Sean and I need space to play, so we grow some very resilient turf using standard grass, "eco" grass, and white clover all mixed together. We have very poor subsoil (mostly clay with construction debris mixed in), and the existing lawn only had 2 inches or less of topsoil when we took ownership. We moved into this house 4 years ago, the house was built 18 years before that. This entry documents our journey to organic & emissions free turf.
When we moved in, the previous owners had left a lot of fertilizing and pesticide equipment, and they were watering twice a week to keep it green. And it looked great...except we were not allowed to play on it after they sprayed. And we didn't have any butterflies visiting yet.
Being organic, we stopped all the extra effort just to "see what happens". We let the turf go dormant during that dry summer, and unfortunately, in the fall of the first year, the lawn developed a severe grub problem. The grass was 90% wiped out.
To control the grubs, we introduced beneficial nematodes (<-- click here for more detail). Nematodes are micro-dudes that go inside the grubs and multiply. Yuk! A healthy turf has nematodes already...but if pesticides have been recently applied, some of these good bugs get poisoned along with the bad bugs. Once the poisoning stops, the grubs move much faster than the parasitic nematodes, so the grubs win the race to the grass roots.
You have to water the nemetodes into the soil for a good 3 days, so these micro-organisms can be washed down to the level of the grubs you are targeting. Seeing as we had to put water on the turf for the nemetodes anyway, we went all out and top-dressed and overseeded. For a new turf setup (like we had to do), Sean and I raked triple mix to a depth of 2" of new material before applying grass and white clover seeds. If you already have grass growing, Sean and I demonstrate in this video how to add a thinner layer of top dressing before seeding: