I have this little patch of land that backs up to my lot that was deeded
to me recently. I have a few areas that I want to plant "regular" grass
instead of the stuff that planted itself when it was still farm field. I
have hoed the area that I am planting this time to bare ground. I am
trying to decide if I just want to go ahead and plant the new grass or
if I should nuke the area with Roundup and then wait about 4 weeks
before I start on the grass. Any suggestions?
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I doubt Roundup will do much good. It has to be sprayed directly on
the plant as I remember. There are some pre emerge herbicides that
farmers use. The names of those escape me now. You might try the
local seed supply place for suggestions.
Weeds will grow as long as there is no shade. Some seeds have
germinated after literally decades of storage.
Start at a local nursery. Note I did not say WalMart Garden Section, nor
Home Depot. Preen is a pre emergent herbicide that works well when applied
at the right season. Roundup is good, too, but has to be sprayed on the
plant. It is neutralized when it reaches the soil, hence you are not
killing the soil for a year or two. But yes, kill it out, then plant.
Tilling helps to get out the roots, too. You can simply spray the fresh
tilled soil to hit the roots. Spray and wait then hoe or rake. Takes a
while, but the time and effort will come back to you later.
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Since the ground is bare, Roundup will do nothing.
A pre-emergent herbicide could help. If the area is sunny, so would staking
down some black plastic over the area and letting it cook the ground for a
month or so.
Good advice. Cook in summer, reseed in early fall. Worry about weeds
next year. Eliminating every weed and bug is not advised :o) We use
insane amounts of poison on our lawns and gardens; better to leave at
least some area to native plants and trees.
Most pre-emergent herbicides will also kill the sprouting grass seed.
This is a two-step task: seeding and weed control. The OP has to
decide which one to do first. Since we're headed into the hottest time
of the year, I'd suggest waiting a month or so anyway to start the
lawn, and it sounds like that's what he planned to do anyway. If he
wants to hit emerging weeds in the meantime with Roundup or Finale,
that'd be okay. Broadleaved-only weedkillers persist in the soil for
several weeks, so he should avoid using those. If he wants to use a
pre-emergent, he'll need to look for one that won't harm grass
seedlings. Not all that easy to find, and it's a good bit more expensive.
I'd not worry too much about weed control for the time being. If it's
a smaller area, the weeds can be prevented by laying a barrier over
the area. When he's ready to seed, he can remove the barrier (I have
some old tarps I keep for this), apply a starter fertilizer, and seed
or sod. Once the grass is up and has been mowed at least three times,
he can safely apply a weedkiller if he needs to do so.
As Normie said, leave some native plants. Wife's philosophy: Perennials
are better. I'll try anything,preferably native or native-like. If it
grows, be kind to it. If it doesn't, too bad, onwards with the next plant.
Just be careful with invasive plants, such as mints.
Just saw a facebook page where strawbaling was used to kill weeds etc.
Second link when you google "hoeing and tilling". I have no idea whether
you are talking 20x30 feet, 200x300 feet or 2x3 miles of land. We killed
the lawn in front of our first home by covering with newspaper. Worked
just fine, and we got a very nice front garden. The next owners of
course promptly took all our nice plants out and made it a lawn, but we
had 18 years of a nice front flower garden. No chemicals other than
Hoeing is tilling "lite"...tearing up sod, breaking it apart and
levelling soil is heavy labor :o) The average roto-tiller can't do it
well, but a heavy one can. The black plastic approach, or simply
putting down heavy mulch (all of next fall's leaves) might make it
plantable in the following spring. Or try a cheat...buy a few hostas,
plant them here and there, and wait...they grow almost everywhere, shade
out most weeds, and make for a nice low-maintenance bed.
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