Lawn questions


I’m not a big “Lawn guy” but I wouldn’t mind having a nice lawn at least in the front of the house, for curb appeal purposes. Not something golf-course worthy, but something better than the 8 types of grass (including crabgrass and Japanese stiltgrass) I have now!

If I were to do a full renovation (kill off lawn, amend/lime, replant):

  1. Is it worth the rather high labor and monetary expense to obtain enough compost for a ~1/4 acre plot when replanting a lawn (the size of my front yard)?
  2. How heavy of a roller is best to get a smooth surface after tilling/raking, but without compacting it TOO much?
  3. Are the hybrid bluegrasses (with extra heat tolerance) worthwhile as compared to tall fescue in a transition-zone area?
  4. Is a little perennial rye for quick green and erosion control necessary, or does the fescue grow fast enough on its own? If I do add PR, will it die off eventually anyway?


No, perennial rye will be with you a long time. (Did you mean “annual rye”?)

To the other questions, if it’s as dry where you are as it is here, right now isn’t the time to replant a lawn…with any kind of grass…unless you have irrigation.

But, bluegrass, lawn fescue (not KY31), and creeping red fescue in shady areas work well in zone 5-7. I’d mix. (Oh, and add some Annual rye, but not too much).

Be prepared to ‘love’ straw for several weeks to 3 months…but it works.

Then, tilling, composting? I would use Glyposate to kill. Then sow seed and cover with straw.
Tilling and composting, or adding topsoil are not essential. But rainfall is … unless you water every day or have irrigation.


My thought as far as tilling is to make the initial shot of lime more effective. My soil is very acid.


It’s been bone dry here, too, but I would be irrigating until establishment or until rains kick in.


I owned my own lawncare business for 20+ yrs, grew sod for 8yrs, golf course for 4yrs, sold chemicals and fertilizer for Lesco for 3 yrs. My bonafides.

  1. No. Grow the grass in native soil. Do amend the soil for the low pH.
  2. Rotatill the soil only 1-2" deep. More than that and the seedbed will be too fluffy. We had a 4 gang cultipacker at the sod farm, you want a seedbed firm enough to walk on it and not leave foot prints.
    3,4. Perennial rye can be a good mix with the turf type talls. Do your research and buy seed from a quality supplier who works on a commercial scale. Lesco, Scotts Proturf. In the transition zone, any bluegrass will struggle(die).
    You will need a week between a total kill herbicide(glyphosate)application and reseeding. The herbicide needs to break down in the sun. Get crackin’, the prime time to seed turf grasses ends in another 7-10 days. If you can, rent a turf drill from local rent shop. Seed it heavy, 8# per 1000 ft.sq., tall fescue and perennial rye are bunch grasses and don’t spread well, the close seeding will cause the turf to have finer blades and look like bluegrass.
    Water heavily, until the water ponds, twice a day till the seed emerges, then once a day till the plants are 1’ tall. Continue to water 2-3 times a week until growth stops in the fall.
    1/2 rate starter fert. after seeding and a regular PLAIN turf fert before plants shut down for winter. TF will winter kill from excessive N in late fall. No pre-emerge in the spring and avoid weedkillers until the grass has been mowed twice. EasyPeasy!!


Agree. Mostly. With irrigation, now is fine. For others, I’d wait. Even November seeding will produce a lawn.


Right there with ya… I’ve made an effort to get rid of it this year… Easy to pull but there’s just way too much of it for that. Gave Fusilade II a try, been doing OK I suppose… Trying to knock down as much as I can now, before it seeds.


I’ve renovated a few lawns in my day and I prefer a power (slit) seeder. You can rent them from your local rental center. Not only do they aerate, they dethatch while depositing seed evenly across your lawn. In my climate the prettiest lawn you can get is from high quality turf type fescue. But it does not self heal as well as bluegrass. So a mixture works well. Use a starter fertilizer too. I wouldnt bother with compost. And as everyone has mentioned, it needs to stay moist. If it dries out its toast.


Sorry Speed, can’t resist. That’ll keep kids off your lawn!!!


Lol. Damned auto correct. Ill go fix it in the original post but we can leave it in your quote for sh!ts and giggles.


I just figured it was a type that dogs are particularly fond of.