I’m lucky because I live in the Southeast so I’ve got a green lawn year-round. Nice!!!
However, the tough battle… fighting back the weeds and I’m not a big advocate of weedkiller in the yard…my thoughts…no reason to add more junk to your already imbalanced and weak soil!!! So, below, I’ll detail what I’m doing to help make my lawn greener and fuller.
Not sure if you soil is Alkaline or Acidic? This quick trick will assist you in determining your soil type.
Let’s get started…have your hubby or someone strong aerate the lawn to break up that clay! Ladies, I’m not kidding about grabbing someone strong…those aerators are no joke…that thing whipped my husband around, and I consider him a man’s man…I am even more appreciative of him after these types of projects!!!
FYI: We rented our 19″ walk-behind core aerator from a local equipment rental house for 4 hours and were able to complete our .5 acre yard in just over an hour. Once you are able to rid yourself of this heavy piece of equipment then you are ready to start applying the lime, seed & starter fertilizer.
Grab the following items:
- Starter fertilizer
- Respirator (prevents you from breathing in the dust from all the product you are about to start throwing all over the place)
Next, head out to your lawn and start with the lime. Don’t be afraid of this stuff especially if you have acidic soil…it helps to loosen up and balance my very acidic soil….but as always, make sure to check the application suggestions on the bag. I use Weaver’s pelletized lime…it’s easy to spread and doesn’t blow around nearly as much as the powdered versions that are available.
Follow-up the lime with seed…I stick with a tall fescue and then finish with the fertilizer. If you mow your grass tall all year (highest mower setting…approx 4″), then it helps to prevent weeds. In addition the soil and roots stay cooler & moist longer creating the opportunity to water less and save money. Always a plus!! This year I’ve got several different problem areas I’m working with that require varying strategies. Check out my plan of attack for each of the areas:
- 2 areas that were formally sunny and are now shady...grass is scarce…so I’m moving over to a shade seed for the first time ever…I found a seed/mulch/fertilizer blend from Pennington, this should make it easy for application and good for maintaining a moist seed during germination.
FYI: Germination should take 7-10 days – you will start to notice tiny little dark sprigs popping through the soil about a 1/4″ or more tall.
- An area that is full sun…I picked up Scott’s Turf Builder Southern Gold Mix with watersmart plus to apply in the bare areas only, and will continue to build up the health and condition of the soil with the Sta-Green Starter fertilizer…
Best Practice: I try for a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen level; clovers tend to thrive in nitrogen poor soil – look at the bottom of the fertilizer bag for a list of three numbers separated by dashes – you’re looking for the first number…you may need to go to a feed-n-seed, country general store, or landscape supply for more choices. This season I grabbed Sta-Green’s Lawn Starter Fertilizer.
- And an area that is full sun with very poor, rocky soil…I would love to throw a nice thick layer of topsoil on this area and “start over” but, my hubby brought home a crazy-energetic pit bull puppy so, keeping him out of this space would be like herding cats!!! (I love that image! Makes me laugh every time!) So, “plan b” for this area…I plan to over-seed the entire area with the Scott’s Southern Gold tall fescue, layer with some mulch dust (the stuff at the bottom of the pile), then finish with the same Sta-Green starter fertilizer.
FYI: Another note on fertilizer…this is one of those items that can become your worst enemy instead of your friend! Make sure to follow the suggested application on all the products you choose. Too much in this case, just isn’t a good thing…you could singe or burn your grass…it’s just not worth the chance!
Last, follow a smart watering schedule to market on all your hard work! The ideal here is to keep the seed moist – you don’t want to drown it out. If you are experiencing warmer weather, then watering multiple times a day may be necessary. It’s only for a couple of weeks, so check the moisture level of the soil daily to prevent the seed from drying out.
I’ll follow up in a couple weeks to let you know how things go with my trouble areas.
I hope my plan helps provide you with some strategies to strengthen your lawn as well. Thank you! Cherie
*Please add your comments below explaining how you combat issues in your area or with your soil type.