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Thin compacted lawn, poa annua, bare patches

Max Fischer
5 years ago

Purchased a house 2 years ago with what I think was a lawn in fairly decent shape. I've been doing my own lawn mowing and fertilizer/weed control, but have come to realize I didn't really understand the basics and how quickly I could ruin a lawn - we were very likely cutting lawn too low and not often enough, not watering often enough, and not applying weed control enough and at the right times of season. Lawn is now failing. I live in Chicago. I don't know what the base grass is - kentucky blue grass? I have not aerated since I moved in. Lawn get a lot of shade. See pictures from around the property - much of the lawn is thin/bare, compacted and has what I think is poa annua throughout lawn, but I included pics of other more healthy areas.

I believe my issues are:

  • Thin, compacted lawn. Some of patches of actual grass are not growing, which suggests a very shallow root system?

  • Poa annua all over

  • Some broad leaf weeds - I now have a service doing 6 fertilizer/weed control applications throughout the season (they have only applied 1 thus far this season)

  • Completely bare patches

  • Some apparently thriving grass patches next to bare spots - not sure if these are two different types of grass or bare patches were affected by weeds

My plan is the following:

  • Have lawn service complete fertilizer/weed applications this summer. The fall application should help poa annua from seeding this winter?

  • Have lawn service aerate and slit seed in fall - I understand that hot summers are not the best for overseeding with cold weather grass and seed will have a tough time growing with weed applications

Is there anything else I could be doing? In addition to slit seeding, should I apply top soil or manure when that is done? Could I try overseeding some now to try my luck and should I be putting down soil/manure with those applications?

Any help would be appreciated.


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