Okay, here’s my problem (it’s a bit involved but i want to be as specific and detailed as possible... brace yourselves):
I live in a rented duplex in East Texas. i state specifically that it’s rented to show that i have not been the one in charge of the backyard maintenance, nor do i believe that our landlords had much to do with it either. i say that because about 90% of it is crabgrass (if not more), there are half dug up tree roots, some smaller type of tree-like species growing up through the privacy fence... etc etc. the yard is small (maybe about 20’ x 30’) but we needed just about any size yard for our dogs since we were in an apartment. it is not big enough (and we can’t really afford) to use an actual lawnmower, so we have a weed eater to trim the lawn. that of course causes a lot of the trimmings to hang around in the yard, despite my best efforts to rake them and put them in the compost bags. we have not used any radical weed treatments due to the potential risk to our dogs.
now i bring up the dogs because they are very important to my crisis here.
they poop (obviously) and i am very diligent on cleaning up their messes as quickly as possible, but there are those times where i can’t always pick it up quickly due to the weather or other things that are out of my control (like my husband not always doing it when he’s home and i’m not). so needless to say, there have been some problems with wild mushrooms (which really aren’t that big of deal) and fire ants making their ginormous mounds around the little turds. my dogs have a pretty bad allergy to the ants, but are also those kind of derpy dogs that will lay down on top of a trail for like 30 seconds before realizing it. and again, we have not yet used any radical pesticide treatments because of the danger posed on the dogs, just a few spot treatments here and there.
so NOW (again, just bear with me here), we have a HUGE amount of lawn caterpillars everywhere (and i mean, everywhere! like, the lawn looks like it’s alive because we have so many)! and i do not mind caterpillars in the least, but i have a strong suspicion that they are perpetually providing the ants food enough to continue living in our backyard... but i also really don’t want to kill the caterpillars (part because i really really don’t want to kill them when they, by themselves, are really not causing any problems, and part because i fear that having a yard full of dead caterpillars will just draw in more ants or even mice [which we did have a mouse problem awhile back, and i again didn’t want to kill them but i couldn’t risk the dogs getting ahold of them, so i laboriously put out cinder blocks and chucked wire around our janky fence and we don’t have those anymore] which would defeat the purpose).
so, to recap: yard of almost nothing but crabgrass (which we would like to find a way to eradicate), have to use weed eater instead of mower (leaving lawn clippings behind), lots and lots of fire ant mounds (which we would also like to find a way to eradicate), and many many caterpillars we would like to get out of our yard preferably without killing, and all of this done with the least amount of chemical intervention as possible so as not to harm our dogs who are usually active and like being out in the yard!
told ya that was a gonna be a long story... let me know if you have anything else specified if you think you can help!
we are very willing to try just about anything! we hate seeing our dogs getting eaten alive by the ants, but we hate having to keep them inside when we have a yard that we got just for them! we have so so many caterpillars that we honestly wouldn’t mind keeping around, but with how bad the fire ants are around here, we really don’t have that option. we are more than happy to kill every little fire ant that ever roamed the planet but the caterpillars have not harmed us or the dogs in anyway and i don’t want them to have to die.
but our dogs are the most important thing, so if there’s not something out there can satisfy even some of these areas, then we will go a more extreme route if we need to. i just really wanted to get a more expert opinion first (that’s you guys btw )
thank you so much!