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How To Prepare Soil For New Lawn

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Dig Or Rotovate The Soil

How to prepare your soil for a new lawn

With the area cleared you now need to dig or rotovate the soil.

Grass needs at least 15cm of soil it can grow deep roots. So rotovate to at least that depth and remove any roots, rocks, rubble or stones as you go.

Again, if youre a sucker for punishment you can use a spade or garden fork but you need to be thorough. No half arsing it!

Otherwise, use a mechanical rotovator. Youll get it done in a tenth of the time.

You can buy a decent electric model for smaller areas for around a hundred quid. Or you can hire petrol tillers for larger areas. Trust me, theyre money well spent, especially if youve got a large area to turn over.

Tacklife 1400w Electric Tiller

No matter what type of soil you have, the addition of compost or manure will always help.

Whatever you need to do to improve the soil, the process of getting it into the soil is the same. Spread it over the surface and dig it in with your spade, fork or rotavator.

First Treat The Weeds

Youll never get rid of weed seeds in the soil but in most cases, once your grass seed germinates, a nice thick sward of grass and regular mowing will sort out any cheeky annual weeds. The ones that you really dont want popping up all over the place, are the perennials. Particularly not weed grasses or things like nettles, docks, dandelions and daisies. All of these need to be cleared from the area.

Before you start stirring up the soil for grass seed, use a systemic herbicide to kill the leaves and roots. The keyword here is systemic. These are the weedkillers like glyphosate Roundup that circulate through the plants whole system and ensure that nothing is left alive. Beware the cheap alternatives that just turn the leaves brown but dont affect the roots.

To make life easier when you come to clear the area later mow it nice and close before applying the weed killer but be sure to leave enough vegetation to absorb the herbicide.

When applying sprays, always wear the right protective gear and follow the manufacturers instructions to the letter. No spraying on windy days either a little bit of spray drift can decimate your prize plants.

Glyphosate will take 3-4 weeks to work properly, so be patient.

Have Lawn Soil Tested Before Sod

Step 1 is to get a proper soil test done. Soil tests are done by local laboratories, universities, and state extension offices. These tests are often not much more expensive than the DIY tests at the hardware store, but they are much more reliable. If youre serious enough about your lawn to invest in purchasing sod, be serious enough to invest in a proper laboratory soil test.

A good soil analysis will include a report of the soil composition, as well as recommendations for amending the soil to make it more conducive to growing a lawn. The analysis will tell you exactly which nutrients the soil in your lawn is deficient in. Most will even recommend specific amounts of nutrients that should be added to the soil with fertilizer. A soil test means youll actually know what the lawn soil needs .

The easiest way to get your lawn soil tested is with SoilKit an at-home soil sample collection kit paired with a pre-paid sample mailer. You send your soil sample off to a professional laboratory and then receive a detailed analysis along with specific expert recommendations for fertilizer and soil amendments.

Organic matter , reported as percent of total soil, contains about 95 percent of all soil nitrogen .

Soil Test Explanation Fact Sheet , Colorado State University, J.R. Self, CSU Extension Program

For help interpreting the results of your lawns soil analysis, refer to this helpful guide from North Dakota State University.

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Next Remove The Debris

If youve used a weedkiller, youll have brown fuzz all over the surface of the lawn. Now theres two ways of approaching this.

You COULD, remove all of that debris to give you a nice clean surface. Certainly if its very thick, youll need to do that.

If the soil is very compacted, Id also recommend rotovating or digging over the area. Youll be opening up the soil structure. And by incorporating the dead material youll help to support those all-important soil microbes.

How do you know if your soil is compacted? Try pushing a 15cm screwdriver into the soil as far as it will go. If it doesnt slide in like a knife into a jar of honey the soil is compacted.

How Often To Water Grass Seed After Planting

How to Prepare Your Soil for Sod

Water newly planted grass seed daily if the weather is over 80 degrees F. Every other day is a good watering schedule if temperatures are cooler. Prior to germination, wet the top inch or so of soil. But, once the grass seed germinates and begins to grow, reduce the frequency of irrigation but water more deeply. Once your new grass is about two inches tall, reduce your watering schedule to once or twice a week, but water until the ground is wet down to a depth of about three inches.

Once grass is fully established, stop irrigation all together, unless theres a prolonged period of drought. When it comes to watering established lawns, its always better to water less frequently but very deeply. Always water lawn in the morning, if possible, to reduce the chance of fungal disease issues.

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Planting Grass Seed In Spring

Spring is another great time to seed the lawn. Its particularly good if you live where springs are long and cool. For spring planting, its absolutely essential that you continue to regularly water the seed and the sprouted grass through the remainder of the spring, summer, and well into the fall. Establishment failures are often connected to improper watering. Early summer is another possible time, but youll need to water more often.

Testing And Clearing Off Your Soil

  • 1Have a sample of your soil tested. A soil test will help you figure out what you need to add to your soil so its healthy and ready for the sod. To collect a sample of your soil, fill a bucket with the top 46 inches of your soil from at least 10 different spots in the area youre laying the sod down on. Take out any leaves or weeds from the soil. Then, contact your local extension office to find out how to submit your sample.XResearch source
  • Send in your soil sample a month before you plan on laying down the sod so you have time to get the results back.
  • 2Clear off any debris on the soil while you wait for the soil test results. Pick up branches, rocks, and any other objects scattered on the soil. Dont lay your sod over any large objects or they could interfere with the sods growth. Also, objects underneath the sod will make the final result look lumpy and uneven.XResearch sourceAdvertisement
  • 3Kill unwanted weeds and grass with an herbicide. Controlling weeds is easier if it’s done before sod is put down. Look for an herbicide that is nonselective, like glyphosate. Follow the application directions that come with the herbicide and apply it a month before you plan on laying down the sod.XResearch source
  • Please note: The WHO considers glyphosate to be a probable human carcinogen. Its use is prohibited in some states and countries. Please check with your local laws and use caution if handling this chemical.
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    How To Ensure Good Coverage

    Sometimes its challenging to ensure ample coverage of grass seedlings. If you are using a drop spreader, I suggest distributing the seeds in one direction and then making a second pass in the perpendicular direction. This two-directional overseeding promotes more even grass seed germination and distribution. If you are spreading the seed by hand, its a bit easier to eye, but dropping the seeds from different angles helps.

    Pick The Right Time Of Year

    Preparing Your Soil For Your New Lawn…

    Imagine having the perfect lawn and all the possibilities it could bring can be really exciting. But rushing into planting when the time isnt right could make it harder for your grass to get established. Like most plants, the best time to start growing grass is in the spring. A mild temperature is ideal for sowing grass seed, as it gives the lawn a chance to get established before the weather becomes too warm.

    Planting in the summer when the weather is scorching hot may not be the best way to go, as it means more water is needed to hydrate the seed. However, some suggest sowing warm season grasses during this time as it gives the lawn an opportunity to begin tolerating the heat. The winter months can cause dormancy in grass seeds, so while it may be easier on you to plant when its cold , it isnt ideal for growing grass.

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    Remove Rocks And Roots

    Using a pointed shovel, dig up all rocks and roots that are visible including any stones that won’t fit through the tines of a garden rake. Fill holes and depressions with topsoil dug up from a high spot.

    Use a rotary tiller to turn the soil until there are no big clumps or patches of packed earth. Use a fiberglass-handled shovel, which is less likely than wood to split or snap, to dig out rocks.

    Step 4

    S To Plant A New Lawn Successfully

    Planting a new lawn is a big job it may be best to tackle the project in sections. You can begin this process by redoing the worst or most visible lawn areas, and then make plans to tackle the remaining areas the following year.

    Starting with smaller sections instead of the entire lawn keeps the job manageable and makes the critical step of watering feasible for homeowners who do not have in-ground sprinkler systems. However, whether you plant a new lawn in stages or all at once, you will need to take the following steps:

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    Thinking About Laying A New Lawn

    Your soil preparation is the most important factor in successfully establishing and maintaining a new lawn. Whether its a new build or an old home, chances are the ground needs a bit of work to make it perfectly suitable for a new lawn to go down.

    An unprepared area can suffer in the future from poor soil drainage, compaction, pH or fertility problems that could have easily been prevented.

    We always recommend to leave lawn as the last thing to do on your construction list as heavy traffic is not recommend for the first 6-8 weeks.

    Start by clearing your area of any weeds and debris ideally, you want to start with a clean slate.

    Any old lawn and pesky weeds will need to be poisoned to stop them from becoming an issue in the future.We recommend to use a non-residual glyphosate-based herbicide such as Eraze total.

    Start digging

    We recommend to remove around 150mm of your current soil base and replace with a good quality soil. Our favourite bases for lawn are either 80/20 sandy loam, Lawnhubs premium turf mix or Jeffries special soil.

    TIP: Most lawns harvest between 30-40mm thick, so ensure to keep this in mind when levelling.

    Fluff and level

    You want to make sure your soil is nice and level so your lawn grows level. It doesnt need to be perfect though, as your new lawn is likely to have undulating soil attachment due to the harvesting process. Uneven levels can be dealt with once established.

    Check the pH

    Dont forget your starter fertiliser

    Give us a call!

    How To Plant Grass Seed: A Simple Guide To Success

    Site &  Soil Turf Preparation Checklist

    by Jessica Walliser

    Lawns are everywhere. Some are highly tended others, not so much. My own lawn is a mixed planting of three types of turf grass , clover, violets, ground ivy, and various other weeds, which is exactly how I like it . Regardless of how perfectionistic you are about your lawn, at one point or another, youll find yourself needing to plant grass seed. Whether its to fill in a bare spot left behind by Fido or a wayward snowplow, or to install a brand-new lawn after a construction project, learning how to plant grass seed is a necessity for most homeowners. This article offers a simple guide to success, no matter the reason for your reseeding efforts.

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    How To Start A Lawn From Seed

    • Working Time: 2 – 3 days
    • Total Time: 3 – 4 wks
    • Skill Level: Intermediate

    When starting a new lawn, many people wonder which is better: laying sod or sowing seeds. While laying sod is fast and produces high-quality new turf, seeding a lawn is much cheaper and offers a wider variety of grass types. To learn which grass types are best for your area, contact a nearby extension service , or ask an expert at a local garden center. Much of the labor of starting a lawn from seed is in the all-important prep work, but just as important is watering the seed and sprouts regularly until the new grass is well established.

    Keep in mind that you might not need all the supplies listed here. Choose your method for clearing the ground and follow those instructions to determine which supplies and tools you’ll need.

    • Water hose and spray nozzle
    • Lawn mower

    Level Out Soil Before Laying Sod Down

    Step 6 of preparing lawn soil for laying sod turf is to level out the soil. Rake the surface smooth and take time to break up any lumps. Pick out any rocks or debris that is unearthed while you rake. A landscaping rake is the best tool for this job, although most other rakes will do an adequate job.

    The soil surface can be further leveled out with light rolling. A lawn roller with a bit of water in it can settle out the soil level without overly compacting the valuable air voids in the soil structure. If a roller isnt available, simply walk over the surface with small, shuffling steps.

    Gentle overhead watering with a sprinkler is also helpful for settling out prior to sod installation. Just add a little moisture to the soil it shouldnt be soaked!

    With a bit of raking, rolling, and watering, you should have a nice prepared soil surface for the sod. One last rake to get out the footprints will leave it level and ready for sod installation. The level of the final soil grade should be about an inch below adjacent paths and/or driveways. The soil grade should also slope away from buildings to allow overland drainage of surface water.

    Final slopes should be one to two percent away from buildings to assure good surface drainage.

    Soil and Site Preparation for Lawns, University of Illinois Extension

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    How To Lay A New Lawn

    This article was co-authored by Benjamin Hansen. Benjamin Hansen is a Landscape Contractor and the Owner of Artscape Gardens, a boutique landscaping company in Los Angeles, California. With over 12 years of experience, Benjamin specializes in transforming properties into aesthetic, functional, and drought-tolerant oases. Benjamin uses color scheme, dimension, and water conscious spaces to inspire the design and installation of soft scape, hardscape, patios, pathways, irrigation, drainage, fencing, concrete, lighting, and electrical work. Artscape Gardens covers all areas of the C-27 landscape contractor classification.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 76,979 times.

    Take the time to prepare your soil before laying a new lawn, so you can grow the sturdiest and healthiest lawn possible. Install sod if you want to establish a usable lawn quickly. Plant grass seeds instead if you want to save money, or enjoy the experience of making a lawn “from scratch.”

    Breath New Life Into Soil

    Laying Sod & How to Prepare Soil For Sod | The Home Depot

    Calgarys harsh winters result in dried-out soil that seriously affects your lawns growth. The best thing to do is perform a soil test to understand your soils nutrients and pH levels. Then, know what type of fertilizer would work best.

    Additionally, aerate your lawn to help break up compacted soil. Compacted soil is denser and makes it hard for nutrients and water to reach the root system when youre trying to facilitate lawn growth.

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    Loosen Soil Base To Break Up Hard Dirt

    Step 4 is to loosen the cleared soil. Breaking up hard, compacted soil will help add important air voids into the soil structure. Porosity in the soil allows the roots of the turfgrass to access air, and also provides pathways for good water drainage.

    Use a shovel or rototiller to loosen up the top layer of the soil. Focus on breaking up the top 4 to 6. Take care to break up chunks of soil. Remove any debris that is unearthed, like sticks or rocks, from the area.

    How To Prepare A New Lawn

  • Determine the location of your new lawn or layout the area you want to replant
  • Remove weeds or large objects from the soil
  • Thoroughly work over the soil we recommend using a tiller to break the soil down to the desired size
  • Once ground preparation is complete, you can use Soil³ for your new lawn by amending your soil as topsoil. Soil³ alters soil structure to absorb the necessary moisture and nutrients into your soil. Once your soil is prepared, it serves as the basis for your grass seed. Soil³ can be spread over the top over your existing soil during new lawn preparation as nutritious mulch. After Soil³ has been added to the soil, cover the seed with some dirt.

    How to:

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