How To Install A New Lawn
This new lawn installation was necessary and long overdue, the original Bermudagrass lawn was entirely unsuitable for the lawn area due to heavy shade conditions, which over the years slowly weakened and killed the lawn and allowed for turf to become overrun with almost every weed imaginable. Saint Augustine grass was the only possible turf to use in this situation due to its very high shade tolerance compared to other grasses, and once installed the lawn would be mowed at much higher settings to allow for better lawn health in shaded conditions.
So let’s begin with this stunning lawn transformation, and how we did it.
Killing The Old Lawn
The old weed-filled Bermudagrass lawn was sprayed with Glyphosate herbicide twice. Each application was done two weeks apart, with the last application done up to 4 weeks prior to the new lawn being installed, to allow excess herbicide to become entirely inert before the new sod was laid.
Herbicide treatment was necessary as Bermudagrass has underground runners which could have returned to grow into the new Sating Augustine lawn, so we needed to ensure the underground runners were truly taken care of.
The Glyphosate did a wonderful job in killing 100% of all unwanted lawn and weeds.
Remember that Glyphosate is a broad spectrum herbicide, meaning it will kill almost every and any type of plant it comes into contact with. So be very careful when spraying to ensure the wind does not carry any spray onto any other plants in the garden. Pets and children should also be kept off the lawn area for the entire time the Glyphosate is still present. Now it’s time to lay our new lawn.
Removing The Old Dead Lawn
With the very small lawn area here it was very easy to dig out the old lawn with a spade by hand. Raking through all the old lawn pieces to separate organic material and soil. The organic material was then disposed of to ensure the Glyphosate could not infect any other plants or animals that may come into contact with it.
Removing Excess Soil
The soil at the property was actually very good so no soil replacement or improvement was necessary.
Saint Augustine has a much higher thatch level than the old Bermudagrass does, so this had to be taken into account at the time of laying the new sod. Quite a bit of soil was removed from the lawn site so as to lower the Saint Augustine sod lower below the paving than the old turf was. This allowed room for the inevitable development of the Saint Augustine lawn thatch that would come with time.
Ideally it would have been better to remove a little more soil than we did, however there were constraints at the job which stopped further soil removal than what would have been preferred.
Levelling The Lawn Soil
If we want a lovely flat lawn surface to frame our courtyards and gardens, then now is the perfect time to get it right the first time. Once again, this little lawn area was very easy to level using a couple of pieces of straight-cut timber to level off in both directions. Also using a levelling tool to ensure the surface area was indeed flat and level.
The surrounding brick paving was also kept relatively clean of all excessive amounts of lawn soil during this process, though it really isn’t that important to keep it spotless at this stage, because we’re still going to be making a lot more mess. We just don’t want to have to deal with excess amounts of soil to remove once the sod is laid.
The soil was already quite good as already mentioned, so all that was added to the soil at the time of laying the new sod was some manure based organic fertilizer pellets. These were safe enough for use on new lawn soils and posed no risk of damage to the new lawn roots, and the pellets were lightly raked into the soil.
A small topping of the same organic and safe manure based fertilizer pellets were applied to the new sod after completion of the job. No chemical fertilizers were used on this job at all.
Never apply standard lawn fertilizers to soils prior to laying new lawns, as most can burn the tender new roots that the sod is producing and can harm or even kill the new sod. Be sure the check any product for its safe use on new sodded lawns and particular for the use at the soil level where new roots will grow.
Laying The New Saint Augustine Sod
The rolls of sod are laid in a staggered brickwork pattern, and this is the very best way to lay all new sod rolls.
Where one roll of sod was cut off at the end of the lawn area, that removed cut piece was then used to begin the next row of sod being laid, which in turn gave us that same desired brickwork pattern for the sod. This first cutting doesn’t need to be perfect, just good enough for the time being.
It is vitally important that the rolls of turf are not squeezed up too close to each other as they are being laid. There should always be a little gap and wriggle room for the sod rolls. If we push the rolls too tightly together, then we risk having some sod not being in full contact with the soil, which in turn can result in dying turf in those affected areas.
Every part of every sod roll must be in full contact with the soil at all times.
Air pockets between soil and sod must be avoided.
Finishing Off The New Lawn Job
OK, the new turf has been laid, but it’s not finished just yet, so lets get onto cleaning up both the lawn, and the work area too.
Back on our hands and knees again, we go over all the joints between lawn rolls, checking for those air pockets where turf has been pushed too hard up against another roll, just in case we accidentally created one by pushing too hard on a sod roll elsewhere on the new lawn area.
The sod isn’t too difficult to manoeuvre around to get into final position with air pockets removed.
Now we go back to those edges with our serrated heavy duty knife to give us a nice clean edge that isn’t overlapping onto the pathways. Or if we have a lawn edging machine we can use that to cut our last lawn edges perfectly.
Irrigated sprinklers can now have their new guards installed too. Excess rubbish and soil can now be swept up and removed, paths hosed clean…
And our new Saint Augustine lawn is installed.