6 Easy Steps to Restore a Lawn Full of Weeds Have you ever face the ruined lawn full of ugly weeds, without any possibility to enjoy beautiful, green grass? It is a horrible thing indeed. I Here are the 11 critical steps to restoring a lawn full of weeds! Read on for all the tips and tricks of weed killer, grass growth, and lawn maintenance. The experts at HGTV.com show how to remove weeds from your yard and garden.
6 Easy Steps to Restore a Lawn Full of Weeds
Have you ever face the ruined lawn full of ugly weeds, without any possibility to enjoy beautiful, green grass? It is a horrible thing indeed.
I know that using chemicals is the most comfortable way to solve this issue, but it is definitely not the choice you should make. Instead, try to create a lovely new lush lawn full of healthy and vigorous grass. Let’s see how.
Table of Contents
Define the Status of Your Lawn at the Moment
From the very beginning, you need to identify the current situation with your grass and the condition of your lawn.
Grass density – The problem in your yard will begin from the moment when you spot first patches of dirt located between the grasses. We can talk about insufficiently watered parts without enough nutrients which will be real weed-magnets in your yard. If you miss solving the problem on time, you can expect this place fills with unwanted weeds.
Thatch – A matted layer of grassroots and various dead stuff means that you have some thatch on the surface of the soil. As long as this layer is about a 0.25 to 0.5 inches (0.6 – 1.3 cm) thick, you don’t have any reason to worry about.
The layer of thatch will help with providing organic matter for grass, slowing the evaporation from the soil, protecting grassroots from high heat during summer, and even slowing germination of weeds seed.
However, if this layer is more than 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) thick, it will probably cause problems including choking out your grass. Also, your lawn won’t get enough water during light rain since thatch will absorb all moisture.
Grassroots depth – When your grass is weak with shallow roots, it can’t reach the necessary nutrients from the soil. Keep in mind that health grass needs at least 6 inches (15 cm) long roots. Otherwise, you can expect weeds spread around.
Weed spread – You can be sure that you will lose a fight against weeds if it has spread to over 50% of your lawn. Determine the type of weeds and the surface of the affected yard and decide if you need to kill all of them immediately or to deal with a piece by piece of it over time.
The Types of Weeds
The most common weeds you can find on your lawn are divided into three basic categories:
- Annual weeds – This type produces its seeds during only one season.
- Biennial weeds – This type produces its seeds during two consecutive seasons.
- Perennial weeds – This type produces its seeds during a long time. Its well-established roots allow this grass to overwinter and start growing again in spring without any damage.
The Way to Restore a Lawn Full of Weeds
Once your yard is full of weeds, your grass can’t grow healthy and green. Be prepared that you can’t solve the problem quickly, but it is not impossible if you are persistent and have a strong will to restore your lawn.
Step 1. Cleaning and mowing
Start with cleaning your yard. Get rid of as many unsightly clusters of weeds as possible by using a small hand-shovel. Tearing the weeds off at the surface of the ground is not enough. You need to move the entire plant including roots.
Also, don’t leave pulled weeds to lie on the ground. When you mow your lawn the next time, you will chop weeds up and inadvertently replant them.
While mowing your yard, no matter if you use a reel mower, self-propelled lawn mower, or electric cordless lawn mower, pay attention to blades and set them at a high setting. While your grass is vigorous, tall, and thick, you won’t have any problems with weeds.
Step 2. Weed killer
Use a sprayer and apply the weed killer directly to the weeds. Try to avoid healthy grass since even best herbicides can damage it. Do it at least three weeks before the term for setting up a new lawn.
Step 3. Aeration
To aerate your land correctly, you can use both hand or power tools. Just push a tube into the ground and leave an open hole while moving out the tiny plug of the soil. After forming the loose soil, roots of your grass can grow deeper into the ground, and both fertilizer and water will penetrate quickly and reach deeper layers.
Use the turf aerator and aerate your yard from one end to the other. Start in a horizontal direction and keep going diagonally from one corner to the opposite one.
That is the best way to help air reach even the deepest grassroots. This process is the only solution for a high-traffic lawn, especially if it contains mostly clay.
Step 4. Plant new grass seed
The essential part is planting new, weed-free seeds and establishing a new lawn. Before starting, use a power rake to lift thatch, break up aerator plugs, and loose the soil. Go over your yard from two directions, remove dead debris, and allow seeds to come to direct contact with the ground.
Then spread the precise amount of seeds around by using a broadcast spreader. In general, you will need approximately fifteen seeds per square inch (0.00065 m2).
Step 5. Water the soil
Water the new grass regularly. If it is possible, you should do it at least twice a week. Choose to do that job early in the morning to avoid the heat of the summer days.
Most yards need approximately 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) of water a week. How much water your lawn needs depends on the type of grass and the soil in your yard as well as the climate in the region you live in.
To precisely determine how often you need to water your lawn, you can use a few tests, including screwdriver test (pushing a screwdriver 6 inches (15 cm) into the soil to check if it is moist) or rolled grass (grayish, rolling leaf blades are the sign that your land is dry).
You can use an oscillating lawn sprinkler which can cover a waste area and prevent washing away grass seeds at the same time.
Step 6. Fertilizing the lawn
Let your lawn dry and spread weed-killing fertilizer over the new grass. To help the roots of your grass to develop appropriately, you should add a lawn fertilizer containing nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
Keep in mind that some States don’t allow adding phosphorus due to water pollution concerns. Therefore, you need fertilizers labeled ‘New Lawns’ or ‘Starter.’
Take care to apply it in mid-spring and summer if you have warm-season grasses in your lawn, and during summer or early fall if grow cool-season grasses. That way, your grass will get all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.
Give your new grass enough time to grow. After it becomes viable, you can start maintaining it.
Maybe you should invest in a seasonal treatment to help your lawn stay weed-free, green, and lush. Apply it once every three months, and you won’t need to spend time by fighting with weeds and re-seeding the new grass every spring.
How to Restore a Lawn Full of Weeds
Almost every homeowner despises weeds growing on their lawn, and most people have to battle with dandelions, crabgrass, and other pesky weeds every year. The majority of property owners long for lush green grass that isn’t patchy, so knowing how to get rid of weeds and prevent them all together is crucial for maintaining a yard that your neighbors envy. Our how-to guide will aid in the restoration of your weed-ridden property to the beautiful green lawn most homeowners dream about.
Pulling every dandelion stem and clover bud sounds dreadful, and the pesky weeds will likely return if you didn’t get every root. Although there are many DIY methods for getting rid of weeds and preventing regrowth, you might want to hire a professional for the best and fastest results. TruGreen is one of the best lawn care companies for the job, providing affordable plans for beautifying your yard with proven, guaranteed weed control results.
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- See prices from the top lawn care pros near you
11 Simple Steps to Restoring a Lawn Full of Weeds
Getting rid of weeds on your lawn and keeping them away isn’t rocket science, but knowing the specific steps to take can prevent wasted time and money in the process. Below are 11 straightforward steps to overcoming your weed problems.
1. Identify the Type of Weeds in Your Lawn
Your first step in conquering weeds in your lawn is to identify which ones have taken root. There are three primary types, each calling for a slightly different approach in some cases. Below are the standard subcategories of lawn weeds.
As the name suggests, broadleaf weeds have wide leaves. They usually grow in soil that has been deprived of nutrients. Common lawn weeds include clover, dandelions, oxalis, ground ivy, chickweed, henbit, thistle, and dollarweed.
Grassy weeds are more challenging to distinguish from the grass blades around them because they look like grass. These weeds are most common in over-watered lawns and where soil compaction occurs. Some species of grassy weeds include crabgrass, foxtail, quackgrass, and goosegrass.
Grass-like weeds also look like grass from a distance, but up close, you’ll notice that each leaf is tubular. These weeds thrive where the grass is cut too short, the soil is compacted, or overwatering is common. Some grass-like weeds include wild onion, garlic, nutsedge, and nutgrass.
2. Clean and Mow
Your next step will be to clean up your property. If you have a few broadleaf weeds, you can remove them by hand as long as you make sure to get the root as well. Total manual removal will likely be too time-consuming if you have grassy or grass-like weeds.
Once you’ve removed as many weeds as possible, you can mow your lawn to about three inches to prepare for the herbicide application.
3. Select the Best Herbicide for the Job
Now you’re ready to choose a weed killer, and the weeds you identified in step one should inform your decision. If you had the foresight to recognize the weeds that gave you trouble last year, you could apply a pre-emergent herbicide before they come up this year. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weed seeds from taking root so that you can avoid them altogether. Best of all, they won’t kill grass that is already established.
You’ll need a post-emergent herbicide if weeds have already taken root in your lawn. Many of these products — all non-selective herbicides — also kill healthy grass, so be careful in your selection. A selective weed killer designed to kill the weeds you have an issue with is more likely to be safe to use on your lawn and even in garden beds.
4. Apply the Weed Control
You’re finally ready to apply the herbicide, but you’ll want to make sure you do so correctly. Timing is everything when it comes to successful weed control. First, avoid applying it under the intense sun, as this combination can burn your grass. Avoid using it if it’s supposed to rain in the following 24 to 48 hours, as the precipitation can wash away the active chemicals before it has a chance to work.
If you get a liquid weed killer, you can use a garden sprayer to apply it. Follow the container’s dilution instructions and get an even application over all critical areas. If you have a granular weed killer, apply it to large areas with a broadcast spreader or too tight spaces by hand or with a drop spreader.
5. Be Patient
Most weed killers — especially natural and organic herbicides — take time to take effect. You should expect to wait at least a week before seeing results, and some products can take up to four weeks before you start to notice fewer weeds in your lawn. Take note of the timeline indicated on your product’s packaging, and be prepared to wait a bit.
Additionally, some homeowners make the mistake of putting down grass seed shortly after applying herbicide. A pre-emergent herbicide will prevent new weeds from sprouting and stop grass seed from germinating, so you’ll waste time and money on the seed. Plan to wait at least four weeks between applying preventative weed control and seeding.
6. Rake and Till Your Soil
Once you notice the weeds in your lawn start to turn brown, use a rake to remove as many as possible and till the soil in any bare spots in preparation for seeding.
7. Dethatch and Aerate Your Lawn
You might need to dethatch and aerate the soil for treated areas that still have healthy grass. Begin by using a rake or specialized dethatching rake to remove the thatch — dead grass roots, grass clippings, mulch, leaves, etc. — between your soil and your grass.
Once dethatch your lawn, use an aerator or hire a professional lawn care company to aerate the soil to reduce compaction. This process will allow new grass and established grass to get nutrients and water from the soil.
8. Apply Soil Amendment
Completing a soil test will show you if your soil pH is suitable for growing grass . If not, apply your soil amendment according to the product instructions.
9. Plant Seeds or Lay Down Sod
Once your soil is prepped, you can use a garden spreader to lay down grass seed or lay sod instead. Traditional seeding is far more affordable but takes up to 12 weeks with some grass species to yield a full, beautiful lawn. Laying down sod provides an instant new lawn, but the cost can be about four times as much or more. Both seeding and sod require intensive maintenance afterward. Regardless of which method you use, complete this step in the correct growing season for your species.
10. Water Your Lawn
Whether you’ve seeded or laid down sod, you need to keep your soil moist — but not soggy. Use a sprinkler to water each area three to four times a day for 10 minutes each.
11. Maintain Your Lawn
Once your lawn is fully established, you need to maintain it to keep it weed-free in the future. Weeds thrive in compacted or nutrient-deprived soil and in grass that is overwatered or cut too short. It would be best to aerate at least once a year to reduce soil compaction, fertilize regularly to maintain the proper nutrient balance for a healthy lawn, complete infrequent, deep waterings, and mow your lawn at the highest mower setting to avoid weeds from returning. Year-round care is essential to keep your property looking green and healthy.
How to Reclaim a Weedy Yard
Grow healthy grass and say ‘goodbye’ to those nasty weeds with these simple and easy-to-follow lawn and gardening tips.
What do you do when the greenest things in your lawn are weeds? Jerry Cunningham wonders the same thing, so Gardening by the Yard host Paul James comes to the rescue with answers. The overall approach: Choke the weeds out not with chemicals, but by creating a new lush lawn of healthy grass.
Choose the Best Grass
Jerry’s yard is full of mature trees, which help shade his landscape. Fescue would be a great option for him, because it does well in partially shaded areas. The grass will require a bit more watering than Jerry’s current lawn, but he’ll get better results.
Paul suggests Jerry use a mixture of fescue — two types of tall fescue and also a creeping red fescue, which is extremely shade tolerant; in areas of complete shade, the red fescue will help fill in the bare spots.
Let Air In
Aerating the soil brings oxygen to the soil and helps water seep farther down, which encourages more growth. Although there are aerating machines on the market, they’re noisy, smelly and a little too much for an average size lawn. Paul suggests a manual tool instead.
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How to Control Weeds
Sow Seed Correctly
When spreading seeds, it’s important to make sure you don’t throw too much into adjacent beds. Work side to side, and then work back over the same area at right angles to the original. You can either throw the seed out by hand or use a tool that helps relieve strain on your wrist. You can have too much of a good thing. Applying too much seed can create competition for the moisture and nutrients that feel the lawn.
Top-Dress With Compost
Top-dressings — such as a cow-manure/alfalfa mix — are underused in lawn care (such as after you’ve sown grass seed). Too bad, because they’re full of organic matter that activates soil.
Note: Cow manure, like grass seed, can be overdone. A little will go a long way for the freshly laid seeds, so layer no more than 1/4 inch over the lawn. If you have any leftover, feed other trees and plants in your landscape.
Tip: Paul uses this handy perforated shovel to sift the compost over an area. The shovel is also good for working in water gardens.
Fertilize the New Lawn
Paul suggests an all-natural, bio-solid fertilizer for Jerry’s new lawn. Because it’s all-natural, he won’t have to wait for the grass to germinate to use it. After a few weeks in the lawn, the fertilizer will break down and enter the root zone of the grass.