ItMikesNoDifference
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Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:36 pm
Location: Bordentown, NJ

Taking back my lawn

Hi everyone - this is my first post here and I'm looking for some advice for taking back my yard.

My wife and I bought our first home in Central New Jersey a little over a year ago. This past year we've primarily focused on the inside of the house while trying to maintain the outside so it wasn't too overgrown. Now I'm trying to take back our yard. An incredibly helpful neighbor has helped me rip out some ivy and pull up paving stones where the previous owner had a dog kennel. I want to till up the dirt and spread grass seed and fertilizer but I'm unsure of the best stuff to get.

I was told that nitrogen-rich fertilizer is good because it makes the dirt less friendly for weeds while giving a great environment for grass to grow. I found this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/36-lb-Organi ... /100618523 - Has anyone here used this stuff or should I be thinking about going another route? Ideally I'd like to go as natural as possible while actually achieving my end goal

I also have no idea what kind of grass seed to get.

Lastly - I feel like poison ivy is growing in on us from all sides - I think I know the answer to this but is there any other effective way to take care of this stuff other than manual removal? I'm highly allergic and have already gotten it several times this past year.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

imafan26
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Posts: 11340
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Taking back my lawn

Sounds like you have a great start. You should do more than till up the dirt. Get a soil test from your local extention office. It takes a few weeks to get an answer back but they will tell you what kind of fertilizer to use if you specify it is for grass. Remember any nitrogen recommendation should be divided over the course of the growing season. Nitrogen is a limiting factor of growth and it is also very volatile so it can be lost by consumption of plants and soil organisms. There are soil organisms that convert nitrite to nitrate, but also bacteria that will convert excess nitrogen and release it back to the atmosphere. So, you don't want to concentrate the nitrogen, but spread it out over the growing season.

Too much nitrogen will feed the weeds.

When you till up the soil, add in 4-6 inches of good compost and about a 1/2 inch of well composted manure. Select the type of manure based on your soil test. Chicken manure will increase the pH 0.5 and make it more alkaline. Steer manure is more neutral. Grass does fine in a slightly acidic environment.

I know nothing about poison ivy, but weeds in general need to be taken care of first before planting the grass. I think you may need to use an herbicide and get some painters coveralls, a full face mask, and gloves when you work in the yard. I use a suit like that anytime I have no choice but to use pesticides. I haven't had to do that in years, now that I have nature working for me. It will help reduce reactions to the poison ivy. Make sure you tape the sleeves and ankles.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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ElizabethB
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Posts: 2109
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Taking back my lawn

ItMikesNoDifference - welcome to the forum. Please update your profile. You will get better information if the forum members know your specific local. Not just your USDA zone. Since you are highly allergic to poison ivy and you do not want to use chemicals it would pay you to hire some one to dig it out. I highly recommend having a soil test done before amending your soil. That would be the equivalent of a Physician writing a prescription without making a diagnosis. You need to know what you are dealing with.
I do not want to give you random recommendations without knowing more about what you are dealing with.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

ItMikesNoDifference
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:36 pm
Location: Bordentown, NJ

Re: Taking back my lawn

Thanks for all the info imafan and Elizabeth - I never thought to get a soil test. I'm sure I'll be back here with more and more questions!

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