We have over 2000 sq ft of lawn in the front, side and back of our
house. It is in pretty bad shape in several areas with bald patches and
a constant battle with weeds. We just mow it every week and pull
bunches of weeds every week or so. I see all kinds of products for
lawns - weed treatments, grass seeding kits, etc.. We're wondering at
this point if it is worth the effort and cost to apply these repair
treatments to our lawn or better just replace it. We are also conscious
of environmental concerns. Although we would like to save our lawn,
sometimes it seems that it is better to start all over with "a clean
slate". We live in the Pacific NW where it rains frequently.
Right now during the hot, dry summer, pull as many weeds as you can. The
grass isn't going to grow much (unless you water it) for a few months, so
stop mowing (and watering). Mowing weeds that are near flowering may help
spread seeds. For those stubborn weeds that keep sprouting from roots you
aren't completely getting, either dig a divot to get the roots, or apply
some Round-Up directly to the weed's foliage. You'll have to leave the
foliage (pick-off any flowers or flowering stems) so the herbicide can be
absorbed. (Round-Up is absorbed by the leaves, not by the roots, and not
from the soil.)
If you're digging divots, you may want to fill them with clean soil now for
safety. By the end of August, you should be weed-free. You'll have a patchy,
ugly, divot pocked lawn, possibly with brown, dormant grass, and it'll be
the ugliest thing you've ever seen, but if you can put up with the
embarrassment, next year you can be rewarded.
At the end of August, or very early in September, mow what's left lower than
normal. Collect the clippings. (They'll likely be mostly brown, dormant
grass.) If you have a thatch problem, rent a dethatcher. Then rent a core
aerator, and put a bunch of holes in the lawn. Get some fresh soil, and mix
it with some compost, and spread it over the lawn area. Fill any divots, and
fix any grading problems. Then spread some seed and some "starter"
Keep the soil damp during germination. You may need to lightly water a
couple of times a day, depending on how quickly Mother Nature moves into
fall mode. If she starts watering, you'll be in great shape. (If the
forecast is for an unseasonably warm and dry September, you can delay this
step, but the earlier in fall that you can do this, the better shape you'll
be in when you have to remove falling leaves from your new lawn. Raking
seedling grass isn't good.)
In spring, fill in any spots that need extra care. Remove weeds as promptly
as possible in spring, and mow frequently.
Check this out for more detailed information:
Most environmental solution is to remove the lawn.
Next best is to treat your soil as a valuable commodity. If you get
on the chem bandwagon, you'll never get off. It results in sterile
soil and you might as well be going hydroponic. Instead, add
composted manure twice a year (or more) to encourage the soil
ecosystem to thrive. The grass will recover when the roots are happy.
This may not be a comlplete solution (not knowing much of your
specific situation) but it's the place to start.
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