The soil nutrients most important to healthy grass plants are nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. Supply these nutrients by applying a commercial fertilizer formulated for starting lawns and lightly rake it into the soil before you reseed. Buy a grass-seed blend suited to your climate and local conditions and spread it over the lawn with a drop spreader or rotary spreader. Absent a different recommendation from the grass-seed grower, spread the seed at a rate of 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet on a lawn with substantial plots of live grass and 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet on bare soil. Water lightly once or twice a day to keep soil moist but not sopping wet. Don’t mow until the new grass gets 3.5 inches tall.
Most deteriorated lawns have a built-up layer of dead and partially rotted grass stems, roots and rhizomes just below the green grass leaves. This is known as thatch, and it must be removed before reseeding so water and fertilizer can reach the new seed. For small lawns, you can remove thatch with a garden rake. For large areas, go over the lawn with a power dethatcher, also known as a vertical mower or power rake. These machines can be rented from garden centers. Remove the clumps of matter left by the machine with a garden rake and level the soil by raking it.
If you have had a dry summer with below-normal rainfall, you need to replenish soil moisture before preparing a seedbed. Give the entire lawn a thorough watering, soaking until water has penetrated to a depth of at least 6 inches, then allow the surface to dry for a day or two before starting soil preparation.
The best time for lawn renovation throughout the U.S. is mid-August to mid-September. Most weeds have not yet dropped their seeds and there will be little new weed growth. Also, reseeding at this time will give the new grass a chance to establish itself before going dormant for winter. Get rid of the weeds by manually pulling up large, spreading weeds. Follow up by applying a selective herbicide product that kills common broadleaf lawn weeds while not harming grass. For tough grassy weeds, like quack grass or crabgrass, use a nonselective herbicide such as glyphosate on the spots where these weeds have established themselves. Normally, all weeds will be dead within two weeks. Apply another herbicide dose in three weeks to get newly sprouted weeds.
If you are faced with a neglected lawn that’s partially dead and is being taken over by weeds, you may be able to renovate it. Restoring a deteriorated lawn may be possible if the weeds and dead spots cover less than 40 percent of the lawn area. Renovation of a weedy lawn involves more than just mowing down the weeds and throwing some grass seed over the lawn.
Herb Kirchhoff has more than three decades of hands-on experience as an avid garden hobbyist and home handyman. Since retiring from the news business in 2008, Kirchhoff takes care of a 12-acre rural Michigan lakefront property and applies his experience to his vegetable and flower gardens and home repair and renovation projects.
Apply the fertilizer first. Weed and feed contains an herbicide that will kill off existing weeds in about two weeks. This will give your new grass more room to grow and thrive!
We’ve all heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” This is true of weeds, as well. There are several easy ways to prevent weeds when planting grass.
Wait until the grass is 3-4 inches tall before mowing for the first time. Avoid weed killers until the grass is established, as well.
How do I grow grass in a weedy yard?
Fall is a great time to overseed! The weeds should be dying down at this point. Check your local weather forecast for frost warnings. It is best to plant grass seed at least 45 days before the first frost. This will allow the new seed to take root before it goes dormant.
Healthy grass is a good weed preventer! Keep your new grass fed and watered as it grows. If it comes in thick and healthy, there won’t be any room for weeds!
Surprisingly, planting more grass is helpful to fend off the weeds! If those annoying weeds have less area to grow, they won’t spring up as fast. You asked, and I answered. Find out everything you need to know about weeds and grass seed!
Many people will spread hay over new grass seed to protect it as it starts to grow. Often hay will contain weed seeds or hay seeds. Use a paper pellet mulch instead to keep your new grass weed free, protect it, and lock in moisture!