Lawn Renovation - Lawn mostly weeds? Hit the restart button on your lawn
If your lawn has been overrun by weeds or is nothing more than mud, your lawn may be in need of a complete makeover. Every lawn has different needs and carries its own unique challenges, but the steps below will help chart your course to greener pastures.
1.) *Sterilize the land*
If the weeds have conquered most of your land, the first step is to wipe them out. The safest and most eco friendly way to do this is through the process of solorazation. Have you ever noticed how in the summer time the inside of your car is much warmer than it is outside? This is the same idea behind solorazation. By applying a film on your land, the sun’s rays will cook the weeds and their seeds. A professor from the University of New Hampshire has designed a cover for this exact purpose [Solar Mulch]. There are even eco friendly options if you are concerned about your plastic footprint. [Bio-mulch].
Solarization is the safest and cleanest way to sterilize your land, however, it is the most time consuming. The applied film will need to stay in place for an entire year, from spring to spring. When the film is removed, you will need to get to work quickly before any new weeds come in.
Should solorazation be too slow for your schedule, we advise you contact your local department of agriculture or master gardener extension to get tailored advice.
Once upon a time, somewhere in the world, someone started a myth that rototilling is great for weed control. This is absolutely false and has cursed many gardeners. When rototilling a weeded area, you are simply sowing weed seeds that have been laying dormant on the surface, waiting to get good soil to seed contact before germinating. By tilling a weeded area, you are ushering in the next generation of weeds. Furthermore, a good number of weeds can reproduce via-rhizomes, meaning a rototiller can turn one weed into a dozen weeds[Rhizome]. If you take only one lesson from this article, do not rototill weeds.
Before you do any rototilling, be sure to get a utility line check. Most states do this for free, and you can easily find out how by searching “My state’s name utility line check for digging.” Most bigbox and local home improvement stores rent rototillers at a reasonable price. Rototilling is tough work, and there is no shame in finding a landscaper to do the tilling for you.
Since your land has recently been sterilized, it would be wise to till in about 2-4 inches of compost to jump start the soil’s ecosystem. Sprinkling in a little mycorrhizae amendments can go a long way in establishing good microbial health.
3.) Time to plant...NOW
Now that your soil has been prepped, it is time to bring in the desired plants. Different grasses and plants will have different rules for installation. Regardless of what you want to grow, be sure you plant soon before the weeds come back and flourish off all your hard work.