Turf generally can be improved through proper mowing, fertilizing, watering, and pest control applications. With some turf problems, however, the only solution is re-establishment, using one of two methods:
- The conventional method, which involves destroying the sod, tilling the soil, and replanting.
- Renovation, which involves replanting without completely tilling the soil and often without destroying all existing vegetation.
Advantages of conventional tillage over renovation:
- Control of weeds and undesirable grass may be more complete.
- Surface depressions or humps can be removed, resulting in a smoother soil surface.
- Large quantities of organic matter or sand can be mixed into the surface to improve soil aeration and moisture retention.
Advantages of renovation over conventional tillage:
- Almost no erosion risk, post-establishment repair, or mud or dust problems.
- Turf is off-color for only two to three weeks.
- Less equipment is needed, thus renovation is less expensive.
- Original grade is unchanged.
- Post-planting watering is much easier on a stable organic surface.
- Root systems of older trees and shrubs are mostly undamaged.
Turf areas are often renovated to:
- Change grasses to plant an improved variety or a more adapted grass.
- Eliminate weeds by killing grassy perennial weeds with a nonselective herbicide before reseeding or by planting a desirable species that is more competitive with weeds.
- Reduce thatch and/or reseed with a non-thatch-forming grass.
- Improve a turf damaged by heavy traffic, white grubs, diseases, drought, etc.
Powell, A. J. Jr., "Improving Turf through Renovation" (2000). Agriculture and Natural Resources Publications. Paper 72.