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How to Dump Your Old Lawn and Start Over

August 10, 2013

These how to lawn renovation steps are for all of you who have an old Bluegrass, Ryegrass or Fescue lawn that you want to kill and replace.  If your lawn is troubled by the kind of grassy weeds you can’t kill without killing your good grass, or if you are fighting a constant battle with lawn diseases, or if you have a lawn that is more than 20 years old and is looking tired and old, consider lawn renovation.  This is the best time of year to renovate cool-season grass lawns (Bluegrass, Ryegrass, Fescue).  Starting over allows you to use today’s top-of-the-line seed blends that do a better job of tolerating drought and attacks by insects or disease. Starting over may be the best way to get rid of perennial grassy weeds such as Nimblewill, Bentgrass, Tall Fescue clumps, or Quackgrass that you can’t kill without killing your good grass.

These are the steps to renovate a lawn by killing the existing grass and establishing a new lawn:

  • Mid-August, spray the bad lawn area with Roundup.
  • About a week later do a repeat spray of Roundup on any areas you missed.
  • A week later mow your dead grass as short as possible removing the clippings as you mow.  Rent a Dethatcher (also known as a Power Rake) and run it over the dead lawn in two directions.  Set the machine low enough so that the blades are touching the soil.  Rake up the dead grass and add Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Soil to any low spots.
  • The next day rent a Slit-Seeder to seed your lawn with Scotts best seed blend for your situation.  For our best grass seed, go with one of the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed blends rated for Sun, Sun/Shade, Dense Shade, High Traffic, or Heat-Tolerance.  I am a big fan of Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Heat-Tolerant Blue Mix.
  • Spread Scotts Starter Lawn Food for New Grass the same day you seed.
  • Water a couple of times a day for several weeks.
  • Mow your new lawn at around 2-1/2 inches.
  • About a month after seeding, feed your new lawn with Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food.

I know you will be very pleased with the results of your hard work. And, I predict you will score extra points on the home front.

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4 Comments
  1. matt permalink

    On average, how long would it take for the grass to be completely full in the yard after starting over?

    • Hi matt
      With two feedings (Starter Lawn Food at the time of planting followed by Turf Builder about 4 weeks later should give you a pretty thick lawn within 8 weeks of seeding.

  2. Our backyard is beyond our help. We have a fairly big backyard and have only a small patch of healthy lawn. When we moved in, our lawn was so lush and thick…can walk on it barefoot without no worries. Will following this system be fool proof and do you think our lawn can come back to the way it used to be? Thank you!

    • Hi Rachel
      Having a thick, green lawn boils down to regular feeding when your lawn is growing, which works out to about 4 or so feedings a year. There are some insects and fungus diseases that like to attack lawns in certain parts of the country. If you tell me where you are located I can give you some specific suggestions for your lawn.

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