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Lawn Renovation

August 12, 2011

We are approaching the best time of year to renovate cool-season grass lawns (Bluegrass, Ryegrass, Fescue). Why renovate you ask? Well, there are two reasons. First, if you have a lawn that is more than 20 years old, you likely have grass varieties that are simply not as good as the ones available today. Today’s top-of-the-line seed blends do a better job of tolerating drought and attacks by insects or disease. The second reason is you have weeds. I am talking about the perennial grassy weeds such as Nimblewill, Bentgrass, Tall Fescue clumps, or Quackgrass that you can’t kill without harming 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.
  • In early September rent a Dethatcher (also known as a Power Rake) and run it over the dead patches of lawn. Rake up the dead grass and add Scotts Turf Builder Seeding 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 Fertilizer the same day you seed.
  • Water a couple of times a day for several weeks.
  • Mow your new lawn when it is tall enough to cut.
  • About a month after seeding, feed your new lawn with Scotts Turf Builder.

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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  1. paul k. costello permalink

    I’m writing a report so i hope your site has some helpful information

  2. Was unable to reseed about 2600 square feet of my lawn last fall, so I just finished reseeding it a few days ago. I live in East TN and have Tall Fescue grass. Followed your advice and am getting good results so far: Killed old grass and weeds with Round-Up, used a power rake to remove debris, added top soil in low lying areas, put down Scotts Turf Builder Tall Fescue Mix grass seed, and put down Scotts Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer after applying grass seed. As a last step, I put down wheat straw as the reseeded area is on a slope. After just 7-8 days, I’m noticing germination and grass coming through. Questions: 1) Should I remove the wheat straw at some point? 2) What type of fertilizer should I apply next and when? 3) Any other suggestions?
    Thank You

    • Hi jjm747 Leave the wheat straw in place as you would pull up new grass seedlings if you try to remove. The typical recommendation is to feed your new grass a month after planting with Turf Builder. My only concern is if you start to get really hot, humid weather around then (which can happen in your part of the country), you may just want to wait till early fall to feed as you do not encourage lawn fungus on your new grass.

      • An update…based on your recommendation, I left the wheat straw in place and have not fed the new grass. I did mow the new grass this week. There has been significant weed growth from the wheat straw. I’ll plan to put down some Turf Builder in the fall.

      • Hi jjm747 Continue to mow your new Tall Fescue lawn at a 3 inch mowing height after the cut. This will help your new grass compete with any wheat or weeds that germinated from the straw. Plan to feed your lawn two or three times this fall (late August, early October, late November). You can also kill any weeds this fall.

  3. I just bought 115 lb bag of Starter Fertilizer and instructions are to set rotary edgeguard dlx on 3 1/4 and a drop spreader on 6.
    Then found 3 lb bag from a few years ago that says set rotary on 6 and drop on 3 1/4. Very confusing. Why would one setting double and the other be halved? Is the old bag or new bag correct? Thanks.

    • Hi Art
      I suggest you give our toll free Help Line a call: 1-800-543-TURF. They have access to the correct info.

  4. I meant 15 lb bag.

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