The Q&A Archives: Gardening

Question: We have a backyard that has hard dirt and lots of weeds. What do we need to do to get it ready for sod?

Answer: If your lawn has deteriorated beyond help from fertilizer and patching, you may choose to renovate by seeding or sodding. The first half of September is the ideal time because temperatures cool, moisture is adequate, and weeds are less competitive.

Follow these steps:

When renovating, use a nonselective herbicide to kill the existing vegetation or physically dig up and remove it.
Remove thatch and dead turfgrass by raking or using a sod cutter.
Grade or regrade areas to correct low-lying wet spots.
Add soil amendments (lime, fertilizer, compost) based on soil test results and incorporate into the soil.
Rake to smooth out the area.
Add a light topdressing of a preplant fertilizer.

If you want to install sod:
Roll out sod and stagger it like bricks.
Roll lightly to ensure good sod to soil contact.
Water installed area. Be sure the soil below the sod is moist but not saturated.

Best wishes with your renovation project!

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