Newly Registered
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Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:10 pm

Help! New lawn care owner

Good Morning everyone.

I recently just purchased my first home, and unfortunately the previous owners didn't take care of their lawn. I live in Canada, so I have about 2-3 months left of good warm weather before snow comes in.

Is there anything I can do, to get a really good head start on getting grass next season? currently I believe the yard is covered in what looks like crabgrass, and weeds, no real grass. What should I focus on in the fall to get rid of said crap, to get a head start next season. Should I get it all tilled up since its a lost cause for now? or just wait till spring and start with crabgrass prevention then over seeding with grass seed?

Any help is much appreciated for this new home grass owner :)

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1122
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:10 pm
Location: Zone 8A Western Washington State

Re: Help! New lawn care owner

I am not a lawn expert but since no replies I will give you my thoughts. My neighbor just brought in a bulldozer and removed the entire beat up looking yard that was the so called 'lawn'. Then he brought in new soil and planted new grass. Now it looks beautiful. What used to be scruffy grass now looks like nice
healthy green lawn. He did all this yard makeover work in the Spring.
My feeling about lawn is that it is something that humans invented and that it goes against Nature. Slowly over time, Nature tries to take it back. There comes a point where you have to rebuild the lawn from scratch. It's sort of like an old car. Should you repair the old car or buy a new one?
Laying down new sod is a quick way to create new lawn. We did that once a few years ago. I do recall that the sod was expensive and very heavy to haul and very hard work overall.
ISFP "The Artist"

Posts: 11215
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Help! New lawn care owner

If your lawn is more weeds than grass, then I would just kill it with glyphosate. You will need to water weed, till and repeat until you have moved up most of the weed seed and you no longer see as many weeds coming up. Get a soil test if you can. It will tell you about the pH and nutrients that are in the soil and if you ask for recommendations for lawn, it will tell you how much fertilizer you need to add when it is time.

Add 4-6 inches of a blended compost on top of the lawn. You can add organic fertilizers like manures, but I would wait for the soil test to find out how much and what kind of manure to use. If you get snow early, then just cover everything in a layer of straw mulch and let it sit until Spring. The compost and organic fertilizers will release very slowly over the winter as microorganisms slow down a lot. But, next year when you dig in the straw mulch, you can do one more round of glyphosate if there are surviving weeds. Add the fertilizer recommended by your soil test 4 weeks before you plant your new grass so it will get a good head start. If you are using grass seed and not plugs, stolons, or sod, then wait a month before applying a synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.

Prepping the soil willget rid of most of the weeds and organic matter will improve soil tilth and feed the soil web. Organic matter will help the soil to retain moisture and provide a good foundation to establish roots. Getting rid of the weeds and as many seeds as you can beforehand will mean fewer weeds to compete with the grass later.

Grass is hungry, it needs regular water and new grass will need to be fed monthly. Look at the label instructions for how often you need to feed on the packaging. Organic fertilizers will need weekly supplements while the grass is in active growth.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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