My terrible lawn

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Cornfed, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Cornfed

    Cornfed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Hi, everyone. New homeowner who knows next to nothing about lawn care.

    I did buy a Scott's book and am starting to learn, but am currently pretty clueless.

    We didn't water our front lawn this summer and had maybe 1 rain in about a 1 month stretch and had a string of 90+ degree days. The result is the awful, terrible lawn you'll see at the link below.

    I have no idea what I'm doing, but my limited research tells me I should be dethatching (maybe), aerating, and overseeding in Sept then watering like mad.

    Or should I start all over? Or at least kill the weeds first?

    I would GREATLY appreciate ANY help. And please let me know if this is the wrong place for this post.

    Is there anything I can do now before September? I want to start on the fix as soon as possible, but am trying to at least make a smart next move....
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Kill it all and start over. Find a good source of compost. A location would help. Lose the grass in the mow strip and plant something else that is more drought tolerant.
  3. Cornfed

    Cornfed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks. Were any of my guesses right? Is that "tall fescue?" And what's the bright green tall ones? I guess I can't just pull those (though I know that would take forever since there are so many of them)?

    Should I kill it now (I guess next weekend) and then hope it's ready to start over sometime in Sept?

    I really appreciate the advice. Our lawn stinks, and we want to start taking some positive steps...
  4. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    Where are you located
  5. Cornfed

    Cornfed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Located in NJ
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,449

    Correct the problem that caused the problem, first. If you don't have underground irrigation--now is the time to install. Then slit seed with a top quality tall fescue mix with about 10 percent Kentucky bluegrass to give it more potential for recovery and better ability to creep. Bluegrass has rhizomes--fescue does not.

    The light green nutsedge will disappear when weather cools off. A good lawn service will be able to kill it when it reappears next June.
  7. Cornfed

    Cornfed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thank you so much. We are thinking of installing a proper sprinkler system, and you're right that now seems to be the right time.

    So we shouldn't worry too much about the nutsedge? That will go away by itself in the fall then we treat next June?

    How about the thick dark green stuff? Again, I know next to nothing. Is that just tall fescue dominating the other grass since it's more robust and resistant to stress than the other dormant grass?

    Should that work itself out as we slit seed (overseed?)?

    Or should I be pulling/treating that now?

    Lastly, should I just mow this stuff the next couple of weeks then start in September (maybe dethatching, definitely aerating, and definitely slit seeding)?
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Yes, if you want lawn, then install some irrigation if it is in the budget.

    Just kill everything now, there is nothing in that "lawn" worth saving.

    Get your soil tested and make sure you include CEC and Organic matter in the test. This is the time to amend you soils, not after you install the lawn. If you try to rush though this you will regret it. Make sure you test for compaction.

    Seed will work if done properly, but I would be give some serious consideration to sod instead given the weeds.
  9. Cornfed

    Cornfed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate the feedback.

    So there's one vote to kill and start over and one vote to address the sprinklers and slit seed.

    Any other opinions? Should I be getting some pros in to take a look and recommend next steps? I was hoping to get some of that here, but I understand the limitations of not actually being physically there to take a real look.

    Thanks again.
  10. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,777

    Slice seeding or not, kill the existing lawn/weeds. Grab a soil test and follow what the other posters suggest.

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