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Starting lawn from scratch

Discussion in 'Lawns' started by hoofy, Jun 13, 2021.

  1. hoofy

    hoofy Gardener

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    Three years ago I took over doing my mums lawn which was in pretty poor condition. With help from members here I did pretty much everything to help the lawn recover, but the weed grasses have been so stubborn I have decided to kill the lawn (done yesterday) and get right down into the lawn so I know what's under the turf going forward.

    Here's my plan. Any advice welcome.

    Kill the lawn with glyphosate and wait two weeks.

    If I missed anything do another application and wait again.

    Hire a turf cutter and remove the top couple of inches. Set turf aside for top dressing in the future

    Hire a rotovator and go down 8 inches then again at 6 inches and again at two inches. At this stage I plan to put some amendments into the soil, I was thinking about a grab bag of compost for an area of around 50m2 and also some bonemeal as the last soil test I did a few years back showed a deficiency of potassium and phosphorus.

    Soil test 001.jpg
    I might have to change my plan when I get down into the ground as I don't know what I'm going to find, but I suspect there won't be any problems as the house was built on farm land almost 100 years ago and I have also dug other areas of the garden which have looked to me like very decent soil.

    When I'm done I plan to level it all out with a lawn lute and seed in September with a seed I'm yet to decide on. I think I'm going to go for something that will give me a lush grass mowed to around two inches.

    Does this all seem reasonable or am I taking on too much unnecessary work? I would like to get it right once and for all as I plan on living in the house for the long term.
     
  2. Loofah

    Loofah Well used member Staff Member

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    Kill it, top with your choice of dressing and rotavate and level. That should be more than adequate
     
  3. hoofy

    hoofy Gardener

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    I read if you don't remove the turf before rotovating it makes the job much more difficult for the rotovator to get through all the roots of the sod. Also it can cause your lawn to settle unevenly.

    Another reason why I think I would like to take the turf off is I don't want to keep adding height to the lawn when I add dressings.
     
  4. blackstart

    blackstart Gardener

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    Hi hoofy, I can't see anything wrong with your plan, hopefully it will give you a good lawn without any weed grasses. Keeping the weed grasses at bay in the future will take some doing.

    Blackstart
     
  5. Liz the pot

    Liz the pot Super Gardener

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    Sounds good, as it’s clay perhaps you should consider drainage while you prepare the site although that would require more removal of the base and more material costs.

    the soil sample test is good but you need to monitor the levels but a good practise is with treatments over the year once the grass is settled will keep it at its best. Normally the grass will show signs of problems but the best action is preventative rather than cure.

    Looking forward to some photos as you work towards completion.
     
  6. hoofy

    hoofy Gardener

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    Not sure drainage is a problem as the lawn has a nice gentle slope and even in the heaviest, prolonged downpours I have never seen any surface water.

    I'll take a picture later as the lawn is now starting to show signs that the glyphosate I applied 5 days ago is working.
     
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    • hoofy

      hoofy Gardener

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      Just taken a couple of pics so I'll post them as a record of the job progress.

      There are still areas which are much greener than the surrounding grass, I'm assuming it dies at different speed? I was quite thorough (I think) with the spraying. I'm thinking give it a couple more days then start spraying green areas.

      I'm going to book the turf cutter for the weekend after next, so two weeks after spraying the lawn. I think I have given myself plenty of time before seeding in September so I'll probably aim to have everything ready asap and then let it settle and also kill any new growth that appears.

      20210617_190458.jpg
      20210617_190513.jpg
       
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      • Liz the pot

        Liz the pot Super Gardener

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        A little tip but when spraying use a coloured dye added to the mix. That way you will see where you spray. It also helps to to avoid using to much or too little as it helps to prevent overlaps or missed areas.
        It could be the case you used a cone shaped spray nozzle rather than a flat pattern.
         
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        • hoofy

          hoofy Gardener

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          I already figured out that's what I should have done as I have some dye in the cupboard but I forgot to use it.:redface:

          I did string out 2 foot lanes up and down the lawn so I think I should have done a reasonable job.
           
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          • hoofy

            hoofy Gardener

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            The rain that was forecast for the week coming looks to be disappearing from the local chart and we have had no rain for the past month, will this make using the turf cutter difficult? The plan was to ring up and book it on Monday for next weekend.
             
          • Liz the pot

            Liz the pot Super Gardener

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            The ground will be hard but a decent machine should be fine.
             
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            • hoofy

              hoofy Gardener

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              On with the job yesterday and going to finish it today, just moving the remaining already cut sod and tidying any missed bits.20210626_190957.jpg20210626_191007.jpg20210626_191021.jpg

              As ever with using new machinery, by the time I'd finished the job I'd learned how to use the machine and that's no good to me as I never intend to use one again.
               
            • hoofy

              hoofy Gardener

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              First part and hopefully the hardest part of the job done. All the turf has been removed and piled up in a huge mound at the back of the garden (something to deal with at a later date).

              20210627_102444.jpg20210627_102528.jpg


              Looking for advice now on what to do next.

              I have dug a number of areas around the lawn with a spade and the soil looks good and easy to dig for at least 6 inches. No stones or clay just nice looking soil. At one point I dug down to a layer of sand, which suggests to me the job was done properly in the first place?

              Do I go ahead and rotovate or is that not necessary? There are quite a few roots near the surface that would have to be cut and removed, is this a problem?

              Should I consider just putting a couple of grab bags of top quality soil on as it is and levelling it ready to seed?
               
            • jowwy

              jowwy Gardener

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              Give it a good raking to loosen up the soil, then give it a good water, then add whatever seed your going to use…..rake it over lightly again. Then ensure its stays damp until you start seeing the shoots of grass appearing.

              you could also rake in a fee bags of compost too, if you want.
               
            • hoofy

              hoofy Gardener

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              I was a bit put off rotovating by having previously watch a few videos on youtube, but I've had a sit down at my computer and looked at a tiller my local hire shop has as an alternative to a heavy duty rotovator. I'm thinking it might be the best alternative as loosening the soil will allow me to flatten it more easily with my lawn lute.

              Glad I started my project in June, plenty of time to consider the best way to proceed.
               
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