Plant grass in the front of the house.

Asked September 14, 2016, 4:00 PM EDT

My daughter has a house in AA County which was built in the 50s. The previous owner was a lady who was retired and down sized. The owner probably mowed the lawn and little to no additional maintenance. The green lawn was 95% crab grass and 5% broad leaf weeds. There is a 60ft high white oak in the space; the space is 50ft x 40ft. Some of that area has existing foundation plants and others will be planted.

Because the green area was all weeds I used a herbicide (Spectricide) and killed all the vegetation less some stragglers. The stragglers will be removed before prepping the soil for the new grass.

The question is what is the correct route to take to establish a new beautiful lawn. I laid out an approach that I would take.

My next step is to use my de-thatching rake and pull out the remaining dead weeds (by the way I mowed/bagged the killed weeds two weeks after the herbicide application). After pulling the weeds with the de-thatching rake and discarding, the de-thatching rake will be used to slit the soil about 1+ inches deep. This will be followed by an application of leafgro and worked into loosened soil.

An alternative would be to use my Mantis tiller to brake up the soil approximately 4 inches deep then add the composted material and work it into the soil. The soil preparation will be followed by smoothing to have a nice bed for planting and future maintenance. Should this be rolled to compact it?

The next step is to apply lyme, starter fertilizer, and seeding.

My broadcast tool for seed is a hand spreader that whirls. The seeded bed will get a layer of straw on top.

I plan on using Penington seed is there better products?

One concern I have is tilling the soil 4 inches. That opens the area to seeds in hibernation and now they will feast. Another concern is the area to be seed is a slope away from the house to the sidewalk. If we have down pour storms the seed may be pilling up at the lower location. The total slope is about 6-8 inches in forty feet, that's a gestimate.

A major mistake on my part is I took soil samples but did not send them to the lab. I can take the sample and go to the Eighth Ave COOP in Glen Burnie and get a ph and nutrition for $5.00. I can take the sample and send it away for a more thorough analysis, please comment.

Please critique give me any thing you would change especially if it make the task easier.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

Either the co-op or the lab would be okay to use. Here is our page on soil testing if you go that route. Wait for results for liming and fertilizing before you begin.

If you have bare soil, it may be easiest to use the tiller. Anytime you disturb the soil you can bring weed seeds to the surface and cannot be helped. You can add lime and fertilizer according to soil test results and till or rake in. You can add a 2-4 inch layer of organic matter into the soil at this time. Rake the prepared site or lightly roll with a water filled roller. Seed (see below) and cover lightly with straw and keep watered. This may mean daily.

Seed - Turf type Tall fescue grows best in full sun to part shade. If your trees are limbed up and you have dappled shade it would be okay to plant tall fescue. If you have dense shade, consider fine fescue. Fine fescue has a finer blade and is lighter in color than tall fescue. You may want to consider a blend of tall fescue (3 or more cultivars). This increases your lawns ability to resist disease and insect issues. We do not recommend perennial rye in the mix. See our publication on cultivars

See our publication on lawn renovation page 7 for step by step information as well as care and maintenance after seeding.