The Q&A Archives: My First Home and Yard

Question: Good morning and Hello there!

I just moved to Denver, CO. in January of this year and closed on my first home last week. The prior owner completely neglected the yard and it is going to have to be started from scratch. Is it too late to sod? What kind of grass should I get for Denver climate? There are treelike weeds that I have begun to pull out to clear the backyard. What else should I do to prepare to sod?

I also have a bit of an unpleasant view of the neighbors' back yards over my fence. I need a tree that will grow rapidly and spread out over the top of my fence to block out the view. Any suggestions?
Thank you so much for your help and I look forward to your response.
Kathryn Horton

Answer: Congratulations on your new home! Sod installation in September is rather iffy. The roots of the grass will grow as long as the soil temperature remains above 40F, but it will struggle. Since you'll be getting snow soon (which will hide the lawn), I'd recommend waiting until spring to install sod. When spring arrives you can either use a vegetation killer such as Round-Up to kill off the grass and weeds or you can rent a rototiller and till the entire area up. Or, you can simply till the area and then rake out all the old grass and weeds. Either way, remove the debris from the area and rake it level. Then install the sod and keep it well watered. The sod should root in a matter of weeks and provide you with years of trouble-free lawn.

Cottonwood trees are probably the fastest growing in your region, but they are deciduous so you'd lose the privacy in the wintertime; Douglas Firs grow quickly and are evergreen, but they can grow to 45' tall. If you have the room, they are great additions to any landscape. Linden, elm, ash, aspen and maple are all fast growing, but they are all deciduous. You might try cruising your local garden center to see what else they offer.

Best wishes with your new landscape!

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