As promised I am using a wild area of ground behind my house to demonstrate how to create a new lawn. In this instance I am seeding the area, but the initial preparation is exactly the same as for turfing.
It is very important to get rid of any perniceous weeds by a period of fallowing – that is leaving the ground unplanted for a few months during the growing season and killing any weeds as they start to grow. This can be done by pulling them out if the problem is not too severe. In this case, however, the ground had been wild for many years so had to be dealt with by applying roundup. Roundup is a herbicide that kills most green plants while not affecting the soil and should be applied three times over the Spring and Summer each time the weeds appear, but before they can set seed.
The ground is now ready for the the initial preparation which consists of digging it over and removing any large stones and weed roots. I prefer to use a garden fork as this allows the soil to be broken up and debris removed in a more eficient manner. This is fairly easy in light dry soil, as in this case, but if on heavy clay soil a rotovator may well be neccessary.
It is well worth taking time over this first part of the operation to lift and turn over the soil while at the same time breaking up any clods and removing the debris as you go, as then the rest of the preparation will be so much easier.
My next article will deal with preparing the dug ground for seeding. Happy digging!