A yard full of weeds is unsuitable for growing healthy grass. Weeds are aggressive and invasive and will choke out any grass you plant. Most weeds are tough to eradicate and make your lawn ugly and undesirable. You can transform your overgrown yard into an attractive lush grass turf. Transforming your yard is not easy, but if you are persistent, you will achieve the desired results.
Identify the weeds in your lawn
First, you must know the type of weeds that have overtaken your yard. There are different categories of weeds: broadleaf, grass-like, and grassy. Each category requires a different approach to eradicate.
Broadleaf weeds have wide leaves and usually grow in soil that lacks nutrients. They include oxalis, dandelions, clover, chickweed, and ground ivy. Grassy weeds resemble grass and are common in waterlogged lawns with compact soil.
Examples include foxtail, crabgrass, and quack grass. Grass-like weeds are also similar to grass but have tubular leaves. They thrive in areas where the soil has been overwatered. They include wild onion, nutgrass, nutsedge, and garlic.
Weeds can also be annual, biennial, or perennial.
Test and prepare your soil
You should test your soil’s pH levels to determine whether it is suitable for growing grass. Make the appropriate amendments to adjust the pH yourself or seek the assistance of a professional.
Cleaning your yard
Walk through the lawn and pick up any rocks, debris, or other material that might impede the weed removal process. This is also useful in identifying potholes, animal nests, and other spots you should avoid when mowing.
Cut the weeds
Begin by ridding your lawn of weeds by uprooting using your hands or tillers. You have to ensure that you remove the entire plant, including its roots.
You can use a lawn mower to cut the weeds first before tilling. Set your mower on a high setting to cut back the weeds aggressively and remove their root systems. This ensures that you only hit small rocks or debris you may have missed in your walkthrough. For the best results, mow at least twice. Use a lower blade setting for a second time to get a finer cut.
Pick up all uprooted weeds to ensure they do not re-establish in the ground. Alternatively, use a mower with a bagging system that will pick up cuttings and add them to your compost pile later.
After mowing, go ahead and till your land.
Aerate your lawn
Use hand and power tools to aerate the ground properly. The goal of aeration is to loosen the soil enough to allow the grassroots to establish well and facilitate the penetration of fertilizers and water.
The turf aerator should do an efficient job of aerating your lawn. Move it horizontally from one end to another and then diagonally towards opposite corners at least three times. This technique is recommended for lawns with high traffic.
Aeration helps to detach your lawn, i.e., breaking up the layer of decomposing matter between the soil and grass blades. This process is essential in boosting your lawn’s resilience and providing insulation from extreme temperatures and changes in the water content of the soil. If the layer grows too thick, it might cause the grassroots to decompose.
Plant grass seeds or sod
After preparing the soil, use a garden spreader to lay grass seed or sod.
Grass seed is less expensive, and more varieties are available in the market. Choose the seed with the best attributes for your region. Lay down about one inch of topsoil over the seeds and use a spreader to apply the seed to the ground. A broadcast spreader distributes seeds evenly, and a drop spreader lays seeds on the edges of your lawn.
You should ideally apply 15 seeds per square inch for optimum distribution. Ensure that the seeds come into direct contact with the ground. Traditional grass seed takes around 12 weeks to germinate.
Laying down sod will produce faster results and can be laid any time of the year. However, it is more expensive and has lesser variety. Both seeds and sod will require high maintenance in the later stages of growth.
Water the grass
Regular watering is essential for your new grass lawn. Water the soil at least twice weekly, preferably in the morning or evenings. Fresh grass needs at least 1.5 inches of water every week, but this could change depending on the climate of the area you live and the type of grass chosen for your lawn.
Use a mist of water instead of a stream to avoid washing away the seeds. Water until the seeds have germinated and your grass is about half an inch high. You can cut back watering to ensure the seedlings never dry out.
When your lawn is dry, add fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to aid in root development. This is best done in mid-spring and summer if your grass thrives in the warm weather and early fall if you plant winter grasses. Frequent fertilizer application is necessary to maintain a healthy nutrient balance on the lawn.
Check your state’s regulation of phosphorus fertilizers due to water pollution concerns.
Maintain your lawn
Keep the traffic to a minimum when the grass is in the early stages of germination.
You want to maintain your grass to keep the lawn free of weeds. Set your mower at the highest setting to cut any tall growing weeds. Mow when the grass reaches a height of three to four inches. You have to care for the grass around the year to keep it looking green and healthy.
You can hire professional landscapers to help you in caring for your lawn. These services are costly but often have better and faster results.
With the right approach, you can eradicate weeds and transform your lawn into a lush green grassy landscape. Plant the appropriate grass type for your location, and maintain it regularly to give your yard a desirable look. Maintaining a grass lawn is a year-round commitment that you can do on your own or hire professional services.