natel628
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:16 pm

Please help with my lawn!

HI.
I recently moved and the lawn is in awful condition, i am not sure where to start. I've taken a few pictures and posted them here:

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I like in the North East of the US. As you can see, there is not much grass. The only place where grass somewhat grows is in the backyard in the shade. Other than that, its tons of dandelions (in a few weeks it will be at least) and other weeds/moss.

Is there something that i can spread or does it all need to be torn up? I was looking into planting zoysia grass.

Where do i start?

User avatar
Allyn
Green Thumb
Posts: 485
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:38 pm
Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast - zone 8b

Re: Please help with my lawn!

I'm no lawn expert, so hopefully more experienced folks than I will join the discussion. If it were my decision, I'd start over. If there were a few spots that needed fixing, that would be one thing, but I don't see more than a handful of actual grass blades in that whole yard. I had zoysia when I lived in southern New Jersey. It does spread, so by planting zoysia spikes spaced every so many inches apart in the yard it eventually spread to cover my yard and encroached on both of my neighbor's yards.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11118
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Please help with my lawn!

I agree, the lawn is mostly dead or weeds.
I would use roundup and kill everything.Only use regular Round Up or glyphosate with no other additives for extended control especially to plant after. You will need to water after applying the herbicide and it can take three weeks or more for some of the weeds to yellow and die. Remove the dead plants and water again. If more weed seeds come up repeat Round Up until you don't see weeds come up for at least three weeks with regular watering.

After you remove the dead grass and weeds, it should not be composted but trashed.

Rent a tiller. Find out where your utilities are and how deep. Most should be deep enough but you want to be sure you won't rip anything out. If there is a sprinkler system in there, you have to know the location of that. Rototil 4-6 inches deep, if you see roots or rocks, you will have to mark it or move it by hand. Rocks can become missiles or break the tines of a tiller. Large roots will have to be dug out if they are in the way. If you see any weed seeds or nuts from sedge remove it by hand.

Cover the ground with 4-6 inches of a good blended compost and 1/2 inch of manure over the soil and work it into the soil until it is well blended with the soil.

This is important. Grade the soil so that water will flow away from the foundation. If you have a swale make sure it is not filled in. If you don't have a swale you can always make one. Swales and rain gardens direct water out of the yard away from the foundation or a rain garden directs water to a place to temporarily store it to prevent runoff from polluting the streams it runs into
http://yardcare.toro.com/create/plantin ... -problems/
http://clean-water.uwex.edu/pubs/pdf/rgmanual.pdf

If you have a large lawn and you don't have a couple of hours a week to hand water, now is the time to install a sprinkler system. It can be a do it yourself thing, but if you don't like to dig trenches and are not good with working with pipes, valves and timers, this might be something you might want to hire out.

Zoysia is a perfect grass for me. ( I like emerald because it can crowd out weeds and it grows slow), but I live in Hawaii and zoysia is a warm season grass. You said you live in the northeastern US. Zoysia may not be the best choice for you. You can google best turf grass for your state and add the .edu extention for a recommendation for grasses suitable for your area.
https://www.angieslist.com/articles/cho ... theast.htm
Publications from extension services are available specific for your locality like this one for Massachusetts.
https://ag.umass.edu/resources/home-law ... eets/lawns

You may be able to seed a lawn. Others would have to advise you on this. Very few grasses are seeded in Hawaii. Most lawns are grown from plugs or stolons. Grass that grows from seed here are too high maintenance.

What ever grass you choose, learn how to care for it and get it growing healthy. A healthy lawn is thick enough to compete with many weeds and mowed at the right height it can discourage others.

There are too many weeds and the condition is so poor, it will be better to replace than overseed.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

McPeg
Full Member
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:38 pm
Location: ON, Can Zone 4b

Re: Please help with my lawn!

Hi - I agree with Imafan26. One home I had moved into had a horrible front lawn. I did the roundup and removed the weeds. Got a truckload of mixed compost delivered and raked it over the entire area, then I had rolls of grass delivered and laid a new lawn. If you need help and can afford it students are great to hire.
Of course a few years later grubs hit the neighbourhood lawns. I met that challenge by changing a lot of the lawn into a front perennial garden which fostered a lot of neighbourly chatting from people who walked by. Many people in the area were doing the same - it was lovely to go for walks.

natel628
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:16 pm

Re: Please help with my lawn!

Thank you all for the quick responses!
I did so some reading about the zoysia grass and understand that it will be brown for most of the season - is that the only reason you would advise against it? Another thought that i had when reading about that type of grass was that as it spreads it will create a shade over the weeds to prevent them from growing.

I was looking for something that would grow slowly and grow fine with a lot of sunlight.
I was also thinking of just doing seeds instead of plugs as i did the math and it would be something like 200 plugs and take a couple years to totally fill in.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11118
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Please help with my lawn!

Zoysia does not germinate well from seed. It is a slow growing grass but it grows thickly. It will actually tuft when it is nice and tight so you have to cut the humps down and dethatch to remove the dead roots. It crowds out weeds because it grows tightly. Some zoysias grow relatively faster like El Toro. Emerald grows very slow. It can take 6 months to fill in. El Toro is the grass preferred by landscapers because it fills in quickly from plugs maybe 3 months with good care and because it needs to be mowed every 10-14 days. It is job security for them. Warm season grasses go dormant in summer and turn brown unless you throw a lot of water at it. As far as spreading, it spreads, but it is slow. If you keep it edged it is fine.

Fescue and Kentucky blue grass is recommended for cooler northern zones. That can be seeded and it grows fast. If you take care of the grass by watering, feeding and mowing at the proper height, weeds will not be eliminated but can be minimized. Grass is monoculture and a weed free lawn is only possible if you actually go out there and keep killing the weeds. You can use a weed and feed product but after you mow, leave the grass clippings on the lawn. Never mow more than one third of the blade and don't wait too long to mow. Pretty much don't let it get much more than an inch before mowing again. It cannot be used in compost and it should not be put in greenwaste because the herbicide may cause problems for the person who ends up with contaminated compost.

If anyone wants a zoysia lawn, it is more resilient to pests because it has a thick blade. You need a sharp mower and preferably a reel mower that cuts like a knife not a rotary mower or weed whacker that rips the blade unless you don't mind that the grass tips are brown. Power reel mowers cost twice as much as a rotary mower, but they last a long time if annual maintenance is done.

As far as plugs go, the faster grasses can be planted 6 inches apart and you only need a 1-2 inch plug. I can usually get 10 plugs out of a square foot of turf. Some grasses like El toro or Z-3 can be grown from stolons. You have to prep the ground and water it until it is well moistened. You have to plant the stolons you get from the turf farm the same day preferably in the evening. You basically toss the stolons out evenly over the area and cover with a light coating of more lawn soil Water well and water 4-6 times a day until it is established. Stolons come up even and spread faster than plugs, but they dry out very fast so you have a high mortality if you cannot keep them moist. Emerald cannot be grown from stolons, it is too slow. Emerald plugs have to be 2 inches apart or sodded because it takes a long time to cover. P.S. Emerald is a good grass for areas you are not going to walk on. It has a stiff sharp blade that feels a bit like walking on needles. It takes getting used to to sit on it. If you want a softer grass, El Toro is better.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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