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Learn Your Lawn: Unserviceable Lawn

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A lawn is unserviceable when it is damaged so extensively that any type of lawn care program would be ineffective until a lawn renovation is completed. A lawn can become unserviceable due to a number of factors, such as long term neglect or severe insect damage and disease, making the lawn excessively thin, riddled with bare areas, and overcome by out-of-control weeds. Under these circumstances, the only way to return your lawn to its original state is through a complete lawn renovation and then maintaining an annual lawn care program.




Renovating with Sod: The quickest and most effective way to renovate a full lawn or a damaged portion of a lawn is to sod it. Because new sod has already been treated for weeds and is already thick and healthy, it will resist weeds far better than seeding. However, sodding a lawn can become very expensive, costing thousands of dollars for even the smallest yards. 


Renovating with Seed: Although seeding may not provide instant results like sod, it’s a much more affordable approach to repairing damaged lawns. It does require some work, like selecting a suitable grass seed for your region and preparing a proper seedbed with screened topsoil. For the best results, renovation projects should be performed in either the early spring or late summer. Follow these steps:


  1. Leading up to the renovation, lower your mowing height to 2 inches.

  2. Rake thin or bare areas with a garden rake to remove dead material and debris.

  3. If there isn’t already a base of soil, lay down about 1 inch of soil.

  4. Choose a high quality grass seed that is suitable for your region. 

  5. Using a broadcast spreader or a drop spreader, spread the seed at a density of 1.8kg to 2.8kg per 100 m2 (4-6 lbs per 1,000 ft2).

  6. Spread approximately ½ inch of screened topsoil over the entire seeded area. 

  7. Apply a starter fertilizer that contains a high amount of phosphorus, which promotes root growth and strengthens the overall health of the grass plants.

  8. Gently press down the soil with a flat-bottomed tool, such as a hoe or rake, to remove air pockets and create seed-to-soil contact.

  9. Follow a strict watering schedule to keep the soil moist for 3 to 4 weeks. You may start to see germination within 5 to 7 days, but you should see significant improvement in 2 to 3 weeks.