Soil preparation

  Proper soil preparation lays the foundation for the lawn area in terms of appearance and surface smoothness for mowing and drainage. Taking care of each aspect of preparation is important in order to avoid future problems. The site preparation for sports fi elds and golf courses is work for specialists and  therefore we will limit ourselves to recommendations for lawns only. Good soil preparation for lawns consists of the following steps:

1. Weed control
Particularly diffi cult to control weeds need to be controlled prior to seeding. Aggressively growing, broad leaved weeds also need to be controlled first.

2. Removal of stones, wood, etc.
The top surface needs to be free of stones and wood and other debris, because these will interfere with the sowing machine and subsequent mowing.

3. Cultivation of soil
The soil needs to be cultivated to a depth of 20 - 25 cm. This is particularly important on soils where heavy equipment has been used and especially under wet soil conditions. Never cultivate the soil under wet conditions as this will result in compaction. Compaction may severely impede the establishment and rooting of the turf.

4. Installation of irrigation system
If necessary or required an underground irrigation system should be installed.

5. Liming
Soil analyses will show you whether limestone needs to be applied to the upper 8 - 20 cm of the soil. The  thickness of the top layer may differ per soil depending on several aspects like the organic matter and clay  content of the soil.


6. Fertilization
Based upon soil test analyses, the appropriate amount and ratio of NPK fertiliser needs to be incorporated into the top layer of the soil, using a rotary tiller or cultivator.


7. Levelling the surface
Final grading of the fi eld has to be fi nished with levelling equipment. Experienced operators are required for using drag and laser machinery for the larger areas. In small areas, hand raking will be suffi cient combined with some hand pulled drag.

8. Final preparation
Lightly till, roll and level the soil surface. Use a roller and garden rake on very small areas or tiller-rake-drag
combinations or tiller-rake-drag on large areas. The work needs to be carried out just prior to seeding or sodding in order to ensure a moist seedbed to enhance the establishment rate.