How to Prepare Soil for Grass Seed in Tucson, AZ


Growing grass in Arizona can be challenging enough in itself without taking the soil quality into consideration. Blistering hot days and the general lack of rainfall ensure that the grass will be enduring a harsh climate. Soil quality can make or break your lawn in Arizona. Too sandy, and the water will drain away before the roots can use it. Too clay like, and the water that does fall may run off before being absorbed by the grass. With the right knowledge and a little work, however, it can be fairly easy to prepare soil for grass seed in Tucson, AZ.

Step 1

Kill and remove all existing vegetation with a non-selective herbicide like Roundup.

Step 2

Dig into the existing soil to see what you are working with. Sandy soil has large particles and it drains quickly. Clay soils have mostly fine particles which compact easily and drain poorly. You want a soil that has 50 to 60 percent sand with the rest made up of smaller particles.

Step 3

Set up lawn sprinklers and thoroughly wet the soil. Let drain for 2 days.

Step 4

Rototill the soil as deep as the rototiller will go. Most should be able to work up the top 4 to 6 inches of soil. Soak the soil again and let drain for 2 days.

Step 5

Rototill the soil again down to a depth of 4 to 6 inches and then add enough organic matter so that you only have 50 to 60 percent sand. Rototill the soil one last time to till in the organic matter.

Step 6

Rake the entire area with a garden rake. Remove any rocks and debris that you find and smooth out any bumps and lumps in the soil.

Step 7

Fill a lawn roller with water and roll the entire planting area. Doing this will provide you with a firm, smooth and level seedbed that will be ready for planting.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear gloves when operating the rototiller. Gloves will significantly reduce the chance of calluses or blisters on the hands.

Things You'll Need

  • Non-selective herbicide
  • Shovel
  • Lawn sprinklers
  • Garden hose
  • Rototiller
  • Organic matter
  • Garden rake
  • Lawn roller


  • Arizona Master Gardener Manual: Preparation for Planting Turf
  • Arizona Master Gardener Manual: Planting Lawns
  • Directory M Articles: How to Maintain Grass Tucson AZ
Keywords: tucson, az, non-selective herbicide, pump-up sprayer, organic matter, lawn roller, rototill the soil

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.