Lawn Renovation Step 3: Aerate Your Lawn
While not required, you may want to do something while you wait for all the vegetation to die. If you’d like, you can take this opportunity to core aerate. This process takes small cores out of the soil, which helps minimize compaction. This will allow for better drainage and deeper, healthier grassroots. To aerate your soil, there are both machine and manual devices to help you. Both work the same way in that they extract cores from the soil. Aeration also allows water and nutrient to seep deeper into the soil. Generally speaking, the more you aerate, the better.
Lawn Renovation Step 4: Remove Debris
Once all the vegetation on your lawn dies, you will need to remove it. This is a lengthy process, but you may find a lawn mower useful. Using a low setting on your mower and a bag attachment will be quicker than removing the vegetation by hand. Rakes or dethatching rakes may also be helpful for digging up grass that the mower missed. Using these tools in sections will be the most efficient, but do note that this is the most labor-intensive part of the renovation process.
Lawn Renovation Step 5: Add Soil Amendments
Soil amendments are another optional step. If you decided to get a soil test for your lawn, then this step will offer you a chance to use the knowledge you learned from them. There are different soil amendments for different problems. Common soil amendments include compost, peat moss, lime, etc. While fertilizer is usually a good option for everyone, compost can also help to improve your soil’s texture and microbiome. Alternatively, if your soil is particularly acidic, lime will help raise its pH. Also, if you plan to lawn level, do so during this step.
Especially after using herbicides, it is important to add these amendments before you seed. This will ensure that grasses grow in prime conditions. When using these soil amendments, remember that too much of them can do more harm than good. Sandier soils will not need the same amount of added material as ones heavier in clay. Additionally, using too much compost or peat overtop grass can smother it, and raising the soil’s pH too much makes it harder for grasses to absorb nutrients. However, the right amendments in the right quantities will allow your lawn to thrive.
Lawn Renovation Step 6: Plant Your Grass Seed
Because of the use of herbicides, you will need to wait a few weeks after the vegetation has died for them to wear off. Most herbicides will have seeding instructions to tell you how long to wait; most say four weeks, but some less potent ones wear off after only two weeks. If you seed help choosing a turf type, refer to our article on Choosing a Grass Seed. To sow your grass seeds, you will need a properly prepared seed bed, water, and the seeds themselves. Most grasses will have instructions on the amount needed per square foot, so refer to the bag. Do not use more than the instructed amount, as it will not allow the grass to spread out as it grows. If you are renovating your entire lawn, consider getting a seed spreader to save time.
Once you spread the seeds, mix them in gently with a rake or your hands and pat them into the soil. The seeds do not need to be pushed in deep into the soil; as long as the seeds make good contact with the soil, they will be able to germinate. Optionally, you can cover the seeds with a thin layer of organic matter, which will make it harder for birds and squirrels to eat them.
Lawn Renovation Step 7: Plant Your Grass Seed
After seeding, the last step is to wait and care for the little seedlings. Different grass types will take different amounts of time to germinate and grow. On average, germination will happen after ten to fourteen days with adequate moisture. After germination, the grass will reach its full height in about thirty days. Makes sure to take care of this new grass so that you will not renovate again. Dressing your lawn with compost or aerating it may help if your soil is becoming compacted. Whatever you do to your lawn, take note of how it responds. Knowing what your lawn needs will help you best provide for it.