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Category : restore

Step 1. Remove Thatch and Weeds

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The first step to lawn restoration is to remove any thatch buildup.  Thatch is un-decomposed stems and roots that accumulate near the soil surface.  Dig up a small, triangular-shaped plug of turf several inches deep.  If the spongy layer above the soil is more than ¾- to 1-inch thick when you compress it, it is time to have your lawn dethatched.  The best time to dethatch is when your lawn…

Fill Depressions and Level Bumps

Step 2. Fill Depressions and Level Bumps

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Poor grading, uneven settling, or the decomposition of buried tree stumps, logs, or roots can cause depressions and bumps.  While you are dethatching your lawn, check for bumps and depressions.  Mark any irregularities with latex spray paint so you can find them easily when you are ready to level. Depressions Smooth slight depressions by topdressing—applying a combination of topsoil and compost—the surface topsoil.  A wide landscaping rake is the best…

Step 3. Adjust Your Soil’s pH

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It is best to test your own soil, or obtain test results from a professional testing service, before applying any amendments. If your soil test shows that the soil pH is low, add lime according to the test recommendations.  If you did your own pH test, see the table to determine how much lime to apply. If you are unsure of your test results, be conservative.  Too much of an…

Fertilizer Guidelines

Step 4. Add Nutrients

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Use a slow-release fertilizer, and avoid putting down more fertilizer than you need. Adding too much nitrogen can cause rapid growth and a thinning of plant cell walls, which makes grass more susceptible to disease. The excess fertilizer may also leach and eventually find its way into waterways, polluting them. Tested Soil When restoring a lawn, apply the fertilizer as recommended by the results of your soil test. Untested Soil If you…

Step 5. Increase Organic Matter and Microbes

Step 5. Increase Organic Matter and Microbes

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Applying fertilizer will not help if your soil does not contain an adequate population of microbes; you need billions of these microscopic organisms per handful of soil.  Your soil must contain 2- to 5-percent organic material to have a thriving microbe population.  Microbes not only digest grass clippings, dead grass roots, and old stems, they make nutrients available to living grass plants.  A top-dressing of compost mixed with topsoil followed…

Step 6. Aerate Compacted Lawns

Step 6. Aerate Compacted Lawns

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Aeration, also called core cultivation, is an important part of any lawn restoration program. Aeration allows grass roots to penetrate the soil deeply, helps fertilizer and organic matter get to the roots, allows oxygen to reach the roots, and makes it easier for water to soak into the soil. Aerate your lawn once a year in the fall.  Avoid aerating during dry summer months because you may damage an already…

Planting Your Lawn

Step 7. Prepare the Surface and Overseed It

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Before you begin, choose the seed that is best for your geographical area and buy the amount you need to cover the size of your lawn. You have several tool options for spreading seed evenly and at the recommended rates. They include your own hands, hand-held and walk-behind spreaders, and slit-seeders (power seeders), which are power machines that cut shallow slits in the soil and sow seed at the same time….

Take Care of Young Plants

Step 8. Take Care of Young Plants

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Your work to this point will be in vain if you do not care for the young grass plants as the seeds germinate and begin to grow. The most critical need is to apply water at least twice a day, assuming no rain. If the soil dries out, the seedlings will not germinate or will soon wither and die. To maximize the germination rate, soak your lawn on the same…

Is It Really Lawn Disease?

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The best time to assess your turf’s state of health is before mowing. As you pick up fallen twigs or remove other items from the lawn, you should take a careful look at any areas that appear wilted, off-color or stand out from their surroundings. If you do note changes, it might not be disease. For instance, brownout of a cool-season grass during high summer is likely just summer dormancy, which…

Identifying Diseases

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Many diseases will leave bleached-out, dead turf. When this occurs you not only lose the grass, but you also lose the opportunity to determine what caused the problem. Diseases are progressive in nature, especially during hot, humid weather. It is important to check your lawn regularly if you want to spot disease symptoms early on. Look for spots or banding, color changes, or signs of decay on grass blades. When you…