The Q&A Archives: new home lawn

Question: we have recently purchased a home and the lawn is dead or the weeds are taking over. it is in southern ca. what is the best way to establish a lawn. there is a sprinkler system although it is unclear how well it works. kill the weeds and reseed or dig it up and do sod? or is there a better way? thnx mike

Answer: I think I would test the sprinkler system first to see whether or not it needs renovation. Then you can decide whether to rehabilitate or completely renovate your lawn. Sometimes it is easier to start all over than to try to nurse a sad old lawn back to health. If it is really in bad shape, you might want to start all over.

The effort that you put forth now will determine the quality of your lawn for years to come. It will also make a major difference in the amount of upkeep and maintenance you will have to perform in the future. The condition and type of the soil under the grass is the most important element to the overall health of your lawn. It is a good idea to have the soil tested before establishing your new lawn. The soil test report will indicate the type and amount of fertilizer to apply for your lawn. This fertilizer (and lime, if required) should be worked into the top four to six inches of your soil. Use a vegetation killer (such as Round Up) to kill existing weeds. Once you've killed the weeds you?ll want to remove them, then rake and remove any other debris such as sticks and rocks. Then the soil should be tilled thoroughly, either by a mechanical tiller or digging down a spades depth over the entire area. The soil is now ready to be raked smooth, filling low spots and removing the humps and breaking up the larger clumps as you go. After you've prepared the soil, you can either broadcast seed or install sod. A thick, healthy lawn will shade and crowd out most weed seedlings so be sure to water and feed your new lawn on a regular basis. Enjoy your new lawn!

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