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Need help with weeds (pics included)

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by avatarr, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. avatarr

    avatarr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I found this forum after doing a google search for "lawn care forums". It was the top hit. Anyway, I hoped you all might be able to help me with an issue I have.

    I'm a homeowner in northern VA and we have the back part of our yard that used to be brush. We cleared it out last year before the winter but weeds are starting to grow back. We want to seed it and grow grass in the area but I'm guessing we need to take care of the weeds before we go starting to plant grass. I'm not really sure the best way to go about clearing the weeds, keeping them at bay, and preparing it for seeding.

    Any help you can give would be much appreciated. Here are some pictures of the area. Thanks in advance.





  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    First of all, welcome to the site...the resource to all resources. lol.
    I just wanted tosay, Wow...Cool! yourself have a fine potpourri of deadnettle (the purplish looking stuff), common chickweed, and chicory. I will do a search and see if I can come up with another post of renovation directions so I don't have to type it all over again. yo re going to want to do a soil test in that area though, because it looks like it may be rather acidic. I'll post back on here in just a little bit as soon as I find you a thread or two on this (our cool search feature).
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Geez, I can't believe I did that. I had a long post typed out I was working on, and I deleted it - closed the whole window. Anyway let me start again.
    First of all, I'm not sure how good of luck you are going to have growing turfgrass there, because I can't see how thick the canopy of the trees is going to be, but it looks like it will be rather dense. Even shade tolerant cultivars require a certain amount of light. One thing I am willing to bet though, is that your soil is going to be acidic. This is not a biggy though, it can be corrected with the application of lime. Get your soil samples and tests done first. This can be done through your local county cooperative extension service. Make sure it is clean soil and not have that top debris in it. Take it from a few different areas of the lawn area you are going to redo. Next, you will clean up all the sticks and debris. I would pick up the heavy sticks first, then spray the growing vegetation. This is done with glyphosate (Roundup). Spray it off, wait about a week, and respray any areas that look like they weren't affected. Next, you will have your lime ready to go (if necessary if the test results require it - it will tell you by a low ph level). rent yourself a power rake type machine (preferably a knife dethatcher). This will help loosen all the debris and pine needles and stuff, and make it easier to rake and clean up. You will have the machine set just deep enough to do this without really penetrating and breaking up the surface. After all that is cleaned up, apply your lime with a spreader. Now, you are at a step that can be done a few different ways. You will apply your seed, and work it in with the dethatcher set to a lower position so it scratches up the surface - penetrating it around 1/4" and/or deeper. One option you may want to do, is work up the area even before you put the seed down. It won't hurt. The option is, that you could add a topdressing of screened black dirt at this time, or even peat. You are also able to do this with a slitseeding machine, but from your standpoint, I'd recommend the dethatcher, since you will probably be renting, and the dethatcher would work better in helping you clean the mess up.
    After your seed is put down (at the recommended rates), you will then apply a starter fertilizer (high phosphorus and moderate amount of potassium). I use an analysis like 18-24-12.
    Now, comes the watering instructions. It is watered shallow and frequent...whatever it takes to keep the seed damp conSIStently! This makes the difference of seed germination and less weeds, or the exact opposite. After a few weeks, you will see the grass germinating, and see these fine little hairs growing. this is an especially critical time, and it can NOT go dry at this time....It will die out and never come back. After about 3 or 4 weeks after it was seeded, hit it again with starter fert again. Now, as the grass starts growing, it will hold the moisture more. you will start watering less frequently slightly, BUT, you will be watering deeper, as the roots will be going deeper. Once it gets to a mowing height, mow it. Keep watering, and hit it again with a decent fertilizer a few weeks later. monitor it closely during the summer, as it will be very vulnerable to the heat and drought (which is why fall is the bast time to reseed. I sure hope this helps,...good luck with it. You certainly have a nice setting there. When you have any questions on this, let us know.
  4. Mark Bogart

    Mark Bogart LawnSite Member
    Posts: 174

    Just like runner said. The only thing I would caution you on is the dethatching machine. I see some rocks in your pictures. After all the surface rocks are picked up just keep an eye out for those ones that are barely hidden. Major damage can happen to the machine and yourself. Good Luck!

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