Should You Prepare The Soil Before Planting A Lawn?

Should you prepare the soil before planting a lawn? When you are starting a lawn, prepare the soil first by removing weeds, then add organic material and then start planting. Merrideth Jiles, who is the...

Merrideth Jiles, who is the garden center manager at The Great Outdoors Nursery and Landscaping Center in Austin, Texas, says, "If you are starting a lawn, the first step is going to be in removing the weeds. Then you will add organic material to make sure that you have a good surface. You are trying to encourage fine little roots to grow into the soil so they will be able to establish. If you have really hard, densely packed soil that has no organic matter in it and you just throw sod on top of it, it's going to be very difficult for that grass to root into that. So, making sure the soil is loose and has organic material is definitely going to be the first step in planting a lawn."


To remove the weeds and other debris, such as stones and rocks, the best tool is a good old-fashioned rake. To loosen the soil, a rotary tiller, which can be rented at most garden centers, can be used. Most experts say that you should go over the entire area that is to be planted, tilling to a depth of about 4 to 6 inches. Next, it is advisable to test the soil for any extra nutrients that may be needed. A kit, that includes everything you need to do this, can be bought at most garden centers. Its results will tell you, among other things, how much fertilizer you should mix in with the next step of preparing your lawn for planting.




Now, it is time to add organic material (combined with fertilizer if needed) to the lawn. This can be a mixture of compost, peat moss, ground corncobs, whatever is most available in your area. Using a standard pitchfork you can spread 1 to 2 inches of this material over your top soil. When this is spread over the entire area, once again take your rotary tiller and thoroughly blend it into your soil. This preparation may cause the soil to become too soft. Is so, you can use a light roller to go over the area until the soil is firm enough for you to walk on.

Next, because all of the tilling and rolling may have brought up additional weed roots and rocks from under the surface of the soil; it is advisable to re-rake in order to remove any debris that may have been unearthed. Though this may be a tedious job, it is an important task towards getting the greatest results. This extra step ensures that there will be nothing in the way of your new lawn rooting. Lastly, in order to have a level planting surface, it is best to smooth out the topsoil.

How you should properly prepare the soil before planting a lawn may seem like a long process, but it is better to work hard now to prevent future growth problems. It will all be worth it when you are able to enjoy your lush, green, healthy lawn.

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