Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Complete Lawn Renovation Guide

Now is the ideal time to plan a complete lawn renovation because we are approaching one of the most active growing seasons. The optimum germination temperatures for most grass seeds is 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Laying the foundation of a good lawn starts before you ever plant your seed. Proper preparation helps avoid many future problems like diseases; weeds, and yellowing. Complete Turf Makeover 101:

Before doing anything take representative samples of your soil and conduct a soil test. A soil test will detail vital aspects of your lawn such as pH and organic content along with recommended rates of fertilizer, lime and minor elements that should be applied to your site.

Kill off existing weeds and grasses on the site to be tilled up. You can use a glyphosate type of herbicide like Round Up, making sure to spray the entire area evenly. Wait 7 days for grass and weeds to die. A second application may be necessary especially if killing dense turf and weeds or tough-to-control weeds such as Bermuda grass. Multiply (length) x (width) to determine the number of square feet you need to spray. Mix Roundup Concentrate - 6 ounces per gallon of water. Each gallon you mix will treat 300 square feet.

Roto-till your lawn and add PermaTill to you soil. PermaTill is a long lasting soil additive that loosens clay, while improving soil structure, and drainage. Start working on making the initial "slope" to your lawn. Change any areas that need filling in or cutting down to provide a more level, properly sloped lawn area. An ideal lawn slope allows water to gently run off of the site, usually at a slope of 1-2 foot drop per 100 feet (1-2% slope). If large areas must be moved, try and set aside the top 5 inches (topsoil) of your soil to replace back in the same location.

Spread the necessary soil amendments and fertilizers based on the results of the soil test. Do the second Roto-tilling of your lawn area. Improve the soil by spreading 2 to 3 inches of organic matter, such as compost, over the planting area. Till the soil to incorporate the organic matter to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Make two or three passes in alternating directions.

Smooth the planting area with a leveling rake - An ideal finish is to get all of the lawn very smooth and level, resulting in the top 1-2 inches of the soil being very fine composition. You are now ready to seed your lawn. Set your seed spreader at the appropriate setting and fill it with half the seeds. Walking at a steady pace, sow the seed over the planting area, moving back and forth in opposite directions. Repeat the process using the rest of the seeds, walking at a 90-degree angle to your original paths. This will ensure that the seed is sown evenly. Spread a thin layer (1/8 to 1/4 inch) of organic matter (such as peat moss or bonemeal) covering all the seeds. This will help keep the seeds from drying out. Also, spread a good starter fertilizer -the best lawn fertilizer available is called Turf Trust. Push a water-filled roller (about a third full) over the entire area to make sure the seeds and soil are in good contact. Roller can be rented or purchased --- this step is Optional Water the seedbed thoroughly so the soil is moist to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Apply the water slowly so that the seeds do not wash away. Keep the seedbed moist (but not soggy) until the seed germinates and the new grass is a few inches high. In hot weather you may have to water more than once a day. The new grass should be mowed when it is 3 inches tall. Make sure the mower blades are sharp. Mow at a height of 2 to 2 1/2 inches. Regular mowing through the remainder of the fall will help to thicken the turf. Seed Selection: Choosing the right grass for your new lawn ensures that it will be beautiful, healthy and easy to take care of for years to come. We always recommend using a blend that is formulated for your area.

A few extra dollars spent on seed will provide good color, and disease and drought resistant, turf that will save money in the future. Good Luck Yardiacs!

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