How to fix a really bad yard

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Old 02-20-16, 06:54 PM
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How to fix a really bad yard

If you walk in my yard now you will see mostly yellowish brown something. Don't think it is grass but it does turn green in the spring. Maybe crab grass or some other type. It is not thick and you can clearly see the soil beneath it. Other areas have a little actual grass.

In the spring\summer\fall, everything greens up (mostly weeds). Short of plowing it all up, is there a solution that would help me get real grass back?

I live in NC where the soil is hard clay like. I was wondering if I ran an aerator over it thoroughly and the planted grass\fertilizer if that would work.

Thanks
Rut
 
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Old 02-21-16, 03:31 AM
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A liberal application of lime in February will help keep the weedy grass at bay, making room for your good grass to cover in. You can always overseed after aerating. It is always best to take soil samples to your local County Extension Service to determine what nutrients would be needed for a good lawn. Small fees, but well worth it.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 04:24 AM
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Unfortunately spring is not the best time for planting grass in NC though you can have some luck. I normally put out a pre emergent crabgrass preventer in late winter or early spring. Then in late summer (Sept) after the worst of the heat has passed aerate and spread grass seed.

Read the label for the crabgrass preventer you choose. See what it says about disturbing the soil and planting new grass. Some types of crabgrass preventer create a barrier on the soil surface that prevents germination and you should NOT aerate, plow or de-thatch and should not put out grass seed. Some allow you to plant grass but need to wait 30 or 60 days after applying the herbicide.

With summer just around the corner spring is a risky time for planting grass. Since you mention clay soil I assume you are somewhere in the Piedmont. Fall is best since the grass has a much longer time to establish good deep roots before summer. Sometimes you can get lucky planting in spring but a hot dry summer can burn out much of your hard work.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 04:35 AM
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It takes a little patience to establish a lawn - unless you are willing to tear it up and start over.

I have a lawn routine that I have been doing for many years. I add lime very early in the spring. I used to PH test the soil but I no longer do that. I just add lime. I fertilize 3 times a year, in early spring with a weed preventer fertilizer and again in midsummer and early fall. I also use a grub control in mid spring. In early fall I over seed with a grass seed recommended for my area. If you over seed be sure to use a fertilizer that does not prevent germination.

I started out with a lot of weeds and compacted soil that I think was probably fill from my cellar hole when the house was built. Every year I top dressed the lawn with a screened loam when I over seeded. I did that for 5 or 6 years until I had a couple of inches of good soil.
 
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Old 02-22-16, 07:39 AM
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Rule of thumb is if your yard is more than 50% weeds or undesired grasses, you should kill it all with Roundup or equivalent and start over. It sounds like you may be in that category. Given the clay soil, I would also rototil before planting new grass seed.
 
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Old 02-22-16, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for all your comments. I'll have to weigh my options. Looks like Spring probably isn't the best time to do this since new grass has a hard time surviving the summer heat.
 
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Old 02-22-16, 05:51 PM
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I would learn about the products available and when they should be applied. I am not a fan of big box home centers and prefer to deal with locally owned landscape companies or farm seed & chemical companies. With them you are more likely to be dealing with someone who knows what works best in your climate.

Spring isn't a totally bad time to work on your lawn but it does carry more risk than doing it in the fall. If we get wet summer you could be golden. Just make sure to read and know all the ins and outs of any chemicals you apply.
 
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Old 05-23-16, 04:19 AM
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It does sounds like "starting over" would be your best bet at this point, if the weeds have truly taken over the lawn. I've done something similar to my yard this year...I'm up in Maryland and so far, this spring has been a bit cooler and for the past 3+ weeks, we've mostly had rain. My lawn is looking rather nice now. Here's a link to what I've done since the first day of spring:

https://goo.gl/photos/YXacA181v5TuTPGE7

I'm still working on the backyard as there are a lot of weeds still there. I've had a soil test done and the results came back with recommendations. I'll be executing those recommendations as directed later in the summer (they said mid-August timeframe to start). I'm pretty pleased with the front though it does need some spot treatment for some weeds. I am addressing those now.

Perhaps you can also benefit from a soil test...see what your soil would need to thrive. I would agree though that it may be a bit late in the season for you to start trying to rejuvenate...it's possible but it would be a *lot* more work at this point. Your best bet would be to wait until the early fall to get that project under way.
 
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