First Lawn Renovation Attempt - What to do

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Doogiegh, Feb 21, 2004.

  1. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    Ok guys, I moved over the winter to a new house (my first one that I own rather than renting).

    Since we moved over the winter, and the lady who lived here before us was 85 years old and went into a nursing home, the lawn is in A-1 Crap Shape, I can tell already.

    The lawn hasn't even begun to grow yet here in NJ, but I want to do the right things in the right order. I can see that there is little grass in the lawn itself, looks to be like lots of junk weeds.

    What I'm thinking of doing is:

    1) Aerating - renting a machine from Home Depot or whatever and aerating the heck out of the soil. Say March 7th. I wonder if the ground will be too frozen for this? I don't think it will be. Might be tough on the machine though, I don't know.

    2) put down a heavy quantity of good quality grass seed March 21st. Follow that with a top dressing and light light raking to move around the clumps from the aerating in step 1 and to make good soil-seed contact.

    3) Wait and see what happens and hope that the grass seed overtakes a good part of the lawn before the weeds get a chance to take off. Cut high and often during the summer?

    Am I on the right track?
  2. KCLandscape

    KCLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 524

    Yes, but also...
    Correct any drainage
    Soil test
    I usually would not spend a ton of $ on seed in the spring if it is real weedy. deal with it for a season. Kill it off late summer and reseed with some great seed...and never look back.

    I have clients who buy a house and want to rip everything out and start over. I try to tell them that they need wait a bit and really take a look at what they have compared to what they want.
    C'mon, you just moved in, slow down enough to enjoy it.
    Had one lady who wanted to rip out awsome full sun perennial beds because she wanted Hostas.
    I suggested we plant some trees and wait a few years.
  3. precisioncut

    precisioncut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    Why not aerate, seed, and fert at the same time?
  4. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    Here's a pic of the lawn on July 15th, 2003. This was taken when we looking at possibly buying the house. I only put in doing the seeding and topdressing a week after the aerating so that the clumps from aerating can dry up and then be smooth out when doing the raking after the seeding and top dressing is put down.

  5. sodzilla

    sodzilla LawnSite Member
    Messages: 219

    Option #1: If the lawn is nothing but weeds I would spray the whole lawn with roundup to kill everything. What 7-10 for the roundup to have a good affect. Roundup will not be in the soil it will only be in the plant and root system. Then I would slit seed it. When grass is starting to grow put down fert.

    Option #2: Do your normal fert & W/C program for the season and see how it looks. Then maybe overseed in the fall. If you seed in the spring you can't use a pre-emergent because your seed will not germinate

    As far as put down a heavy quantity of seed, don't put down more than is recommended. A rate that is too high can result in a poorly developed week seeding caused by competition for sunlight, water, and nutrients.

    The ideal temp for cool season gemination it 60-85 deg. So late summer to early fall would be you best time.
  6. sodzilla

    sodzilla LawnSite Member
    Messages: 219

    That should have been wait 7-10 days. And I forgot to say do a soil analysis.
  7. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    If the lawn is worse than the picture shows, I would do option 1 in sodzillas recommendation. THe advantage of that option is that when you slit seed, you will end up with no more than about 3 types of grass based on the seed mix you choose. I;d bet now you have many kinds of grass in that yard which will prevent it from ever looking as nice as you might want.

    But the pic seems to show a fair amount of ok turf...if thats the case his option 2 sounds fine.

    And for sure, I'd give that lawn at least a double aeration in early fall is likely very compacted from no aeration in many years
  8. naturescape

    naturescape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    I'd just take care of the lawn as a regular maintenance property. If things haven't improved enough for you by Fall, aerate it again and seed, or kill off and plant a whole new lawn. But Fall is so much a better time for that.....
  9. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    I took some more pics today. The white stuff is still the remnants of a pile of snow.

    lawn 001a.jpg
  10. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    Here is picture # 2

    lawn 002a.jpg

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