+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: BAD soil, BAD!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    3

    Default BAD soil, BAD!

    Greetings everyone. I'm new to the forum and this is my first post. I bought a house almost two years ago. The entire property is rough and uneven. The back yard has almost no grass. I seeded and fertilized it at the end of our first summer here and had a decent stand of grass that fall. However, nothing came back the next spring. The soil also is really hard. I had it tested and found out that there is almost no nutrient value in the soil. I talked to a local landscaping store about it, and they said I most likely have a yard full of fill dirt. He suggested I remove some of it off the top and add top soil. I priced out top soil and discovered it's going to be more than my budget will allow. My question is, can I do anything to the fill dirt to get more nutrients into it? My father is a farmer and he suggested manure or peat moss worked into the soil. Anyone have any more suggestions? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: BAD soil, BAD!

    I forgot to mention that I would like to keep it as organic as possible as my kids will be playing in the yard as much as possible. There is also a large Maple tree in the middle of the yard so there is a lot of shade.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,557

    Default Re: BAD soil, BAD!

    Organic material and sand. The organic material can be manure, peat moss, compost etc.Most manure should be composted, the only manure you can put on green that I know of is sheep manure. The sand will help break up the clay. It generally takes more than one year to get it properly worked into the soil. You will probably have to add lime also.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,480

    Default Re: BAD soil, BAD!

    I have the same problem as you. My garden was rock hard clay with zero nutrient levels. In the fall of '07 I brought in about 10 yards of horse manure and covered the garden 6" deep. The early spring '08 that was rototilled as deeply as possible and another 10 yards was brought in and tilled as deeply as possible. Now, a year later I can walk out there and push my bare hand down into the lush dark soil. All the soil on this property is clay with zero nutrient levels so I am seriously contemplating redoing the lawn in the same manner as the garden, only not tilling quite so deep.

    You can use any manure that you can get in bulk quantities, whether it's fresh or composted. By the time you mix it into the soil it will be so diluted that it will not be able to generate enough heat during decomposition to harm neither seed nor sod. The only time that fresh or "hot" manure is an issue is when applying it directly to a plant, that is when you can burn the plants.

    Sand may or may not be necessary, IMHO it's not needed with sufficient application of organic matter, particularly if you're on a budget.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: BAD soil, BAD!

    So would it work to just go get some manure from the horse farm down the road and till it into the soil? What else can I do? What kind of grass mix should I get? Like I stated before, it's kinda shady.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,480

    Default Re: BAD soil, BAD!

    Yup! That's all I did. Break up the soil with a tiller first, it will make working the manure in much easier and faster. BTW, I recommend a rear tine tiller, it will be far easier to control and more powerful to use in that hard soil.

    Can't help with a seed/sod selection, sorry.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,557

    Default Re: BAD soil, BAD!

    One thing to keep in mind, especially using horse manure, is to keep your and your family's Tetanus shots and boosters up to date.

    Although chicken manure is an excellent source of nitrogen needed for grass the respiratory problems associated with handling it make it undesirable.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: BAD soil, BAD!

    I would sugggest looking into lawnsmarts.com. They have a ton of helpful advice on seed selection. Seeing that you are from indiana, i think it would make sense to have Turf Type tall fescue or KBG. Note: Not all grasses are alike. I suggest the Rebel Elite mix for the fescue. For the KBG, there are dozens of varieties. They can get expensive, but are worth it in the quality, color, and lack of weeds.

    My soil has much the same problem as you do. I can grow grass but the ground is awful.

    You can try making a compost tea to spray nutrients into the soil (once again, i got my info from the aformentioned site)

    Jason

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: BAD soil, BAD!

    If you have questions about your soil and the proper seed to use go to your local agricultural extension agent. They provide advice to farmers and residents alike. Best of all their advice is free! Ours in Ohio is part of Ohio State University agricultural school. Check your state university for on line sites or links to your questions. Your ag. station may even be able to hook you up with a local farmer willing to sell, deliver and till in the material. He's got the equipment and could probably use some off season income. I did this for 3 acres of farm field before turning it into lawn. Just be patient with the install as farmers work with the seasons. Fall, winter and spring are the best times between his work. By the way the field prep, just like you see in the fields for spring planting cost me $150 from the farmer down the road. That included cutting and baling the field grass before turning over the soil. Hope this helps.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •