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  1. #1
    Platinum Member Scrounger's Avatar
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    Default Tiller or York Rake

    I need some lawn prep advice. My front yard is basically solid clay that has some grass coming up but not much. I need to reseed but the soil is so hard it wont take no matter what I do.

    I'm trying to decide ifrenting a tiller or york rake is the way to go. I had not planned to mix in any additional top soil or manure, but I've been told that mixing in manure with a tiller would be a good plan.

    I just hate to chop up what grass I already have to make it better.

    Any ideas guys?

  2. #2
    Elite Member KentT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiller or York Rake

    My recommendation would be to add about 1" of sand and 2" of composted (rotted) cow manure, then till it in total depth of 4-6" don't till it real deep...


  3. #3
    Veteran Member LarryD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiller or York Rake

    <font color="blue"> I just hate to chop up what grass I already have to make it better. </font>

    Depending on how you do it, that could missing only a couple mowing cycles. I have very sandy, gravely soil and after tilling in manure it is ready to be cut in only a couple weeks.

    Try visiting a local landscape store and they could probably tell you exactly what you need for your area to produce a thick lawn. Tilling will work way better than a rake.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tiller or York Rake

    A rake probably isn't going to touch that hard clay. A tiller can have a hard time in it.

    I've read extensively on the subject of clay soils although I don't suffer from them here in N. Florida.

    The constant in what I've read is that you need to add a lot of composted material such as leaves, grass etc. Your local municipality may offer free compost as is done here in Jacksonville. I'd get as much of it as possible and mix it with some composted manure and some sand as well, and till it in. I would do that as often as possible until you have a well-draining top soil surface.

    It may take a while, but when you get it right, you're going to be able to have a much nicer lawn than any quick fix is going to give you. The added compost and sand is going to make it easier for grass roots to grow deep and spread. Without it, you're likely to never have a nice lawn.

    John

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tiller or York Rake

    I too think you would be better off mixing in something and starting from scratch if it is truly a clay surface.

    That said, last year I had quite a few dead spots in my yard. The grass/weeds were totally dead and nothing but dirt was showing, so I overseeded.
    I rented a core aerator and cored the heck out of it. I mowed it short, which broke up and distributed the dirt plugs, giving me a layer of "fresh" dirt for the seeds. Then I seeded it.
    I did not lose what I had and the bare spots have all filled in. This was done in the fall and my land is mostly gravel with topsoil in spots.
    Maybe you could get by doing this.

  6. #6
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: Tiller or York Rake

    <font color="blue">It may take a while, but when you get it right, you're going to be able to have a much nicer lawn than any quick fix is going to give you. The added compost and sand is going to make it easier for grass roots to grow deep and spread. Without it, you're likely to never have a nice lawn.
    </font>

    very sound advice. if you're looking for something long term, this is the ONLY way to approach this project. if you can secure manure or compost, i would spread that liberally (you can't spread too much), ideally you would have at least a 2" layer.

    once spread, i would run a disc harrow over it, then seed it.

    pf

  7. #7
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: Tiller or York Rake


    In addition to what's posted, before and after the compost, sand, and fertilizer is applied, I would take a subsoiler to the ground, then rototill everything up.

    I feel it's best to take it deep so you won't have standing water after your grass grows. If push comes to shove, if you have standing water problems, I would dig a trench, lay some peagravel, lay some periforated pipe, then cover with river rock and soil to drain any standing water away from your lawn. You can even use this as an excuse to buy a spreader for your tractor so you can spread sand on your yard to help growth. (In case you're wondering about the sand, that's what golf courses do to make things pretty.)

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: Tiller or York Rake

    The right amount of water on the soil should make it a lot softer and easier to work. Too much will cause mud, but a good soaking and waiting until the ground is not too wet may make the whole process easier. Gypsum is sometimes used as a soil ammenity with clay to help make it more porus.

  9. #9
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    Bucks County, PA
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    Default Re: Tiller or York Rake

    Where can you rent implements in the Bethlehem area?

  10. #10
    Platinum Member Scrounger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiller or York Rake

    Leisers is the only rental place for larger items but they dont rent implements. THe closest is ORE in Quakertown, PA but most of what they rent is too large for the BX2230.

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