when is a lawn pass repair?

LawnMedicApril 3, 2012

Hey experts,

My 2 acre back yard got annihilated by hurricane Irene last year which uprooted 40 100ft trees. It was a mess after the excavator got done burying all the tree roots and was too late in the year to reseed by the time I got done with the clear up. Whats left are large bare earth spots and patchy grass with all kinds of weeds growing (see pictures). I�d thought of just throwing new seed down on the earth, raking it in and watering (not looking for perfection here) but what would you recommend?

Should I buy top soil to support seeds/leveling (costs about 5 grand�.) or try and kill the weeds first (pull up, herbicides or cover to kill everything).

Another expensive alternative is to bring machines in to scrape up whats left of the sod and start from scratch but thats tons of cash too.

Is it possible to bring a lawn back from where I am with seeding or do I have to start from scratch?



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Do you know how deep he buried the tree roots? I suspect those places may not support grass growth for 5-10 years because of the massive amount of wood underground. There's really nothing you can put there, either. I might have suggested a gazebo or something that doesn't grow, but the ground will sink as the wood decomposes, so it can't be anything with permanancy. Maybe picnic benches and mulch? The best thing to do there would be to have someone come back to rip out the roots and resurface the area. That would all be done with the same tool - the trusty box blade on the back of a tractor. I'm not sure what your budget is but the box blade with tractor is one of the most economical things you can do in a hurry. If you did not have so many trees, it would take about 2 hours to do the entire yard. With the trees it might take all day. If someone suggests using a Bobcat or Skidsteer, those machines might take a full week to do the job.

The problem with burying wood is that it requires a special fungus to decompose. That fungus requires nitrogen from somewhere to live and do its job. Normally it lives above ground on fallen trees and will take nitrogen from the air. When you bury the wood, the nitrogen must come from the soil. It "robs" nitrogen from the soil preventing the plants from getting any. Furthermore, cutting off the nitrogen greatly extends the time it takes to decompose. I had a tree trunk buried under compost for a couple years. When I unburied it the trunk looked good as new. Hard as a rock. I tried uncovering it and keeping it wet. In 18 months it is weaker than balsa wood and extremely soft to step on. Wood absolutely has to be above the ground to decompose.

Spring is a terrible time of year to seed grass, but if you have to you have to. Don't spend a lot of money on any seed you buy now. If you are going to buy anything premium, get that for fall seeding. The grass you plant now will be hard pressed to live through the summer heat. Grass planted in the fall will be more than ready for summer heat next year.

One thing you can do to help yourself is raise your mower from the lowest setting to the highest setting. If that is Kentucky bluegrass, it will start spreading. When you see that, drop the mower one notch from the top setting.

Great pictures by the way. Is that rock much higher than the base of the trees? It looks about a foot higher.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 11:43PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Lawn drainage on the cheap?
My husband and I bought a house in November, and have...
What type of grass grows best is very shady areas in South East Texas?
I live in South East Texas and have many trees and...
I need lawn renovation help in Zone 7/8
I want to renovate my 24,000 sq ft lawn. The problem...
Shady lawn in winter - what seed is best?
Hi, I have a small garden in London, England. Because...
Lawn issues (tree roots drying out lawn, uneven ground, grading e
I have been a long time lurker, but this is my first...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™