I moved into my new house in May. The contractor tilled and put seed
down, but unfortunately I was gone a lot for the first few weeks so I
wasn't there to water/take care of the grass, so it didn't do well.
Also, I think the soil is pretty bad. Now I have some grass, but
mostly weeds and hard, rocky soil.
I sent a soil sample to be tested, but aside from the treatments to get
the soil right, what else do I need to do before planting?
I assume my best chance is to get rid of all the weeds and grass and
start fresh? Would the grass have any chance of forcing out the weeds
over time if I just overseeded?
Should I kill off and dig up all of the weeds?
Would tilling get rid of the weeds anyway without having to spray
Is it worth it to rent/buy a tiller or would it be reasonable to do it
with something like the Garden Claw? I only have about 0.2 acres.
I assume I should get rid of as many of the rocks as possible?
As you can tell, I am very new to this, so any and all advice is
Do a google search using the three words below. Find your CE web site, and
locate the nearest office. Call them to find out the best time to start a
lawn in your neck of the woods. They'll probably also have advice on how to
keep the weeds at bay until then. Also ask about using the bagged seed that
comes with mulch. You've seen the stuff used, usually around highway
construction areas where they MUST get some grass growing at a time of year
that's not optimal. It might be worth the money to do something like this
now. You're gonna spend it one way or the other, whether on bagged
mulch/seed mix, or on a hideous array of weed killers later.
virginia cooperative extension
Have you considered sod? I know it's more expensive but the results are
more immediate. There is not as much trouble with water erosion and weeds.
As for timing, I've had sod laid shortly after the fourth of July in hot,
dry Kansas and it came through great. However, I watered, watered, and
we live in wisconsin, and have started new lawn on a couple of acres of our
yard. VERY CRAPPY, CLAY, SOIL
it is full of weeds, but will overtime be thick wonderful grass.
tom is watering alot, and in the fall he will fertilize and overseed.
in the spring he will fertilize and overseed again.
he cuts the lawn at a 4inch level and it does quite well.
best of luck!
"If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we've
First use the correct variety of grass seed.
For a heavily fertilized and watered lawn in full sun use several
varieties of blue grass in September.
For a heavily trafficked lawn, with sun or shade, wet or dry use tall
fescue in September.
For warm sunny climates use bermuda grass.
Since I live in PA, my preference is the easy to grow tall fescues. If
you plant it in September, it is hard to mess up. If you want to start
out weed-free, spray the present lawn with Roundup and plant the tall
fescue the next day. Adjust the pH before planting. Fertilize in
Pardon my spam deterrent; send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers, Steve Henning in Reading, PA USA
How much exercise would you like? <g>
How spotty is your lawn? 1% grass? 10%? 80%? In the lower numbers,
I'm inclined to go with the scorched earth policy and till everything in,
with as much compost as I could lay hands on easily and cheaply, and then
replant at the correct time (I suspect August or September might be a bit
soon in your part of the world -- talk to your Extension Service.)
There are several ways to go here:
1) overseed what you have, ignoring weeds at the moment, then using
a selective herbicide or hand-weeding to clean up the weeds later.
I'd probably go for this option if you've got a fair coverage (>75%)
of the species you want now.
2) clean up the weeds now (by hand, by spot spraying, by solarization, by
tilling everything), retill with as much organic matter as you can just
before planting some really good seed.
3) fertilize and water this fall, and hope what you've got fills in (my
least favorite method here)
I replanted about 0.25 acres last fall; I'm in Oregon, and our property is
on an old beach of some sort. Our neighbor brought over his tractor and
disk and tilled for me -- we've got enough rocks from small-potato to small
doghouse size that his tiller was often bouncing out of the ground as he
hit fans of rock. Two neighbor kids and I picked up about half a ton of
rocks out of that area, and I raked it by hand, planted by hand, and walked
the seed into the soil. Pretty good growth this year (about 90% coverage),
but it would have been better had I had a few dump-truck loads of compost
to work in when I planted.
Unless you want to go for repetitive strain injury, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't
do that all with a Garden-Claw sort of digger. Look in the local papers...
there's usually someone with a small tractor and tiller, or someone with a
good walk-behind tiller who's willing to spare your back for a few dollars.
The other issue you're going to have this time of year is finding seed that's
been properly stored. You don't want stuff that's been sitting out in a
shed all summer; you may be better off ordering over the internet, or
finding the better garden stores and finding out how they've stored their
seed, or when they're getting fresh shipments. No point in paying for
half-fried seed lots.
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