Sunday, 24 November 2013

How to prepare soil for a new lawn

         In order to prepare soil for a new lawn, your goal is to make sure the soil is
nutrient rich, well drained and properly aerated. While most turf grass does not
grow very deeply – the roots of cool season grasses grow two to six inches – it is stillimportant to ensure the soil is not compacted so there is good drainage. You should
also work a healthy amount of organic matter into the soil if it is available. This is
called tilling the soil, and there are a couple of ways you can do it.
         There are two ways to prepare soil for a new lawn: you can either till the soil
by hand or use a Rototiller. If you are not planting a particularly big lawn, tilling the
soil by hand can be a good way to go. To prepare soil for a new lawn by hand, use a
sturdy spade to dig down to a depth of about six inches and turn the soil over. Break
up bigger chunks of the soil with the spade, or go over it with a rake of hoe to break
them up. Preparing the soil by hand can be a fair amount of work, especially if the
soil is very compacted.
          If you are preparing soil for a new lawn in a space that is too large to
efficiently work with a spade, or if the soil is too compacted to work by hand, using
a Rototiller can cut down on the workload considerably. These machines can be
rented from your local hardware or garden supply store. They take some getting
used to, so if you have never used one before, have someone at the store show you
how to operate it. The Rototiller has several blades that will quickly plow through
the soil and break it up.
         The next step to prepare soil for a new lawn is one that many people often
skip, but it is an important one that will ensure your grass is lush and healthy. Now
that the soil is nicely broken up, you should work organic matter into it. This can be
well-finished compost or manure or lime. If you have your own compost pile, great.
If not, you can try to find a local community garden; they often have plenty of
compost that they’re willing to give away for free. Otherwise, you can buy manure
at your local garden center.
         It is best to work the manure or compost into the soil to a depth of four
inches. Spread the organic matter at a rate of about four pounds per hundred
square feet. Work it in with a rake or hoe, moving backwards and taking care to
avoid compacting areas you have already finished.
         Ensure that no weed seeds are alive in the soil, spread black plastic over the
area and leave it for a week or so. This is a process called solarization. It allows the
sun to raise the soil temperature to levels that will kill any seeds or microbes. Now
you’re ready to plant your new lawn.

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