The Lawn Repair
Dr. Mario A. Villarino, County Extension Agent
Earlier on the week I started working on one of our public projects right before this week’s rain. The ground was easy to tap, but really hard under. I wanted to plant our earth-kind roses before veteran’s day and take advantage of the rain. The area, right next to the MHMR facility in Sulphur Springs is now home of 12 earth-kind roses of four varieties: Carefree beauty, Monsier tiller, Balinda’s Dream and Caldwell pink. The roses were kept all summer long under irrigation and were planted using composted material as back fill. Hopefully we will get a good take off of the roses and the supplemental irrigation maintain them thru the establishing phase. I want to invite you to come and visit the site one of this days. It will be in developing phases throughout the year but the flower beds are looking good and we hope the roses will complement the site.
Right after working all day, I got a phone call of a person needing help planning a new lawn. Her from lawn was decimated and needed some direction in how to plan the new area. In general, a new lawn must be planned AFTER having a soil test done. The reason is because soil ammendments must be in place before the turf is planted. A soil test provides useful information in how to correct the site, and now is a good time to take samples and send them to the laboratory. The soil test is the best use of your money. You can get free bags and forms from the extension office. After the soil test results are back (usually 1-2 weeks after sending the sample in) you might plan the new lawn following this steps: The basis steps for preparing to plant a new lawn are:
1. Remove all debris.
2. Add organic matter and thoroughly blend into the top 4 to 6 inches of soil.
3. Grade the area to slope gradually away from the house so water will drain.
4. Based on the results of soil testing done by the Texas A&M lab or a commercial lab, add fertilizer and thoroughly till it into the soil.
5. Grade once again to smooth planting area and rid it of dirt clods and large stones.
6. Plant grass by means of sowing seed, planting sprigs or plugs, or laying solid blocks of grass sod end to end.
7. Water frequently and lightly as may be needed until the new grass has established roots.
8. Once the grass has 2 to 4 inches of new growth, it can be mowed. Remove no more than one-third of its total growth as measured from the soil line to the top growth layer of a lawn.
9. Lightly fertilize your new lawn once a month for 3 months with a complete fertilizer (such as 15-5-10) and water thoroughly after each application.
Obviously, this must happened next springs, since this fall and winter low temperature will kill warm season seeds. You can use ryegrass or clover to cover the area until the right temperatures are up again and then start the process. For more information on this or other topics please call me at 903-885-3443.