The Q&A Archives: Changing Lawns

Question: I have an investment property and relied on Scotts Lawn to care for. Wrong answer. I visited reccently and saw a bunch of weeds mainly in the back. I have close to an acre. The back yard lawn is Bahia (mixed with weeds). I want to change to Fescue. Since there are different types of fescue, which would be best for me. 75% of the back yard is in the Sun. What are your suggestions?

Answer: You can overseed your bahia grass with perennial ryegrass but the turfgrasses will fight it out to see which one is the winner. Same with fescue, which is more shade tolerant than rye. Both rye and fescue grasses will go dormant in the summer which when the bahia will be growing strong. By having both warm and cool season grasses, your lawn will remain greener during the transition months (April and October). A thick, lush lawn will crowd out weeds so the key to a weed free lawn is proper maintenance - watering, feeding, mowing.

A successful establishment of Ryegrasses in a warm season turf is ensuring there is adequate seed/ soil contact for the Ryegrass seeds. Ideally either planting with a slit seeder; or verticutting (vertical mower) of the turf prior to seeding is the best method. This should be done in advance of fall planting so as to allow the warm season grass some time to recover from the damage. Overseeding should be done in late September or early October.

Just prior to planting the turf should be mowed LOW. Then broadcast the seeds (split application into two ways) and top-dress with a light covering of soil (1/8 to 1/4 inch) for best germination. Keep seed moist / but NOT wet with frequent / multiple watering throughout the day until germination occurs. After germination start gradual transition to normal watering schedule. Mow but do not collect / bag the clippings as you could cause ungerminated seeds to be collected reducing your stand.

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