starting a new lawn - Knowledgebase Question

bronx, Ne
Question by asuncion53
February 26, 2011
Hi,I live in NYC and i want to start a new lawn with seeds. My problem is what to do and when to get rid of existing grass and weeds before i tiller the soil , without affecting the soil or new seeds ?


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Answer from NGA
February 26, 2011

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You can use a vegetation killer such as Round Up to take care of the existing lawn and any weeds it contains. Read the label for the waiting period before proceding (usually 10-14 days. Break up the compacted soil with a tiller. Tillers (also called rototillers) can be rented from your local rental center. Spread a starter fertilizer over the now-loosened soil. This type of fertilizer is high in phosphorus, the middle number in the NPK sequence on a fertilizer bag. Also spread a soil conditioner over the soil. "Soil conditioner" is often what it's called at the store, but if you have a good supply of compost at home, it will serve just as well as a soil amendment. Again using the tiller, till the starter fertilizer and soil conditioner (or equivalent) into the soil. I know this seems like a lot of work, but good soil preparation is one key in seeding lawns successfully.

Rake the soil to begin to level it out, removing any rocks and debris that you find. To avoid problems with excess water-runoff, make sure that any site grading you do allows water to flow away from your house. This next step requires a roller. Rollers, like tillers, can be rented from your local rental center. Fill the roller's drum with water, then use the roller to finish leveling the soil. Water the soil lightly.

For this step you'll need a seed spreader. Following the recommended seeding rate, spread 1/4 of the seed over the entire lawn area. Then repeat times, each time using 1/4 of the seed. However, each of the 4 times you distribute a load of seed, push the spreader in a different direction, to encourage even dispersal. Rake lightly, so as to cover the seed with a thin layer of soil. Then use the the roller again but empty out the water first. You'll want to lightly compact the soil and make sure the seeds make good contact with the soil

The seeds must be watered properly in order to germinate. Use just a fine spray, as you don't want to create a flood! The soil should be kept evenly moist, which may mean several waterings per day (depending on the weather).

After the grass blades sprout, you'll still need to water a couple of times per day.

Good luck with your new lawn!

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