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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5461
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

middle Tennessee lawn care plan

We have chickweed, crabgrass, wild strawberries, violets, johnson grass, plaintain, kudzu, dandelions, and a variety of weeds in our yard. I would like to follow a lawn care plan that begins now to have a lawn with grass this summer. We have several trees which makes for some shady areas that tend to be bare with no grass or weeds and right now I need to go out and rake the leaves before I begin. I also have the problem of the soil being compacted because cars have been parked on the lawn. Could the forum suggest a plan that I can begin now in mid November?

Senior Member
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:00 pm
Location: Chicago area

Hi, Gary350.

It sounds like you have a major project on your hands. Good luck and
here we go.
The first thing to do is get rid of the weeds. If you are an organic gardener,
then it is dig and pull time. If you feel OK with using chemicals, then get some
weed and grass killer at your local garden supply. Mix according to directions
and spray. Let the weed die in place. Don’t pull too early. The spray has to reach
the roots.
The next thing to do is take care of the soil compaction by aerating the soil. You
can either rent a gas aerator or use a manual step aerator. Both of them take
a plug out of the soil.
Come next spring; take care of any remaining weeds, and then rough up the soil
with a hard rake. Add some seeding soil and starter fertilizer and mix into the soil.
Over seed with a Sun and Shade grass seed mix. Cover the seed with a thin
layer of soil (no more than ¼ inch) to keep the birds from eating the seed.
Keep the soil moist until germination. What doesn’t grow in the shade areas
will define the extent of your lawn.
After germination, do not mow for at least three weeks to allow the roots to
take hold. At the time of the first mowing you should start transitioning from
regular to deep and infrequent watering to deepen the roots. I hope that helps
and keep me posted along the way.
Ken here with The Home Depot in the Chicago area

The Helpful Gardener
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Hey Gary

I would overseed with a slit seeder, probably tall turf type fescue for your area. Slit seeding aerates as well, and puts the seed into the soil for good contact and eliminates the bird issue. Global warming has granted you a reprieve and you can still do this now, while weed competition is weak and turf grows strong... do in at least two directions (N/S, E/W passes for instance, more is better). But soon. VERY soon...

Your weed list lets me know you cut short; stop that and you can start getting rid of most of those weeds. Violets, johnson grass, and dandelions will still be an issue. I have made peace with violets (and can pull them pretty easy if they annoy), and have [url=]weed hounded[/url]out the worst of the dandelions; just don't think of it as an all-at-once project and it won't seem so daunting...

But seriously, your best weed preventitive is more grass, and your best bet there is better soil. All those leaves you are piling and making dissappear would be best left in place by a mulching mower set to cut HIGH (I do nearly four inch cuts). I also use clover to feed and compete with the other weeds...

Scott Reil

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