Preparing old lawn for new one

Got too many weeds in one patch of the yard about 15x30 and decided to kill or remove all the old grass/weeds and start fresh with new seed.
I'm wondering if I covered it with tarps, how long would it take for the grass and weeds to die? I don't want to spray it with herbicide. Temp will be around 75-80 from now until August, then 80-90 until mid-Sept. No rain excepted any time soon.
Thanks.
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Snuffy "Hub Cap" McKinney wrote:

it depends upon the grass species it may take several seasons to do, some grass goes dormant and the roots retain viability.
note this is the same with any weed killer you might use. it may take more than a single application. it has been dry here so that also means you have to water to get things to grow before any weed killer will be effective.
also note, summer is a poor time to start grasses, fall is much better.
instead of killing things off and using poisons, i would smother the area using compost/mulch and seed into that with a better mix which can survive your climate, then raise the mower blades, because cutting too short is why most weeds have it too easy to invade an area.
compacted soil is often why weeds will do better in an area than grasses. that usually means you rake or remove the clippings and are cutting too short. no food for the worms, less worms, compacted soil, poor grass growth...
other options are to include some other species in the reseed mix (small white clover, trefoil, yarrow) which look fine when mowed regularly and they add to the species diversity and also do well at different times of the year.
mints and thymes can take over, but smell nice when mowed and if left to flower the bees love it (like the clovers and trefoil).
songbird
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wrote:

All good advice. Also mow often, at least twice a week, removing a small amount each time is healthier for a lawn than an occasional scalping. Make sure your blades are sharp, dull blades don't cut, they tear and torn grass ends look terrible but also cause more water loss. For best results use mulching blades. With a small lawn it's very practical to have an automatic sprinkling system and set it to water in early morning just before sun up... do not water in late afternoon or you'll be putting your lawn to bed with wet foliage which encourages disease and mold. Early morning watering allows the soil to absorb moisture. Grasses take in water during daylight, they do not absorb moisture at night... watering in late afternoon besides damaging sod grass just wastes water. I see it often, people arrive home from work, have dinner and then go out to water just before dark, a huge mistake... wet soil and wet foliage at night weakens grass and encourages weeds. If one wants an attractive healthy lawn a properly installed automatic sprinkler system is mandatory.
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Dave, sorry about that from the peanut gallery. Next time, I'll send to alt.home.repair separately.
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Try googling "soil solarization" and you'll find a wealth of information. From what I gather it'll work in a few weeks _provided_ you have lots of hot, all-day sunshine.
Apart from needing full sun, the tarps need to be sealed tightly, usually by burying the edges, and it helps if the soil is watered before tarping.
Here's one of many articles on the subject: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74145.html
hth,
bob prohaska
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