help but I can't promise anything
Since you have to try and grow it over concrete the grass may not be able to develope a strong enough root system to be able to put up with alot of traffic so soon. Can you tell me what you tried to seed it with because the link has decided not to work. If it was rye grass it tends to come up lush and green and after a few weeks with no traffic over it tends to start turning yellow and dieing back.
Though I will tell you a few of the yards we worked on took a full season or two to get a healthy hearty stand of grass so it can take a long time.

digilight
04-13-2009, 05:55 PM
You said that you are growing this on a mixed bed that goes, Grass, Potting soil, Peat Moss, Concrete? How thick did you go with you bed layer.

draggar
04-13-2009, 06:40 PM
The link is working for me but this is what I used for a seed:
Pennington Smart Seed Bermuda 5 Lb.

Model 118941

(You can search Home Depot for it).

The levels are:
Concrete (bottom)
Peat Moss
Some potting soil (leftovers, etc..)
Sod
then seed.

When I seeded I cleared out as much of the dead sod as I could with a rake and even used my old garden weasel (heh, remember those?) and dug up the dirt a little.

How thick should the dirt be? Right now it's between 2" and 4" deep - should I make it deeper? I just seeded the other area with what I had left for seed (not much). Should I get more peat moss and cover over that and then seed over it or is there something else I should use? Should I get a fertilizer to help?

This is for a very small area - roughly 15-17' X 8' (all numbers are 'ish).

Edit: Another issue is that I think mice might be coming in and eating some (all?) of the seeds at night. :(

auntiem
04-14-2009, 08:39 AM
First off, it sounds like you are on the right track. You are doing what is called "Lasagna Gardening" which in my experience is a smart way to quickly improve small areas. (if you haven't already, check out a book on it by Patricia Lanza)
Second, I live in the land of moss and use peat moss in my beds, but sparingly since it throws off the PH level - maybe the level is off. Does your grass die at the "seedling" stage? You might be using too much moss - it can choke out the nitrogen for other plants. And flat out choke out the roots.
Try using a seaweed amendment for watering - it improves root growth. Bone meal (for nitrogen) is also a good addition. You don't want to go to "balls out" (forgive the expression) at first because amendments and treatments can burn baby root systems.
If you want, please PM me for a garden forum that I'm an "ancient" at that has a lawn thread - not super helpful because most of the threads are about conversion, but some are about grass health.*
As a last thought, two things - if it is a light traffic area - have you looked at other plants like Irish moss or steppable thyme? or if it is a high traffic area - have you seen those cool lawns that use decorative cinderblocks interplanted with a "steppable" plant?

*as a bonus, the site has a lot of folks from Florida that may have better/more specific info (I'm Pacific NW)
final ETA: there is a company that specializes in "alternative lawns" - I can give you that info too. I ordered an aromatherapy garden from them an was very impressed by the quality of the plants.

digilight
04-14-2009, 05:52 PM
My opinion, you are going to have a hell of a hard time with this. 2-4 inches just isn't enough. Theres no place for the grass to get nutrients from, no place for the roots to get water from. The grass will either get root rot (too much water standing around at the roots, or be too dry. Remember that most grass will root down at least 2 inches and then some.

This one will take some real creativity to work it out for you. But the depth of the substrates and the concrete is why your grass keeps dying.

HorrorFrogPrincess
04-14-2009, 05:56 PM
The Desert-Dweller's opinion: get rocks instead. You don't need to water them.

draggar
04-14-2009, 08:40 PM
The Desert-Dweller's opinion: get rocks instead. You don't need to water them.

We tried that when we lived in Highlands, NJ and it didn't do well with the dogs, plus having grass will help train the puppies (when the next litter comes) where and how they should go to the bathroom. :)

Aethian
04-14-2009, 10:39 PM
In my organic science class (BOREING TEACHER!!! GRRR) we had a guest speaker from a landscaping company that said that some types of grass can need up to 8 inches of soil in order to withstand heavy traffic and/or animals.

So I second the poster who said that you don't have enough soil.

draggar
04-14-2009, 11:07 PM
OK, then I think I should look into an alternate groundcover?

Aethian
04-14-2009, 11:14 PM
Astro turf?

draggar
04-14-2009, 11:32 PM
No- the puppies will rip that to shreds. I can get the dirt (or whatever) up to about 4 inches.

This is turning out to be a much larger project than first thought - at least I knew that my wife was wrong in thinking we could have just put the sod directly on top of the concrete...

Seshat
04-15-2009, 07:49 AM
Find a GOOD local garden place.

Take with you a map of your land with 'north' marked, and the approximate sizes and heights of any shading buildings, fences, or trees.

Take a sample of the grass that died, and a sample of the bedding material.

A good garden place, run by a specialist, will be able to go 'mmhmm, mmhmm, let me run a PH test... okay, here's your cheapest option, here's what will be a good balance between price and durability, here's your best-but-expensive option'.

But to do that, the local Big Box Hardware Store garden department is probably not your best option, not unless that chain actually pays for specialists in their garden department.

draggar
04-15-2009, 10:21 AM
I think we have a store like that not far from here. Not a bad idea to go see them.

digilight
04-15-2009, 03:25 PM
<Cheech stoner voice> Dude Hydroponics</Cheech> Couldn't resist

You need something with a very shallow root structure and will have to keep up on the watering (small amounts but quite often).

Make sure that the garden guy understands what you are trying to do, I'm sure that theres something that you can make work in this type of situation, its just a matter of the correct medium/substrate and species of grass/ground cover.

But yeah, you win with your wife on the "grass can't grow directly on concrete" argument. I know we win so infrequiently we must savor the moment :)

draggar
04-16-2009, 11:26 AM
We've seen this grass seed that is in its own casing and is guaranteed to grow (their commercials show it growing on concrete, though).

Yeah, I know, it's advertising **COUGHCOUGHBSCOUCHCOUCHLIESCOUGHCOUGH** but has anyone had experneice with this stuff? I don't think it would do well long term in south Florida.

Bella_Vixen
04-17-2009, 04:10 AM
We've seen this grass seed that is in its own casing and is guaranteed to grow (their commercials show it growing on concrete, though).


I was going to mention that commercial.

auntiem
04-17-2009, 09:25 AM
We've seen this grass seed that is in its own casing and is guaranteed to grow (their commercials show it growing on concrete, though).

Yeah, I know, it's advertising **COUGHCOUGHBSCOUCHCOUCHLIESCOUGHCOUGH** but has anyone had experneice with this stuff? I don't think it would do well long term in south Florida.

I was thinking of that ad when I first responded to your thread, but what stopped me is that I don't think that company is very eco-ethical (I'm thinking that stuff is the next kudzo or bindweed). At second thought, I don't think moss would be the answer - too much heat and not enough moisture.
Have you considered plants in the "ice plant" genome? They do extremely well in California - so maybe there are some that can take the humidity of the Florida. I would look at that as an answer - maybe with the previous idea of the interplanting with decorative concrete to make it more dog friendly. The bonus is that most ice plants have a lovely bloom season. Double check with a vet though. because I have no idea if the plants are toxic to dogs.

*auntiem who has finaly convinced her SO to convert the front lawn into garden space*

draggar
04-17-2009, 11:00 AM
I've been thinking of thyme recently - it is strong and does OK here plus it smells nice but it would be extremely expensive.