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How can I get grass to grow on a dead lawn?!

Posted by ajc44b Utah (My Page) on
Fri, May 13, 11 at 12:41

I bought a foreclosed house a few months ago, not realizing the lawn was completely dead! Me and my wife are now known as "the house with the dead grass"! I have a little grass growing in the back (north side) of the house, I am assuming it was slightly shaded last summer so the sun couldnt kill it as easily. The house was foreclosed and by the looks of the yard, I am assuming it was NEVER watered. There were a few baby trees no more than a few years old that are also dead. I had a lawn guy come out to spray with fertilizer but he said the grass is dead. So my question is, what can I do? I really dont have any money to lay new sod or anything. Is there anyway to re-seed it? Is it to late in the season to try this? What type of seed should I get, how thick should I spread it? Aerate the lawn first? How often to water it? (it has an automatic sprinkler system installed. The house is in Central Utah and all the neighbors yards look great as required by the HOA. Any help and or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How can I get grass to grow on a dead lawn?!

It's late in the season to seed unless you can keep the seeds wet by watering several times a day. Your water bill will be very high and it sound like your funds are low at the moment. I will wait for next spring. make sure you do your home work and don't skip any step. Good luck.

RE: How can I get grass to grow on a dead lawn?!

Look for a response from bpgreen. He is from Utah and should be able to provide you with excellent advice on how to proceed. Good luck.

RE: How can I get grass to grow on a dead lawn?!

I can probably afford a higher water bill for a month or so, I just cant afford a 5K bill for sod or whatever the cost might be. I have probably around .25 acre worth of lawn... I will wait and hope for bpgreens response and hope he can tell me the exact steps so I can finally have a green lawn! thanks!

RE: How can I get grass to grow on a dead lawn?!

When you say Central Utah, I'm assuming you mean somewhere along the Wasatch front.

Since you talk about a monthly water bill, I'm going to assume you're dealing with metered water rather than the unmetered irrigation water some areas have.

That makes it tougher. You're fairly late to be seeding and hope to have a successful lawn this year, especially if you're going to be constrained in terms of watering. The problem is that since KBG takes 3 weeks or so to germinate, it's going to be early June before you see any KBG sprouting. If you buy a mix of KBG, rye and tall fescue, the rye and fescue will germinate sooner, but you still need to water several times a day until the KBG germinates.

At that point, you can cut back to watering once a day for a week or two, then every other day (maybe, but since the grass is so young, you may need to water every day this summer).

If I were you, I'd do what I could to keep it looking somewhat okay this summer, and dormant seed in the late fall/early winter. The problem with a "normal" late summer/early fall planting here is that if you wait for the heat to break, by the time you get the seed down, you've run out of time for the grass to establish before first frost. I've had good results putting seed down just before the first snowfall and letting them germinate in the spring when the soil warms enough. There's enough moisture naturally at that time (and only at that time) for the seeds to germinate without irrigation.

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