Spring is the time to start thinking about replacing the turf grass you lost in recent droughts, or installing a new lawn.
First you should plan on the type of grass you want to use. Some grasses adapt well to low light areas while others do best in full sun. In East Texas, St Augustine is best for shaded areas but still needs four or five hours of sunlight a day. Centipedegrass needs more sun than St Augustine, and Bermuda grasses need full sun. If you are unsure of the type of grass that would suit your location, contact the County Extension Office, a Master Gardener, a certified nurseryman, or a landscape contractor for help.
When you’re ready to install grass, be sure and prepare the area well. The use of a rototiller gives the best results. Till to a depth of 2-4 inches to remove all existing weed and other debris (if you have a heavy soil, you may need to till deeper). Rake the debris away and grade the area well for good drainage. Then install your lawn, being sure to follow directions for the type of grass you purchased and whether it is sod, seed or plugs.
Once your lawn has been installed, start a good maintenance and fertilizer program tailored to your grass type. Follow it faithfully and you should have a beautiful, healthy lawn for years to come.
Arlin George, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service