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Lawn & Garden

Lawn Care/Lawn full of weeds!

I have never maintained a lawn before and have no idea where to start.
The majority of my lawn is full of weeds (dandelions, clovers, and some others) and I don't know if I should mow first and then use weed killer or vice versa. Does it matter?
And what kind of weed killer do I use? I have two dogs, so it has to be pet safe.
I'm also not sure what kind of grass I have, so I don't know what kind of seed to buy.
Hopefully someone can help me!
Thank you!

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Posted 2018-04-15T17:38:24+0000  by kmwinter kmwinter

Hi Katie.


Looks like you have your work cut out for you for sure!! 


You have a couple of good options for your lawn.  Since you have dogs that will be running around, I would shy away from using a weed killer.  

One way to start your lawn recovery, would be too water the whole lawn well and then pull out the seeding weeds first as well as any of the broad-leafed grasses.  This will make it easier to pull the broad leafed and seeding seeds out.  Next, use your dandelion puller or weeder to extract the broad-leafed and seeding weeds.  I like to use a 2-3 inch thick branch as a fulcrum to help pull up the deeper rooted weeds.



Once this has been done, set your lawn mower on its highest adjustment and carefully mow the taller fescue and what looks St. Augustine mixed with Kikuyu grass, both of which are hardy enough to tolerate dogs.


You will want to get the grasses down to about 2 inches high.  It will take several passes and you will probably have to lift the front of the lawn mower up to be able to cut thru the denser areas.


Once the higher gasses have been tamed and you have your grass cut back to about 2 inches high, I would add about a ¼-inch layer of Kellogg Topper over your whole lawn and just water regularly.  Use a Peat Moss Spreader/Compost Roller to make it easy to spread the Kellogg Topper over your lawn.                          


It will take about 20 minutes per quadrant to properly water your lawn, providing the soil has not been compacted. 


Compaction will cause the water to flow across the lawn and over the curb rather than sink down into the grass. Compaction can be resolved by using an Aerating machine available at your Home Depot Tool Rental.


If you are able to keep your dogs off the lawn for at least a week, it will help speed the lawn recovery up. If not, you will need to cordon off sections and allow that area to recover before letting the dogs back in.


The above is one simpler way of recovering your lawn.


A bit more involved way, would be to extract all of the green material first.  I prefer the manual method by use of a Garden fork or Spading Fork



It is a bit more labor intensive but you will be able to remove the seeding weeds with fewer weeds seeds being left behind.  There will still be weed seeds that you have to deal with but that can be dealt with after your lawn has filled in.


Next, add about 2-3 inches of a good course Garden Soil and then use a Rototiller to mix the material into your soil.  Level your lawn and adjust the grade away from the house.  


You can use a good Fescue seed, a Fescue Sod or plugs of St. Augustine bought in flats or you may even be able to get St. Augustine Sod, Check with your local Home Depot Garden Department for more detailed information.

When using seed, be sure to use a spreader to apply your seed.  A drop or rotary spreader would be best.


If you do not have a sprinkler system, this would be a great time to add one.  With this more extreme recovery, you will need to keep the dogs off the lawn area for about 2 months to give the grass a chance to take hold.  This method could also be done in steps doing half of the lawn at one time.


Please take pictures your lawn recovery process and share them with us at:


You will need to register and sign in to do this but it will be fun to be able to show off your efforts.


Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.



Posted 2018-04-17T18:40:44+0000  by Rick_HD_OC
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