April 22, 2022 0 Comments

A Guide To Preparing Soils For New Lawns

No matter the situation or reasons for wanting to install a new lawn at our homes, a newly turfed yard area adds tremendous beauty and landscape value to our home environment. Not to mention the added resale value to the property itself, when the yard has naturally turfed lawn areas.

Today’s modern and highly improved lawn varieties are another reason to replace an existing lawn which may be in poor condition. No matter the reason, whether to improve an existing lawn, to tame a wild jungle garden etc, installing a new lawn is a great improvement for any yard.

The most important aspect to consider when laying any new lawn, is also the one aspect which many people often neglect the most, which can then lead to many poor health problems in the future for our new lawns, which we had such high hopes for when we installed them. And that one most important aspect of all is our lawn soils.

Begin Soil Preparation In Advance

The yard area which is to be used for the new lawn should be prepared weeks in advance of laying any new sod. This gives the soil a chance to break down any nutrients that were added to the soil prior to the lawn being laid, as well as giving opportunity to allow any weed seeds that are dormant in the soil to propagate so they can be removed by us before the sod goes down.

Whether old turf needs to be removed or the yard area to be used needs to be cleaned up in any way, we do this first, and ensure the lawn area is completely clean of all debris, rocks, weeds and all other foreign matter, until we are left with a clean working area where the lawn is to be laid.

Soil evaluation should be considered at this time also. Any poor soils can have new top soil added at this time, while the weeks of rest period for the lawn area will also help in the soil compaction and levelling before the sod is put down.

Likewise, sandy or clay based soils can be further improved at this optimal time.

Natural organic or manure based soil improvers could be added at this time also, and raked into the soil and watered in. Once again, the rest time for the soil will aid in breaking down these valuable nutrients into the soil before the sod goes down. Also, new lawns should never be laid on top of freshly manured soils, as this has the potential to burn roots of the sod. So allow time for these fertilizers to break down first.

During the lead up of a few weeks prior to the lawn being installed, keep the soil moist, which allows the added organic supplements to decompose, but also allows weeds to germinate in the lawn area. We want these weed seeds to germinate in the soil, so that the weeds can be removed from the soil before the lawn is installed. Which is far better than waiting until our new lawn is in our yard flourishing and then we see those dreaded weeds popping up out of nowhere, only to be treated with a herbicide later. Best to remove weeds in the soil prior to the lawn going down, and to have a plan to do just that.

Levelling out of the soil would also be done in this time, to ensure as flat and even a surface area as possible. The occasional watering or rainfall at this time would also help to compact the soil a little, while showing us where any soft spots are in the area, which may need to be filled or levelled further before the new sod is installed. Ultimately, a heavy roller should be used for best results in compacting the soil so that it is flat and even, without any soft spots that compress under foot when walked upon.

Final Soil Preparation Prior To Laying New Sod

After we have done all soil preparations weeks prior, and allowed the soil to rest, and removed any weeds which may have emerged in the meantime, it is now time for final preparation before the new sod goes down.

And at this late stage, all that is required is really a final levelling out of the soil, and soil compaction if it hasn’t been done already – using a heavy roller which can be hired from a hire shop. These rollers are often have cylindrical drums that are filled with water by the homeowner to achieve their desired weight, and then pushed over the soil area to aid in compaction.

Ideally the final soil preparation should be done one day prior to laying the new sod. That way we are all prepared to lay the sod, without any distractions whatsoever on the day it arrives at our property.

Summary

Of all the new lawns I’ve installed over many years, I’ve found this system to be most beneficial to aid in gaining the best possible results when laying all new lawns. I’ve also witnessed the results of using the quick and easy methods, and the difference in end results of lawn quality can be amazing to see.

Proper soil preparation which begins weeks prior to laying any new sod has so many outstanding benefits for so many years into the future, and should be the only way a new lawn is planned and prepared for in any yard.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9419896

September 2, 2021 0 Comments

Lawn Aeration As Part Of Your Yard Care Routine

Most people think of lawn care as just mowing and occasionally getting the sprinkler out to let their thirsty garden drink. A few more folk have perhaps give the lawn a meal and feed their lawn once or twice a year. However, we can outline five key steps that you can incorporate in an easy to manage lawn care routine that will save you time, effort and money once you are into the routine and give you a better looking, more organic lawn to boot!

Lawn scarification

Much like painting a room, or moving house, if you don’t clean out the rubbish first it quickly turns into a mess. Lawn scarifiers or power rakes help to remove a lot of the lawn thatch, weeds and moss that plague many a garden. Thatch is the dead organic material that accumulates on the surface of the turf and includes leaves, grass clippings, seeds and other garden waste. Over time this layer can build up and start to form a barrier that stops the soil from getting its essential nutrients of water, air and feed which leads to dehydration, sparse and thin grass cover and potentially a number of lawn diseases.

A scarifier scrapes or rakes out this organic material that is often not rooted to the ground or much less firmly than grass and the keen lawnsmith is able to remove and dispose of the thatch leaving a cleaner, neater turf that the grass can spread into. Once cleared, it is only necessary to clear the thatch once or maybe twice a year and if the grass and turf are cared for correctly it may be that it is needed less frequently than this even.

Lawn aeration

Once the soils surface is free of thatch and exposed to the air, the next phase of this lawn care plan can start. Many lawns suffer from soil compaction, where the grains of the soil are pushed together and the air and moisture expelled leading to a dry, nutrient poor soil that is hard and unyielding to grass roots. This type of compacted soil tends to have a lower concentration of bacteria, fungi and earthworms that help to keep the recently cleared thatch at bay and any grass growing in it will likely have stunted root growth that leaves the grass exposed to dehydration and disease. A compacted turf also struggles to absorb and hold rain water or feed and the nutrient rich topsoil is often washed away in heavy rain as the water has nowhere else to go.

The quick and easy solution to the soil compaction problem is to aerate the lawn. Lawn aeration involves either taking small cores or plugs of soil out of the turf or pressing spikes into it to create holes which allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the soil and be retained as well as to physically break up the soil where it has become compacted. Lawn aerators come in a few different varieties ranging from lawn aerator shoes through to push along rotating cylinder aerators or the larger tow-behind type for ride-on lawn tractors.

An aerated lawn is a happy lawn and helps to maintain a thick, lush turf that keeps thatch at bay and promotes grass regrowth. Core aeration is potentially an annual job but spiked lawn shoes or blade aerators can be used every time you mow as their holes close up more rapidly.

Watering the lawn

Now that your lawn is clear and can breathe, drink and feed more easily it is time to address the second most frequent of all the lawn tasks – watering. If your lawn dries out quickly or seems thinner or patchier then your neighbors then aerate first so the water can penetrate deeper into the soil. Watering is as simple as waiting for the rain or more likely, getting the sprinkler out. These can be embedded into the turf or free roaming with one or more sprinkler heads attached to a hosepipe.

Watering is best done in the morning before the sun is too high so the water has time to be absorbed by the soil before it evaporates and doesn’t sit on the grass blades with the sun blazing away on them which can cause some scorching due to a magnifying glass effect.

You should water heavily and less frequently if possible. A shallow watering can increase surface moisture levels and help weeds to germinate as well as causing grass roots to remain in the surface layer leading to higher risk of dehydration in the long term. A heavy watering of 15-30m helps the water to soak more deeply into the soil and promotes a more robust root structure as well as cutting down on evaporation from the surface layers.

A well watered lawn should have thick, springy grass that bounces back when you tread on it and shouldn’t wilt or have a blue-grey tinge to it.

Feed your lawn

If your lawn is looking a little dowdy it may be time to give it a feed and top up the essential nutrients in the soil that it needs to be strong and healthy. The best time to feed the lawn is after any frosts have gone and when the soil or warming up and wet during the Springtime. Any earlier than this and you run the risk that newly encouraged growth in the grass gets hit by a late frost and damages it, leaving you in a worse state than when you started. A slow release fertilizer applied during Spring will give a drip feed of nutrients throughout the Summer months.

Depending on your needs and the state of the lawn you need to make a choice between liquid (fast release) and granule (slow release) based feeds as well as different preparations based on the season. In all cases, getting a push along feed spreader is a cheap and easy way to ensure even coverage and to dramatically speed up the work.

Mow the lawn

Your de-thatched, aerated, watered and fed lawn should now be growing voraciously and brings us to the last and most time consuming lawn care task – mowing the lawn.

To keep the grass in tip-top condition and growing back strongly after being mowed, you should aim to cut only the top third of the blade. Almost all mowers have a height adjustment for the blade, usually a screw or screws on the underside of many mowers, which make this easy to adjust. Cutting too little results in a never ending chore every weekend to keep it in check but, conversely, taking too much off in one go reduces the ‘green’ area of the grass blade where the grass converts sunlight into energy via the chlorophyll (which gives it the green color) and can leave the grass weak and unable to bounce back so thickly and quickly.

There are many types of mower and which one you go for will depend on the size of your lawn, budget and the type of ground and slopes you have. For the small lawn owner, a manual push mower may suffice and is good exercise but impractical for anything of reasonable size where an electric or petrol powered mower will come into its own. These can be hover or cylinder mowers. For those with the largest lawns nothing but a ride-on mower will do. These miniature tractors come with a variety of attachments and features, some even with a CD player to keep you singing along as you mow but all are at a price!

Luckily, mowing is usually only required in the Spring-Autumn months as the grass grows more slowly or becomes dormant over the Winter, especially in more Northern climates where frost and potentially snow are regular visitors. During the peak months you may need to mow a vibrant healthy lawn every two weeks, but in many ways this is a great sign of a truly healthy lawn.

Summary

It should be easy to see how aeration could be missed when watering, feeding and mowing can have such an immediate and obvious impact but a solid lawn aeration routine can really pick your lawn up and make it easier to manage and more fun to enjoy. You may have to mow a little more often but with less thatch, fewer weeds and diseases and a full and lush covering of grass you can use it more and spend less time on the other maintenance tasks that could otherwise become a chore.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jack_D_Turner/1133195