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Step 1. Remove Old Turf

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The first step is to kill and remove poor-quality turf, which you can accomplish several ways. Solarization: Cut the old lawn as close to grade as possible before you begin.  Solarization kills grass, weeds, and weed seeds by overheating them under a layer of clear plastic.  During warm weather, securely anchor the plastic over the area you want to clear.  You will need two months to achieve the desired effect….

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…

Step 2: Fix Grade Problems

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Take the time to fix any existing grade problems, before adding amendments to the soil. For minor grading problems, small versions of earth-moving equipment are often available to rent or buy.  You can also use a landscaping rake for working topsoil to the proper grade. To make minor grade adjustments use a landscape rake. Water the area.  Later, fill where puddles formed using soil from high spots. The first rule of…

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…

When to Mow

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How often should you mow? How much should you cut? Dr. Van Cline, Toro’s senior agronomist, shares some lawn mowing best practices.

Lawn Insects

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Dr. Van Cline, Toro’s senior agronomist, describes lawn insects that can infest your turf and how you can fight back!

The Best Way to Water

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We tend to over-water turf, which actually prefers to grow on the dry side. Dr. Van Cline, Toro’s senior agronomist, provides advice on the best way to water your lawn.

Encouraging Root Growth

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A healthy root system will produce healthy turf. Dr. Van Cline, Toro’s senior agronomist, describes the importance of root growth and how to encourage it in your lawn.

Amend soil

Step 3: Amend the Soil

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This is your best opportunity to add amendments such as fertilizer, organic matter, and lime or sulfur.  Use a soil test to determine the best amendments for your particular soil. The best way to test your soil is to send a sample to a Cooperative Extension Service (CSREES), which is usually located at or affiliated with a state university, or to a commercial soil tester.    

Rake Smooth and Firm

Step 4: Rake Smooth and Firm

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Remove stones and vegetative matter brought to the surface during tilling. Rake the area until it is smooth. Water the ground and check it for puddles. Allow the soil to dry; once dry enough, move soil from high spots to fill the depressions. Roll the prepared soil to provide a firmer base and to foster adequate soil structure.  Fill a lawn roller about one-third with water, and roll until your footprints…