When repairing or renovating lawns, specialized equipment can increase effectiveness and make the job much easier. Match equipment to the task that needs to be done for best results.
Aerating machines that actually pull out soil cores are suggested for use on lawns.
As mentioned already, core aerification is an important and highly recommended practice for many lawns. This process is useful to help reduce soil compaction and thatch, improve surface drainage, and improve conditions prior to overseeding. Core aerifiers insert hollow tines into the lawn and pull out plugs of soil. Size of cores removed will depend on the machine used, soil moisture, and type of soil. Core spacing also varies with the specific machine being used. Machines can be rented or aerifying services are available for hire.
Spikers are similar to core aerifiers in that they make holes in the soil. However, they use solid tines, and thus, do not remove cores.
Vertical mowers have rotating blades arranged vertically that can cut into turf and soil. These machines can be used to remove thatch (dethatching). Turfgrass rooting in the thatch is typically torn out, so reseeding is suggested afterwards. Vertical mowers can also roughen the soil prior to overseeding areas.
Slit-seeders are useful for lawn renovation projects. Slit-seeders combine vertical mowing with seeding. As the machine goes across the lawn, it opens the soil and deposits seed directly into the soil opening. Most slit-seeders have a roller that helps firm the soil after seeding. Seed is metered at a predetermined rate; it's suggested to apply half the desired seeding rate in one direction and the other half on a second pass perpendicular to the first.
Silt-seeding equipment is useful for lawn renovation.
Since the seed is placed in direct contact with the soil, seeding success is usually high when using slit-seeders. In addition, existing grass and debris does not need to be completely removed prior to the overseeding process. Timing should be the same as for conventional lawn seeding, which ideally would be late August into early September. Many rental agencies carry slit-seeders or many lawn and landscape services can do it for hire.
Determining the cause of the lawn decline is the first step in the lawn renovation process. Many lawn problems originate from poor soil conditions. Heavy clay, compacted soils, and poorly drained soils may be the reason a lawn is doing poorly. These situations can be corrected during renovation. On the other hand, many lawn problems tend to be due to pests, weather conditions, or poor lawn care practices. Perhaps improved mowing, fertilizing, and watering may be all that's required to achieve acceptable lawn quality.
Typical Lawn Care Mistakes and Problems They Can Create.
Mowing Too Short.
Frequent, Light Watering.
Once the problem has been identified, the renovation process may begin. Think of renovation as fitting one of three levels: overseeding with little additional work; significant work, but allowing existing grass to remain; or completely removing the existing lawn and starting over.
The decision of which level to choose depends on how bad the lawn looks and what caused the problem. For example, if the lawn is just a little thin, overseeding with a quality lawn seed in late August or early September may be the answer. Use of a slit-seeder is an ideal way to overseed lawns. Seed may also be broadcast over thin lawn areas, but there needs to be good soil to seed contact. Dethatchers or vertical mowers can also be used to tear out excess debris prior to overseeding. In addition, slit-seeding could also be done directly through grass and/or weeds killed with the nonselective herbicide glyphosate. All of these types of overseeding procedures do not require additional soil modification.
When soil problems exist under a lawn, there are ways to address them without tearing up the lawn. As mentioned earlier, core aerifying is suggested for problems such as thatch and soil compaction. Aerifying, overseeding, and slit-seeding (breaks up cores) may be an ideal level of renovation for many lawns.
Unfortunately, some lawn problems, such as soil problems of severe compaction, high clay levels, or poor drainage, may require starting over. Remove existing grass or rototill it. High populations of perennial weed species may require use of a nonselective herbicide, such as glyphosate. Thoroughly work the soil to a depth of six inches. Add amendments such as compost, rotted manure, organic topsoil, and peat. Follow proper selection and establishment procedures to get the new lawn off to a good start.
Terry Blackburn. Internet Marketing Consultant, living in South Shields in the North-East of England. Author and Producer of blog http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot.com Author of "Your Perfect Lawn," a 90 Page eBook devoted to Lawn Preparation, Lawn Care and Maintenance. Find it at http://www.lawnsurgeon.com
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Terry Blackburn - EzineArticles Expert Author