I had an infestation of grubs, as well as some severe compaction issues, resulting in a very patchy front lawn (1000 sq ft, Toronto).

Over the weekend I roto-tilled the lawn to a depth of 6 inches. I dealt with the grubs and ordered 6 yards of a topsoil/compost blend which will allow for two inches of new soil on top of the existing.

I plan to seed next weekend. What else do I need to do to prepare for seeding? Should I mix in some fertilizer? If so, what kind?

Something rather tedious I'm afraid. As you've tilled the soil, you now need to make sure you haven't got any soft spots, and you do this by walking all over it on your heels, on every bit of it. When you've done that, rake it to level it off again, and repeat the process. Rerake and then lay your turf. As far as fertiliser goes, I use a granular feed known as Growmore in the UK, which has an NPK of 7-7-7 and lasts for up to six weeks - spread it all over the area till it looks like snow, then lay the turf, though a little raking in of the feed isn't a bad idea prior to laying.

Regarding the heeling/walking it all over - you can do this with a heavy roller, though its not quite as effective.

UPDATE: In answer to your comment, yes it does - don't put the fertiliser down, everything else still the same, except make sure the top inch of soil, once finally raked, is of a fine tilth suitable for seeds to germinate in.

  • I'm looking to seed, not sod. Does this change anything? – Chris Cudmore Apr 29 '13 at 19:25

Scotts has some grass fertilizer for new seeding/new lawns. I've used that. Seeding a new lawn is a tough and time intensive process. - while you can throw the seeds by hand, it will cause a inconsistent cover. consider a spreader. - water at night. - consider laying hay down over the seeds to protect from the sun.

I've done a mix of seeding and sodding to fix my lawn (well, my girlfriends lawn.) seeding is cheaper up front, but weeds and watering make for surprise costs. I put down some fescue sod last fall, in a swampy area in her backyard, and it was worth the $ in time savings.

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