Alternative to Sodding a Lawn: Renovation


By Rick Orr
Lawn tech spraying a St Augustine lawn with Isuzu truck with sprayer equipment
Renovating a lawn with good cultural practices - water, mowing, and nutrients - is an alternative to sodding

St Augustine Lawn is Perishable

A St Augustine lawn is perishable. If neglected, turf areas can decline to the point it looks hopeless – except to replace it with new sod. However, with a little chemical wizardry, a good irrigation system and a lot of TLC, St Augustine turf areas can be restored to a healthy lawn.

Cure the Cause - Not the Symptom

The first step to renovation is to fix the problem. The turf declined for a reason - lack of water, chinch bugs, low mowing, starved to death or any combination of these lethal problems. The most common cause of a failed turf is from poor irrigation. To have a great lawn, you must have a great self-supplied (well, surface or reclaimed) irrigation system. Regular mowing at the highest setting and a good lawn spraying service will cure 99% of all other causes of a failed lawn.

Weeds are Not the Cause

Many believe that if they get rid of the weeds, the lawn will return to its former beauty. Weeds are not the cause of the failure of the lawn, weeds are a symptom of a failed lawn. Getting rid of the weeds doesn't return your lawn to its former beauty. Returning your lawn to its former beauty by fixing the irrigation and mowing high will get rid of the weeds.

Cure the Cause Not the Symptom: Often people "fix" a failed lawn with new sod. That cures the symptom – dead grass -  but does nothing for the cause. If you do not fix what caused the lawn to fail – it will fail again. So be sure to cure the cause, not the symptoms. I suggest hiring a good lawn spraying company to help with the renovation.  

Renovation is a Process, Not an Event

Once the irrigation system is working properly, the mowing is at the highest setting and the bugs and weeds are under control, the St Augustine turf can start to recover. Gradually the St Augustine turfgrass will expand and repopulate areas where the soil is fertile and moist. Depending on how much St Augustine turf survived, those once dead-looking weedy turf areas can be a healthy lawn in less than a year.

Renovation makes Good Economic Sense

The costs for both new sod or lawn renovation are the same to fix and repair the irrigation system, mow at the highest setting, fertilize and control weeds and bugs. The difference between sodding and renovation is you can skip the cost of sodding – about $5000 for an average lawn. So it makes sense to fix the irrigation system, raise the mower, hire a good lawn spraying company and skip the sodding.

Hire a Good Coach and a Lawn Spraying Company

When renovating a lawn, time and money can be wasted on non-essentials. A good coach can help you focus on the essentials and reduce the time, effort and money required to renovate. APL Pest Control has been successfully renovating St Augustine turf grass lawns since 2000 and is willing to help.

Rick Orr Owner-Staff Agronomist Barefoot Grassl/Creator of ILOVETURF.COM
Staff Agronomist at Barefoot Grass

Since 1995, Rick Orr has worked in Pinellas County providing turf management and pest control. Rick Orr is a graduate of VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology) and the creator of 

Since graduating from VA Tech in 1979, Rick worked in the green industry, mostly with golf courses, resorts, and large communities. Rick has obtained certifications in arboriculture, landscape, irrigation, and taught Environmental Horticulture at St Petersburg College. 

Currently, Rick is the Staff Agronomist at Barefoot Grass in Largo, FL. To learn more about Barefoot Grass Free Price Quote from Barefoot Grass for Home Pest Control and/or Lawn Care 

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