A grassy plant is a perennial little plant that is mowed regularly but, if possible, sown once for decades. In order for the beloved but also stressed lawn to retain its quality for life, it needs a supporting base that fully and permanently meets its needs. Optimal soil preparation before sowing is therefore essential.

Whether you are newly seeding a lawn or have decided to roll sod, both require well-prepared soil. This then offers the following advantages:

  • Lawn seed germinates safely and reliably
  • Rolled turf grows faster and better
  • subsequent lawn care is made easier
  • Lawn stays intact longer

Optimal substrate for a lawn

Even the simple green grasses have their demands on the soil when it comes to forming a dense carpet. Your root system will develop well if the soil has the following characteristics:

  • he is easygoing
  • well ventilated
  • water permeable
  • has good nutrient retention

Sandy, loamy soil is therefore the ideal substrate for a lawn.

Analyze soil conditions

The long-lived grass requires good nutrients in sufficient quantities. However, the nutrient composition of a soil cannot be seen. A soil analysis can provide clarity here. Among other things, it provides the following information:

  • which nutrients are present and in what quantities
  • Concentration of necessary trace elements
  • Information on pH value
  • soil type
  • concrete fertilizer recommendations

The soil can be improved in a targeted manner on the basis of the analysis data.
Soil analyzes by experts can be ordered cheaply over the Internet. All you need is a suitable soil sample from your garden. You take these yourself according to the specifications of the laboratory and then send them in for examination.

Tip: For the soil analysis you need a soil sample from a maximum depth of 10 cm. This is the area where the grass roots of the future lawn will penetrate.

Remove old grass, weeds and stones

Only the new grass should grow on the future lawn, so all plants still on it must give way completely.

  • remove old lawn debris
  • Remove weeds and roots
  • collect larger stones

The removal of these disturbing elements can be combined well with the deep loosening of the soil, which is described below.

Deeply loosen the soil

A crumbly surface is an important prerequisite for successful sowing. Incidentally, this is achieved through the deep loosening of the soil. Smaller areas can be worked on with a digging fork or spade. For larger areas, however, the use of a motor tiller or harrow is recommended. These can often be rented by the hour in hardware stores.
Lawn seeds in particular, which are to be sown after a new house is built, would encounter soil that was heavily compacted by construction vehicles. This has to be loosened up. The loosening of a soil is a tedious work. It is worth tackling this only when the layer of soil is dry and easier to work with.

dehumidify the soil

A deep loosening alone is not sufficient for damp surfaces. The soil must be additionally dehumidified before sowing. In order to drain off the excess water, long, straight seepage slots are milled and filled with gravel. If this measure is not sufficient, drainage pipes must be laid, which usually requires professional support.

Improve loamy and clayey soils

Loamy soil makes it difficult for precipitation to seep away, as it compacts quickly when the lawn is walked on frequently. Such soil must be made more crumbly and therefore more permeable before sowing.

  • Apply a 3 cm thick layer of sand
  • additionally 1 cm compost from green cuttings
  • Work both 10 cm deep into the ground

Even soil from deeper layers is only conditionally suitable for sowing a lawn. If, for example, excavation from the basement covers the future lawn, you have to spread a 15 cm thick layer of topsoil over it.

Improve sandy soils

Soils with a high proportion of sand cannot store enough water and nutrients. However, this crucial property must be achieved by soil improvement before sowing. The following additions are suitable as an addition to a sandy soil:

  • matured green waste compost
  • loamy earth

bring in fertilizer

The first dose of fertilizer can be brought in and worked into a loosened soil. The soil analysis can show to what extent and to what extent this is necessary. Organic fertilizers such as compost or horn shavings fill up the nutrient storage for a longer period of time.

Level and level the ground

Rainwater collects in depressions and quickly causes root rot. They also make mowing the lawn difficult. Therefore, the subsoil for the lawn should first be leveled and then recompacted.

When the ground is dry, it can be leveled with a lawn roller. As a result, the soil settles more quickly, the earth cannot sink in later in places and lead to unsightly depressions.

Leveling also makes it easier to identify any unevenness in the ground and then to remove it. If you want, you can now also create gentle hills and do other modeling. However, these must be designed in such a way that the later mowing of the lawn can take place smoothly.

Tip: New weeds can always sprout before  sowing or laying a finished lawn. This should be removed promptly.

Roughen the surface of the sowing

The whole year, with the exception of the winter months, is suitable for laying a new lawn. In the last step, the settled and recompacted area is prepared for sowing or laying a turf.

You can easily recognize a well compacted area if you step on it with a flat shoe. The heel should not sink into it more than 1 cm. If this is the case, there are only a few steps left until the new lawn.

  • Roughen the top 2-3 cm with a rake
  • collect unearthed roots and stones
  • remove large clumps of soil larger than 2 cm
  • fix last imperfections

So that the turf of the grass is later at the same height as the mowing edge, the prepared soil should be about 0.5 to 1 cm below it.

Colorful flower meadow

If you prefer a colorful meadow instead of a large green area, the soil preparations described above should be modified somewhat.

  • wait longer before sowing after soil preparation
  • Prepare the soil in summer, sow lawn seeds the following year
  • “Unwanted” seeds hidden in the ground can germinate
  • remove the “competing plants” by regular weeding

In nutrient-rich soils, individual plant species prevailed over time. However, if a colorful variety is required, the soil should be thinned with sand before sowing.

The new lawn should grow healthy and dense for many years. For this he needs a floor that meets all his requirements. A soil analysis provides information about the current soil conditions. Starting from there, you can improve it step by step to an ideal basis. This is labor intensive, but will be rewarded for years.

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