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Is Your Lawn Beyond Repair?

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

There are several reasons why a new or existing lawn will fail. Sometimes a heavy thatch layer can prevent water, fertilizer, and other nutrients from getting to the roots of even the healthiest turfgrass. Often, lawns fail because of poor soil conditions, poor drainage, or they are an inappropriate turf variety that simply won't do well in your region.

If you've already added gypsum or lime to alter acidic soil pH, aerated the lawn, re-routed drainage, and tried new sod or reseeded your grass, and your lawn is still dead (or about 60% moss and weeds), you just may have to start over.
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If you're starting anew, you should have your soil tested. Either a lawn service specialist or university extension soils expert can recommend remedial action and a suitable turf type. As you till the remnants of your old lawn, it's a good idea to look over the thatch buildup and add peat moss to distribute the base evenly. Some experts recommend a 70-30 balance of soil to mulch.

You may choose to completely kill the old lawn off before proceeding, using an herbicide from your lawn service center. Rent a tiller or have a lawn service come in and till the soil once the old lawn is dead. Carve a good six inches down, running the tiller in several directions to make sure you open up the soil and dead roots. Once that's done you can rake and level it, (leaving some of the roots usually won't hurt), and shovel in fresh mulch.

If you're satisfied with the consistency and leveling, you can either lay down sod (more expensive) or add turfgrass seeds (more time to establish) of the selected variety for your region, using a roller to distribute them evenly. 

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys,, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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