Trying to grow grass in a weeded area is a frustrating task that generally provides undesirable results. Weeds are aggressive and invasive plants that choke out grass and flowers. They quickly take over an area and are notoriously hard to get rid of. When you choose to grow grass in an area overrun by weeds, you essentially have to start fresh by establishing new turf.
Apply a thin layer – about 1/4 inch – of high-quality topsoil over the grass seed. Applying too thick and the seeds have a hard time germinating. Attach a garden hose sprayer with a mist option to a water hose. Dampen the top 6 inches of the soil with the water hose set on mist. Using a mist of water instead of a stream will prevent the seeds from washing away.
Cover the soil with the correct grass seed for your location and the amount needed to cover the area. For example, some parts of the San Francisco Bay area work best with warm-season grasses — such as St. Augustine, buffalo or zoysia grass — while other Bay areas thrive with cool-season grasses such as tall fescue and perennial rye. Use your gloved hands to distribute the seeds evenly over areas smaller than 150 square feet. For larger areas, use a seed spreader.
Remove the weeds from the area by either manually pulling them out of the ground or applying weed killer to the area. Hand-pulling weeds is safer for the soil, but removing all the roots can be difficult. Chemical weed killer kills the weeds and their roots, but may damage grass seed and leave pesticide residue in the soil, if you plant the seeds too soon after the herbicide application. If you choose to use weed killer, wait 2 to 3 weeks before planting new grass seed.
Till the top 6 inches of soil with a soil tiller. You can rent or purchase soil tillers at home improvement centers and rental yards. After the tiller turns under the dead weeds and soil, rake the soil with a garden rake to level the area as much as possible. Remove large rocks and break up clumps of soil.
The Bad: While zoysia grass boasts a few attributes, there are many downsides. One drawback is that zoysia will not stay green year-round. zoysia grass will look its best for about three months of the year. Zoysia lawns lose the desired green hue around mid-autumn. Often, the lawn will stay brown well into Spring, which is a deal breaker for some. So, if year-round color is a must for you, you may want to think twice before choosing zoysia grass. Zoysia will not tolerate heavy traffic during these dormant periods. Another negative is the very poor shade tolerance under trees. Yards with sun and shade areas would require shade beds under trees or choosing a different type of grass seed to grow in shade.
Zoysia is a warm-season grass. Around here, in the Midwest, zoysia grass is a popular choice at golf courses, but not so much for homeowners. However, there are most definitely pros and cons of zoysia grass. The final decision ultimately comes down to what you personally value and strive for from your home lawn.
The Good: The one major appeal is that it is fairly low maintenance. Zoysia grass also makes for a durable lawn as it is resistant to weeds, insects, and diseases that would be bad news for other types of grass. Zoysia is an extremely aggressive spreading grass that can literally choke out weeds. Zoysia is pleasant on the eyes and feet. It tends to have a soft, fine texture and is naturally low-growing.
The Ugly: The aggressive nature of zoysia can also be labeled invasive. Be prepared to deal with picky neighbors, should your zoysia lawn spread into their property. Zoysia grass is also prone to thatch problems, therefore routine annual de-thatching and aerification are required. Here in the Midwest, zoysia seed has a difficult time establishing because of our cool soil temperatures. Thus, most people who choose zoysia grass must plant it in plugs or sod during the summer months. This can get pricey. And lastly, zoysia grass sometimes takes two to three years to fill out and reach the desired density. It may be low maintenance, but if immediate results are what you want, zoysia grass may not be for you.
Once you’ve put in all that hard work, you’ll want to keep up with it. The prospect of regular lawn maintenance can be daunting, from fertilization to aeration to yet more weed control. Hiring a professional lawn care company like TruGreen can alleviate those concerns.
Top the seed with top dressing no greater than ¼ inch thick.
If your lawn is patchy and full of weeds, it will never be the envy of the neighborhood. What you’re after is a lush, green lawn with even grass and no dandelions poking their way through. That may sound hard to achieve, but it isn’t too difficult if you follow these steps.
3 Reasons Your Lawn Is Full of Weeds
Then, it’s time to add starter fertilizer. Your best bet is to use a starter fertilizer high in phosphorus. However, due to concerns about water pollution, many states prohibit the use of phosphorus in fertilizers. Some states may allow phosphorus in fertilizers for establishing new lawns. If so, you’ll find fertilizers labeled “new lawn” or “starter fertilizer.”
To seed your lawn, lay down approximately 1 inch of topsoil, then use a spreader to apply the seed to the soil.
Starting out, you probably want to know just why weeds have overtaken your grass, so you can prevent it from happening again.
Now, you can apply your soil amendment to ready your soil for the grass seed or sod.