DON’T CUT CORNERS WHEN RENOVATING A LAWN, by Larry Williams UF/IFAS Extension Agent

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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-spring, or re-seed; 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.
In addition, 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). This
can be done with a hand rake and a hand-pulled drag such as a piece of
chain-link fence on smaller areas. Or 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
<a href="http://hort.ufl.edu/yourlfloridalawn.

“>hort.ufl.edu/yourlfloridalawn.

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