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Question DetailsAsked on 5/16/2013

When is the best time of year to plant a new lawn?

Do I need to kill the weeds and old grass first? What is the best way to do that? What are the steps to planting a new lawn from grass seed and what varieties are best for Colorado at 6,000 feet? I would like to plant draught tolerant varieties.

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2 Answers


I would recommend talking to your local greenhouse, and use seed that is made by a local Colorado company specifically for your area, not some nationwide brand from your box store - here is a link to the names of some recommended by Colorado State University -

You can also talk to locall landscaping companies about what they recommend for grass types.

You can find lots of info on varieties and planting and survival issues at the Colorado Cooperative Extension Service - they also have offices in most counties - google for your county using this search term - "Colorado cooperative extension service".

Generally, you need to initially kill invasive grasses and weeds because, being more established, they will out-compete new grass. However, using a kill-all like general kill-all Roundup generally backfires, because it stays in the soil and also kills or weakens the new seed you plant. You then have to wait a certain time before plantingnew sod or grass, or the weedkiller you used will weaken or kill it too. If you have crabgrass or similar extremely resistant weeds you may have to the scorched-earth method, as once it is in a new lawn it is almost unbeatable.

If you are looking for a golf-course or mansion quality lawn then you generally are better off removing all the existing topsoil and growth, start with new seed-free topsoil, reseed and grow from scratch. At 6000 feet that will be somewhat difficult, and will likely take several years and several reseeding passes to get uniform growth. The other alternative is to strip the existing turf and replace with a thin layer (1 inch) of topsoil and sod - very expensive.

If you are looking for just a normal lawn and are willing to do either "weed and feed" annual fertilizer applications, or spot Roundup for Lawns treatment over the years to control the weeds, then you can probably cut the old grass extremely short, overlay with an inch or two of topsoil, reseed with your new grass seed, and go from there.

If you choose a grass seed that is well suited for your area and mow to the recommended height, it should eventually crowd out all but the most persistent spring weeds like dandelions and vetch and plantain and such, which you will have to attack individually in the spring and early summer for a few years to get them under control. Watering will also be critical - to get a lawn to successfully compete with weeds and native grasses you have to give it optimal water. If you are in a water shortage area that, in addition to the drought-resistance factor, may affect your decision of what type of grass to plant because of the cost of watering. Even a drought-resistant species will require religious watering for the first two years, until it is well established.

I would call the cooperative extension service and see if they have someone you can take in a square foot or so of your existing grass area to for them to look at and give recommendations - or they may have you mail a sample of your sod to Colorado Springs for assessment. This is important especially if you are adjacent to established grasslands or pasture as the existing native grasses may be such that, for your location, you may not be able to keep them from crowding out any lawn you plant. Also ask how to get a soil test done - usually about $10-20 - so they can give fertilizer recommendations.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD


Often in fall, when there is moisture and warm temps in daytime and cooler at night. Protect from light frosts with existing live or dead grass, straw or light row covers that breathe. Often spring leads into a too dry summer that makes successful growth difficult. Check local extension service for best in your locality.

Gardens Alive is a mail order company that has developed excellent grasses for most regions. We have found it worth cost plus shipping after trying many local varieties.

Answered 7 years ago by Bookworm

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