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To kill and start fresh or rehab?

Posted by Mach57 MA 5a (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 20:21

Bought a house last fall with a dead, lumpy lawn (2 month occupancy gap in the middle of the summer = bad news). With advice from here, I core aerated, seeded with TTTF, and top dressed (50/50 compost/top soil).

Half the lawn now looks great, if a bit thin:

But the other half that wasn't sheltered by trees washed out the seed and fill in a heavy storm, and is now a patchy, lumpy, weedy mess. I'd guess 15% bare, 25% weed, 60% grass :

I'm killing off a lot of the pachysandra bed (on the bad side) to gain more lawn space, so I'm already planning on having some quality time with a bottle of round-up.

My question, since I'm already going to be seeding from scratch on a big chunk of the lawn, and need to do some grading/smoothing of the bad side, should I just kill off that entire side of the lawn (and the bad "strip" on the good side next to the path) and start from scratch?

If I am starting from scratch, what's the procedure after the round-up kill? Dig/Rake out, turn soil and mix in compost, grade, seed, cover seed, and put down hay to stop my run-off issue?

Bonus question: Is Jonathan Greed seed decent? I used their Black Beauty TTTF last year, I'm planning on using Black Beauty Ultra this year for the bit of KBG to help close up pee spots etc.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: To kill and start fresh or rehab?

You said a lot in a few paragraphs.

It doesn't matter what kind of grass you have, pee spots indicate an unhealthy underlying soil. You can improve the soil health by using organic fertilizer at least once a year. Since I went fully organic in 2002 I have not seen a pee spot, and I pee a lot ;-) with my two dogs (100 pounds of dogs).

Are your 25% weeds grassy weeds or broadleaf type weeds? If they are just broadleaf, then you could spray with Weed-b-gone and reseed a week later.

When you say it is lumpy, do you mean the soil surface is uneven or that the grass is growing in clumps? Fescue always grows in clumps, so that would be normal. You just need more fescue plants so the clumps blend together.

For the pachysandra bed, I would kill it, rent a power rake to rake it out (set the power rake to only get the surface stuff), grade/smooth, seed, and roll the seed down with a rented roller. You don't need straw (you said hay). I realize in some parts of the country, not covering new seed with straw is sacrilege, but it isn't needed. If you are going to do it anyway, be sure to ask for straw and not hay. Hay is animal feed and full of seeds from whatever plant it came from. You could end up with a yard full of alfalfa. After the seed is rolled down, start watering lightly, 3x per day, for at least 3 weeks. KBG begins to sprout in 3 weeks, so you have to keep after it.

You should not have a run off issue when seeding new grass. The light watering is meant to be very light to avoid run off.

What is your issue with the good side near the path? What is the path made of? Grass near concrete sidewalks and driveways typically more water because the concrete heats up and stays hot all night. That dries the soil out and the grass dies. All you need to do is water more deeply near the concrete. Sometimes you need to water more often - once deeply (normal) and once about 3 -7 days later to freshen it up right next to the concrete.

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