The Q&A Archives: new lawn

Question: I have killed my old lawn because it needed to be regraded plus there was rocky soil, basically no topsoil. (House was moved and landscape and grading wasnt done). So its been like two weeks since the lawn died what steps should I take my Idea is to cut the lawn as short as I can get it dig up the surface rocks and till the soil. The question I have when I till the soil will the old dead lawn affect any thing or shoud i rake or try to rake up the old sod?

Answer: Sounds as though you have a good plan. Here are the steps recommended for renovating an old lawn:

Apply Roundup or Kleen Up type killers on hardy weeds and grasses.

Mow the lawn to a height of about one inch.

Aerify the turf by slicing, coring, spiking or with dethatching equipment which will help relieve soil compaction and eliminate thatch.

Rake or sweep the lawn to remove clippings and other debris, including rocks.

(Since you plan to rototill the area, you'll need to rake up as much of the old lawn roots as possible, then rake to smooth the area.)

Apply 3-5 lbs. of a good nitrogen-based, slow-release fertilizer per 1000 square feet.

Spread the seed with a drop-spreader or a hand-cranked "whirlwind" spreader. Special attention should be given to spots where the ground is bare. Extra seed should be applied by hand to these spots.

Drag or rake the grass to be certain the seed comes in contact with the ground. On bare spots apply a light mulch of peat, straw or sawdust.

Water the seedbed slightly so the soil surface is moist. Continue watering lightly so the soil does not become hard or baked.

When the seedlings reach a height of 2-3 inches, mow to a height of 1 1/2 inches with a sharp mower at a time when the grass is not wet.

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