The Q&A Archives: Dying lawn.

Question: I planted lawn over an old sidewalk after it crumbled away. It keeps dying off. What can I do to stop this from happening? I cleaned all the old cement chunks away.

Answer: You didn't say whether you prepared the soil before planting the lawn. That is important to give the grass a good foundation to thrive. I've included some info on that below. Also, most lawn grasses need full sun. Is that area sunny or shaded? You might also examine your watering practices. Without knowing what type of grass you planted and whether it was from seed, sod or stolons, I can't provide specifics, but newly planted grass tends to need fairly frequent watering. It's also important that water soak deeply through the root zone, so if you are sprinkling for very short periods, that doesn't always happen. If you want to provide more specifics on the grass you planted, please send another question to the Q&A. Thanks!

Preparing Soil for Lawns

Remove all debris, large rocks, old turf and weeds.

Establish rough grade one inche below sprinkler heads.

Wet the soil to a depth of 6 to 9 inches. Let it dry for two days.

Add soil amendments. At least two inches of nitrified wood mulch or other organic matter. 100 pounds of gypsum per 1000 square feet of lawn. Ammonium phosphate (16-20-0) according to package instructions. Till in amendments to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, preferably 6 to 8.

Install sprinklers or check that existing sprinklers provide full coverage.

Water to settle everything in and build water reserves. Allow the soil to dry for one or two days so that it is workable. It should crumble easily.

Rake and level. Foll the area with a lawn roller half filled with water.

Plant seed or sod.

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