Restarting back & front lawn

skald89May 25, 2014

My lawn have been overtaken by different types of weed and another vegetation. After reading different ways to kill grass and weed, I settled on vinegar. I thought if I can drink it, it is the healthiest additive to the soil.

I tested in a section of my backyard to test it ability to kill. It did the job after a couple of days. Now I am working my way through the rest of the backyard. Once all the grass dies out and turns brown, what should be my next step?

Do i till the soil with a shovel at 1-3 inches?
Do i pull all the dead grass & weed?

I will include pictures l;later of my whole garden

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Even without knowing the size of your yard, I would recommend renting a sod cutter. Minus the vinegar, I did exactly what you are doing a few years ago...removing the old lawn by hand nearly killed me. Regardless of what it costs to rent, it will be the best money you spend on the entire project.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:00PM
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I am trying to do it as cheap as possible. I am in no rush to get it done.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:22PM
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forsheems(Lexington, NC)

What type of grass are you going to plant? If it's bermuda this is probably the right time. If it's a type of cool season grass like fescue this is about the worst time.

I'm no pro but there are some folks on here that can help you out but you will need to provide some info first.

Where are you located?
What type of grass do you want?
How much shade/sun does your lawn have?
Have you had a soil test done?

Those are the basics. Once we know where you're going it will be much easier to help.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 3:06PM
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I will have to wait till tomorrow to take pics during the day. That should help a lot more.

I live in nyc zone 6. I am thinking kentucky blue grass...or if I can push my parents to turn their backyard into a whole vegetable garden that would be much better than replanting grass.

I haven't tested the soil and don't plan to test it. Things grow in the soil with no issues. They just never take care of the yard besides for watering and mowing.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 3:23PM
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forsheems(Lexington, NC)

KBG should be fine for you but you will need to wait until probably mid August in your area to seed. Otherwise planting it now it will come up but will die in the heat of summer and you're going to end up with nothing but weeds again. I would suggest doing some research between now and time to seed to learn about proper watering and fertilizing so when the time comes you'll be ready. Organics might be a good option for you for fertilizer so do some reading there too.

About the soil test, weeds will grow anywhere. I have them growing in the crack in my concrete drive. Grass on the other hand won't grow anywhere and if there is an issue with the soil you're going to be wasting your time. Like I said, I'm no pro and went about the whole lawn thing the wrong way for years. After doing a lot of research I realized all the mistakes I was making. Over the years I spent a lot of time and even more money for nothing. Not trying to offend or hurt your feelings, just get you going in the right direction.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 4:54PM
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I know that weed will grow anywhere unlike grass. The soil does have grass its just being overtaken by weeds. The soil also maintains, 3 trees, mint, and any vegetables we plant each summer.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 6:57PM
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forsheems(Lexington, NC)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 7:33AM
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I was thinking that I have been wasting my time trying to kill the grass & weed. It would probably be better if I put in the time to dick them or hire someone to come and remove it all. Then till the soil to aerate. Afterward i should use the vinegar to kill anything left over.

A week later i could start to transplant anything ready,

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 12:09PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

If you were planting veggies, then you could rototill or dig; however, for a lawn, digging or rototilling is not a good idea. The reason is you cannot dig every inch to the same depth. But you can level it all perfectly. That leaves you with different depths of fluffy soil. As that fluffy soil settles back to a structured soil over the next 3 years, it will settle unevenly leaving you with a very bumpy lawn to mow.

There is a class of machines which vertically rotating blades or thrashers. You can rent one under the name vertacutter, slit seeder, dethatcher, and a few other names I can't think of. That machine rides across the surface but the blades can be adjusted to dig down into the soil about 1/2 inch. By using a controller machine like that, you can loosen the surface all to the same depth. It will also chop up all the vegetation leaving you with a lot of raking or blowing to do before seeding.

You said you have 2 trees. Kentucky bluegrass needs full sun to thrive. In the shade of trees it will thin out and disappear. What you can do is mix 10% KBG with 90% fescue seed and have a lawn that will adapt to shade or sun as appropriate. Fescue is a bunch type grass which will need to be reseeded every fall to keep it dense enough to fight off the weeds. That is a small price to pay - it makes a great lawn.

If your parents neglected fertilizing for years, then at least you don't have any chemical damage to deal with. If you are inclined to organics, here is a picture of what organic fertilizer can do...

This picture was posted by mrmumbles here back in 2011. He had applied a handful of alfalfa pellets (rabbit chow) to his zoysia lawn in mid May. The picture was taken in mid June. You can see the improved density, color, and growth. Alfalfa is a common ingredient in organic fertilizers and obviously works fine all by itself. He got his where we all get ours, at a local feed store. The application rate is 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. You can apply it any time of year without fear of hurting anything. And organic fertilizers will improve your soil.

If you think your soil is compacted, I can practically guarantee you it is not. Compaction occurs when all the air is driven out of the soil by mechanical means. For example if you have a pond where cattle walk through it, that soil near the edge of the pond will be compacted. But if your soil is hard, I can also practically guarantee you it can be softened with baby shampoo. Apply 3 ounces per 1,000 square feet using a hose end sprayer. Follow that up with a full inch of water to get the shampoo down deep into the soil. A week later apply another full inch of water. A week after that, repeat the shampoo and inch of water. That should leave you with soil which becomes very soft underfoot when it is moist and then hard again when the soil dries out. That is normal soil. You can measure an inch of water by placing several cat food or tuna cans in the yard. Turn on the sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill the cans. That is an inch of water. Use that time EVERY time you water the lawn. You should only need to water it once per week in the summer and back off to once per month in the cooler months. That shampoo treatment should last many years unless the soil becomes flooded for a week or unless it receives no water for months at a time.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 1:43PM
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I don't think anything is wrong with the soil. Thought while I am at this, I might as well till the soil.

If I have my way, the backyard would be a combination of vegetables and flowers. Time will tell...

Here are pics of my backyard, will mark off areas to describe what I have in mind. This is about 2 hours before sunset.

This post was edited by skald89 on Mon, Jun 2, 14 at 19:35

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 7:33PM
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