June 13, 2013
Q. How do I restore my lawn once it has been taken over by weeds, such as crabgrass and grubs and the soil has become well-packed and cracked?

A. First, you will need to decide whether to tackle this yourself, or hire a professional lawn care company. It is a fair bit of work to restore your lawn. You may want to consider lawn alternatives instead: ground covers, low maintenance shrubs, drought resistant perennials, pea gravel, stones, etc.

To restore a lawn that it is completely gone, we suggest:

  • Consider the addition of topsoil to improve the depth and quality of soil.
  • Re-seed with a grass mixture that includes perennial rye grass — it is both drought resistant and grubs do not like to feed on it.
  • If you hire a company to re-sod, ask if the sod contains perennial rye grass. There is no point re-sodding with 100 per cent Kentucky blue grass.
Crabgrass is an annual, so if you had it last year, your lawn will have crabgrass seeds waiting to germinate in the spring. You can buy corn gluten meal fertilizer from a nursery or good garden store. If you apply it in May, it will prevent the crabgrass seed from germinating. It also prevents all other grass seeds from germinating. If you re-seed your lawn, you must wait at least three weeks before applying corn gluten meal.

Grubs, like all insects, have cycles when they are plentiful and when they are not. To measure whether or not you have grub problem, simply lift a square foot section of sod with a spade. If more than five to ten larvae are present, then you have a problem. You can spray grubs with a nematode spray in July or August. I would hire a lawn care company to do that for you.


On the Green for Life website click on Choose a Professional in the top left corner and then choose Find a Professional from the drop-down menu.

Choose Lawn Care from the drop-down menu and hit Search Using Your Location. You will be prompted to enter your postal code to find a list of member companies that work in or close to your postal code.

For the types of questions to ask and qualifications to look for when hiring a landscape professional, see the Hire With Confidence section of our website.