We moved into a house 2.5 years ago that needed a lot of work, both inside and out. We’re now ready to focus on the out…a third spring and summer of looking at scrabbly grass and large patches of dirt in our front yard is not what we want.
Probably a third or more of the lawn is under shade a good chunk of time (the most shaded area we will probably just overlay with mulch). The lawn itself is a mix of different grasses, weeds, and dirt.
My question is…what the hell do I do to get a good full green lawn for this summer?
I live in CT for what it’s worth, and it seems like it has finally turned to spring here.
Any help much appreciated. I know nothing of lawns.
Part One. Growing new grass. You’ll need a bale of straw (hay has seeds, straw doesn’t,) grass seed for shade (probably fescue,) a garden rake and/or a cultivator with 3-4 tines, some balanced (12-12-12) fertilizer, and lots of water.
Scatter a little fertilizer on the bare dirt. Scratch up the surface of the bare patch with the rake or cultivator. Pick out any rocks you want to remove. Scatter grass seed on the loosened dirt. Scratch again to mix in the seed. Tramp on it; seed needs the compression. Cover with loose straw. Water.
The straw hides the seed from birds and shades the tender sprouts from the sun. You can remove it once the grass is 2 inches high. You’ll need to water daily, because new grass has very shallow roots.
Don’t apply crabgrass killer this year, as it will keep grass seed from sprouting. After 2-3 weeks, reseed the parts that have no sprouts.
Rexnervous - Hello there neighbor, I’m in CT as well. I’m down in the Stonington area, near Mystic. Most of what AskNot said would be right on the money for us in CT. However, as we can sometimes get and occasional monsoon, here in CT and a laytent frost in April, I’d suggest going to home depot and renting a heavy duty roller. To really push the seed down as far as it’ll go. Also, if the funds are available, putting a layer of Loam down may be a good idea.
How big is your yard? My wife and I have 10 acres of mostly sunny / some shady, grass. About 2 acres of it is manicured sod. The other is grassy knoll type. We have it cut down in the fall, and give it to our neighbor who uses it as hay.
I highly recommend the loam on the lawn…If you say it has a lot fo shade, then possibly it gets a lot of leaves falling on it in the fall. It may be acidic. That is the reason for the loam. It will make it quite neutral. for a half acre, one would use about 10 cubic yards of loam…in case you decide to go with the idea.
The roller can be rented after you seed the lawn. It’s like 17 dollars a day from home depot. Nice to meet another doper from Connecticut!!
You may also want to consider whether you really need a lawn. There are a lot of other groundcovers that don’t need mowing – like vinca (aka periwinkle or myrtle), glossy leaves year round, pretty purple flowers raight about now) or pachysandra. You can’t walk on these, so if you’re planning to use the lawan they may not work – but they might make a nice alternative to mulch for the areas that won’t be lawn.
Thanks for replies…but now I have more ?'s…
If I want to reseed the whole area, but only parts of it are ‘bare’, the rest still has some of the older grass, do I need to rototill the whole thing before I lay seed?
Re: Loam - I assume I put the loam down on top of the current yard, and seed into the loam? And what is recommendation for thickness of loam layer?
If I do this Saturday, and it looks like rain Sunday - does this = Bad Timing?
Phlosphr - I’m in West Hartford. I don’t have have anywhere near 10 acres (that must be sweet).
Rexnervous - for a half acre, one would need 8-10 cubic yards of loam. So based on that, get what you need accordingly. Also, you’d have to order it, and have it delivered. Make sure you are there, for the devliver so you can have them place it on the lawn. Make sure they don’t drive over the lawn, I had that happen and it was a mess trying to get it flat again.
As for thickness of loam. That will depend if you rototill the whole yard. if yes, then you will need less loam. If not, then I’d say 3-6 inches unpacked around the whole yard. I suggest putting up a makeshift fence -i,e, a couple of stakes with string and flags to mark off the newly seeded lawn, so no one walks on it.
You can rototill the whole thing if you really want to get even distribution, but if you till it, make sure you have a heavy-weight roller to pack it down when you seed. You have to eliminate the air pockets. Then re-seed again over that. put a lot of seed down, because you will have some taken by birds, and some will be duds. Using hay is a good way to keep birds from eating most of it.
You may have to re-seed after the initial grow, because there will certainly be places where it grew less thick. Also, let it grow, let it grow, let it grow before you mow it. I’m talking let it grow like 6-7 inches high, then it will have a good firm root system, and the individual grass will be stronger. Some people disagree with me on this last bit, but it’s what I did and my lawn looks fantastic.
Saturday would be a good day - I’d checkthe farmers almanac to make sure you don’t think there will be another frost… Dr.Mel said it may happen again…
OH and yes, having ten acres is pretty nice. Gives a lot of room for the dog to chase me on my tracter