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Yard Appears to be Dying

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  • Yard Appears to be Dying


    I live in New England and have been living in my home for about 3 years. I have a little over an acre, and the yard has never been perfect and I am now looking to spruce it up. I have a handful of rough patches that seem to get worse each year and am looking to take some action.

    Pictures of my yard and the various issues can be found here. I've done various amounts of research and think I've come up with a plan for a healthier lawn.

    I know that without an irrigation system in place, I'm not going to have Fenway Park in my back yard, but I would think that I can at least make it look better. As you can see from the 2013 to 2014 photos, the yard is trending in the wrong direction. Granted the 2014 was in the autumn when everything started to turn, I don't want my lawn to have giant swathes of brown grass.

    The pictures I took are from this weekend, right after I basically scalped the lawn. I had waited too long to do my first mow and had mulched, but it resulted in dead grass just sitting on top of everything. I decided on an extremely low to cut with the bagger to help clean everything up, and to expose what the yard truly looks like. Unsure if this was a good idea or not.

    From what I've read, when living in the Northeast the best time to aerate & overseed is late summer/early fall so it looks like I'm already behind the eightball this year. I went and purchased seed this weekend as it was $20 off at Home Depot. I guess this would be my first question, as to whether or not this is a good seed to be using seeing as I'll mostly be relying on rain for any watering. I had looked at contractor seed but the majority of it looked to be annual rye grass.

    You can't tell from the pictures, but I'm having a massive dandelion outbreak this year. I was going to do a weed-and-feed but from what I read without having an adequate means of watering, I'll more than likely scorch my lawn. So is the best plan of action to go around with a spray and individually target the plants? I'm looking at literally hundreds of them.

    Is there anything else that I can or should do heading into the summer? I was going to fertilize but I'm sure that would just feed the hell out of the crab grass and weeds. I was going to just aerate, but will that do anything without any seed or fertilizer follow up?

    Lastly, my plan for the fall is to aerate (I don't think I need to detatch, from the photos it looks like I have too little) and overseed the day before we're forecasted for rain. After that - I'm not sure what to do. I would guess let the lawn grow longer than normal, and then mulch mow, not bag? Following that, put down a fertilizer just before winter?

    Sorry for the lengthy post in advance, and thanks for the input.