Starting a new lawn

No matter what variety of grass you choose, successful growth depends largely on soil preparation before planting. All trash must be removed. This is especially true for newly built homes because builders often leave pieces of excess building materials in the yard.

Level and grade the area to be planted. Fill in low places and slope lawn away from the house. This helps prevent future moisture problems in the house's foundation that can occur after heavy rains. After leveling, add and mix soil conditioners and fertilizers.

Conditioners improve soil by increasing moisture and fertilizer holding capacity. They also absorb air and water. Organic materials that can be used as soil conditioners include old sawdust, cotton gin waste, peanut hulls and sewer sludge. Inorganic conditioners include vermiculite, perlite, colloidal phosphates, and pulverized marl. Do not use marl on centipede, carpet and Bahia grasses.

Fertilizer and lime should be added on the basis of a soil test. Your local county extension office is most helpful in advising about the soil test and grass varieties.

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