goofyman23
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: CT

Lawn Advice Needed

As with most people, the previous homeowner let the lawn go and its been a struggle since buying this home (about 5 years ago). Unfortunately my green thumb has apparently fallen off and I'm in need of advice.

I'm in the Northern part of CT and short story is I'm looking to sell within the next few years and would like the lawn to look a wee bit better than this.

About half of the lawn (front and left side) are in decent shape however the back and right side are plagued with weeds, crabgrass, you name it. I typically let it grow to 4" and cut it to 3" and alternate cutting directions each time (N-S/E-W). Is it at the point where I need to till the entire thing?

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imafan26
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Posts: 11583
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Lawn Advice Needed

If the lawn is over seven years old and I suspect it is probably more like 15, it is time to renovate. I went to a grass lecture once and learned lawns should be renovated every 7 years. Most lawns here have never been renovated and are 20 plus years old. They are also compacted, full of weeds and only a few are regularly watered and fed. If they are really compacted and more weeds than grass, starting over is probably the better option.

Specialized equipment like aerators and vertical lawnmowers can sometimes be rented or you can have a landscaper do the aeration and dethatching for you. It is not cheap, It cost $800 to aerate, dethatch and top dress my 3000 sq ft lawn. The price included the 30 bags of top dress which was about $11 a bag at the time and the fertilizer. I had a zoysia lawn at the time. At the house I am in now, I have eliminated most of the lawn and can use a foot aerator, dethatching rake (it is still a workout), and bags of top dressing, and fertilizer and do it myself. I do it in stages. My lawn is now about 13 years old. I had to change from zoysia to St Augustine in 2000 because the city tree cast so much shade on the yard that the grass could not compete with the weeds and St. Augustine was the most shade tolerant grass. I cut the other tree in my yard because it was sickly and had outgrown the yard after 30 years. I really miss it, but now the lawn is trying to swallow up the shrub border and fence.

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Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

goofyman23
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: CT

Re: Lawn Advice Needed

Do I need to worry about using an herbicide before I till?

Is this a good time to seed for my area? Will I need to cover it with straw as well or will it be OK with the mild climate?

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11583
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Lawn Advice Needed

Unless you have a grass that can crowd out weeds, I would use the herbicide or dig out most of the persistant weeds.

If the ground is very compacted, I would kill everything and roto-till 6-8 inches, add compost fertilizer and an irrigation sytem if you don't already have one, unless watering is not an issue for you. An irrigation system is a plus when you sell.

Select a grass that competes well with the weeds and give it the best start possible. You can do this in stages, but you will need to keep up with weeds in the entire lawn or they will just come back.

Make sure the new lawn is maintained at the proper height and that you give it enough water and aerate, dethatch, topdress and fertilize.

In mild climates without snow, fall is the best time to start a lawn. The grass won't grow much up top but the roots will get a good start and they will be able to take the summer drought better.

I have not started a lawn from seed, only stolons, plugs and sod. Most grass seed sown here either is not appropriate (shady lawn mixture containing Fescue and Kentucky blue grass that don't do well in the tropics), centipede grass, or burmuda grass. The most common grasses here are zoysias which compete with weeds well, are fairly drought tolerant, and army worms, fungal diseases, and maintenance are not as much of a problem as with the bermuda hybrids. Zoysia grows slower and always from plugs or stolons, but you can get away with mowing every two weeks instead of every week. All lawns require a lot of water to look green. Most lawns will go dormant and yellow in summer but come back once the rains come.

You should select the type of grass that best fits your location, competes well with weeds, and is easy to maintain.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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