Cleaning up an older and neglected lawn area and instaling a brand new lawn can be a rather exciting endeavor to undertake, and while the labor involved may be hard work, the overal process can be very straightforward and simple, so long as we follow some easy guidelines and take our time to level and improve the soil properly. However there is another aspect involved in putting down a new lawn, no matter whether we choose seed, runners, or roll-on sod rolls, and that is that we fully remove all weeds, and weed seeds, before the new lawn goes down.
So many people see the process of preparing a new lawn area and instaling a new lawn as just hard labor, and so they approach the task with gusto and energy until the work is complete and the new lawn is instaled. Yet this is a wrong approach entirely, and as many a contractor will attest, the quality of the finished product all comes down to the preparation work done. So it is also true for new lawns, whereby so often have I seen new lawns being put down, only to come back months later to find that same new lawn is overrun with weeds.
As these things so often go, a busy homeowner may call on a number of different contractors to come in to complete different parts of a garden overhaul, each one in their order, and nothing out of the ordinary about that at all.
And once the landscaping contractor comes in to do his part of the work, or if we do the work ourselves, to bring the gardens to life with new soils and mulches and plants of all kinds, and when we flatten out the old top layer of soil for where the new lawn is to be instaled, we may make one critical mistake, a mistake which will haunt the new lawn owner for a long time.
We didn't take care of the existing weed problem in the soil first.
And so when the new lawn goes down, full of fertilizer which will be watered into the soil as the new lawn is heavily watered during establishment, so too will the abundance of weed seeds present in the soil also be watered and fertilized.
And so our new lawn is quickly filled with weeds. And it was our own fault.
So what would have been the better approach in this situation?
A Better Approach To Instaling A New Lawn
What we should all do in any particular situation where we are putting down new lawns in a soil area which is completely overcome with so many weeds and weed types, that these weeds should have been killed off permanently before the new lawn went down.
This would mean proceeding as usual with all other aspects of our garden overhaul, including leveling out the new lawn area.
The area planned for the new turf should then have been sprayed with a broad spectrum weed killer and left alone for at least a month or two. During those couple of months the lawn area should be checked again and again for any signs of new weed growth coming through due to pre-existing weed seeds already remaining in the soil.
Any new weeds that do come through should then either be removed by hand, or sprayed again.
Even better, would have been if the bare soil, after the original weeds were removed had been fertilized and then watered regularly so as to encourage as much new weed growth as possible from those pre-existing weed seeds still in the soil, and this would have killed off the vast and overwhelming majority of all weed seeds present in the soil, as they would have beens sprayed each time they emerged afresh.
Fertilizing and watering the bare soil to encourage the weed seeds to grow, and then to kill those same new weeds.
This should result in an almost completely weed free new lawn for the homeowner.
Which is far better than instaling a new lawn, only to later have to continue to deal with weeds in the lawn, which can be a far more difficult and time consuming and costly experience.
At the end of the final weed spraying, the bare soil should have been left and watered well for maybe another month to dilute any remaining residual weed spray still hanging around, though in reality this would be barely negligible anyway.
And then finally the new lawn would be instaled in fresh and weed free soil.
I myself left my own new lawn area bare for at least two months as it was previous overrun with Oxalis weed. After clearing and spraying the weeds, I fertilized and watered the bare soil to encourage as much weed growth as possible, and then I killed every single weed that emerged, either by hand-pulling those weeds or with weed sprays, and I’ve had a weed free lawn for many years since.
Time To Take Things A Little Bit Slower
We're all busy, we're all in a rush, and many of us need to slow down on many aspects of the things we do in our lives. Having patience, taking our time, and doing good preparation work, all work together to give us a far superior end result to our endeavors, no matter whether it be instaling new lawns, or anything else for that matter.
This is but simple advice for anyone who may be facing a similar situation, whereby we want to turn a jungle of weeds into a lush new green lawn, and of course for those who have the time and patience to take things a little more slowly.