New home construction can leave the lot rutted, bare and strewn with man-made and natural debris. It can also leave topsoil in bad condition, with poor-quality subsoil mixed with topsoil, due to digging for foundation work and utility trenching. Sometimes topsoil is entirely scraped away. With the necessary soil preparation and the appropriate grass mix, you can succeed in establishing a lawn after construction. Here are some common lawn problems after new construction and ways to correct these.
1. Construction Debris
Remove construction debris, such as concrete rubble, unused bricks, strewn screws and nails, chunks of caulk, bits of PVC, etc. Remove natural debris, such as large rocks, dislodged tree roots, logs and fallen branches. etc. Remove anything that can present a safety hazard or impede grass growth in a newly seeded lawn.
2. Topsoil Slopes Toward House
Grade topsoil sloping away from the house. You can use a bow-style garden rake for this task. Also use the rake to break hard clumps of dirt and to remove any previously missed rocks or masses of plant roots. Grade the soil to promote proper drainage away from the building.
3. Missing Top Soil
Digging was necessary during construction and topsoil may have become mixed with other soil, resulting in poor soil quality for growing. Spread a layer of topsoil 4" to 6" deep across the area prior to seeding. Till the new topsoil into the underlying soil, to promote root penetration beyond the topsoil layer.
4. Insufficiently Fertile Soil
Use a drop spreader to apply starter fertilizer. Choose fertilizer with a higher phosphorus content, to encourage root growth. Talk to one of our experts for advice on appropriate nutrient and mineral ratios. Use a grading rake to work fertilizer into soil to a 2 to 4-inch depth.
5. Soil Compacted or Poorly Constituted
A building lot with compacted soil, or soil dense with rock or gravel at the surface may require more through tilling and slightly deeper than usual additional top soil. Severely nutrient-depleted soil may require additional treatment. Allow heavily worked soil to settle for at least one week prior to planting.
6. Little or No Grass
Fill a rotary spreader with a type of grass seed appropriate for conditions in your yard (shade or sun). If you want to grow grass quickly to cover bare ground, use a seed blend that contains perennial ryegrass that establishes grass quickly. Apply half the seed along rows (at the rate recommended per 1,000 square feet for your seed type). Then, apply in rows moving in the opposite direction across the same area. Gently rake about 1/8 inch of topsoil over the seed to cover it. Of course if you want an instant lawn, laying sod is also an option.
7. Dry Area
Water the newly planted area until soil is moist at a depth of 1 to 2 inches. Water lightly but frequently, until the seed germinates (usually within 2 weeks). Then, water seedlings every other day as they become fully established. Reduce watering to once or twice per week, depending on weather. Consult with your landscape irrigation expert, for advice on possible need for an irrigation system.
What You Need for Establishing a New Lawn
- Garden Tiller
- Drop Spreader
- Bow Rake
- Grass Starter Fertilizer
- Grass Seed
Additional Tips for Starting a New Lawn After Construction
Obtain guidance from your landscape supply expert to determine whether or not you may need to install an irrigation system, have more extensive soil replacement work done, or undertake other measures in order to have a successful lawn in your area. Additionally:
- See your property survey for your lawn dimensions, in order to calculate the correct amount of soil amendments, seed and fertilizer to use.
- Keep foot traffic limited on the new lawn during the first season it is established.
- Remember that it may be up to two months before you should start mowing your new lawn.
- Seeding in March, April, September, or October generally gives new grass the best chance of becoming well established. New grass can be seeded during other months, after new construction is completed, but consult with your lawn supply expert for advice on additional help for starting a lawn immediately after construction.
We are an online irrigation supply company. We help professional landscape maintenance companies and homeowners with their landscape and outdoor living needs. For more information about establishing a lush new lawn after new construction, contact Irrigation Outlet, to speak to an expert.