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My lawn was overrun with dandelions so I've used some Ortho Weed-B-Gon Max and that seems to be killing the dandelions very well. The problem is now my lawn is very sparse with grass. There just wasn't much grass there after killing the dandelions. I've thought about reseeding but every bag I look at wants me to till up the ground before putting the seed down. I've also thought about just using fertilizer but wasn't sure if that would do enough or even help the dandelions survive the herbicides.

What is the best approach to getting my lawn back to full grass the easist and cheapest way possible.

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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The label for this product does not recommend applying grass seed until four weeks after the last application.
Once this waiting period is up buy or acquire:

  • a big bag of grass seed suitable for the light and soil in your lawn
  • enough compost or top soil to cover the sparse areas to a depth of 1/4" to 1/2"


  • Use a rake to open up the soil.
  • Apply grass seed at a generous rate
  • top dress with compost or top soil
  • water in and continue to water until the seed sprouts

Do this twice a year in the spring and fall and you can put your Weed-B-Gon away!

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Is there any type of seed that I can use where I won't have to rake up the soil? In a perfect world, I could just put the seed on top of the sparse lawn, water it daily, and it would grow. Hopefully someone will have some good news. –  Jason Apr 25 '12 at 11:56
If you're just using topsoil (instead of compost), would an application of fertilizer also be appropriate here? –  bstpierre Apr 25 '12 at 11:59
@Jason: The seed will "catch" better if it is making good contact with the soil, and it will send down roots more easily through soil that has been loosened. Some of the grass will grow even if you don't rake, but for the small investment in time involved in raking you'll get a much better end result. –  bstpierre Apr 25 '12 at 12:01
Use a soft leaf rake rather than a hard rake and the existing grass will be fine. –  kevinsky Apr 25 '12 at 13:16
The better you integrate the seeds with the soil, the better germination rate (and less volatile it'll be to watering variances when young). –  DA. Aug 21 '12 at 18:02
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Dandelions grow on poor compacted soil. The soil can be poor or clay soil with drainage problems. They successfully grow where the grass struggles a bit. Whilst it would be less hassle to just re-seed grass, it probably won't improve the growing conditions (soil) and dandelions are likely to return. I would suggest ripping the soil and adding whatever is needed. That could be gypsum and/or sharp sand or crusher dust.

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All you can do is learn from this mistake. Dandelions are on of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They contain every essential amino acid, a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, and aid in the cures for so many diseases. Do your research on this wonderplant if you don't believe me. Also the roots make an excellent root vegetable that's especially good for diabetics as it contains Inulin (not Insulin). Also, their roots go very deep into the ground, and draw nutrients up from the earth below.

When you sprayed an herbicide on your lawn, understand that you spread a HERB killing concoction all over your property. Now your land is tainted with chemicals that will effect everything that grows there for many years to come. Common sense: don't spread poison, and plants will live. Another tip I can pass on is to plant clover all over your lawn. It is very pretty, attracts bees and other pollinators, it draws nitrogen into your soil and makes for more fertile land, and they choke out other weeds that take over the lawn. Yet again, the clover is ALL EDIBLE and super nutritious. The flowers taste just like sugar peas!! So in short, learn about the beneficial "weeds" and use them to your advantage. Who says a luscious lawn of red and white clover doesn't look as attractive as a nicely maintained grass lawn? I for one vote for a healthy, diverse, all edible, nature attracting lawn of clover over a nutrient drained grass lawn any day. The choice is yours. Learn how to work with nature, not against it :)

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The information you give is inaccurate - the product is a herbicide, but it kills certain plants and not others, and does not contaminate the soil for 'many years to come'. You can apply grass seed within 4 weeks of the last application, and this alone indicates no residual effect on plant growth within the soil. –  Bamboo Aug 21 '12 at 18:10
@Bamboo: It targets certain plants, sure, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have an effect on others. Chemical residues likely do remain for years to come. After a single application, they won't be concentrated enough to have an obvious impact on new seed. I don't think Rich's information is inaccurate--it's certainly in line with USDA organic guidelines, and with an organic gardening philosophy. My problem with this answer, however, is that it doesn't really answer the question. –  Flimzy May 4 '13 at 19:57
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