Preparing the soil to plant new grass

Prepare the soil

Optimum soil conditions result in successful seed germination and healthy turf growth. In order to prepare your soil for planting, do the following:

Test the soil. The correct soil pH is critical to a thriving lawn. The pH measures acidity and alkalinity on a scale from 0 to 14. According to the University of Missouri Extension, a soil pH from 6.0 to 7.5 is best for turf grass.

Your County Cooperative Extension office can provide you with soil testing kits and results or will refer you to a soil testing laboratory. When completing a soil test, make sure to collect soil from several areas of the yard. The soil test results will give you an accurate picture of the state of your soil's pH and nutrient levels.

Amend to alter pH. If your soil test shows that the pH is too high, which is common in the west, amend with elemental/soil sulfur. If your pH is too low, which is common in the northwest, northeast and southeast, amend with lime. Follow package directions carefully when amending.

Amend to add nutrients. Based on the recommendations outlined in your soil test, choose from one of Pennington's high-quality turf fertilizers. If your soil test indicates a deficiency in macronutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, till in lawn starter fertilizer as recommended on the product packaging at a depth of 4 to 6 inches, according to the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.4 Also add micronutrients that the soil test indicates are deficient. For instance, for iron deficiency apply Ironite® Plus Lawn & Plant Food.

Amend to alter structure. If your soil is heavy and compacted or sandy, those conditions will affect seed germination, growth and the overall health of your lawn. It's important that your soil have sufficient air space in order to grow healthy grass, yet be bulky enough to retain and distribute to the grass nutrients and moisture.

Prepare the soil for good air circulation and water penetration by removing rocks and roots, and tilling in organic matter, such as compost, at a depth of 2 to 4 inches. To break up the soil and mix in ingredients, rent a tiller from your local hardware or garden store; to aerate existing lawns by pulling out plugs or making holes, rent an aerator.

Baten Construction and Landscaping LLC
2611 Kirtland Ave.
Forestville, MD 20747
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