I am building a new home, and it is near completion.
The construction crew leveled off the lot, and then placed existing
black dirt on top.
Over the past month, the entire yard is full of weeds.
Guess there was alot of weeds existing in the black top soil.
Once I move in (in about a month) I want to plant grass seed.
I am a newbie, and need to know what the best course of action is.
1. Should I somehow kill all the weeds first? If so, what is the best
and least expensive way.
2. Should I leave the weeds, plant the grass seeds and then let my
future mowing and composting of grass cure the weed problem?
I live in Chicago, and the weather is really cold in the winter and
really warm in the summer. I have heard that early fall is a good
time to plant a new lawn.
Also, any recommendations on a good grass seed to use for this
Thanks so much.
real choice, it's not expensive in comparison to what else you're
about to do.
with a skid-steer, then plant a turf type tall fescue/blue/rye
blend. Even better if they hydro-seed that blend for you, if not
be sure to straw it after you spread the seed and starter fertilizer.
Use at least 10 lbs of seed per 1000 sq ft. You'd like to have it
planted by Sept 1 in Chicago.
Make sure the topsoil is good, at least 8 inchs deep and that there
are no significant rocks. HAve the PH tested and adjust with lime now
if needed. With new topsoil like this, it usually is required. If
the topsoil is not real good, then now is the time to fix it by adding
whatever is necessary, typically that is organic matter.
Then use Roundup to kill the weeds the last week in August. After the
weeds have died, mow them down short. You can reseed in 7 days, with
a rental slice seeder. Choose the appropriate grass depending on what
you like and what does well in your area. Buy it from a good seed
supplier, you can find these online.
After seeding, cover the area lightly with weed free straw or even
better a light dressing of peat moss. Keep it constantly wet for the
first 2 weeks, until germination occurs. This usually means a few
shallow waterings a day when it's not raining. After that, begin to
taper back the watering so it's less frequent, but deeper. At the end
of two months, you should probably be watering about once every 3-4
days, unless it has rained.
Thanks for the help and the jokes.
By the way, it isn't full sun. I have many Oak trees on the property.
The weeds sprung from the black dirt after excavation. We demolished
the house that originally stood there, and it was on a slab, so we had
alot of extra dirt.
The dirt isn't totally leveled yet, and so I have to wait for them to
The front and back yard total about half an acre.
Using this info, is there a better way to attack it?
Would it do me any good to just put big pieces of plastic over the
whole yard to kill the weeds, and then start planting??
Will Round UP effect the grass seeds I will be planting ?
Whoa .. . how much lawn do you have (sq ft)? What sort of watering
are you intending (i.e. do you have water, water rationing, $)? What's the
depth of topsoil? Do you have shade? You might want to consider partial or
full ground cover instead of grass. Less $maintenance$ (mowing, water,
fertilizer, lime & herbicides) is a side benefit. Time is money. The
advice on roundup and types of grasses are great . .. but I suspect,
depending on use (ornamental vs functional) that somesort of groundcover
(your U.S. Ag. Extension Service or local garden center) would benefit you.
Did you build your house or did you hire a professional to do it?
Same with the lawn and landscape. Hire a professional!!
Nothing irritates me more to see a new house that is just built, and then
the owners try to scimp and save on their lawn and landscape. They figure
they will "take a stab" at it, how hard could it be they figure, and
they'll save themselves a few bucks. How many times then have I been called
to fix the job? Too many to count.
You did not say how big the lawn is, do you have proper equipment to
complete this job??
If you insist on doing this yourself, then here's what you do.
You spray roundup on all the weeds NOW, in august. You will NOT be able to
plant right away after spraying though. This is good, because you were
correct in your statement, fall is the BEST time to plant seed.
When you are ready to plant, I would say roughly about September 10th for
your area, you must till up the whole lawn. Till it up good, seed needs
soil contact to grow and establish. When you purchase your seed, you will
need to ask how many lbs to apply per 1000 sq ft. Apply the seed, and then
cover. We use a product called Penn Mulch, it works much better than straw
in my opinion, and it does not blow everywhere. The key is this, WATER,
WATER, WATER. Grass will NOT grow if those seeds are not kept moist at all
times. Notice I say moist, not drowned, moist. Wait until the grass
starts to come in fairly well, then you will need to apply a starter
fertilizer to it. As with any new germination, there will be some weeds.
(this is from the soil, and especially if the homebuilders just dumped
crappy soil in there, you will have weeds.) Do NOT try to kill those weeds
until the lawn is nice and established. Like I said, you have a nice house,
if you don't have time to really maintain this lawn, why not just hire a
professional to do it?
I will not recommend a seed for you to use because I am not that sure of the
area and climate. I use a grass seed calle Penn State Fine. Very good
I just read your response to Chet Hayes, which I found very useful as I'm in
the same situation. I wondered if you might recommend a seed for an Atlanta
lawn that gets full sun. Thanks in advance,
ps - regarding your question about why a novice would undertake a job that
you feel should be done by a professional, some of us would like to learn
about lawn care. Not to save a few bucks (that's not the issue for me) but
to learn about something interesting and perhaps take up lawn
care/landscaping as a hobby -- it's good exercise, as I'm sure you know ;-)
Maybe this analogy will help: I'm also a homebrewer and, although
professionals probably make higher quality beer than I do, and know more
about the chemistry, mine still tastes pretty damned good and I enjoy making
and drinking it. I certainly don't brew to save a few bucks. Same deal with
do it yourself lawncare for some people.
Sorry for rambling, and thanks again for your help...
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