Soil Preparation for Planting Turfgrass

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape January 20, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Proper soil preparation for planting turfgrass is an important step in establishing and maintaining a healthy lawn.

Turfgrass areas have many functions in a home landscape. Turfgrass areas facilitate playing, gathering, visiting, relaxing, and many other outdoor activities. An attractive lawn is valued by many homeowners.

Steps Involved in Creating Soil that Encourages Healthy Grass Growth:

  • Conduct a soil test to determine nutrients, soil pH, and texture of existing soil
  • Clean the area of large rocks, large roots/stumps and other debris
  • Grade the landscape to provide an even surface and control water drainage 
  • Rototilling soil improves drainage to allows for better root growth
  • Avoid cutting tree roots
  • Add between 6-8 inches of topsoil if needed and let it settle 
  • Add additional fertilizers and other soil amendments as per soil test
  • Additional fertilizers may be necessary once the grass begins growing
  • Firm the soil with a roller before seeding, sodding, or plugging. Granules of soil should vary in size from 1/8th inch to 3/4th inch

Once the soil has been prepared be ready to plant. Turf can be planted using sod, seed, or plugs. Water immediately following planting and make sure soil is moist during establishment.


Additional Resources:


Minnesota - Seeding and Sodding Home Lawns


Florida - Preparing to Plant a Florida Lawn
South Carolina - Lawn Establishment