How to revive abused lawn? - Knowledgebase Question

Oxnard, CA
Avatar for threelilmunc
Question by threelilmunc
July 29, 2007
We are moving into a rental house the end of August about 1 mile from the ocean. The prior tenant never watered the lawn. The backyard had a dog with the tenant apparently never picking up after the dog and the yard is mainly weeds and dirt (dirt mostly). There are 2 trees along the fence and some dead rosebushes. We have permission from the owner to start watering the front yard which we have been doing for the past 3 nights moving the sprinkler from spot to spot for about 30 mins total. However, I would say that the areas are getting about 10 mins of straight sprinkler watering. The front yard seems to be greening up again but has some big dirt patches on the one side of the driveway where cars must have been parked. What is the best way to revive this lawn without putting sod down right away since this is just a rental but we would like to revive the yards? I was thinking about grass seed in the bad areas? I don't know if once the garbage is picked up in the backyard from the workers on the house if we should just roto-til the whole backyard? We have 3 children and would like to set our trampoline up right away but would like to have the yard in better shape. The city told the owner that the yard is a fire hazard as it is almost hay like in the front yard. Is there help for this yard?

Thank you!

Answer from NGA
July 29, 2007
You might be surprised how the lawn will green up if it is watered regularly. That's the easiest and most inexpensive way to keep it from being a fire hazard. As for the backyard, rototilling can be labor intensive, but can result in a beautiful lawn. So if you want to invest time and money in renovating the backyard of a rental (perhaps you can negotiate with the owner for a discount on your rent), rototilling, raking out the debris, leveling the area, seeding it and then putting it on a regular watering, feeding and mowing schedule are the steps to take. Since the front yard is greening up since you started watering, it can probably be overseeded this fall. This is simply a matter of broadcasting seeds over the existing grass. Grass seeds usually sprout in 7-10 days if kept well watered and can usually survive foot traffic about 4 weeks after planting.

Good luck in your new home!

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