Step 1: Prepare the Soil
Healthy soil is the foundation of a healthy lawn. Preparing the soil is the most important step when seeding a lawn, yet the most frequently skipped.
Remove Weeds and Undesirable Grasses
If you have a lawn full of weeds or invading grasses, they need to be removed or killed before seeding your new lawn. If not eliminated, weeds and invading grasses will compete with your new seed for resources such as nutrients, water, and sunlight. Completely removing unwanted grasses and weeds is essential for a successful newly seeded lawn that will thrive long term.
Do a Soil Test
Your lawn is only as healthy as the soil it grows in. Balanced, fertile soil with high organic matter is the ultimate goal. A soil test can provide insight on any significant nutrient deficiencies or Ph imbalances that need to be corrected before seeding. If soil Ph is too high (alkaline) or too low (acidic), the lawn will not be able to absorb nutrients properly. Nutrient deficiencies should be corrected with fertilizer, and soil Ph should be balanced prior to seeding a new lawn.
Loosen the Soil
Loosen and till the soil to encourage air and water movement. Compact soil provides a difficult environment for air and water movement and areas of standing water with poor drainage can lead to fungus and disease. If you have hard compact clay soil, then you may want to aerate prior. Check Out Liquid Soil Loosener for more information for a liquid aeration option.
Level the Soil
Level your soil free from any depressions, slants, and unevenness that could cause future issues. Slope the soil away from any buildings to prevent any future water damage from water running off. Also, this is a great time to install irrigation.
Removing rocks, plastic or any trash buried in the lawn sounds like common knowledge, but this step is often violated, especially when it comes to new construction homes. The consequences of skipping this step may not appear instantly, but a lawn may have issues years after establishment. Debris buried in a lawn can cause problems that resemble disease or nutrient deficiency but are a result of the lawns shallow root system caused by the leftover trash.
*Plan to Complete these tasks at least 2-4 weeks before planting grass seed.