Lawn Renovation: 12 Steps to Success


Fall is an excellent time to improve your lawn and Roanoke Landscapes would like to help you with this process. First you must decide if you are going to renovate your entire lawn or just sections. If your lawn is at least 50% grass then renovating the existing lawn would be the way to go. If, however, your lawn is overrun with weeds and/or pests, those will have to be addressed first and depending on the type of damage you may need to renovate the entire lawn.

The lower temperatures and increased moisture of late summer and fall are perfect for growing anything- including a better lawn!



  1. Getting rid of the weeds: this keeps other species competing with your new grass.

The best or most effective way of eliminating the grass and/or existing weeds and turf is by using a non-selective herbicide. The products you want to use contain glyphosate and they are the most effective. Do not walk on the grass until the chosen product used has dried on the turf and leaves of the weeds.


Make sure you check the product as to the time-frame of when you can seed the lawn. Most of these products allow you to seed in 7 days.

Make sure you have not a selective weed killer which will not allow you to seed the yard for 3-6 weeks.

Always read and follow label instructions.


  1. Level the yard, fill in any holes or low spots. You have to take care of any holes or any drainage issues before reseeding the lawn.
  1. Have your landscaping expert check the pH in your soil and adjust it if needed. For best grass growth, soil pH should be between slightly acidic-6.5 to 6.8. To raise the pH you can use lime or Solu-cal. You can also use Gypsum or Solu-cal S to help condition clay soils.

If you have sandy soils you can and need to amend the soil by incorporating small amounts of clay or organic material to enhance water-and nutrient-holding capacity. By adding high phosphorus starter fertilizer with around 1 pound N/1,000 square feet and/or pH like lime or Solu-cal solely based on the results of your test.

  1. You have to make sure you choose the right grass! This decision will depend on several things:

-The quality of the sod you are expecting to grow.

-How much work you are willing to put into the maintenance of the turf.

-What you are using the turf for.

-How much sun or shade your turf gets.

-Is there a need to worry about high drought tolerances?

-Lastly, the kind of insects and diseases found frequently in your area, and picking resistance turf.

You get what you pay for. A bargain is not always a bargain. Stay away from cheap seed blends. It will not be the outcome you are looking for. A general rule is to stay away from any mixes with the words, fast, quick, and for contractors. These are usually the low-end types of materials.


  1. The most important thing is to prepare your soil. You can use an aerator or a slice seeder. If you are attempting to do this without a landscape expert you can rent the aerator or seeder.


When using the aerator make sure you really open the turn area up. Go in several directions when pulling the plugs. You really can’t beat the area up too much. If you are using the seeder you can go a half rate in a couple of directions and go over very bare areas in order for a cohesive look.


Very important to note that you seed at the right rate. Seeding at the correct rate of slightly below that will encourage tillering-which is the growth of new grass-roots and lateral spreading of the grass plants. Due to certain circumstances higher seeding rates may be required this is really best left to your landscape expert to determine.

Applying the seeds at half the rate in two different directions at right angles will insure a more uniform coverage. This will also make sure you do not run out of seed, it is always better to do less and go back over it then do too much and run out before your job is completed.

Overseeding after aerating your lawn

Overseeding after aerating your lawn.

6.Raking in the seed lightly. If you have bare spots you can mix the seed and soil so that the seed is covered no more than 1/16.

  1. Lightly rolling your soil insures very good seed-to-soil contact which is good for he seeds to take in the most water and germinate-begin to grow and put out shoots after a period of dormancy.
  1. If you have large bare spots you should mulch them. Use straw that is weed-free or you can also use a marsh hay to help hold in and conserve moisture to help prevent seed and soil erosion. You should avoid hay from a pasture as it is usually heavy laden with weed seeds.


You can use several other types of materials to mulch with: wood fibers, paper pellets, and erosion-control blankets. PennMulch doesn’t require raking and is very effective at holding water and even has a starter fertilizer in it. Erosion blankets are great here in the Virginia area with all of our sloped yards. Once you seed the erosion blanket is rolled out and stapled down. It is very convenient and nice because the new seedlings will grow right up through the blanket and decompose. You have probably seen these before on slopes as most are green.

9. We cannot express the importance of this next step. Water! Water!


The seeds and young seedling will die very quickly if you let them dry out. You need to make sure you keep the seeded areas moist at all times. Use enough water to moisten the surface but do not use too much water and cause run off because this can wash away the seeds.

After the seedlings appear through the mulch reduce the water gradually to encourage deep rooting of the seedlings. Once you have about 50% grass coverage over the ground let the surface dry.

  1. After about 4-5 weeks after seeding occurs you should fertilize.

Apply about 1 pound N/1,000 square feet. This is the standard on most of fertilization products. When you fertilize it increases the root density, the color, and the seedlings and makes the seedlings stronger and more resistant to diseases.


  1. After you have about 60% growth and the grass has reached a height of 2-3 inches you should mow it. Mowing stimulates lateral shoot development, will increase the density, and helps to keep weeds at bay. You must make sure you blade is sharp because dull blades will tear the seedlings from the soil.
  1. This last step is the most rewarding and fun. You have put in a lot of work, ENJOY YOUR NEW TURF.




One thought on “Lawn Renovation: 12 Steps to Success

  1. Pingback: October: Chore Time In The Garden | Roanoke Landscapes

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