Cutting corners during lawn renovation usually results in poor turf establishment and long-term lawn maintenance problems.
Occasionally it is necessary to renovate a lawn or replant sections of a lawn. When replanting a lawn, it is best to not cut corners – you’ll usually pay for it in the long run. One of the most important factors is to prepare a good planting bed when renovating a lawn.
It doesn’t matter if you intend to re-sod, re-sprig or reseed; you need a level, loose and well-drained planting site for your lawn. A level lawn is much easier to mow. The loose soil allows for quicker root and runner establishment. Also, a well-drained site allows excess water to drain, preventing some disease problems.
One option is to spray the existing weeds and grass with a glyphosate herbicide such as Roundup. Allow the proper number of days for the weeds and grass to turn yellow (usually seven to 10 days).
Next, thoroughly till the area to a depth of 6 to 8 inches to loosen the soil.
Finally, level and smooth the planting bed, raking and then dragging (if needed) the bed. This can be done with a hand-rake and a hand-pulled drag such as a piece of chain-link fence on smaller areas. A tractor with rake and a grading box can be used on larger areas. A second option is to rent a sod cutter or remove the existing grass with a shovel before tilling and grading the site.
But whatever you do, don’t just lay new sod or broadcast grass seeds over a compacted, uneven, old lawn. There are just too many possibilities of having long-term and costly lawn problems as a result.
For additional information on establishing a Florida lawn, contact your local University of Florida Extension Office or visit http://hort.ufl.edu/yourfloridalawn.