Proper steps for lawn care

soccerswim20August 11, 2014

I live in zone 6, and have (somewhat) i think tall fescue grass. But here is my problem: Most of my grass seems to be overrun with weeds. Second problem: There also seems to be a lot of rock in the soil- very large rocks (2-3 ft wide and long) at periodic spots in my lawn, about 4-10 inches deep. With both of these problems, here is my question: What should be the proper steps to try and get rid of the weeds and grow grass (removing the rock is not really an option).

Should I spray weed killer first, then arate the lawn, put top soil/fertilizer down, then overseed?

Should I mow before or after seeding?

I really am new at this, and have been failing over the last year and a half, so any help and tips would be great, especially as to the order of which I should do things. I was looking at trying to seed by Labor Day this year, and am trying to get a plan in place to help be the most effective that I can be.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Close up

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That is kind of a mess...if the entire lawn looks like that I'd wipe the deck and start over. But the time for that is right this instant, actually, and it's already getting a bit late for Zone 6.

Labor Day is the outside day to seed, not the optimal...which is a week earlier at the latest.

If that's what you want to do, start moving right now. Spray the entire lawn with Round Up, and mow it as short as possible about three days later. Bag that mowing as there's going to be a lot of it and there's no sense clogging the soil.

Seed using a slit seeder, or apply with a broadcast spreader and use a roller to tamp the seed down. There's no need to aerate and, in fact, it causes more problems than it solves.

Water twice daily at the minimum for about 10 minutes per section to keep the seed damp. How long to water depends on the seed--if there's bluegrass in the mix, we're talking a full month. Fescue only or fescue and rye, probably more like 2 weeks.

Then back off to once a day for 2 more weeks, every other day for 2 more weeks, and at that point we're in October. Keep the soil moist, which is pretty easy in fall, until temperatures really fall off the cliff and daytime highs are under 50. At that point, nature will take care of it for you.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 5:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, and I plan on starting this project tomorrow or Wednesday. Is there a good time that I should add fertilizer? I had a soil sample done in the spring that said i was nitrogen deficient. Should I add some at the same time I seed, or wait until after?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

100% of all soil tests indicate nitrogen deficient. That is the nature of soil testing.

If you are ever worried about whether or when to apply fertilizer, you can always apply organic fertilizer with no fear of whatever your fear is. Organic fertilizers work by feeding the soil microbes. They do not directly feed the plant. Feeding the plant is taken care of by the newly fed microbes. You can apply organics any day of the year, every day of the year, rain or shine, hot or cold.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 12:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

New seed won't require a thing for its first month of life--everything is contained in the seed packet that the seed's mother made for it.

After that, it relies on your soil. While nitrogen testing is notoriously...well, bad actually, as nitrogen levels swing hour to hour and depend strongly on time of day and weather conditions, after that first month it'll probably want some nitrogen.

There are two ways to do that. One is feed with any good synthetic fertilizer a month after everything has sprouted. The other is just to drop an organic at the same time you seed--it won't kick in for about a month anyway.

When I renovated, I dumped organics when I seeded, then followed it up a month later with more. That gave me a feeding starting three weeks to a month after seeding that continued on, plus a second boost that kicked in during October.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 1:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have St. Augustine grass. What is the appropriate time(s) of year for fertilizing and what type of fertilizer should I use. I usually spread a combination weed/feed - and would like to continue to do so.
Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 2:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You might want to post a new thread for that, Jimbo--St. Aug is a southern grass, the OP is extreme northern transitional. You'll get a better answer on a fresh thread.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"op" what is that?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 5:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Original Post or Original Poster--the person who started the thread. Soccerswim20 in this case.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 5:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So who is pbguy who posted the pic?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 11:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is why you should start a new thread...I didn't notice that the OP had turned into the SP (Second Poster).

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 12:32AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Need help with a disaster!
So we just moved in to our new home my wife fell in...
Roland Sanchez
Shredded Paper on the Lawn?
Ok, so spring is here and my lawn has really greened...
New house in Zone 8- needing advice
first post here. i live in the Little Rock area and...
New Ant Hill on top of Grass Seedlings
I put down a layer of topsoil in my front lawn before...
where do I even start with this hot mess of a yard?
Hi! New to the forums, been a lurker for years! We...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™