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jdrunbike 03-29-2011 10:34 AM

re-starting care for a neglected lawn

I am in the process of purchasing a foreclosed home in the pacific northwest that has been unoccupied for about a year. Thankfully, the house is in great shape but I'm not so sure about the lawn - it obviously hasn't been tended to for's quite long and there are some dead stalks of grass interspersed in the lawn.

I understand much of what I'm asking for depends on the specific conditions of this individual lawn, but...generally, what are common steps (and things to avoid) when reviving a large (2 acres), overgrown and neglected lawn? I've also attached a pic below (not the best pic, sorry).
Uploaded with

Here are some of the things I was planning on doing, in order:

1. De-thatch and clear the lawn of debris (twigs, pine cones, etc.)
2. Cut once at a high level
3. Finishing work (edging, etc.)
4. Cut a second time, a bit lower, a few days later
5. Spead fertilizer, moss killer and re-seed

I had also been planning on maybe using rollers, depending on how uneven it is.

Does anyone have recommendations on steps to add, skip or re-arrange above?


hortman 03-31-2011 11:42 AM

neglected lawn
Hey, jdrunbike. Ken here with The Home Depot in the Chicago area.
Congrats on obtaining your new property. You seem to have a good
handle on what needs to be done to the lawn. Let me add a couple of
things to fine tune the schedule. When you dethatch the lawn I would
also core aerate. This will help with drainage and reduce compaction. If
you plan on rolling the lawn, I would roll first, then dethatch and aerate.

Secondly, if you plan on using crabgrass control in your fertilizer, you won’t
be able to reseed for a few months since the control keeps seeds from
germinating. Use starter fertilizer, then reseed right afterward. If you want
to put down crabgrass control now, wait until fall to reseed. That would be
the optimum time.

As far as the moss killer is concerned, any herbicide applied will hinder seed
germination. So moss kill first, then after removing the dead moss or a couple
weeks, reseed. Remember to keep the seed moist if you can reach all areas with
water. Good luck and take care.

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