My first home came with 2,600sq/ft about 1 acre of land, and all the crabgrass in New Jersey. Tight on budget from my new home, I had to teach myself how to grow a green lawn and I think the results speak for themselves.
Here are the steps I took to remove all the crabgrass and get the nicest lawn on the block without breaking the bank paying someone else to do it for me.
- Buy a Sprayer
I started by purchasing a 4 gallon backpack sprayer. If you have a smaller yard you could probably get away with a 1 gallon, but my front lawn is about 1/3 an acre. Here’s a sprayer similar to what I purchased on Amazon. AMAZON SPRAYER
- Kill all the Crabgrass
My yard was 90% crabgrass so the whole yard ended up pretty much dead. I used Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer by BioAdvanced. It worked extremely well and didn’t break the bank at only $12.
- Rent/Buy a Dethatcher
This is an especially important part. You need to pull up all that dead crabgrass or the grass won’t be able to take root or wont get enough sunlight as the dead crabgrass will block them. You can rent one of these machines or if your yard is small enough the little electric ones on Amazon seem to get great reviews and only around $125, probably a good investment. Check the electric Dethatcher HERE.
- Clean up all the Thatched Crabgrass
Once you thatch, you’ll have bundles of uprooted dead crabgrass. You can rake these up, run over them with a riding mower with a bagger (what I did), suck them up with a yard vacuum or use a yard sweeper. Make sure all the thatch is nice and dry making it easier to collect. If you’re mowing or raking it up I strongly suggest a face mask from all the dirt and dust that’ll kick up. A yard sweeper is a great option, and only cost $100 off Amazon. This is a great machine to have when the leaves start falling as well. You can find a Yard Sweeper Here.
- Put down Seed
I am all about saving a buck, but when planting an all new fresh lawn I suggest spending the extra money on a quality grass seed. Here in the North East it’s hard to beat a Turf Type Tall Fescue and one of the best is Titan RX.
It has advantages over your standard grass seed. Better growth rate, less weed seeds in the bag, deep green. Once you’ve established a strong lawn you can overseed with less expensive options if you like, but getting a quality seed down at the start will be your best option.
- Starter Fertilizer
Putting down fertilizer with your new seed is never a bad idea. Honestly, I just use a very basic 10 10 10 fertilizer and have never really had an issue. You can get this at your local Walmart, Home Depot or Tractor supply for ridiculously cheap. What you will need for both he seed and fertilizer is a quality spreader. You can find one HERE on Amazon for less then $40.
New grass seed needs A LOT of water. Some even recommend watering twice a day. The seeds need to stay wet to germinate. These watering sessions can be short as you don’t need to penetrate deep into the soil. This is another benefit to the Titan RX grass seed as it hold water better than most other seeds.
New lawns take a while to grow. I’d give it 2 weeks before you really start to notice anything and 3-4 weeks before it actually starts to look like a lawn again. There’s not much you can do other than make sure people stay off the growing grass and water, water and water some more.
Maintain your new lawn
Maintaining a healthy green lawn really isn’t all that hard. You just need to make sure you keep track. I feel like a lot of suggestions online come from fertilizer companies. Of course those companies are going to recommend using their products 10 times a year, that’s called sales. I recommend just 3-4 treatments a year. One, in the spring putting down crabgrass pre emergent. Another just before the heat of summer makes the lawn want to go dormmate. For this time of year I suggest Milorganite as it wont burn the lawn and will help it stay healthy through the heat of summer. And finally, fertilize in the fall with overseeding.
If your lawn was hit in the summer and you have weeds popping through you can always go with a weed and feed. Otherwise the basic 10 10 10 has always worked fine for me.
If you do put down a weed and feed don’t overseed for at least 5 weeks or the seeds risk not germinating.
If you don't follow these steps you'll be back on Google searching for "How to grow a green lawn" all over again!
Having a professional come out, rip up your lawn, plant new seed and treat it could cost thousands. The first quote I received was $300 per session with 6 sessions needed! So what will it cost to DIY your lawn?
For the initial rip up and planting I’d estimate about $350 between the tools, seed and fertilizer needed.
To continue to maintain the yard might be another $90. Again, this will totally depend on the size of your yard. But as a home owner few things are more rewarding than having the nicest lawn on the block!