The Q&A Archives: Problem Lawn

Question: For the last 3yrs, which is when I bought my home, I have had to apply Weed & Feed to kill off all the weeds that make up my front yard. There is barley a speck of grass until I do this. Then I get up all the dead weeds with a steel rake and have to seed the whole yard to get any grass to grow. Last year between seeding and fertilizing I had a thick lush and green yard. Now this year it is the same thing all over agien. Every other yard on my street is nice and green and now I am back to a barren dirt yard with a few clumps of grass. I hoped with as much as it was seeded last year that the weeds were choking the grass out and would start to fill in once the weed & feed was used, but it has been almost 2 weeks and nothing.
short of tilling up the yard and starting from scratch, is there anything that I can do to break this cycle with the weeds and have a nice yard of grass this year and for now on??

Answer: First of all I would suggest you run some basic soil tests and check the fertility and pH of the soil. Use the test results to begin amending the soil with fertilizer and lime (if need is indicated by the test results.) You could also top dress with good quality compost to try to feed the soil and increase its organic content so it is better able to support lawn grass. Then I would suggest you consult with your local county extension as to which specific lawn grass varieties grow best in your local area. They should also be able to help you with the soil tests and interpreting the results, as well as in developing an ongoing lawn maintenance plan. You may find it is possible to improve the soil as discussed above, do some core aeration (using a machine that pulls up plugs or cores of soil) to reduce compaction, and then by using an appropriate grass seed you can renovate the lawn without ripping it all out and starting over.

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