Answer: This was a difficult year for starting lawns due to the weather. Before trying again, I would suggest you run some basic soil tests to check the fertility and soil pH levels. The tests will tell you how much fertilizer to use and if you need to add limestone to adjust the pH. These should be worked into the soil before you plant. Good soil preparation is critical to success with a lawn.
Loosen the soil down six inches and work in organic matter such as compost along with your fertilizer and if indicated by the tests, lime. Rake it smooth and spread your seed. Keep the soil damp like a wrung out sponge until the grass is established.
Crabgrass is an annual weed, it is killed by frost and grows new from seed each year. To kill it, use an herbicide containing glyphosate according to the label directions. Do that now, prepare your soil, and be ready to seed in early September. Early September is the best time of year to seed a lawn.
Your local Cornell cooperative extension should be able to help you with the soil testing and interpreting the results. They also have information about lawn problems you may find very helpful at their web site. You may need to cut and paste the complete url to make it work correctly.
Good luck with your lawn repairs!
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