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  1. #1
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    286
    Location
    nw PA...lake effect snow country!
    Tractor
    John Deere 455

    Default Lawn care...good idea or not?

    We live on 4 acres in zone 5. Two acres are wetland so I can't touch that but we do mow/maintain 2 acres. I lost years off my lower back hand raking and seeding it.

    The lawn however, browns and goes dormant shortly after the first extended period of dry weather each summer, often in late June. I have no doubt this is due to the make-up of the soil...there is very little top soil, most of the grass is on nothing more than bank gravel. When we built the house 10 years ago, I did not have the resources to bring in yards of top soil to improve the quality of soil, and still don't.

    Anyway, in an effort to improve the soil quality, I started a compost pile three years ago and each year I have started new ones. I think the year 1 pile will be ready spring to be used as top dressing on the areas surrounding the house next spring. (I do not expect I will ever generate enough to do anything more than what is close to the house.) I intend to screeen the compost and top dress a small section each spring. This may take a lifetime but I'm not going anywhere.

    Does this sound like a good approach? Have any of you ever done such a thing and what advice can you offer to get the best results?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    2,385
    Location
    Michigan
    Tractor
    New Holland TC40D Supersteer

    Default Re: Lawn care...good idea or not?

    You could try core aerating the area before spreading the compost, or just core aerate without spreading compost. Rainfall will just run off and not percolate in if there is very compacted topsoil.
    Chris

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Tig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,498
    Location
    The County, Ontario, Canada
    Tractor
    Kubota, B7100HST-D

    Default Re: Lawn care...good idea or not?

    I've done that, I considered it a hobby and did not have high expectations. Each session is referred to as a drop in the bucket.
    I stir my compost in with what soil I have available to increase the volume and make it easier to spread.
    I also cut the grass as high as the mower will allow in summer (+4"?) to allow it to better shade it's own roots.
    As already suggested, aerate.
    Our soil was so poor that if left on it's own it could sustain very little grass.
    I used agricultural grade fertilizer to feed it (lightly) and develop deeper roots. Let the clippings mulch.
    I did not water since we were on a well. I've never found well water to be very good. Not sure if it's the temperature or the minerals It just seems to weaken the lawn and make it more fragile.
    Enjoy each minute in your yard! All those drops in the bucket do add up.
    Steve

    The best things in life are not things.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Lawn care...good idea or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tig View Post
    I've done that, I considered it a hobby and did not have high expectations. Each session is referred to as a drop in the bucket.
    That's a good approach. In few years, you'll turn around one day and wonder how the lawn got so nice over there.

  5. #5
    Elite Member ToadHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,711
    Location
    Catt county New York
    Tractor
    Kioti DK35, Ford 8N, Oliver Cletrac

    Default Re: Lawn care...good idea or not?

    Sounds like you are on the right track. If you plan to do a smal area each year it would pay to rent a core aeriator and run it over the lawn them spread the compost which can them get into the root zone of the grass.
    I can't control my day but I can control my attitude.

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