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Ground Preparation

Below are our ground preparation recommendations. Also check out our video guides to the left.

Clearing of Old Vegetation:

If the property has dense old dead grass still present one of the first steps is to remove that mat of dead grass. A sod cutter works great for this and can be rented at local rental centers. If the property is mostly dirt and the vegetation is sparse this step can be skipped but trying to till a dense mat of dead turf can prove to be impossible. Under no circumstances should new sod ever be placed on untilled old sod as the potential for disease increases significantly.

Rough Grade:

The rough grade is the first step of the ground preparation. At this time water drainage and land form is determined and sculpted from the property. During this stage we recommend addressing issues of severe slope within the yard(especially south facing slopes) as these can be more difficult to efficiently water and tend to be the most challenging aspects of maintenance. Terracing is one option in reducing slope related issues. Also during the rough grade process insure that all parts of the yard will drain properly and that water will not stand in any areas for prolonged periods of time.

Amending the soil:

The goal of soil amendment is, as its name indicates, to make the site-soil better. The goal is not to cover the site-soil. On most soils in Colorado we recommend that the property owner amends the site-soil with 3-5 cubic yards of organic matter per 1000 square foot of landscaped area. This quantity equates to between one inch and two inches of organic material. The property owner should thoroughly rototill this material into the soil as deeply as possible (4-8 inches). Soil layering (the practice of bringing in new soil without tilling it into the soil) can cause very serious problems for the turfgrass root development as well as problems with water movement down through the soil. One exception to this line of thinking is if the yard has substantial tree roots or shallow sprinkler lines that may be damaged during the tilling process. In such a case use a soil mixture because untilled 100% manure or compost can “burn” the roots and cause damage to the new sod.

Choosing the right amendment:

An organic soil amendment is a product such as manure, decomposed plant compost, peat moss, etc. When choosing a soil amendment. Be careful not to include amendments that may cause future problems in the yard. All amendments should be well aged and well decomposed. Fresh manure can be high in salts and can cause the lawn “burn” injuries. In contrast aged manure can be an excellent addition to most soils. Some manures such as horse manure may contain higher level of weed seeds because horses do not digest seeds as completely as cows or other ruminants do. We love composted plant material like our Turf-Comp or in a soil mix our Turf-Mate. A counterproductive amendment is mountain peat moss. In contrast to Canadian sphagnum peat, local mountain peats tend to be poor at water retention and can actually repel water.

Choosing the right amendment:

Allow the soil to settle after you have amended the soil and before you install your turf to prevent uneven grade, especially around trench lines. Sprinkling with water or even using a roller or other compactors can help speed this process. Another tool that works exceptionally well in accelerating settling is a power rake.