Preparing Your Lawn For Planting
Following important steps before you plant your new lawn can be the difference between a quality lawn and one that will require more upkeep and maintenance in the future. The most important element to your lawn will be the soil that is under the grass. Preparing your soil by applying and mixing the correct fertilizer to the top 6 inches will be critical to your lawn's overall health. Once your lawn has been planted and established, it will be difficult to improve the soil.
Preparing your soil will be the first step. A good lawn will have a good pH with 7 being neutral. To begin test your soil's pH. The ideal pH for most lawn grasses is mildly acidic and has a pH between 6 and 7. For soil that tests acidic add 50-100 pounds of ground limestone per every 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn. If your soil tests above pH 7 (alkaline soil) you can add 20 pounds of sulfur for every 1,000 square feet.
After balancing your pH you can begin to smooth your lawn, filling low spots. This is also the best time to add in some superphosphate into the top few inches of soil. Mix in the phosphorus at a rate of 50 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft. When smoothing your lawn make sure you slope the soil away from the house. This will ensure that any water runoff is directed away from the house. Leveling off high spots will be just as important too. High spots on your lawn can cause scalping when mowing your lawn.
Now would also be one of the best times to install a sprinkler system if you plan to add an automatic sprinkler system. Before planting your grass rent a roller and roll the yard flat. It may be a good idea to lightly sprinkle water to help the dirty settle.
There are three ways you can go when planting your lawn. Seeding, sod, and plugs are all options you can take. Seeding will be the most difficult but also the most cost effective. Sod will give you an instant lawn but is much more costly. Plugs are small sections or pieces of container grown grass that are planted every 6 to 12 inches apart. These pieces eventually fill in the empty spots with in a few months.