The Q&A Archives: starting lawn

Question: I just bought roll out lawn- that you cut to size and has seeds in it. I've never had a lawn or garden before so I want to do it right.

How much soil/fertilizer do i need to cover the ground before applying the grass roll?

Any other tips?

Answer: Lawn grass needs a well prepared soil so it can grow healthy roots and establish quickly. Remove the existing vegetation using an herbicide containing glyphosate (read and follow all of the label directions.) Then loosen the soil down about six inches and work in organic matter such as compost. Then add fertilizer and lime as indicated by the soil tests. Then level the area and rake the surface smooth. Follow directions on the roll out lawn. Keep the soil damp like a wrung out sponge -- if it dries out the seeds will not germinate.

Your local Cornell county extension should be able to help you with the soil testing and interpreting the results, they should also have information about lawn care you might find helpful. I should mention that mid summer is the most difficult time to try to get grass seed growing, late summer to early fall is the best time of year to do it. Good luck with your grass!

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