Rocky yard, can't bring in topsoil

processor160April 18, 2013

I have a rocky backyard that I need grass in by August. There is nothing there now, just a few weeds starting to pop up. I can't bring in topsoil or anything else that needs to be delivered by truck (and I don't have time to bring it in a wheelbarrowful at a time.) I don't need a perfect lawn, just some green. What will happen if I just rake it, take out what rocks I can (this would leave a lot of rocks), put some seed in, and water? Would fertilizer help?

Thank you for any suggestions.

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

There are some machines that pick up rocks and remove them at the surface level. I don't think you can rent them due to the complexity of using them and relative danger of using them (they sling rocks around). I believe the Harley Rake is one such tool. Most go by the nickname, 'clinker'.

If you seed now and water correctly, you will have a full crabgrass lawn by August. Or if you just start watering as if you had seed (3x each day for 10 minutes each time for 2 weeks), you will have a full crabgrass lawn. Crabgrass is not perfect and it is green.

The only way to have a nicer lawn by then is to get rid of most of the rocks and to lay sod. Sod can be expensive but you bypass the crabgrass effect. Spring is just a bad time to try to seed a lawn.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Thanks for the reply, dchall. I won't have crabgrass, though, I will have the four foot tall weeds I had last year. What if I put down Dimension, then seed? I can't afford sod.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 7:36PM
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Do you have a place that a load of topsoil could be delivered in the front of the house?

If so see if you can rent something like a small JD Tractor with a 7 to 10 cu ft trailer. This is bigger than a wheelbarrow, and more stable. I moved about 6 yards of topsoil with a small tractor and trailer in a couple of days.

This may be another option

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 7:55PM
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knuttle, that's a good idea, if it's affordable. Do you know the best way to get the rocks out, first?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 8:07PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Adding soil is only a good idea if you have drainage problems. Because adding soil creates drainage problems where none existed before.

How big are the rocks. Are the little pea sized pebbles or are they more like fist sized? Go to YouTube and search for 'rock picker,' and watch some of the videos. See if you see your sized rocks being picked up by any of the various machines available. Basically the idea is to rake them out with a tremendously tough powered rake.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 7:03PM
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I am afraid there is no good way to get ALL of the rocks out of your yard. The best you can hope for is to get the big ones out and the let the grass and topsoil cover the little ones. Big are those that would not be covered by the topsoil, and be high enough above the resulting yard surface to be hit by the mower, or are large enough to be seen through the grass.

We live on the edge of the Piedmont east of Raleigh. Our yard is abouy 10% quartz rocks and clay. (Sometime you can find some nice crystals ) The first tool I reach for when we are plant is the Mattock, and then the shovel.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:16AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

At my old house, my soil was full of rocks.

What my yard looked like afterward -

It can be done if maintained properly. It took a few years of organic program for the soil to be good (full of earthworms, etc).

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:56AM
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