The Q&A Archives: New Lawn

Question: I want to plant a new lawn. I will need to kill off the bermuda grass that has taken over first. How should I go about this? What would be best to kill the bermuda grass and what kind of grass would be good to replant ? I live in Sacramento CA.

Answer: 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. You can grow Kentucky bluegrass, perennial rye, and fine fescues in your region. I'd choose a blended seed mixture available at your local garden center or nursery. Many times the blends are made for local growing condition. Enjoy your new lawn!

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