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CT Lawn Reno

Posted by Bruce_6A Southern CT (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 3, 13 at 18:00

Hello,

First post here. At the risk of posting the same redundant questions asked many times over I tried to do some preliminary research and have hit a few dead ends. Let me describe where I am stumbling and perhaps you folks can help me out.

First off I live in SW coastal Connecticut (however not on the water so no salt risk). I moved into my house about 2 years ago and the entire yard was in horrible shape. I have been patiently bringing everything back, but the back yard is the final frontier.

The yard is "old" and what I mean is that it is lumpy, hard, and full of weeds. In the following order: Crabgrass, Violets, Clover. I would say its about 20% actual grass. I have a few big trees and some hedges so there are spots that are well shaded but the center gets full sun from about 11-4.

I have sent away soil for testing so I will know soon what amendments are needed. Where I come up empty is how I should deal with the lawn itself:

1. Till it completely, than seed, then fertilize
2. Roundup, then till, then seed, then fertilize
3. Aerate, then slit seed, then fertilize
4. Any other combo?

Also I assume I need to get going ASAP given its already September, especially if I am going to apply herbicides.

Research tells me I should be using a fine fescue blend, but I am open to suggestions. I have no problem with watering as it is plentiful here in the northeast. Just want something that will look great and take some trampling from the kids and be relatively shade and sun tolerant. I understand that there will be some die off in the peak of summer.

I'm hesitant to use a service like Lawndoctor, but maybe that's a better route? The yard is fairly small (my lot is only .2 acres) and the front is in pretty good shape with a "fine" bladed grass.

I can post some pics tonight.

Thanks!

Bruce


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: CT Lawn Reno

RoundUp, then water daily to sprout new weed seeds, then spot spray RoundUp again a week later, then rake up dead grass/weeds, then level with sand and a drag (search this forum for 'leveling'), then seed, then roll, then water 3x daily for 3-4 weeks. When you have 80% germination of the Kentucky bluegrass you can start to back off on the frequency of watering and go up on the amount. Mow when the new grass is 5 inches high. Mow it back to 4 inches. If you can sneak it in, mow it back to 3 inches before it snows.

I like the idea of fertilizing with organic fertilizer. You can do that any time in the process.

Since you have some full sun and some shade, it would be common to use a mix of fine fescues and Kentucky bluegrass. If the shady areas get torn up in the summer, then you'll be overseeding those areas with more fescue every fall.

Never rototoll. That's why you have lumpy soil now. When rototilled soil settles it settles unevenly. It takes years, but it leaves you with what you have.

Eventually your watering should be deep and infrequent. Deep means 1 inch all at one time. Measure that with cat food or tuna cans placed around the yard. Infrequent means monthly in the cool months and up to weekly in the hottest heat of summer (above 90 degrees F). The frequency allows the soil to dry out completely before watering again. The firmness of the dry soil will help keep the kids from tearing it out of the soft moist soil.

You can soften your hard soil with shampoo. Search this forum for more on that, too.


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RE: CT Lawn Reno

Hi,

Thanks for the suggestions. I did read up on the sand leveling and shampoo treatment. Seems the posters were down in southern climates and I wonder if sand is appropriate up north here? Also I think my soil suffers from actual compaction from traffic so will the shampoo help?

The water schedule seems appropriate as well as organic fertilizers. I used Milorganite in the past and seems alfalfa pellets are recommended.

I hate to spray roundup around the yard but I guess that's my best option. Is there anything worth putting down that will spare the existing grass or is it better to start over.

Thanks


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