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Now is the Time for Lawn Planting or Renewal

Creative Commons

We have an area of lawn that is mostly bare soil and dead grass.  It’s an area that is heavily used and abused area.  We have two choices to renew the lawn, either sod or seed.


Sod is the more expensive option, but it’s instant gratification.  Seed costs less but takes longer before it can be used.  For our area, we’ll use sod because it’s in an area we need to use.  I’d seed a larger area or an area with less traffic.  Preparation is a must for either option.

The sod comes with about an inch of soil and roots.  To install sod at the correct level in our area, we need to remove what’s left of the exiting sod.  A sod cutter is set to the desired depth and cuts through the root zone so the old sod can be loaded up to be composted. 

The sod cutter can be quite a ride.  Before starting the machine mark the sprinkler system and know where your utilities are.  The sod cutter cuts through sprinkler heads and cable lines as easily as it cuts through soil.

Soften the soil up by rototilling.  A tiller rips up wires and sprinklers, too.  Add organic matter and till it into the soil.  The recommendation is for three to four cubic yards of organic matter spread over 1,000 square feet.

Re-grade the area so it drains away from buildings and won’t allow water to pool.  If the original grading was done poorly, this can be a lot of work.  Usually the grade has been set and the newly tilled soil just needs to be raked.   This is the time to put down a starter fertilizer for both sod and seed.

Sod is rolled out.  Stagger the end seams.  Soak the newly installed sod.  Then keep it moist by watering it three to four times daily. 

Grass seed can be put down with a fertilizer spreader.  There is a recommended rate for each type of grass.  Bluegrass is recommended to be sown at three to four pounds of seed for 1,000 square feet of area.  A light raking will make a good soil to seed contact.

Stay off of the newly seeded area.  Keep the area moist.  Depending on the weather it may need to be watered four or more times daily.  Plant cool season grass, like Bluegrass, in early spring and again late in the summer when the nights are cool.  Warm season grass, like Buffalo Grass, needs warm nights to germinate.  Plant warm season grasses in the summer months.

For more detailed information check the CSU extension web site: