I just killed off all the weeds (and what little grass there was) in the
front lawn of my Atlanta home by spraying it with Roundup on Sunday and am
ready for the next steps. Here's my plan of attack:
1. Till the lawn on Friday afternoon (am I better off renting a slicer
seeder and skipping the tilling? If I till, how deep should I go?)
2. Apply seed and cover (straw?) on Saturday
3. Keep moist for several weeks until it starts to grow
Am I missing anything? Should I put topsoil or fertilizer down first? I'm
obviously a newbie so any time/labor saving hints would be appreciated.
You can seed 7 days after applying Roundup. It usually takes at least
that long for the grass to die anyway.
If the soil is good and you're not planning on mixing in more humus,
etc, then I would not till it. If you do, you're going to wind up
with clumps of dead grass, it will be uneven and a lot more work to
level. I'd just mow it short when it's dead, rake up any excess
clippings, fill in any low spots with top soil, then use a slice
seeder. The dead grass will also act as mulch to help keep it damp,
so I'd skip the straw, which usually has weeds in it.
You should also put down starter fertilizer. Have the soil tested and
if necessary lime with the appropriate amount. Keep it constantly
moist, which probably means watering lightly at least twice a day.
Thanks, Chet. Your plan sounds reasonable, and tilling/leveling appears to
be much more work than I had bargained for, and perhaps not necessary. I
will plan on seeding "as is" with a slice seeder and some fertilizer, adding
some straw/cover where needed, and see what happens. If it doesn't take I
can always hire a professional in the spring to fix it, and I will have not
invested an undue amount of money, time or labor.
I would thatch the old dead grass out which will take the dead grass out
and even up the soil surface if you have a thatch blade for your lawn
mower. Worms make mounds in the soil and make the soil surface uneven.
Thatching or scraping the soil surface will let you see if there are
high/low spots so you can even up the soil surface better.
Tilling will leave clumps like Jim said and. Tilling will create alot of
work to get the soil surface flat again across the whole yard. I had to
use an 10 foot 2x4 with screws in it. The screws helped comb the clumps
out. Nails will work also.
New grass seed doesn't need anything to grow but to be kept damp. New
grass clppings and manure might have too much nitrogen for the seed and
fry it. Nurseries etc sell fertilizer for new lawns.
Hay and or compost mixes to cover the seed will help keep the birds from
eating any seed. Seed cover will help keep the seed moist longer.
Just one point I think needs correction. You definitely don't want to
use hay for ground cover. Wheat straw is what you want. Hay has seeds
in it which will germinate right along with what ever seed you throw out.
If you've got the dough, you might want to get a landscaper that has the
equipment to do hydroseeding to do your lawn. These guys have equipment
that sprays a mixture of seed, starter fert, and celluose (which is dyed
green), and water. I'd do the ground prep as described by the others.
The celluose holds in the moisture and keeps the seed damp without
having to worry about introducing weed seeds into the lawn. Around here
this is not too expensive, much less than sod but more than do it
yourself. The system works well. With proper watering I've see lawns
that look like they were started from sod in about 6 months.
Tilling is a great way to prep the ground except for the unevenness. If
you've got a lawn tractor you can make a drag out of some chain link
fence and a few wood beams or steel post that will level the dirt out
I think you have already gotten a lot of good advice. But - since I am
in Atlanta also, and I have a real struggle with my backyard grass every
year - I will add that if you seed and you get a ton of leaves coming
down, you will have problems with the new baby grass. You can't rake,
you can't use a blower and if the leaves cover the new grass, it will
I have learned all it takes for the leaves to really start falling, is
for me to put out new seed.
you definantly dont want to put down seed and try to grow some new grass
while the weather is cold. the leafs are ok to help keep the seed
moist but is not good for "the growing grass" plants.
once you put down seed, you can't walk on it, blow it, rake it, etc etc
etc for a looooong time. sooooo, if you are "reseding" you have to mow
right before you reseed...
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.