Killing off existing lawn and re-seeding...?

tlazar39September 1, 2009

I live in Northern Ohio and am looking to do something dramatic with my front lawn as fall/wet weather approaches.

It is a mess of densely populated crabgrass (I went cheap with Walmart brand pre-emergance herbicide and am paying for it), other weedy plants as well as different species of grass. I am considering the following:

*using a product to kill off most of the existing grass

*aerating (as I am unaware of when it was last done and it's rather compacted)

*seeding heavily and watering when the weather doesn't cooperate

Am I missing anything? Any other steps to include? What type of grass is recommended (gets great sunlight in Ohio).

I hope you'll provide some feedback about whether this is a good way to sort of "hit the reset button" on this troublesome patch of lawn...

Thanks - I look forward to your response!

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You'll want to use glyphosate (brand name roundup, but any will do) to kill it. Just make sure you don't use something that has extended control or you won't be able to seed. Also, you're probably running out of time on doing this, so get started fast.

You say you plan to seed heavily, but don't seed more than the recommended rate. If you seed too heavily, too much grass will grow and will be competing for resources, so it will end up not being healthy and possibly dying off.

For Ohio, you'll want Kentucky bluegrass. If you're killing it all and starting over, you may as well go with elite cultivars (and insist on sod quality seeds). You won't find that at a big box store, but may find it at a local nursery. If you Google "kentucky bluegrass seed selections ohio" (without the quotes) you'll find some recommendations tailored to your state.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 2:42PM
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Thank you for responding bpgreen! question: how critical is the aeration? With time being of the essence, I am just curious and would do it if you felt it would be helpful to the short- and long-term health of the newly planted lawn.

Thanks again!!!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 9:20AM
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After killing your lawn, you will need to do some form of soil prep to ensure soil seed contact--raking, core aerating, slitseeding, dethatching...all are proven techniques.

Already, you are a little behind schedule. You need to apply the glyphosate now, and order the seed. KBG takes a long time to germinate and establish and winter isn't that far away.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 10:32AM
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Aerating will help alleviate the compaction issue and will also expose more soil and improve the seed-to-soil contact. You'll have much better germination rates if you either core aerate or use a slit seeder. If you go with the slit seeder, don't use it to drop the seeds (many people have had inconsistent distribution rates using the slit seeder to drop seed). Instead, use it to expose more soil. Go in two different directions, with the second pass at a 45 degree angle to the first (to avoid a "checkerboard" effect).

Since you'll want to do one or the other and have compaction issues, I'd go with the core aerator.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 10:37AM
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Ok, I've had the aeration done and the glyphosate (Roundup) is applied...couple questions:

*Was there a particular order I should've done these in? I aerated then applied the this right?

*Is there a such thing as over-aerating? Can I over-do it?

*How soon can I plant the new seeds? I used Roundup to kill the grass - link to the actual product used:

I figure that I'll top-dress the lawn with hand-sprinkled topsoil to also help with the seeds...?? Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 9:03AM
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Billl(z7 nc)

Roundup becomes inactive once it hits the soil. You can seed the day following application.

Personally, I would wait a couple days for the roundup to kill everything. Then, I would put the mower on the lowest setting and chop off the dead topgrowth. This will also break up the cores from aerating. Rake up the debris so that the soil is exposed. (This would be a great time to level the whole area so you end up with a smooth lawn. )

Then, seed, fertilize, and sprinkle soil on top (if you want.) If you are sprinkling though, I'd go with compost. It holds water better and will help the soil in the long run.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 9:10AM
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Regarding the timing of glyophosphate on new lawns, I have actually used it 2-3 days AFTER seeding, on some areas still green after the first treatment, and had no problem with germination in those areas. I believe it's been discussed here before that glyophosphate can actually quicken germination of grass seeds.

I'd also recommend a soil sample for analysis. If the lawn has been neglected, it's probably overly-acidic and in need of chemical amendment.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 11:09AM
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I'd have sprayed first and aerated second, but it really doesn't make a lot of difference.

I agree with billl. Don't add soil unless your lawn is below the sidewalks and driveways. I usually tell people to mulch mow, but now is the time to rake up all the debris to ensure lots of exposed soil.

When you're preparing to reseed, there's no such thing as over aerating. The more soil you expose, the more seeds will contact the soil.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 12:23AM
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