Mar 5, 2020

From Green Weeds to Green Lawns

I have to tell you, I love it when I see lawns with lots of beautiful foliage and native plants and flowers in a yard, with little to no grass. For instance, the plans you get from the UF/IFAS program Florida-Friendly Landscapes. (Here’s an additional link to their blog!)

But many folks, bound by your HOA rules, MUST keep grass lawns in order to comply and not get fined. And other people really just love having a dense green lawn to look at, and walk around in. I get it. I really do!

I know that Mr. Shell is one of those people who LOVES thick, green, beautiful lawns in front of his house…if you’ve seen our ads for Hydretain then you know that’s true – those before and after pics are of his lawn!

Mr. Shell’s Lawn, from our Hydretain ads. Beautiful!

Green Lawns – Picture Of The American Dream

I think for many people, having a beautiful lawn is woven into our idea of what it is to be an American suburbanite, completely domineering nature by creating a lush green carpet on our own little slice of heaven.

Borrowed from “Envisioning The American Dream” (

So, how many of you HOA lawn-keepers are just *barely* in compliance with your lawn rules? What I mean to say is, is your “lawn” green, but most of it isn’t grass? And how many of you lawn-lovers, who dream of a field of soft blades that feel good on your feet, have more weeds than grass in your lawn?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the two scenarios above – and we’re here to help!

So Much To Consider

There’s lots of variables when you’re dealing with lawns. The type of grass, the type of soil, sun or shade, how much water it needs, what to feed it, bugs, fungus, mowing, edging, and so much more.

The most popular types of grass for residential lawns here in Central Florida are St. Augustine, Bahia, and Bermuda. St. Augustine comes only in sod or plugs (there is no seed for it) and it does well in sun or shade (or a mix of both). Bahia comes in two varieties (Pensacola and Argentine) and is planted by seed, sod or plugs, and does really well in full sun. Bermuda is from seed, sod, or plugs, and also loves full sun.

There’s even more choices than this! Borrowed from Pinterest.

There are also other grasses that are helpful to you in certain situations. Winter Rye and Summer Rye (also called Browntop Millet) are used as a cover crop when certain grasses go dormant or as a quick-sprouting option to cover the ground so that weeds do not take over your bare ground while you are waiting for your Bahia or Bermuda grasses to sprout.

You CAN Tame Your Yard

Creating lush lawns out of patchy grass and weeds is difficult. But with some help, patience, and the right products, it is possible!

Front lawn – where pups can play!

Since we’re in March now, this time of year is the time to evaluate your lawn, so go out and really look carefully at your lawn. What weeds are in the grass? Identify them (there are apps for that!). How much grass do you actually have? Write down a percentage. Take pictures. Is it all the same kind of grass, or do you have a mixture of different grasses? There’s lots of info on lawn grasses out there on the Internet, or you can bring a sample to us and we can help you (bring a plug with the blades, roots and all). Do you have bare spots, yellow spots, brown spots or other discoloration in your grass? Answer these questions, take pictures, and write it all down.

Soil is the Key

Next, I highly suggest you test your soil. You can use the soil testing kits we have, or for a more thorough analysis, call the County Extension Office and find out how to properly prepare and send samples to them for analysis. Knowing your soil is the key to healthy plants of any kind, including lawns.

Soil can make or break your yard.

Once you have your analysis, you may need some soil amendments to help you get the grass you want. For instance, if you have Alkaline soil, you’ll need to amend with organic material like compost to help bring the pH back down to around 7, and/or you can use a granular soil acidifier (which is a sulphur compound). For acidic soil, you’ll need agricultural or dolomitic lime to raise the pH.

Your analysis may find other nutrients needed as well. Have an analysis and need to find products to “fix” your soil? We can help! Bring it in and we’ll get you set up (bring a notebook to write information down!).

What’s Next?

Once you know all that information, there are several routes to a green successful lawn that you can take. Patching, plugging, seeding, overseeding, and sodding are the most common methods to change your grassy landscape.

Remember that your bare areas is your lawn are bare for a reason, so if you haven’t fixed the reason the area is bare, then your chances of fixing it with any of these methods is slim.

Patching is putting in seeds of the same kind of grass you already have into areas that are either bare or have become bare due to the pulling of unwanted plants from the area.

Plugging is using live grass “plugs” to repopulate a bare area.

Example of a grass plug.

Seeding is just what it sounds like – spreading seed onto the ground, followed by raking and watering until it sprouts.

Overseeding is spreading grass seed over established grass to help thicken the grass that is there already and to choke out unwanted plants that try to take advantage of “sparseness”.

photo borrowed from Univ. of CA Ag program.

Sodding is having all the plant matter removed from your lawn, grading it flat, then having squares or rolls of grass turf “installed” over the top creating a green field.

Whatever method you choose, or if you choose multiple methods – yes, you can! – you’ll need a few other things as your grass gets growing. Fertilizer, micronutrients, iron supplementation, hydration helper, and filler grasses for when your main grass goes dormant are common to have around. And of course, a regular watering regimen, whether it’s you with a hose, a sprinkler, or an installed sprinkler system with a timer.

Feeling overwhelmed?

It’s OK. We at Shell’s are here to help you out. Our staff is knowledgeable and can answer questions, so bring us your pictures and samples and we’ll see what we can do!

Where to start? (photo borrowed from )

We’ve Called In The Expert…

….and you can talk to him too!! We have an AWESOME guest speaker coming to the store specifically to talk about lawns and lawn care! Saturday March 21, 2020 at 11:30am, come meet Allyn Hane, the self-proclaimed Lawn Care Nut.

Allyn has thousands of followers on the internet who watch his informative lawn videos to totally dominate their lawn growing. He’s here to help too! He’ll have great advice and can answer your questions as well. Please see our Facebook Event to RSVP!

We hope you’ll join us for that, and if you need help any other time, stop on in to see us!

Keep growing,


Like what you’re reading?  Check out some more!