Limey and worst lawn I've ever seen.
I just moved into a house on 0.5 acres. About 0.1 is in forest in the back. Another 0.1 is used by the house and driveway.
That leaves about 0.3 acres of the limey and sorry I've even seen. Of course I haven't seen many.
When you walk on the lawn it seems like you are walking on a course gravel driveway but it's actually the result of 30 years mild drought in Somerset, Kentucky (and much of the US truthfully) that has compacted the soil. This is a reddish clay soil that is very alkaline as this area of Kentucky is famous for caves. In fact the lawn has many, many limestone boulders distributed throughout it.
To understand what I'm trying to describe the state this clay soil is in imagine one of those clay ashtray or vases you made as a child and kiln dry. Adding water isn't going to help uncompact that vase much.
As luck would have it the past 3 - 4 years the 30 year mild drought in the Somerset and Kentucky area has finally let up and things are growing like they should without all that watering, fertilizing, and such if you prepare the soil around your plantings properly. :-)
So anyway I have a clay, compacted, alkaline soil that is 50% Ribwort Plantain, 25% white clover (those white flower bees like so much), 25% grass mixes and other weeds.
That's 100% lawn coverage but not really because even though I don't scalp the lawn you can still see patches of bare lawn. The plantain throws out flower heads so quickly you have to mow 2 weekly just to avoid seeding.
Now before you mention Round-Up and all these other expensive herbicides realize I am poor and can't afford those things.
I would like a 'No-Mow Lawn' and I have seen these in some areas of state parks further north and they are a lush luxury.
As you see that's a very nice reasonable lawn that I'd need mow over 2 - 3 times a year. They say it does 'good' in Zone 6 as compared to excellent in the cooler zones.
Since I'm poor it will take almost all my spare spending money to just buy the seed so no Round-Up. So how should I prepare the lawn to seed with this fescue grass mix?
I have available:
a) A gas powered lawn mower I can scalp the lawn with.
b) A very large tarp (10' x 5') that flew off of someone's construction truck to smother the lawn
c) I can buy a light weight tiller and treat sowing this No Mow Grass as if I was tilling a garden.
d) A very long process: a pitch fork, metal tine rake, and lots and lots and lots of work.
I didn't mention aerating the lawn because I'm not sure what that is and it sounds like something I couldn't afford. Is aerating the lawn the same thing as tilling the lawn.
I eventually hope the No Mow lawn will develop such that the fruit, nut, berries, camellias, and roses I'm planting this summer will profit from the soil acidified by the heavy fescue cover. Right now that are dependent on local applications of slow release fertilizer.
So a, b, c, or d? Anyone have affordable e, f, or g?