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Old 29.04.2021, 22:25
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Garden Problem - looking for advice

We are wrestling with a garden problem and would love to have some inputs.
We have a 50 sq meter garden maintained by our landlord. We were told by the rental agency when we were finalising the terms of the lease that the garden was not intended to be a manicured lawn but was meant to be like a 'prairie' ( wild grass, wild flowers ). So basically maintenance would mean that the garden would be mowed around 4 times a year. We rented the house in March so we really had no idea what it would look like during the growth months. The house is delightful so we also kind of took our eyes off the ball in terms of getting into details on the garden.
The first year was okayish - the growth was not wild, there were some pretty flowers in spring and we were still finding our feet anyway and the garden was kow priority. Last year, a crazy weed took over - ugly and fast growing - and the landlord was forced to get the gardeners over every 15 days. He told us he was going to do something about it post the winter. What he has done a month back is that he has installed a robot which is keeping the weed short but it is still making the garden look like a disused plot because this weed is really horrible to look at.
So we are wondering if we should get the lawn dug up and a) get grass in rolls and convert the garden into a manicured lawn ( assuming the landlord agrees ) or b) use grass seeds.
What I was looking for is:
1. To have a very rough idea of how much this would cost - digging up the weed + a) or b). We don't know how long we are going to be around so cost is a factor.
2. To know whether we are too late to think of this - i.e. have we missed the season?
Any other thoughts / ideas would be most welcome.
TIA.
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  #2  
Old 29.04.2021, 22:51
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

Our neighbors had their entire grass replaced two summers ago (which cost them quite a bit of money) and all the weeds have slowly come back, so that is something to consider. Perhaps you could get a few free estimates, though, and the garden companies can hopefully tell you what can be done in order to ensure that the weeds will not come back. But of course they'll want the job so they might be willing to say anything just to convince you that the weeds won't re-appear. Perhaps you could also find some info online about what can be done and especially if you know what kind of weed it is.

I would imagine that this is the perfect time of year to start such a project. I actually just laid some Patch Magic grass seed two days ago because it's good to do it before a nice stretch of rainy days since the seed mix needs to remain wet after it's laid down. (Patch Magic is awesome, by the way. I highly recommend it for small patches as well as covering larger areas -- though it's probably a bit pricey to do an entire lawn).
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Old 29.04.2021, 23:26
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

It would help to post a few pics and to know the weed name.

Also, if you are living near fields or forest and not surrounded by maintained gardens you will have a constant struggle to maintain grass which is free of weeds even if you start all over again.

Some say the robot helps keep weeds under control as the grass becomes dense but that doesn't seem to be the case in your garden. Could it be the robot is actually making things worse?

Last edited by Mrs. Doolittle; 29.04.2021 at 23:40.
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Old 30.04.2021, 00:28
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

Hmmm...indica or sativa?
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Old 30.04.2021, 07:11
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

When we moved to our place a couple of yeasr ago the garden was basically half dirt with some weeds and patchy grass .. Broken patio, and garbage..
Landlord / regie said they ran out money and time with the renovations before we moved in etc .. blah blah .. We could do whatever we wanted withe garden .

I i fixed it myself pretty easily by pulling up weeds and seeding it with this stuff .. It only took one season and it's good now..

You'll never beat the weeds completely .. But we made quite a change
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Old 30.04.2021, 07:34
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

We moved into our house last summer and the lawn was a mix of small wildflowers, clover and dead grass. Mostly dirt with some clover and a little grass honestly. I donít need a perfect lawn but I donít want dirt and mud in the house on the dog paws! We should have just sprayed to kill all the grass and weeds but I have too much of a soft spot for wildlife of all kinds so we did a bunch of weeding by hand and then borrowed a friendís rototiller to turn the soil over. Borrowed my father-in-lawís roller to flatten the ground a bit and then broadcast grass seed and fertilizer. We covered that in a bit of soil to keep the birds off but it would have been cheaper and more effective to cover it in one of those inexpensive clear sheets that allows water and such in, canít remember the name. Anyway I think in all we didnít spend much more than 100CHF for about 125m2 but a lot of man hours! Itís coming in nicely but Iím sure weíll have more weeding and reseeding to do. My father-in-law and brothers-in-law all say that the weeds come back anyway, even if you lay sod (if you do plan on thousands of francs I think) though sod lasts longer before you have to start messing with it again. Weíre happy with our choice and our results. Most of the neighbors have similarly weedy lawns so we figured we wouldnít be able to keep it lush and golf course lookingówhich is great as thatís not what I prefer. So nice to see the bees and such enjoying the little flowers. For me Iím just glad weíve filled in the dirt and gotten rid of most of the clover stuff that didnít cover the ground well enough to keep the mud out of the house.
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Old 30.04.2021, 09:00
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

As the others said, we really need to know what the weed is to give all options, also are you looking for a really nice lawn or just something that is usable and not an eyesore?

For some weeds, just putting the mower down to a low cut will significantly reduce it, then seed over the top to encourage grass to grow back.

Or get a bag of seed and fine compost and manually fix the worst bits, with the mower on a medium height. Over a few weeks you'd make good progress without too much intense effort.

Make sure the mower is running every day, grass likes this but most other things don't.
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Old 30.04.2021, 09:45
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

Just pave it.

Tom
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Old 30.04.2021, 10:02
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

Two years ago we simply stopped mowing our front lawn and sowed, or rather sprinkled, a lot of wild wild flower seeds over it. Seeds from Landi to the tune of about CHF100 - you can never have too many! Many did not grow, but enough did.

It looks fairly miserable all winter and only really comes to life in May.

In autumn the whole area is cut with a scythe so that the seeds are not lost but fall to the ground. There are weeds and clover too, but the effect throughout summer is very pleasing.

Pic from June 2020:

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Old 30.04.2021, 10:11
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

You can buy ready made mixtures of meadow flower seeds. Lots of useful stuff there that both looks pretty and is good for the bees etc. And it's also easy to clear away once its time is over and is not invasive.

We have been using this for many years now on vegetable patches that we didn't have time to plant properly, rotating them around. There has definitely been a visible improvement in soil quality and in the number of earthworms etc.

And it looks really pretty too.
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Old 30.04.2021, 10:19
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

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Two years ago we simply stopped mowing our front lawn and sowed, or rather sprinkled, a lot of wild wild flower seeds over it. Seeds from Landi to the tune of about CHF100 - you can never have too many! Many did not grow, but enough did.

It looks fairly miserable all winter and only really comes to life in May.

In autumn the whole area is cut with a scythe so that the seeds are not lost but fall to the ground. There are weeds and clover too, but the effect throughout summer is very pleasing.

Pic from June 2020:
Yup.

I'm a big friend of the scythe too.

There is a saying among hardline scythers that if you cut short and do so early in the morning (ideally while the grass is still wet from morning dew or light rain), that this hurts the weeds more than it hurts the grass. I don't know how scientific that is but I do know that starting from patches that were 95% weed and 5% grass, the proportions had been reversed in about two years. And I never pulled up any of the weeds. Not even the dandelions.

Maybe something to do with weeds growing more at night and grass growing more in the day?

So I disagree with the claim that the weeds always come back. It's the grass that always comes back if you do it right.
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Old 30.04.2021, 10:36
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

You have the robot installed (I assumed a robot lawn mower), and that is 90% of the job done in terms of keeping new weed from coming back.

I'm a golfer and therefore have high standards for lawn. After about 15 years of hard work on my lawn I gave in and bought a Gardena robot and OMG it made a huge difference in terms of keeping weeds away. I guess it's because it cuts daily instead of about every 2 weeks if I did it myself. Since I have the robot, I only need to scarifiy it twice a year to remove the thatch build up -about 3 hours each time. Apart from that I only water the grass during dry weeks. Thus I hardly spend time on my lawn anymore and it looks better than ever.

So you don't have to worry about weed coming back if you already have the robot.

As to the existing weed - I would go to Landi to borrow a rototiler to remove the weed (or use weedkiller specifically made for grass), and then seed and soil. This shouldn't cost you too much and I would say if you have a lawn of about 50sqm it shouldn't even take a day to do.
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Old 30.04.2021, 11:39
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

Thank you all for the highly informative replies.

Attached are 3 pics - a close-up of the weed and 2 of the garden ( mowed 2 days back ). We are about 50 meters away from the forest on one side and there are vineyards on 2 other sides. No manicured lawns around but no one seems to have this infernal weed we have been attacked by.

Based on all the great replies, I have some additional questions:
- What is Patch Magic Grass Seed? Where do you get it?
- I thought scythes were obsolete. Or are we talking of a gadget that works like a scythe?
- What does scarify mean? How do you do it?
- Can one buy a weed killer off the shelf? At Landi or Jumbo.
Thanks in advance for the spoon feeding.
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Old 30.04.2021, 11:49
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

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- I thought scythes were obsolete.

No, that's 1980s grandpa thinking.

Scythes these days are hand forged pieces of art that cost more than a mid-range lawn mower and a whole cult has developed around their correct usage, handling and maintenance. With internet forums, youtubers and the whole shebang.

Of course you can buy cheapo Chinese ones in Obi too for about 20CHF . And they are good enough to test the concept, even if maybe you can never get them sharp enough to take down the toughest weeds..
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Old 30.04.2021, 11:58
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

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No, that's 1980s grandpa thinking.

Scythes these days are hand forged pieces of art that cost more than a mid-range lawn mower and a whole cult has developed around their correct usage, handling and maintenance. With internet forums, youtubers and the whole shebang.

Of course you can buy cheapo Chinese ones in Obi too for about 20CHF . And they are good enough to test the concept, even if maybe you can never get them sharp enough to take down the toughest weeds..
Or in our case inherit the scythes that came with the house. My buddy Jakob (then 89yo now 95) came across to give me some tips on my scythe swing Once you have the knack they do a quick job of long grass/weed
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Old 30.04.2021, 12:01
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

Please please make sure your robots are never put to work after dusk - as they horribly injur hedgehogs.
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Old 30.04.2021, 12:06
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

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Please please make sure your robots are never put to work after dusk - as they horribly injur hedgehogs.
Set to mow around noon.
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Old 30.04.2021, 12:12
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

I used to have a scarifying machine, but now I just use this simple one:

https://www.galaxus.ch/en/s4/product...ifiers-6195003

it's like a rake on steroids. The idea is to remove old grass cutting that are left behind, which after a while is like a thatch which is covering the ground below the grass. This will open up the ground a bit, sort of to give it more oxygen which is supposed to be healthy. As the rake pulls out the thatch, it also pulls out any crawler type weeds and crab grass as well (stuff that grows horizontally and not vertically). Your grass will look horrible for a week, but really great afterwards. An additional benefit is that the ground will be more exposed and it will be easier for new grass seeds to attach to the ground and grow if you need to cover some bald patches.
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Old 30.04.2021, 12:14
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

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Please please make sure your robots are never put to work after dusk - as they horribly injur hedgehogs.
Yes of course. The hedgehogs in my area are not known to come out to play golf on my lawn, and just to be sure, my robot is only working around mid-morning.
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Old 30.04.2021, 12:37
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Re: Garden Problem - looking for advice

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Thank you all for the highly informative replies.

Attached are 3 pics - a close-up of the weed and 2 of the garden ( mowed 2 days back ). We are about 50 meters away from the forest on one side and there are vineyards on 2 other sides. No manicured lawns around but no one seems to have this infernal weed we have been attacked by.

Based on all the great replies, I have some additional questions:
- What is Patch Magic Grass Seed? Where do you get it?
- I thought scythes were obsolete. Or are we talking of a gadget that works like a scythe?
- What does scarify mean? How do you do it?
- Can one buy a weed killer off the shelf? At Landi or Jumbo.
Thanks in advance for the spoon feeding.
Patch magic is a brand name but many others are available..

It's just a mixture of grass seed and fertiliser basically ..

Scarifying is pretty essential to open up the soil otherwise just throwing seeds down, magic or not, are less likely to actually take root and grow.You just use it like a lawnmower. except it sort of shreds the top couple of mm of soil and pulls out dead stuff.

You can rent a scarifyer from hornbach etc .. one would only use it once or twice per year so maybe not worth buying one.

Weedkiller is indeed readily available, either one to kill everything including grass .. or one that doesn't kill the grass.. I find the later actually does nothing at all.
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