The question everybody needs answered, how to turn a bad lawn into a good lawn.

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by NittanyLawncare, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. NittanyLawncare

    NittanyLawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 83

    I have a lawn that needs some improvement, last year I was the first person to touch it with any kind of care (besides mowing) in 20 years. When I first started it had heavy thatch, hadn't been aerated, had lots of weeds, has tiny little worm dirt mounds (also from erosion from sparse grass) and somewhat uneven ground. I was going to roundup and start over, but I didn't want to have a dirt lawn for the time it took to regrow.

    So beginning of last spring I applied 30-3-3 with 2,4D, then I dethatched and reseeded (annual rye/perennial rye/kentucky blue) and then did another application of 30-3-3 with 2,4D end of season (early september). Worked a bit last year, but this year at the beginning it seems like there is alot of dead grass and thatch, a good bit of new young thin grass (kentuckyblue) and alot less weeds, but now a bit of moss has taken over.


    I did a soil test at home and the results that came back seem to say that the lawn is alkaline (8-9pH). That seems strange given that there is moss growing, but I don't think the test lied. I have yet to add any sulfur but know that it would take a while to produce the change needed when I do.

    This year I'm ready to get started on the lawn, but don't really know what to do first, and heres why... In the late spring/early summer a sewage project is taking place and their going to take out the side walk, tear up half the ground and then replace it with new sidewalk and reseed the area. I don't know if I should roundup the rest and start over when their doing this, but like I said the owner doesn't really want that to happen. I know you might say "their taking out half the lawn anyway", but its just what the owner wants, plus I think there is hope after working a bit with the lawn last year.

    Without starting over, what should I do? I haven't yet applied any chemicals or fert because I don't know what to start with. I was going to use a preemergent 30-3-3, but I don't know if it would make sense when I'm going to be adding a whole bunch of stuff if I go the other route (plus its probably too late in the season for a preemergent anyway.

    I was going to:

    1. Dethatch first

    2. Cut the grass down quite low

    3. Plug aerate the soil

    4. Lay down a starter fertilizer (partly why I don't want to apply things yet)

    5. Power slit seed with
    -Mix of 25lbs of 93% Barron Kentucky Bluegrass mixed in with 20lbs of 25% Red Fescue, 37% Perennial Rye(two types), 25% Annual Rye, 12% Kentucky Bluegrass. Of course I'm not going to use it all on the smaller lawn, what kind of seed rate for overseeding? 2-3lbs per 1000sqft?, how about for new seeding?

    6. Roll the lawn to push down some of uneven spots, erosion, worm burrows

    Is this the right order? And am I missing any steps?

    The only other thing is that this is the front lawn and I'm still trying to figure out what to do (may start over with roundup because their tearing part of it up any, but lawn is starting to look better). BUT, The back of the property will go through the same makeover as the front, and theres no sidewalk being put in, so it will go through a revival instead of killing it and starting over, but I haven't done anything with it yet (i.e. no nitrogen, herbicide, detatching...). I did just rough up some of the bare spots and added a bit of annual and perennial rye to fill it in. What should I do next? I will be putting the back through the same process as the front, but only after some of the weeds are gone... What I'm thinking is that the back can get started on right now, but the front may wait a bit to see whats happening (though since I will have the eq I will still probably dethatch and aerate the front next week anyway.

    I'm going to rent the dethatcher next weekend, and the aerator soon after that for some other properties that only need those two things done. I would like to use the tools on this lawn as well since I will have them (which is why those two things come first and second on my list. Is that the correct thing to do to the two other healthy lawns that just need spring prep? and in that order? I would like to roll them afterwards, is that correct to do to smooth the lawn?

    Thanks for any help, once I learn (the correct way) I wouldn't have to bother you guys about it again.
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Whoa....slow ride. You will have a PM here in just a bit.
  3. 60"operator

    60"operator LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    It looks like the brown grass is the Rye & the green is blue grass. You should probably rake it to loosen the grass & rough the soil a bit then; aerate (leave the plugs on the lawn), over seed with a turf type fescue, fertilize with something like an 18-24-12, give it about 1" of water, then about 1" of water a week. I don't recommend rolling unless your soil is very rough & compacted. If so roll it first before you do anything. Make sure the seed gets good contact with the dirt. The leave the plugs from aerating, they will break down on the surface help build good top soil. Don't mow for at least 2 weeks after seed begins to grow. Then early July fertilize with something like a 28-3-10 and spray 2-4D for weeds.

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