Monthly Archives :

January 2011

Methods of Removing Turf

Methods of Removing Turf from a Lawn

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When planting a new lawn, the first step is to kill and remove any poor-quality turf. This process can be accomplished through several methods including solarization, heavy mulches, hoes or sod cutters, and herbicides. When selecting your method, keep your lawn and climate conditions in mind, as some methods may be a better fit for your lawn than others. Solarization: Cut the old lawn as close to grade as possible before you begin….

Methods of Removing Turf

Removing Thatch and Weeds From a Lawn

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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…

Fixing Grade Problems

Fixing Grade Problems in Your Lawn

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When planting a new lawn, take the time to fix any existing grade problems (after removing the old turf and 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…

Fill Depressions and Level Bumps

Filling Depressions and Leveling 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…

Adjusting Your Soil’s pH Balance

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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

Adding Nutrients to Your Soil

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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…

Caring for Your New Lawn

How to Care for a Newly Planted Lawn

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You have put a lot of work into creating a new lawn, so don’t forget the most important step.  Plan for watering needs before you plant your lawn.  Insufficient water and overwatering are the leading causes of new-lawn failure.  Take precautions to prevent damage.  Minimize play and foot traffic on new and sodded lawns for at least three weeks. Do not fertilize new lawns for at least six weeks. After…

Aerating Compacted Lawns

Aerating 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

Preparing to Overseed a Lawn

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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

Taking Care of Young Plants

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Your efforts to restore your lawn 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…