The Q&A Archives: shoveling old lawn & applying new sod

Question: I just bought my new house and the back yard lawn is weed haven mixed w/grass. It's awful. I began shoveling off the lawn, so i can lay down some sod. whats the best way to remove old sod and what do i need to begin laying down new sod? Thank you for your reply. Jose

Answer: Removing the old grass and weeds is a good start, but you'll also want to rototill the area, rake out the old roots and turf along with rocks and other debris, then add organic matter, and till it in. Once you've accomplished these preliminary steps, you can rake the area level and begin laying your sod. It's important that the roots of your new sod make good contact with the soil so you'll want to roll the sod after it's in place.

The best type of soil for growing turf is a sandy loam. This soil is mostly sand with some silt and clay. Other soils may need amendments and more care, but will support a good lawn. Amending heavy clay soil with organic matter such as peat (2?3 cubic yards per 1,000 ft2 ) will open up a soil, allowing better air and water movement. The addition of "black dirt" should be evaluated since it often consists of mainly silt and clay soils, and compacts easily. If a large amount of fill is needed, such as to raise up an area, good quality topsoil can be used as long it is less than 20% clay and free of residual herbicides.

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