Renovating lawn


I'd like to redo my lawn next year. I have about 15,000 sq. ft. in central New Jersey. This will is quite sandy and low in organic matter. Currently, the lawn is about 90% weeds, a mix of varieties. In the shady areas it is smart weed, creeping Charlie, and Indian strawberry. The sunny areas are heavily infested with Bermuda grass.

Ideally, I would like to transition to an organic lawn, but I am not sure there is any way to kill what is there without chemicals. In fact, I understand that getting rid of the Bermuda grass is difficult even with chemicals. I am prepared to spend a few months eliminating weeds next summer, but I am not sure of the best way to do that. Afterwards, I would like to add 3 to 4 inches of compost or a mixture of compost and topsoil before reseeding.

I would appreciate any advice about how to eliminate the Bermuda grass. Also, I have heard that Roto Tilling can present problems. Some people say that it leads to unevenness because the tiller bounces and reaches the lower level of the soil unevenly. However, I do not see any way to incorporate the compost without using a tiller. What would be the best way to proceed?

Trumbull, CT(Zone 7a)

Seems you're suggesting that the topsoil is quite bad, is it so bad that you've never had a good lawn?
3 to 4 inches of material is a lot of work to put down, do you have a small lot or do you have a lot of helpers?
The weeds will die if they are annuals as many are, I'd just mow it very low. Don't know how to eliminate Bermuda grass but if you cover it with 3" I'd expect it to die - I could be wrong.

Test to see if you need lime and apply it soon if needed since I'm not sure how soon after you can seed.

Also, if you have grubs apply Milky Spore since it is effective and natural. I put it down 20 days ago and found some milky colored grubs that looked nearly dead already.

I just overseeded our lawn with a tri blend of Hybrid Kentucky Bluegrass (Tri-Hybrid Blue)
and am hoping for good results:

I don't mind the dying annual weeds since they tend to hold the seed in place.

I'm also looking for a natural, minimum maintenance solution for fertilizing and am wondering if a top dressng of .25" of compost and perhaps manure or a natural fertilizer, once the new grass is established is the best way to go. This would be to get the biology going again, then I'd hope that the grass clippings would feed it each year. I'm new to trying a natural solution but we've not had chemicals put down for about 5 years.

This message was edited Oct 27, 2012 2:09 PM

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

When we bought our house front yard was a mess too, but 8 years after adding topsoil, over seeding, aerating and doing Scotts program every year( I know you want to go organic but to kill weeds it's very difficult unless you hand weed the majority of the weeds and then compost and spot treat after) Corn gluten takes awhile to be effective every year

We finally got a front lawn hubby loves, me personally I wish I had all gardens

Thumbnail by flowAjen
Dallas, TX

Bermuda grass will eventually grow back, altho slowly, despite being covered by about 3" of mulch. I know this from experience. I am currently hand weeding. I'm also experimenting with an organic product called Avenger weed killer. (Love the name.) I had to get it thru mail order. Google Natural Organic Warehouse for more info and to order. I've also heard about cornmeal and cor gluten meal. I don't know which is which, but they serve different purposes. Google to find out. A good link is

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