Fall Is The Time To Fix Your Lawn Heres How To Do It
For some, the lawn is still about projecting the trophy landscape. For most of us, its the default green feature around the home. And for a third group, its an environmentally harmful holdover from the last century that needs to go.
Whatever your view of the lawn, its not vanishing anytime soon. It is still Americas predominant landscape element, and alternatives such as wildflower meadows are far harder to achieve than most realize.
The lawn surely should be admired for one reason alone. What other garden plant do you cut repeatedly to within an inch of its life, walk all over and still expect to look great?
But as we know, over time, the lawn doesnt look so great. It needs periodic overhauling, and now is the time of year to fix it.
The principal turf grass in much of the eastern and middle United States is the turf-type tall fescue, greatly improved by breeders in recent years, and the savvy homeowner will pay close attention to the varieties of tall fescue in a seed bag before choosing.
Here in the Mid-Atlantic, late August to mid-October offers the prime period for tackling thin and weedy lawns, repairs that progress from simple patching of small areas to overseeding to complete lawn renovation. You can lay sod for an instant effect, but the cost per square foot is much higher than for seed, and the laborious site preparation is still needed.
Planting A Lawn With A Tiller
Your tiller is good for more than gardening. Think about it: what else grows in soil around your yard besides herbs and vegetables?
Whether youre considering planting a new lawn or reseeding an existing lawn, proper preparation of the soil beforehand is essential. A garden tiller or cultivator is just the tool you need to make sure the soil in your yard is in top condition.
Select A Proper Herbicide
Next, its time to select the proper weed treatment based on both weed classification and the stage in their life cycle. Pre-emergent herbicides tackle weed issues before they spring up. Post-emergent herbicides target established weeds.
Keep in mind that herbicides can kill whatever plant life they come into contact witheven if the label says otherwiseso handle with care. If your aim is to re-establish your lawn, as we recommend, killing your existing, thinning grass isnt a big deal, since you will need to start fresh anyway.
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How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Lawn
Does your lawn have a problem with bare patches, an abundance of weeds, unhealthy grass, or lawn diseases? If youve tried different methods to improve the situation, but to no avail, then its probably time to replace your lawn. A fresh start may just be the thing it needs to become lush and green again.
The three popular ways of replacing a lawn are by planting it with new seeds, hydroseeding, or laying down new grass using strips of sod. These methods will replace the old lawn with new grass, but each has its own advantages, disadvantages, and different costs.
Give Your Lawn A Facelift With Sod
You are making an important decision to install grass, whether youre starting a lawn from scratch, filling in bare spots or tearing out an old yard to start a new one. You have a choice to make and we understand there are many factors to weigh.
We understand that you may be embarrassed and frustrated with the lawn youre currently looking at. Wed love to help you figure out the best choice for your home.
Get the best lawn on the block. Well be happy to provide you with a free quote for repairing your lawn and then also a quote to keep it looking just as beautiful over the years.
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How To Renovate Your Lawn By Overseeding
When the weedkiller doesnt bite and the brown patches take over, its easy to start doubting if your garden will ever look the same. But theres hope. You can always start over with a lawn renovation.
|Before you start
|Seeding or turfing? Decide which type of renovation you should go for new seeds or new turf by checking how large the damaged part of the lawn is. If less than 40 per cent of it is dead, seeding is sufficient.Why renovate? Try to work out what has caused the lawn to fail. This matters when choosing new seeds and might affect other decisions during renovation.Estimate the effort. Before getting started, try to calculate how large a job youre facing. Do you need to rent an aerator? Would you like to use a spreader? Should you hire a professional for parts of the work?
Theres a difference between renovating a lawn by adding new seeds and by starting from square one with new turf. If more than 40 per cent of the grass in your lawn is damaged, you should go with the latter, but if youre looking at less than 40 per cent of the lawn being damaged or covered with weeds, a good overseeding that is adding more seeds to your existing grass plants will be sufficient. In this article, we will focus on renovating your lawn by overseeding.
How to do a soil test varies in different parts of the world, but commercial labs generally do it. The lab will provide you with a detailed mode of procedure that will be helpful when you move on with your renovation.
Determine The Reason For Lawn Failure
If you work out why your lawn has deteriorated, you can use that knowledge to make the right decisions during your renovation. For example, if the lawn has thinned out due to growing trees that shade the lawn and compete for water and nutrients, you should select shade-tolerant grass varieties. You might also want to prune some of the tree limbs, opening up for more sunlight and rainfall.
You can get some information by just looking at the lawn, but I definitely recommend to do a proper soil test, says Karlsson.
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Identify The Weeds You Have
In order to make a successful game plan, youll need to know just what kind of weeds youre dealing with. Weed treatments are designed to target specific weeds, so what may work on your broadleaf weeds may leave your grass-like weeds A-OK.
Weeds come in multiple categories, either broadleaf, grass-like, or grassy.
- Common types: Clover, ground ivy, dandelions, chickweed
- Appearance: Similar to grass, with hollow leaves in a triangular or tube shape
- Common types: Nutsedge, wild garlic, wild onion
- Appearance: Resembles grass, grows one leaf at a time
- Common types: Foxtail, annual bluegrass, quackgrass, crabgrass
Weeds can be broken down further into categories based on their life cycleannual, biennial, or perennial.
- Annual: Produces seeds during one season only
- Biennial: Produces seeds during two back-to-back seasons
- Perennial: Produces seeds over many seasons
Check And Adjust The Soils Ph
Grass grows best in soil thats slightly acidic, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Purchase a soil pH testing kit from your nearest home improvement store, or contact your nearest university extension office to ask about how to submit a soil sample for testing.
If your soil is either too acidic or too alkaline , use your tiller to add amendments that will bring the soils pH within the recommended range:
- Add lime to acidic soil to make it more alkaline
- Add peat moss to alkaline soil to make it more acidic
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Sod Offers Superior Erosion Control
If you are planting in an area that is prone to erosion, for example a hillside. Or perhaps you plant in an area that is subject to very rainy seasons. You likely want to consider sod.
While there are mats that can help contain grass seed as it establishes, sod will offer far superior erosion control.
Mow Lawn To 1 In Height Dethatch And Aerate
Your lawn cannot live without air, water, and nutrients. When a thick layer of thatch builds up, the new seed may germinate in the thatch rather than in the soil. If that occurs the seed will not root into the soil and will not survive. Dethatching and aerating can help rejuvenate a lawn by restoring passageways to the soil. Fall is an excellent time to dethatch your grass. Thatching rakes can be used but for lawns with severe thatch problems or if you have heavy or compacted soil, aerate the soil and add LeafGro, or other high-quality lawn soil.
Aeration creates openings in a lawn to allow air, nutrients, and water to reach grass roots. Choose an aerator that extracts plugs of soil 2 to 3 inches long and deposits them on the lawn. Allow these plugs to decompose naturally. Be sure to aerate when the soil is moist, not too wet and not too dry.
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How To Start A New Lawn From Scratch
Everyone has a house in their neighborhood that makes them mumble with jealousy under their breaths every time they pass by. How is it that someone who lives right around the corner and shares the same crazy weather as you can have a lawn so full and lush that your dog stops to roll around on it while youre out for your walk?
You may assume that they are retired and have nothing better to do than fuss with their grass, but theres a good chance that theyre simply working smarter, not harder. You can have a lawn like that too with minimal upkeep if you start from the foundation.
Grass Seed Offers More Grass Varieties
With the exception of St. Augustines, most grass varieties are available in seed form. Whereas your grass variety options with sod will be extremely limited.
While the most commonly desired forms of grass are available in sod, you will likely only have a few options available in your region.
Grass seed, and even plugs can be ordered online and shipped nearly anywhere.
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Digging Up Live Lawn Method
If you decide to dig up your lawn without killing it first, you will need specific power equipment, and a plan for where youll dispose of your old sod.
You should have a tiller, preferably a rear-tine, heavy duty type rototiller. Look into renting equipment thats a bit on the heavier side, and I highly recommend that you rent a sod cutter. This tool will be able to cut beneath the turf and cut your old lawn sod into strips. This is a necessary part of the process and will make the whole process go faster.
Removing the Old Lawn Turf
After taking a pass with the sod cutter, roll the strips up and dispose of them.
I like to use old sod to fill the bottom of my raised garden beds. I turn them upside down so the grass dies, and then cover them with a 50/50 blend of compost and loam from my local nursery.
If you arent adding a garden to your property, see if someone in your neighborhood could use the old sod, or find a brush dump or composting facility nearby.
If you dont rent a sod cutter, you can use a sharp, flat shovel to remove the grass manually.
I dont recommend this method for large lawns. It is a very difficult process and is really only practicable for a small area of lawn.
Replacing the Topsoil Youve Removed
When you remove all the sod, youre also removing organic material.
This must be replaced.
Failing to do so will result in a weak lawn that struggles to grow and which could be even worse than it was before.
Planting Your Grass Seed
Starting A Lawn With Seed
Seeding is the easiest and cheapest way to establish a new lawn. The best time to seed warm-season grass in most parts of Florida is between April and July, permitting a full growing season before cold weather. Seeding your lawn can be much more cost effective than planting sod, but it depends on which turfgrass you select. Bahiagrass and Bermudagrass are the best choices if you want to start a lawn from seed.
For best results, the site needs to be prepared properly before planting. Make sure you choose high quality seed of a variety appropriate for your area and the site. Remove weeds and vegetation and loosen and level the soil. Work the seed into the soil and cover with sand or another product, such as hay. Seeding rates vary with most species and cultivars of grass. Keep newly seeded areas moist, and apply fertilizer only after the seed begins to grow.
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Keep Current Trends In Mind
Of course, the look of your new landscaping should be shaped by your own personal style. But there are certain trends that are worth keeping in mind while youre drawing up your plans.
- Use native plants wherever possible. This trend has both environmental and economic benefits, since native plants require less water and other resources to thriveand are usually cheaper to buy.
- Choose low-maintenance landscaping if youre not an avid gardener. Youll save time and energy without undoing all your hard work in creating a beautiful yard.
- Dont go overboard. Especially in smaller yards, its easier to maintain your landscapingand appreciate its beautywhen your yard is uncluttered.
How To Kill Your Bad Lawn And Start Over
If your lawn is troubled by the kind of grassy weeds you cant kill without killing your good grass, or if you are fighting a constant battle with lawn diseases, or if you have a lawn that is more than 20 years old and is looking tired and old, consider lawn renovation. We are approaching the best time of year to renovate cool-season grass lawns . Starting over allows you to use todays top-of-the-line seed blends that do a better job of tolerating drought and attacks by insects or disease. Starting over may be the best way to get rid of perennial grassy weeds such as Nimblewill, Bentgrass, Tall Fescue clumps, or Quackgrass that you cant kill without killing your good grass.
These are the steps to renovate a lawn by killing the existing grass and establishing a new lawn:
I know you will be very pleased with the results of your hard work. And, I predict you will score extra points on the home front.
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How To Sow A New Lawn Or Refresh An Old One
Autumn and spring are ideal for sowing a new lawn as the soil is warm, yet there is enough rainfall to aid germination.
SOWING 1. Begin by spraying off any existing lawn and weeds.
If you don’t want to spray or you’re over-sowing an old lawn, rake the lawn in both directions, set your lawn mower as low as it will go, then trim off the pulled up weeds and grass runners as short as possible.
2. Lightly dig over to a depth to make a good seed bed and add some granulated gypsum to help aerate and improve the soil structure.
Angle lawns 12° away from the house so that water runs to the edges rather than pools in the middle of the lawn.
3. If the existing soil is clay, add top soil to a depth of 80mm. Otherwise 60mm is fine. Rake and level the lawn before sowing seed.
4. Apply a lawn-starter fertiliser such as Ezy Starter from Burnets.
5. Choose a seed suitable for the site, then sow half the bag from north to south and the other half from east to west. Maree Armit from Burnet’s Horticulture says that this saves using all the seed in one spot 1kg covers 30m2.
6. Cover the seed with a fine layer of washed sand or weed-free top soil and firm it down. It’s crucial that you firm this down for even germination. Use a roller, a large piece of heavy cardboard, ply or a plank of wood. Place it over the top of the soil and walk over. Keep well-watered.
Why Renovate Your Lawn
There are many reasons to take on the task of a fall lawn renovation, first among them is because it will make your yard look better and can help raise your property value. No one wants to look out at bare patches or thick weeds in their yard. In addition, a nice, lush lawn helps control soil erosion, filters pollution from groundwater, keeps the summer ground temperatures more moderate and adds much-needed oxygen to the air. Our lawn and garden care products provides the essential nutrients necessary to fully renovate your lawn.
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When Do I Reseed My Lawn
For cool season grass, the best time of year to reseed your lawn is spring or fall. Both seasons offer benefits for perfect results.Reseeding at the end of spring ensures that cool season grass seed will have enough time to establish before the cold weather sets in. Reseeding in the fall means less risk of weeds, but the soil will still be warm.
Rake & Till Your Lawn
Using a spreader, fertilize what remains of the lawn. It is best to use a starter fertilizer because it has the proper nutrients that grass seeds need to germinate and grow quickly.
Note: Always follow the manufacturers instructions for proper spread rate for a new lawn.
Spread Grass Seeds
Water Your New Lawn