The Q&A Archives: Back Yard Grass

Question: I have a nice size lot in the back of my house and cannot afford to have a professional come and assist. I had wild weeds growing. I cut them down and cleaned the dirt. I used total kill Weed and Grass killer to stop the growing. Now I want grass to grow so I can put a pool in the back for my daughter to use (for a 5 yr old). What do you suggest I use, so I can have grass by the 4th of July.

Answer: The answer to your question will depend partly on what specific product you used to kill out the weeds and grass. Please read the label and check to see if there is a waiting period before replanting. (This varies depending on the formulation of the specific product.) In general, the best time to start a lawn is late summer and second best is early spring, so you may have some trouble getting this to grow well since it is already June. You would run some basic soil tests to check the fertility and pH. Add fertilizer and lime as indicated by the test results. Loosen the soil down at least six inches. Work in organic matter such as compost. Level the area and rake it smooth. Spread the seed. Roll with a light roller to assure good seed to soil contact. Cover with a very thin layer of straw to help shade the soil and keep it moist. Water as needed to keep the soil evenly moist (damp like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet) until the seeds germinate. (This can take several weeks.)

A faster way is to lay sod. However, you still need to go through the soil preparation if you want the sod to establish, grow and stay healthy.

Your local Cornell county extension should be able to help you with the soil testing and interpreting the results, they should also have information about how to prepare the soil and the best type of grass to plant in your local area. Good luck with your project!

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