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Site Preparations for Seeding Grass

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When To Plant |Choices | Plan | Site Prep| Seeding| Hydro | After Planting | Home

Site Prepared To Plant Grass Seed

Laying the foundation of a good lawn starts before you ever plant your seed. By proper preparation of you lawn site you can avoid a lot of different problems with you lawn down the road.

Problems like diseases, weeds, yellowing grass and so forth.

One of the most important steps you can take before you seed your lawn is to take representative samples of your soil and conduct a professional soil test. A good soil test can show you the composition of your lawn such as pH and organic content along with recommended rates of fertilizers and minor elements that should be applied to your site. These are all things that you can fix prior to seeding your lawn.

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The Steps To Take Before Planting Grass Seed Lawns

  1. Take a soil sample of your lawn area and send it off for testing.
  2. Kill off existing weeds and grasses on the site to be tilled up. This only applies to areas that you will start from scratch on and not for overseeding / improving existing lawns. It is no longer recommended that you use a glyphosate type of herbicide. There are many less harmful and effective ways to kill an existing lawn. The tilling recommended below would be necessary if you used herbicides or not. It is the best way to remove grass and weeds. Excellent alternatives to chemical lawn removal can be found here http://www.sunset.com/garden/earth-friendly/how-to-remove-bermuda-grass-00400000052080/.
  3. Do the first tilling of your lawn area. Note that every time you till be sure and remove all roots and nodes from your soil. Then start working on a 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).
    Also at this time you can make changes in the slope and drainage of your lawn by moving the soil to improve these aspects.  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. After tilling the lawn the first time you may apply organic amendments and/or top soils to change the soil composition and texture. Your soil test should show if this is needed or not. You can determine this by doing the home soil texture test we describe on our soil test page.
  4. Spread any initial soil fertilizers and do the second tilling of your lawn area. At this time you can install any lawn sprinkler systems you wish to have in your lawn. Install sidewalks and other walk/patio surfaces. Also start obtaining the finish grade by raking or dragging the lawn area smooth prior to planting. 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.
  5. You are now ready to seed your lawn. For information on this part of the lawn planting process proceed to Seeding.

Lawns: Choices | States | Diseases | Fertilizers | Irrigation | Mowing | Pests | Weeds

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