The Q&A Archives: starting a lawn

Question: My front lawn is 110'x130'. It previously had alfalfa which I cleared and planted Premium Rye for last Winter. It came up beautifully. This Summer I cleared the rye and seeded the lawn with bermuda. Nothing came up. The lawn is very hard and I have to break it to loosen it. Any suggestions?

Answer: I'm stumped! If you planted alfalfa and then rye as a cover crop and dug them into the soil prior to planting the bermuda, I can't figure out why the soil is hard and the bermuda didn't sprout! The roots of cover crops such as alfalfa and rye should help break up the soil and when you dig or rototil the rest of the plant parts into the soil you should come away with loose and nutrient rich soil. I'm almost afraid to suggest you rototill the area once again, rake to level it out and sow bermuda again, with the expectation that you will so perennial ryegrass in September or October when the bermuda goes dormant. Then next April, when the soil and air temperatures are warm, overseed with Bermuda again. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but you should eventually get a decent lawn out of the process. Good luck with your turf!

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