Clarification of "Till" in Kill, Till, Fill 'n' Sod
This week, I need to clarify a couple of points in the now-famous "Kill, Till, Fill 'n' Sod" grass-replacement technique.
I'm not sure if that old tip sheet just wasn't clear, or if those who are asking for a clarification just aren't reading it thoroughly. I'm fairly certain it is the latter, because I know we used the words "steel-tine rake" in the original tip sheet. So, here we go:
Lately, I've been asked a lot about using a rototiller for the "till" part. Many are rightfully concerned about the effect of a rototiller on tree roots. If you don't have any trees in a yard that has to be renovated, you can certainly use a rototiller. Just be sure to go through the tilled-up area again with a steel-tined rake to get all the dead debris out of the soil.
Anyway, I'm talking about using smaller-than-average rototillers. Those with engine sizes of around 20-25cc and with blades that don't go down into the soil more than a couple of inches. Large rototillers, such as those employed by professional landscapers, should probably be avoided around tree roots. Those usually have four-cycle engines of 200cc or more.
I'll admit that when I first concocted the Kill, Till, Fill 'n' Sod technique nearly 15 years ago, it was for people needing to replace small sections of lawn because of damage from cinch bugs or broken sprinklers. However, last summer's drought devastated larger areas of lawns than anyone had ever imagined might be affected.
Let me also note that if you need grass replacement, don't freak out at the price of grass pallets compared to years past. The drought had an effect on sod farmers, too. Couple that with the rising price of fuel, and you'll understand why pallet costs have increased and will continue to increase for the foreseeable future ... all the more reason to take better care of the grass you already have!
Once you have your grass replaced, another point has come up with regard to my fertilization schedule. Simply put, if the grass you've put down is fairly green, always assume that is has about 30 days worth of fertilizer on it. So you can pick up the schedule again in 30 days. If it doesn't look very green, pick up on the schedule no matter where you are in it, and that includes applying pre-emergent herbicides. There is some errant advice out there suggesting that pre-emergent herbicides shouldn't be put on newly laid sod. That's just wrong. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent seeds from germinating. St. Augustine and Zoysia don't grow by seed, and while Bermuda does, if it's solid sod, it's not an issue.
We will also have a big stash of the new Miracle-Gro Expand 'n Gro planting mix to give away. Be there early to grab a number ... the first 40 people will definitely get a bag. If you're not familiar with this innovative soil substitute, read about HERE. Just one bag, which retails for about $15, is the equivalent of two or three bags of premium potting soil.
We'll also have a drawing for a new Snap Spreader from Scotts. It's an ingenious approach to applying fertilizer, ant killer or fungicide that helps conserve product and smartly stores unused portions for the future.
Randy Lemmon's GardenLine is heard 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, exclusively on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
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