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From dirt to grass in 11 weeks?


LawnSite Member
Phillipsburg, NJ
Hoping to green up a neglected backyard in time for an August 4th graduation party, I spent $1500 on winter tree work to open up the yard to sun. Then a whopper of a sinkhole opened in the yard. $2500 later, the sinkhole is fixed and I don't have a problem with shade anymore...all the trees are now gone.

The sinkhole fix added some topsoil to the heavy clay that comprises the yard, and the backhoe/dozer spread it all around. They threw down some seed, covered with straw, and we went to work watering.

Some of the yard has started growing (it's been 18 days so far), but I don't have much hope for the rest, approx 3500 sq ft in total.

I know I should be looking at all sorts of things that will establish the foundation of a long lasting healthy lawn ... starting with tons of topsoil & organics tilled in.

But frankly I don't have the time or money to do it right, I just want to get something/anything that the wife can place her rental tents on. Once the party's over, I'm ok tearing it up and going about it the right way.

What's the easiest/quickest/cheapest way to do this? Should I till before seeding, or just keep seeding & ferting & watering away?


LawnSite Bronze Member
Rent an over seeder/slit seeder. Use a combination of Annual and perrennial rye grass. Starter fert, some lime too. Keep it moist, NOT WET. 5-15 minutes of water 2-3 times a day every day.. Hit it with more starter 6 weeks later, or regular fert if it came in well. You'll need to do a weed control at some point before the party, but wait until new grass has been mowed 2 or more times. This will get you grass for your party.
In the fall, repeat the process, but use a better grass seed, one without the annual rye.
Good luck


LawnSite Silver Member
transition zone
I would do almost what upidstay suggested, except. I would leave off the annual rye. This time of year the prennial rye will germinate and grow faster than the annual ryegrass, which would be dieing out this time of year if it had been planted in the fall. I also would go easy on the starter fertilizers, to much N in the summer months is a sure path to fungus, especially in rye grasses. 1/4lb N rates and maybe some iron to make it greener if needed.