New lawn questions

ctfjr

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L3800HST
Dec 7, 2009
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central ct
Ok its coming to that time when I am going to rip up our front lawn (weed garden) and plant new.

The plan is to use the box blade to do an initial really good rip and then use my rotary tiller to add in top soil and whatever nutrients the state ag station suggests (I am mailing them soil samples tomorrow).

The big question now is what kind of seed. I'm in CT and Kentucky Bluegrass has been recommended to me. Doing a search for that grass returns an overwhelming number of possibilities. Having never done a complete lawn before its kind of a show stopper. Any suggestions on which one to pick?

Anything else I should know before pushing forward?
 

BruceP

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G5200H
Aug 7, 2016
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Richmond, Vermont, USA
You really need to decide how much lawn-maintenance you wish to put into it.

Using all of the same seed for a lawn can lead to maintenance issues. If some stressor (heat, wet, grubs, drought, disease...etc) attacks that specific type of grass.... your lawn could be difficult to keep presentable.

Using a mixture of seed (suitable for your area) can make a lawn less susceptible to this kind of problem. This is because each grass-type has its own strengths/weaknesses.

  • Some grasses have deep roots and are drought-resistant (tall fescue for example)
  • Other grasses are shade-tolerant (red fescue)
  • Others are disease-resistant.
  • Others can handle standing-water
  • Some can handle high heat
  • Some are better for cold weather
  • ...etc

Personally, I use creeping red fescue because most of my lawn is heavily shaded by trees. I also like the VERY fine leaves which are like a deep-shag carpet. As a bonus, it hardly ever needs to be mowed cuz it is SSLLOOOWW to grow and never gets more than about 6 inches tall.

Since red fescue grass 'creeps' (sends out roots to make more plants) it will even 'heal' areas which do not have any grass in them. For example, if I remove a tree-stump... all I have to do is rake out the soil and wait a couple months for the lawn to fill in.

OH... and I prefer that my lawn is NOT kept alive with chemicals. The last thing I want is a lawn that NEEDS fertilizer and other chemicals to keep it presentable.
 
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DaveFromMi

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L3901, 5' Bush Hog
Apr 14, 2021
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Indiana
You may want to kill the lawn so to minimize weeds coming back. Wait a week or so before you rip it up after treatment.
I got a good lawn now 2 years after building the house. I used a "Contractors Mix", perennial ryegrass, 3 types of fescue. The ryegrass breaks up the soil and dies off allowing the fescues to grow.
 
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Goz63

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Kubota L2501, LA525 loader, QH15,Land Pride RCR1860, BB2560, SGC0660, forks
Jun 19, 2021
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Mississippi
I agree. Kill it first then put in new. My son is a golf course superintendent and deals with grass daily. That is what he did with his lawn. Used fescue. It is beautiful.
 
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DustyRusty

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BX23S
Nov 8, 2015
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North East
Ok its coming to that time when I am going to rip up our front lawn (weed garden) and plant new.

The plan is to use the box blade to do an initial really good rip and then use my rotary tiller to add in top soil and whatever nutrients the state ag station suggests (I am mailing them soil samples tomorrow).

The big question now is what kind of seed. I'm in CT and Kentucky Bluegrass has been recommended to me. Doing a search for that grass returns an overwhelming number of possibilities. Having never done a complete lawn before its kind of a show stopper. Any suggestions on which one to pick?

Anything else I should know before pushing forward?
I also live in CT (Windham County), and about 10 years ago, I fertilized with triple 19 and spread a contractors mix, and the grass came up and flourished. I occasionally give it a treatment of 10-10-10 and lime it well. The grass is still flourishing in the back yard. The front is a different story, since my wife planted some ground cover that is taking over the lawn. I am going to kill it off, rototill it under and start over. I am also killing all of her purple ground cover!
 
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BruceP

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G5200H
Aug 7, 2016
543
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Richmond, Vermont, USA
You may want to kill the lawn so to minimize weeds coming back.
Let keep in mind this DOES NOT necessarily mean to use chemicals.

When my daughter redid her back yard, she spread black plastic over the entire yard for a couple months. This killed off EVERYTHING so she and her husband just had to rake in some organic material and seed it.

Granted... her back yard is no more than 50x50 feet so the black plastic 'trick' was a reasonable alternative.
 
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ctfjr

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L3800HST
Dec 7, 2009
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central ct
Thank you everyone for your welcomed comments. I forgot to mention that I am planning on killing off everything a few days before start breaking it up.
The Fescue sounds like something that appeals to me. I'm NOT a lawn fanatic. If it was up to me I'd paint the ground green and call it a day. Slow growing, minimal maintenance sounds great.
I decided to drive to the ag station today and bring my soil samples in. It will give me a couple more days.
For me this is a big project and I only want to do it once. Reseeding a couple more times as part of the project is easy :)
The prices I got for having it done convinced me to buy a rotary tiller and do it myself.
Thanks again!
 

mikester

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M59 TLB
Oct 21, 2017
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www.divergentstuff.ca
The last time I had to re-seed it was cheaper and faster to buy full pallets of sod.

The next time I do it I will use roundup to kill off all the weeds prior to re-sodding. Not worth trying to seed if it's around the house and I want nice grass.
 

DaveFromMi

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L3901, 5' Bush Hog
Apr 14, 2021
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Indiana
also, you need (well, should) reseed next spring AND next fall... 3 x in a row,will make it grow.
I reseeded last fall, January before a big snowfall, and again in early March. There are some steep slopes around the house and I was worried about erosion. I would have killed off the weeds, but they were preventing the soil from washing over the hill. Still have some crabgrass and foxtail. In late winter, I plan to apply a pre-emergent herbicide.
 
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BruceP

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G5200H
Aug 7, 2016
543
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Richmond, Vermont, USA
The Fescue sounds like something that appeals to me. I'm NOT a lawn fanatic. If it was up to me I'd paint the ground green and call it a day. Slow growing, minimal maintenance sounds great.
It is a good thing that you are considering different types of grass (or perhaps a mixture).

Beware when you say "Fescue".... there are 100s of types of Fescues. (tall Fescue, Chewings Fescue, Creeping Red Fescue... and sub-species within each of those)

Some Fescues are better for pasturing sheep than to be used as a lawn. :)

if you care to learn about different grass-types, there is hours of reading on the internet. Many website are dedicated to lawns and sell seed-mixtures specifically for your locale.
 
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airbiscuit

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New Holland T2310, New Holland TC21D, Kubota l3010 GST, Farmall H
Mar 18, 2021
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NW WI
Ask the ag station for recommendations. Is your lawn sunny or shaded, or some of each?

I am a big fan of Creeping Red Fescue for shaded areas.
 
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PaulR

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BX 23S -- 63.7 hours seat time so far
Aug 3, 2020
377
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Hadley, MA
Check out Valley Green in Holyoke MA.
They do sell retail to little guys like us, I've been there.
Bluegrass "monostand" is risky if the least bit of thing goes wrong.
If you go with a bluegrass, you would most likely purchase a blend of at least 3, and maybe/more than likely a mix of at least one other type.

Bluegrass germination is the longest...super slow, which means you have to keep it moist for a long time, but very rewarding!

Tenacity Herbicide while your seeding. Game changer. kills all the weeds (bleaches them white), and will not kill your seedlings.

I used a product called Soilmoist in areas I could not water well, it's like a jelly that sucks up water when not needed, then releases it when its dry, neat stuff.
 
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ctfjr

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L3800HST
Dec 7, 2009
714
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central ct
I just returned from dropping off my samples at the ag station. Everyone needs an experience like this once in a while! They were great! People like this can make you smile all day.
The first gentleman I spoke to was very helpful but when it came time to recommend a type of grass he asked if it was ok to get the Ag Station manager involved.
The manager asked all the right questions including the most important, "How much maintenance did I want to spend on the lawn?". Well that narrowed things down considerably :)
He spent about 15 minutes with me explaining my options - including the possibility of not tilling it. In the end he suggested, as some previous posters have, of using a seed mix. He took the time to write down several mix possibilities from the least maintenance to the most maintenance.
Finally he gave me a name & address of a distributor who would have many mixes available in the package size (50lb bags) that would save me $$$. They could also give me some guidance of a specific mix.

I expect to get the soil samples turned around in a couple of weeks. In the meantime I can start the killing process (Ag mgr warned me to read the label - only want Glyphosate no other active additives). He suggested waiting 10 - 14 days for it to work. By that time I would see spots that were still alive.

This is going to be a great project - I am going to finally learn something about a lawn!
 
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BruceP

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G5200H
Aug 7, 2016
543
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43
Richmond, Vermont, USA
This is going to be a great project - I am going to finally learn something about a lawn!
You will end up with a lawn you are proud of. (cuz you did it yourself)

As with ANY project you do yourself ... there will be areas of your lawn which you are not satisfied with... but other folks wont even notice unless you point it out to them :)
 
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PaulR

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BX 23S -- 63.7 hours seat time so far
Aug 3, 2020
377
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Hadley, MA
If you care to moonlight on us, might I also suggest this forum, very nice people, learned a lot hanging out here over the years:


Lawn geeks for sure. It can and really is a science.
 
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airbiscuit

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New Holland T2310, New Holland TC21D, Kubota l3010 GST, Farmall H
Mar 18, 2021
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18
NW WI
Let us know what grasses you go with and a blow by blow of the project - including pics,
 
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aaluck

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L4400HST, Bush Hog 276, RDTH60, Speeco PHD, etc
Oct 9, 2019
519
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Snowdoun, AL
Okay...my two cents worth. Once a weed problem...always a weed problem. Weed problems are caused by a variety of things but for a lot of the folks on OTT they usually have acres not considered 'lawn' that are a variety of grasses. I purchased our current home with about 12 acres and the yard (immediately around the house +/- about .8 acres) once planted Bermuda was full of everything. I thought about doing what you are but decided on a little friend called MSMA.

The point of my story is WHATEVER you plant make sure you can spray for weeds without killing the grass. Otherwise you will be back to square one by May. (I'm assuming you have more 'lawn' that will not be redone and have weeds with seed heads near). Bermuda is nearly unkillable.