re-planting yard - Knowledgebase Question

vale, No
Question by captrlsmith
September 20, 2009
We bought this wonderful old house on a mountain top and the lawn, about 1.5 acres, has been neglected for years. It is full of weeds and critters. My question is where do I start, ROUND UP the whole lawn, is that necessary? I have several old dogwoods and maples in the front yard along with very old and large crepe myrtles, all of which have roots on top of the soil. HELP

Answer from NGA
September 20, 2009


Your landscape is presenting some challenges! I would ordinarily suggest you aerate the existing lawn and overseed to help your lawn grow thick enough to compete with weeds. You could then apply a pre emergent herbicide in the spring to keep new weeds from germinating. As your lawn thickens up you can either spot treat the perennial weeds or dig them up over the course of the summer. However, if you have surface roots, aerating might present a problem. If it is possible to aerate most of the lawn but avoid damaging the tree roots, that's the course I would recommend. Rent a core aerator for the job. A core aerator will remove one inch by three inch plugs from the lawn. Leave the plugs on the lawn and they will dissolve in rain or water from the sprinklers. After aerating spread a thin layer of sand or compost over the area and water it in well. The sand or compost plus the soil from the plugs will work their way down into the holes left by the plugs. You can then overseed your entire lawn.

As the lawn becomes established over the summer months you can begin to raise the soil level so you're not contending with protruding tree roots, which can make mowing especially difficult. The way to do this is to simply spread an inch (or less) of topsoil over the entire lawn. Wait for the grass to grow up through it and then add another inch (if necessary). You can eventually renovate your lawn if you follow the above advice.

Next spring put your lawn on a regular feeding, watering and mowing schedule and it should grow lush and thick.

An alternative is to spot treat the weeds, roughen up the soil surface, and lay sod over the entire area.

Best wishes with your new landscape!

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