The Q&A Archives: Sodding a Lawn

Question: Wanting to sod a yard. Not sure were we need to start. The old yard has lots of crab grass and bare spots. Do we need to bring in some top soil then lay down the sod or can we just til up the old grass and replace it with sod? If we till it up, will the crab grass keep coming back?

Answer: First take a look at the soil in your yard - is it lacking in organic matter that makes it light, rich and well drained? If so, you'll have better luck with your new sod if you bring in some rich top soil. You should have the soil tested at a lab, too, so you'll know what to add to encourage healthy lawn establishment. Your agricultural extension service (ph# 417/862-9284) can help you with a soil test. As for the pesky crabgrass, if it is truly crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum - the extension service can identify it for you), then you can control it with a corn gluten based herbicide, such as WOW! by Garden's Alive (5100 Schenely Rd., Lawrenceburg, IN 47025; ph# 812/537-8650). It keeps seeds from germinating, and it adds nitrogen to the soil (make adjustments to your soil test if you decide to use it, since you can cut down on nitrogen applications). If the weed grass is a type that spread by runners rather than seed, you'll probably need to pull out as much as you can before sodding. Good luck with your project!

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