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critique my plan to attack my struggling yard


LawnSite Member
First post, and I'm in dire need of advice. My Chattanooga, TN yard looks like this:
- thick TN clay for soil
- about 10% crabgrass
- about 30% healthy fescue
- about 60% brown / dead / unhealthy fescue that couldn't survive the summer because it was planted too late.

It's time to fix it. All I was going to do was:
1) Areate the whole yard.
2) Put out a fall starter fertilizer. (scotts)
3) Put out the new seed across the entire yard. (rebel 3)
4) Water like crazy as appropriate.
5) Put out pre-m in the early spring. (scotts)

And that's it. My questions:
- I realize there are always better solutions, but as a novice on a budget, will my plan get the job done, or are there other things I should be doing?

- Is it okay for me not to put out straw since I have decent bit of grass already established (albeit half of it looks dead)?

- Is it okay for me to ignore those weeds and just deal with them with the pre-m in the spring? There's not a whole lot, and I'm not shooting for a *perfect* yard if they manage to stunt a little bit of growth for some of the grass.

- Should I be putting out anything to treat the thick clay soil? The grass can manage in it, but if there's a cheap, easy method of treatment I should be applying, I'm all ears.


LawnSite Member
I probably would have used roundup on the crabgrass and weeds a couple of weeks ago. At this point, if it's not too much trouble, I'd probably pull it up. I would then rake up all of the dead grass, aerate, put lime down(assuming you need it, and if you have the same soil we have in NC you probably do), seed, fertilize, topdress with a light coating of compost or topsoil, then water, water, water! It's a lot of work, but it will yield excellent results.


LawnSite Silver Member
transition zone
I wouldnt apply lime in Chattanooga Tn without a soil test first. East Tenn has lots of limestone rock in certain areas. Most of the lime I buy in bags comes from quarries in east Tenn. If the soil is clay you can apply compost as a top dressing after areation to help relieve the compaction, it might take several applications over several years to "build" the soil up to topsoil like texture.


LawnSite Member
easton pa
get a soil sample first then proceed with recommendations for tough clay soil the trick is to make more loam you can do this by adding sand to top dressing then broom in some peat moss to add organic matter