Ask a Question forum→New Garden of weeds, help needed for a beginner!

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Massachusetts
wazgardian
May 6, 2020 11:02 AM CST
Hi there,
Just finally got my own garden...it's great but it's got lots of bumps, lumps, patches and a lot of weeds of different types, most of which I don't know!
We would love to have a nice lawn, but I'm completely new to the garden world and feels like there are so many weeds I don't know or what to do with.
I know it's not a quick fix, and will take seasons, but I'm enjoying figuring it out, so that's not an issue!

Some details; living in the US in the North East, lawn gets a lot of sun, it circles the house, except one 1/4 of the garden which the house shades for half the day, this is also the patchiest/barest part of the garden. Lawn is reasonably large and has a number of plant beds, trees and other things which have been reasonably protected from weeds by mulch. The lawn is full of different types of weeds (and maybe different types of grass?) and is very lumpy.

I need advice on what to do right :)
What type of weeds do I have, and what is the best way to get rid of them? Do I have a certain type(s) of grass I have and how I should improve it? How can I level the lawn (it's very bumpy). If there is any general advice on fixing things I welcome it!

I've put down Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action 5 days ago, and I see some wilting of Dandelions, although minimal. I know it takes time but I wonder if there are too many weeds and they are too established, but maybe they will die as time goes on? I also only used a small bag and just about covered 75% of the garden [I focused on the most problematic areas]. I also bought Spectracide Weed stop concentrate for Lawns which I maybe I can spot treat with or use a lawn sprayer to cover more, have not used yet.
But I'm not sure what the best approach is, some people tell me no chemicals, some tell me use chemicals. it's hard to find what the "right" advice is.
I can certainly try to cut down some of the weeds, or dig out some, but lots are deep rooted or sprawling so I wonder if digging/chopping might be tough.
I've tried googling to identify the weeds but it's very hard, and I'm also reading a lot about pulling vs cutting with a how vs herbicide vs plastic/cardboard, it's all new to me...

One thing from researching that seems like a good idea is to get a soil test, which I'm going to get on ASAP, wish I had done that before putting down the Scotts...but oh well.

Attaching a few pics of the different weeds seen (having just cutting the lawn), any help appreciated! If needed I can take other pictures
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[Last edited by wazgardian - May 6, 2020 11:06 AM (+)]
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
May 6, 2020 12:12 PM CST
Oh, my! You do have quite an assortment there. However, it looks as if the Scotts product is going to get rid of many of them. Others will die back as the weather gets hot and still more may get crowded our by the grass as you improve the health of your lawn. The soil test can tell you how to help your grass, so I think that is the right place to start. It should be an interesting project!
Porkpal
Lowell MA, Zone 6; near border
PitSmoker
May 6, 2020 2:29 PM CST
Rookie here too... but I've been working on my lawn for 4 years and I'm in Mass, and I'm trying to pay it forward. Porkpal nailed it-- get a soil test. You can use one of those kits in the store with the "tablets" or you can send something out to UMASS.

You will probably learn that your soil is too acidic and you need lime. Almost all soils in Mass are acidic-- you can find plenty of literature of 'what likes to grow in acidic soil" and other than hydrangeas, Rhododendrons and azaleas ... you'll find a ton of weeds.

There are "fast" limes and "slower-but-longer" working limes. Personally, I've been using the Jonathan Green System, but Scotts'll probably work for you too. I DO use the Scott's mobile app to help me with timing.
Massachusetts
wazgardian
May 6, 2020 4:43 PM CST
Great thanks! I picked up a great weed pick tool today so I'll use that on some broad leaves.
I've got a lot of mystery weeds, but anyone know what this little tree looking thing is? Its the weirdest one, and I've noticed them growing quickly recently, googling comes up with horsetail...but they look a little different!
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
May 6, 2020 4:50 PM CST
tree thiing might be horseweed
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
but not being there in person, I hesitate.

Lawn products will take time. time for weeds to die out and time for good grass to grow. Don't expect instant results and don't panic, take the long view and do the proper care to foster good grass. Lime is most likely needed, I can't say how much though.
https://ag.umass.edu/resources...
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Massachusetts
wazgardian
May 6, 2020 6:18 PM CST
sallyg said:tree thiing might be horseweed
but not being there in person, I hesitate.

Lawn products will take time. time for weeds to die out and time for good grass to grow. Don't expect instant results and don't panic, take the long view and do the proper care to foster good grass. Lime is most likely needed, I can't say how much though.


Thanks, it does look a little like horseweed, but not exactly like pictures I've seen. I tried to dig it up earlier, it's very thin roots that seem to connect to the adjacent weeds...almost like it's one plant, this kind of shocked me (but I'm very green to this!), I thought they would be seperate plants! Is that typical of horseweed?
Milpitas, CA
SoulReaver009
May 7, 2020 12:38 AM CST
Check this out...
https://richsoil.com/lawn-care...

This has helped me learn quite a bit. It works. I didn't see what your goal is (endgame). Or if you already have a plan and want advice with it. I don't know what it is or what your thinking or leaning to...

I turn my dirt with weeds everywhere, once. I wait for them to hit 7-10 cm in height. Or for the low growing weeds, the same in diameter. When you turn the dirt, water it. Weeds will grow again! Don't fret. Wait a week. And... turn the dirt again. This time will be easier. And all the weeds and seeds will have grown, germinated, and are now dead with this second turning. Maybe 1 or 2 will sprout up after this, but it will be easily taken care of.

With certain weeds such as dandelions (which I grow!) they can have a huge tap root. If just 1 inch of the root lives, the whole thing can come back. They mostly die once winter hits. I live in CA, so if they die here, I'm sure they will die there. The ones that make it to next year (not that many), you have to dig up COMPLETELY, and dispose of, if you want to get rid of them (I transplant them!).Baby ones are easy! Only have to dig a few inches. But they can disperse hundreds of seeds at a time. I chop off the head and collect the seeds. Don't ask me how many seeds I have...

Other weeds, can simply be chopped at the surface. They are plants after all. Most need the top leaves to make food and survive. Dandelions on the other hand... aaaarrrrggghhh!

Turn over the dirt easily, where the weeds are and see which come back. Some will come back because they are like dandelions, and some will come back because of germinated seeds. If you observe enough, you can tell which is which. And which need to to be dug up completely and which can just be chopped at the surface. Garden pests love a damaged plant, and can become your ally by attacking the plant you just chopped!

Cardboard works! I'll show you a pic tomorrow! Takes a couple weeks.

For me, I have fox tail grass D'Oh!

I have to roto-til my yard twice. Did you know grass is a flowering weed? Then I'm going to plant grass seeds, and bring it up.

I don't know what your resources are, or what you are capable of. Not sure if my advice is of any help to you specifically, but if there's something I missed or anything else... Just mention it!

EDIT: almost forgot!
COPY AND PASTE: I would use a pick-axe!
And leave it there to decompose! You can easily throw a layer of dirt over it and make it non visible. Sprinkle some used coffee grounds to attract worms. Sprinkle some lime juice 1-2 weeks later. And they will decompose it and...
[Last edited by SoulReaver009 - May 7, 2020 12:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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gardenfish
May 7, 2020 1:16 AM CST
Wow! Sure hate to say this, but I don't see any grass in your pics, just weeds. As others have said, a long time and a lot of work to turn this around. You will have to remove all the weeds and then put down sod aor sow grass seed if you wish to have a grass lawn.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa
Milpitas, CA
SoulReaver009
May 7, 2020 11:46 AM CST
It doesn't take too long with a pick axe. 2-4 days working 2-3 hours at an easy pace in the early morning can clear 200 sq ft. Probably get it done on one day, if you stay hydrated, take your breaks, and don't mind being a little sore for a few days.

He has ton of grass!! Did you know grass is a flowering weed? Just not the kind wazgardian desirables. Haha
Massachusetts
wazgardian
May 7, 2020 1:26 PM CST
wazgardian said:

Thanks, it does look a little like horseweed, but not exactly like pictures I've seen. I tried to dig it up earlier, it's very thin roots that seem to connect to the adjacent weeds...almost like it's one plant, this kind of shocked me (but I'm very green to this!), I thought they would be seperate plants! Is that typical of horseweed?


Just to answer what I've found out for any future reader Smiling Yes, this is normal for horseweed, it turns out they can multiply through rhizomes which "creep underground; the rhizomes can go down to a depth of about two meters." So I need to pull these quickly, and keep doing it before they mature, because it's very hard to get rid of rhizomes weeds given the rooting system.

Also, the purple weeds in my pictures, might be creeping charlie, which is also a rhizomes based weed :/
Milpitas, CA
SoulReaver009
May 7, 2020 3:51 PM CST
Read the article I sent you.

It tells you how to choke out weeds with deep roots, without having to dig them up.

You will find barely any of them are even 10 cm in depth.

It works.

Good luck!

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