Posted 04-28-2003 at 14:02:45
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The best, environmentally safest way to get weeds out of a lawn is to crowd them out with a healthy stand of grass. Healthy grass will out-compete weeds pretty handily.
If you want to till that patch under and cover crop it a couple or three times to build up the soil, that's a good idea too. Oats or Annual Ryegrass do a good job of smothering weeds, come up quickly, and look a lot like grass in the early stages, so that might be an option. Buckwheat will do a lot for soil structure, and you can grow two or three crops a year, mowing it just after it sets flowers and resowing.
If appearance is less important that soil improvement, a Peas/Oats/Vetch combination will do WONDERS for the soil, with the oats sprouting quickly for erosion control, the peas fixing nitrogen, and the vetch giving a lot of biomass for green manure.
Broadcasting any of these crops and lightly raking them in (I think a drag-harrow might cover them too deep) or dragging a piece of chainlink over them to cover them should work fine.
You might want to get a soil test done and fertilize to recommendations before planting.