Lawn renovation is in a lot of ways the “atomic bomb drop” of the turf management world. When tall fescue grass is your goal, this method of redoing lawn areas in your yard takes you from killing off a lawn in full to seeding fescue heavily and reestablishing uniform turf. Pursuing a fall lawn renovation can be an endeavor, but it is one of the quickest and lowest cost ways to wipe the slate clean and start over.
There are several scenarios in which a lawn renovation may be justified, but they almost all boil down to having one thing in common: weeds, and more importantly, weeds that are difficult to control. A common situation that turf management professionals see is a new homeowner purchasing a home that isn’t newly built, but that had previous owners who neglected the yard. Whether it’s a few years or a few decades, a lawn that didn’t receive proper weed control or for which seeding fescue wasn’t done regularly is likely to be mostly an assortment of weeds. This weedy situation can have two big problems when looking into redoing lawn areas and establishing a healthy turf.
First, thick weeds in the summer that linger in the fall can be a serious competitor to baby tall fescue grass trying to grow in before winter. Weeds can outgrow and shade germinating seed as well as steal nutrients and water. As a result, there is a significant risk that seeding fescue in a lawn full of weeds could result in a thin or irregular turf the following year. This can be overcome in stages as more and more grass squeezes out the weeds, but it may be several years before a thick, uniform lawn is established.
Second, not all weeds are made the same. Weeds like bermuda grass, bent grass, nutsedge, kyllinga, wild violets and strawberries, and several perennial grassy weeds can be difficult or impossible to prevent and kill with standard pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides. While you are likely to be able to find selective herbicides that will target these weeds without hurting any existing fescue, these herbicides may not overlap, which means that the cost for targeting problem weeds can get very high. Most of the time, if more than half the lawn is comprised of weeds that are difficult to treat, a lawn renovation is the quickest and most cost effective way of solving the problem.
When redoing lawn areas through a lawn renovation, killing off a lawn can be very straightforward. A non-selective herbicide like glyphosate is utilized and safely applied across every part of the yard being targeted. A non-selective herbicide is one that kills everything with which it comes in contact. Soon after treating, everything in the lawn will die off, leaving the yard devoid of plant life. This is the goal! A lawn renovation is best to do prior to seeding fescue in the fall so that there is as little time as possible during which the yard is dead like this.
In the fall, fescue seed is applied at a slightly hire rate to make up for the lack of existing growth. This is best done with a core aeration service to give the seed an anchor since there is no established turf to provide a natural foothold. An ancillary benefit to the lawn renovation process is that all of the weed growth that is killed off breaks down and introduces a high volume of organic matter into the soil system. This is chock full of nutrients that are highly beneficial to baby grass. As a result, your new lawn is basically getting an extra dose of high quality fertilizer!
By the following spring, the tall fescue grass has grown in thick and healthy, and far fewer weeds have cropped up in the lawn. A proper regimen of spring weed control will do enough to keep future weeds at bay, which is why a fall lawn renovation makes such a quick difference. If you would like to explore this option with a professional like PPLM, be sure to contact our office today.