Answer: Tilling is an excellent idea. Be sure to rake out all the debris before leveling the soil and installing sod. St. Augustine is usually sold in sprigs rather than mats, and the sprigs can be installed most anytime in Southern California, as long as you keep it well-watered as it's becoming established. Once the plants grow together they will be thick and dense enough to crowd out most weeds. As soon as the lawn is established, it will be very drought tolerant.
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