Redoing a whole lawn... Questions!

itsastart(5)June 25, 2008

Well I've figured the entire lawn needs to be redone.... joy. I guess it'll have to wait until spring. But how do we do this? rototill it? dig op the grass by hand? Seed? Sod? I have now Idea....

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A few common questions with MY answers, this is how I would do it personally. I'm sure there are other ways to do this but:

Q: What type of spreader should I get because everything else depends on that. I am thinking broadcast versus drop.

A: Both are good but a drop is more precise. I use a broadcast to ensure my entire yard gets what I am putting down. With a drop you have to make sure you aren't off on your pattern or you will have "streaks" of untreated yard. Basically a broadcast leaves more room for error while tossing the product over the entire yard.

Q: What step should be next? I am thinking on getting the TB w/ Plus 2 and putting that down. Or should I get a sprayer and spray all my weeds by hand and do just a summer guard feeding? Or both?

A: I would wait until about early September to do anything. During the heat of summer all you can really do effectively is kill things. Growing will be difficult during this time of year.

I would start from square one. (DISLAIMER: If you do not have an irrigation system and want to put one in now is the time while the yard is not at its best.)

PROCESS: Get some round up and kill all the really bad areas that have no grass. Destroy all vegetation in that area. You can save the areas that have some grass and just treat those with a broad leaf weed killer that wont harm the grass. Re apply those products until desired effect is achieved.

Then wait about two weeks. Soak the lawn to soften up the soil and plug aerate the entire lawn (pick the plugs up or leave them, I leave them). If you have a tractor go ahead and buy a plug aerator at sears for 100 bucks or so.

After that take your spreader and lay the seed down over the entire lawn (the idea is the seed will drop in the plug holes). Next you will need to apply some starter fertilizer right on top of the seed.

This next step is optional but I like to take a spike aerator and go over the yard one more time to push that seed/fertilizer down in the dirt with my tractor tires and the spikes.

Next cover the whole lawn with straw or another product to keep the birds from eating the seed and also preventing it from washing away.

Next, keep that lawn constantly moist!! This is the key! Keep the yard at a constant state of moisture. DO NOT WATER SO MUCH THAT PUDDLES FORM! Water this bad boy every day keeping the soil moist but not saturated. In a few weeks you should have baby grass popping up all over the place.

A few small weeds are to be expected but you can pull those or wait till the grass is mature and put product down.

Finally you need to take your soil to get tested and see what annual program is good for your soil content type. After that just keep it watered (sprinkler is key in my opinion) and enjoy. Repeat the exact same steps minus the straw every september if you use fescue.

PS: USE HALTS IN THE SPRING TO PREVENT ALL YOUR HARDWORK FROM GETTING EATEN UP WITH CRAB GRASS IN THE SUMMER. It is always better to prevent the problem rather than treat the problem.

Q: I have not limed my yard since I have lived here (Aug 2005-present) and wonder if it should be done

A: Soil Test will tell the tail here.

Q: How should I water my lawn given that is has a lot of clay?

I have a mostly clay yard with tall fescue and March-May I give it 1" a week. June-August I give it 1.5" a week. Sept.-Ealy Nov. back to 1". None of this accounts for rain fall. I used empty tuna cans placed around my yard to see how long it took for my sprinkler system to put down an inch. Then I set the zones accordingly.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:37AM
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Where are you located? Since you put zone 5, I'm guessing you'll have a cool season grass. If so, fall is the best time to reseed, not spring. Don't till. It's very difficult to get the lawn level after tilling. If you get it level initially, it may settle over time.

If you're redoing the whole thing, about two weeks before you plan to seed, use roundup to kill the existing lawn, wait a week and repeat. Then repeat the process.

Here is a link to thread with more detail. Look for the post by Bestlawn about halfway down the page.

If you're planning to use premium seeds for this project, I don't know how to read the NTEP guides to help you pick the best ones. The person who used to be the resident expert (bestlawn) was banned from GW, so we can't ask her. Many people last year used a blend that got the nickname Magnificent 3 (or Mag3). If you search that, you should be able to find the seeds that are in it.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:50AM
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Hi itsastart,

How large is the area and can you describe the sun/shade conditions?

Will the grass take a beating with lots of child/pet traffic?

Do you have a sprinkler system or are you otherwise able to water the lawn without too much trouble?

I'm sorry for all the questions, but these are particularly important because some grasses just won't do well in certain circumstances no matter how well you plant them. So you want to be sure to pick the right grass for your particular circumstances.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 11:46AM
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I live in Lafayette indiana ( 60 mi NW of Indy). My lawn is very uneven as is... Topdressing? The lawn in back gets mostly shade all day from my giant oak tree, with a few sunny spots. So september is best? Will KBG grow here? I'm hoping to have a grass rich in color and soft on the feet. I've got ALOT of broadleaves in the lawn. I think they are wild violets, in the early spring they had purple flowers. Thanks for the advice! Keep it coming... This is our first home so I'll need all the help i can get.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 9:54AM
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For "rich in color and soft on the feet" I think you are looking at either KBG or fine fescue. Unfortunately KBG does not do well in deep shade. If you are re-doing the front yard also, is the sun any better there?

Good news! Apparently Purdue takes part in the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) and has test plots in West Lafayette, and at least the fine fescue plots are managed just like a homeowner would (I did not look at KBG). I went to their site (link below) and it looks like they have a publication on selecting specific cultivars for indiana lawns (publication AY-5), but it appears that that publication is not available on the site. If you call them you might be able to get a copy, or maybe even speak to one of the faculty who might be glad to give you a seed recommendation. If not, having those plots right next door to you will make it easier to work with the raw NTEP data.

I'd suggest taking a look at the publication on choosing grass seeds (ay-25) on the publications page. That should give you some better context for thinking about whatever we come up with here.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 6:24PM
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Yes, and there is this archive, of past posts here on the forum, that you have not yet read. I would start all the way at the back, and kind of skim my way forward.

There are some very interesting posts, from the look of it, that match your situation, and your city, exactly. I have spent the last hour and a half skimming them, and counted them up for you. 7,403, but only 244 seem to apply. There might be some interesting information there.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 9:35PM
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Before you reach the conclusion that the yard needs to be re-done please make sure that your cultural basics for the current yard are correct. Do you mulch mow? How often do you water? What are you currently treating the yard with in terms of fertilizer? Are you treating the current weeds? Often with the right process a complete renovation is not necessary.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 7:29PM
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This is a major undertaking,but will yield the best results in the long run in many cases. Here's an article that goes over the process. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 11:59AM
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