How to kill your lawn and start over with new grass

First, try to avoid spraying chemicals on lawns and lawn soil to kill everything, as these are harmful to our river and stream habitats.

There are isolated exceptions when we break our rule but generally, we’d suggest stripping off the old grass with a sod cutter and exposing the underlying soil to start from scratch. While doing this, be careful of underlying tree roots.

If herbicides are your only option we recommend Killzall by Hi-Yield, by following their simple instructions, you should receive a clean slate to work with.

Key factors in the success of your new lawn will be:

  • Choosing the correct grass type based on how much sunlight your lawn will receive year-round
  • Willingness to correct any soil deficiencies before planting


What’s the best time of year to start over?

Between August and October 1st is the ideal time. Next best would be late in the spring before deciduous trees complete their leaf out.


Should you test your lawn soil before you replant?

Yes. This is the only way to accurately know what state of health your soil is in and what exactly is needed to bring it into balance so that your new lawn thrives. A pH test (such as Rapidtest) is an easy and inexpensive way to see what your soil is missing.  In the Portland area, most soil needs lime to balance out high acid levels. Visit us at our Portland garden center and we’ll test your soil for you. 


the best lawn soil for grass

Fescue blend grass. Image courtesy of Great Basin Seeds


What’s the best grass type to plant in the Portland area?

A grass that thrives in full to partial sun, and is adapted for high use (though requiring more care) is a ryegrass blend. For moderate to low sun, lower use, while needing less water and care, use a fescue blend.

Our landscape design team can make your grass green, and your yard a dream!

Call to schedule an appointment: 503-256-2223

A lifelong Oregon resident, Drake has been passionate about plants since childhood, beginning with propagating and growing flowers at his grandfather’s nursery. He opened Drake’s 7 Dees in 1974, while earning degrees in Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University. He later expanded into the design/build side of the industry, allowing him to combine his passion for plants with his love of family by maximizing the quality of family time spent outdoors.

Drake is co-founder of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association and is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager (LICM)—a designation that less than two percent of landscapers have attained. Additionally, Drake serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Japanese Gardens, widely regarded as one of the seven best Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Drake is married to former Oregon Speaker of the House, Lynn Snodgrass. Together, he and Lynn received the Farm Bureau President’s award in 1999 for their service and dedication to agriculture in the state of Oregon. Drake and Lynn have two wonderful daughters, two talented son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Drake enjoys camping, water and snow skiing, reading, and of course, gardening.