Maryland lawn rescue

Asked August 6, 2019, 3:16 PM EDT

Hello- I purchased a house in Montgomery County a few months ago. The previous owners used to employ a landscaping company to care for the yard, which we did not continue. I keep the grass high (~3.5 inches) while mowing and always let the clippings rest on the yard (no bagging). The grass in the front yard (northern side of the house) is full and lush but the back yard (southern side) grass isn't as healthy. There are some bald spots of grass and it is generally somewhat thinner. There is also a problem with a lot of bristly mallow (I think) growing in the grass. After reading through some of the Q&As on this site, I was planning the following on trying to help repair the lawn: 1. Submit soil analysis through UDel's soil lab 2. Based upon those results, apply the appropriate fertilizer later this month 3. A week later (late August/early September), aerate the lawn and overseed. 4. Look into preemergent treatments next spring to treat the mallow. Do you have any other suggestions or tips? We do have a dog, so I'd like to use a hardy type of grass that grows well with pets. Thanks for all of the help and this terrific resource!

Montgomery County Maryland lawns and turf

5 Responses

Overall, your plan sounds like you are heading in the right direction. While lawns do tend to do better in sunny locations hot, baking all day sun can take its toll. We are heading into the best time for seeding as you are planning on doing. Make sure the seed you buy is a blend of tall fescue, not a mixture with other species like perennial ryegrass.
Actually not sure about your weed identification. If you like, please attach a photo to this response so we can take a look at it.
Dogs are tough on lawns and depending on the dog's activity yearly overseeding of the area where it predominately utilizes may be necessary.
Montgomery County has recently taken some action about the home use of lawn herbicides. Here is a link to that information,


Thanks for your help! I've attached a photo of the weed growing in the back yard. From searching a photo database, I thought it was bristly mallow, but I could certainly be wrong! I'd like to avoid using pesticides and would be thrilled if there was an organic method of eliminating/preventing this weed.

Based on your photo we are thinking these look like maple seedlings. Pull some out of the ground. What does the stem look like? Is it soft or more woodie or firmer. If they are maple seedlings pull them out of the ground or mow them.


Thanks for the help. They do seem a woody rather than soft. Would it be normal for my yard to have 1,000 maple seedlings? I've attached a photo of the yard where you can see that it is being overrun by this plant. Mowing hasn't touched them yet, do I just wait until they are taller and they mower cuts them down? They've been around all summer and only seem to be multiplying in number.


This is not at all uncommon when conditions are right. There was open ground and plenty of rain.
Yes, just keep mowing and it will wear it out.

We don't recommend fertilizing right now but in the fall. You also may want to aerate and overseed to thicken up the turf.
Here is our Lawn page with links to that information: