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  1. #1

    Default Trying to grow grass

    I live in a fairly new house for which there was virtually no landscaping work done. I have an 1/4 acre of red South Carolina dirt (clay and embedded rocks) in my front yard that's pretty bare. I want to grow some grass there but not sure of the best way to proceed. It's growing pretty well everywhere else. I have a small compact tractor and a 5 ft. box blade.

    Do I:

    a. Have some top soil trucked in and level it all out with a box blade then fertilize and overseed or...

    b. Get a soil analysis, extend the scarifiyers to try to break up the ground, treat the soil then fertilize and overseed?

    Thanks in advance

    Ron

  2. #2
    Elite Member schmism's Avatar
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    New holland TC(33)

    Default Re: Trying to grow grass

    id want to do a combo of both, amend the soil thats there but also mix your good organic layer with it. otherwise you have a rich top layer, and poor dirt 3-6" below that doesnt support it.
    Steve - TC33D 4x4 FEL, dual rear remotes with toys

  3. #3
    Elite Member RonMar's Avatar
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    Port Angeles WA
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    Jinma 284 delivered 06/28/05

    Default Re: Trying to grow grass

    Where did that bare red dirt come from(basement/crawlspace)? Is the surrounding grass growing in the same type soil? If it is growing in the same type soil, you might be able to do "C". Make a drag from chain link fence material to rough up/loosen that soil and spread some seed, then drag again to cover the seed and keep moist while the seeds sprout. If the soil came from the basement hole and is different than the soil that the surrounding grass is growing in, then you may need some topsoil brought in. A soil analysis will help determine if that is the case.
    Ron

  4. #4
    Silver Member Harvster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trying to grow grass

    Two questions: What kind of final lawn quality are you looking for? How much are you willing to spend?

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Trying to grow grass

    If it wasn't for the rocks, I'd say till in some peat moss but my experience is that tillers don't like rocks.

    Talk to your county agent and get his recommendation. Also, you might check with the nearest university that has an ag program. They'll probably have info on growing grass in your area.
    Meetings: If more than two people are there, at least one's time is being wasted.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Trying to grow grass

    Quote Originally Posted by Harvster
    Two questions: What kind of final lawn quality are you looking for? How much are you willing to spend?

    1. General purpose grass to improve the yard's appearance

    2. Not a whole lot, $500 or less

  7. #7
    Elite Member KentT's Avatar
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    Sevierville, TN
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    Power Trac PT 425

    Default Re: Trying to grow grass

    Quote Originally Posted by redalrt
    I live in a fairly new house for which there was virtually no landscaping work done. I have an 1/4 acre of red South Carolina dirt (clay and embedded rocks) in my front yard that's pretty bare. I want to grow some grass there but not sure of the best way to proceed. It's growing pretty well everywhere else. I have a small compact tractor and a 5 ft. box blade.

    Do I:

    a. Have some top soil trucked in and level it all out with a box blade then fertilize and overseed or...

    b. Get a soil analysis, extend the scarifiyers to try to break up the ground, treat the soil then fertilize and overseed?

    Thanks in advance

    Ron
    As someone mentioned, if you can somehow deal with the rocks, you can make your own topsoil that is better than what you can have hauled in...

    Spread about one to two inches of sand on it, then one to two inches of cow manure (if you can find composted cow manure, it doesn't really stink), and then till it in, mixing it with the top two to three inches of clay. You'll have better soil than the topsoil you can readily purchase....

    If you can't till it, your only recourse may be to buy some topsoil...

  8. #8
    Silver Member
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    Garden Valley, Idaho
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    Kubota RTV 900

    Default Re: Trying to grow grass

    KentT is correct about the sand and manure. Get as many rocks out before you do this as possible. Then use double or tripple the recommended amount of seed per acre or square foot. Then, and most important, spread clean straw over all of the newly seeded area. Then water 2-4 times a day, especially in the evening and early morning. Once the grass comes up above the straw, you can throw a little fertilizer to it, but not much. Keep it watered good and don't mow until it getsat least 3" above the straw and then don't cut it short. If you have deciduous trees (with leaves), then you'll need to fertilize for sure. If you have alot of pine trees, then you'll need to lime it some. In the fall after Labor Day, spread rye grass seed heavy and you'll have a nice green winter, then it dies out when the spring grass starts to grow. You can also use some rye grass in your initial mix to give it a "mother" crop. I've done that alot too.

  9. #9
    Silver Member Harvster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trying to grow grass

    First get your soil tested to see what you have in terms of pH etc. Add your adjuncts(lime, compost etc.) Break it up by scarifying or tilling so you have a good base. Let it settle a bit and then rent a slit seeder. They do a great job for new lawns. Get some descent grass seed from a landscape supply house (Lesco is one by me and they have stores all over). Good grass seed will have a tag on it that gives weed percentages and an exact grass mix. Stay away from Wally world seed that will likely give you immediate weed trouble. Straw can work (never use hay), but I prefer hydraulic mulch. Hydraulic mulch is basically paper pellets that have some starter fertilizer mixed in. Works great and is not too expensive. Do not use regular fertilizer for at least a year. Its easy to burn the crud out of new lawns. (ask me how I know). Then keep it damp. Water everyday or even twice a day if its sunny/hot. You'll have a great looking lawn in no time.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Trying to grow grass

    Centipede grass is beautiful, a "lazy man's grass" in that it doesn't require frequent cutting (short blades), water or fertilizer AS MUCH as other grasses. It will grow on concrete (figure of speech) if you give it a little water and fert. and will choke out most other weeds and grass. It's also pretty cheap, at least around here - per pallet.

    If you want it to go farther, just sprig it out around your place...it's will spread like a virus with only the slightest amount of TLC.

    It grows well in the south, I'm pretty sure it will grow in South Kackalackee quite well.

    Good luck.

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