Horrible weed issues weeds practically no grass

Asked May 23, 2020, 5:51 PM EDT

What can I do to spray etc for massive weed problem in my backyard? Help ! Also need to do French draiNd is there a way to amend the clay type dirt I dig up to be more conducive to grass ? Add compost or what ? SOS

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

It sounds like weeds out-populate grass in your backyard. If that's true I'd recommend starting over (more work up front but a nicer lawn). I also detect a drainage issue and clay soil.....
First, you should get a soil test of your yard to learn about it's soil type and fertility so you can re-establish a great lawn the 2nd time. Go here for more info: https://www.canr.msu.edu/uploads/files/Soil_Test9-12RS.pdf It's worth the $25 cost. Second, If needed, you should install a french drain to move excess water to another more desirable location on your property (check with local govt. about sending your water on to a neighbor). Google 'building a french drain' for lots of info on this. Or plan to level the yard (maintaining some slope away from the house) when you prep the soil prior to adding organic material to the soil. More info: Wet Yard - Solving Drainage Problems from Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District
Third, the weeds have to go (before they seed)! Use a non-selective herbicide containing 'glyphosate' or rototill the whole area. Rototilling has the advantage of loosening the soil so you can mix compost and other organic material into the soil, after removing the existing grass and weeds.
In Michigan late August is a good time to have the soil prepped, grass seed and fertilizer applied and covered with straw as cooler temperatures and fall rains will help it germinate and become established before winter. Here are some helpful info sources:
https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/establishing_a_new_lawn_using_seed_e2910
https://extension.unh.edu/resource/seeding-new-lawn-video
https://extension.umn.edu/lawn-care/seeding-and-sodding-home-lawns
https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lawntalk/planting/soil_and_site_preparation.cfm
https://bygl.osu.edu/node/1552
Sodding the lawn is also an alternative as discussed in some websites above.