New Lawn – When to Start Over
If your lawn is not looking so good and you know you have to do something about it, then it is usually wise to really give your grass a good, hard evaluation and determine if its time to just start over with a new lawn. Below you’ll find three tell-tale conditions that usually signal that a new lawn is the best course of action-
1) There is very little grass; less than 30% of your total lawn is desirable grass and the rest is either weeds or bare soil.
2) The grass varieties are old and never looked that great, or they are continually plagued with problems such as insect damage and diseases.
3) The lawn is comprised of mainly undesirable grass varieties that cannot be controlled with selective herbicides. Some that would fall into this category are Annual blue grass, Barnyardgrass, Bentgrass, Crabgrass, Foxtail, Goosegrass or Orchardgrass.
The first thing you want to keep in mind when installing a new lawn is to plant it in the fall between August 15 and October 15 (depending on your seasonal weather) for cool season grasses. There are three main reasons why-
1) With the summer ending, the fall temperatures are ideal for planting grass seed.
2) The competition with weeds is minimal at this time of year and the new grass won’t have to compete against them.
3) The roots of the grass plant will have almost nine months to develop and grow before the heat and stresses of next summer. This greatly increases your lawn’s chances of survival.
4) If you plant the grass early in the fall, you will have plenty of time to touch up any bare areas before the start of winter.
The most economical and effective way to install a new lawn is to kill the existing grass and to use a slice-seeding machine. The steps are:
1) Kill the entire area with a non selective herbicide such as Round up (Glyphosate).
2) Wait 14 days (or according to product label) and rent a slice-seeding machine to cut the soil. Once that’s complete, then spread grass seed over the slices (unless the machine drops the seed for you). This procedure does not require you to remove the dead grass; it actually serves as protection for your new seed. After the grass has grown, the dead thatch will decompose and provide nutrients to your yard.
3) The only other key is to water, water, water – it is imperative that seed is not left to dry out. You’ll want to water your lawn twice a day for the first 15 days then once daily for the following 15 days.
Once your lawn is established, you should maintain it with a complete lawn care fertilization program. Part of that maintenance should also be a soil test to determine if any soil deficiencies are present.