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New Lawn in Southeast Tennessee

Posted by TNAaron 7 - Tennessee (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 30, 14 at 14:51

My wife and I bought our first home here in Southeast Tennessee. This home is new construction and it was completed just before we closed a few days before Christmas. One of my many concerns about the house since going under contract has been landscaping. I knew that since we were buying the house at the start of winter, that my lawn would take some work.

The builder had the lawn seeded and strawed the day we closed on the house. In retrospect, I wish I had arranged for this to have been done in March instead. Anyhow, two days after we moved in, a rain storm dumped 2 inches overnight. It was very windy and rainy, and the house is on top of a ridge, so it is very weather exposed. I figured that most of the grass seed, which had been planted 2 days prior, had been washed away. A lot of the straw blew around, so once the ground was dry enough I went out and spread the straw evenly again.

It is now a month later. No grass. Albeit, it has been really cold. However, I don't really see any grass seen in the ground either. The straw was becoming a nuisance by blowing into my neighbor's yard. So last weekend I went out and raked away the straw from just the front yard and piled it in the side yard. I found a few patches of grass, maybe 5% of the total lawn area, if that.

Here's my question: Do you think there is likely still grass seed in the ground and I just can't see it because it's covered up? Should I put the straw back out? When should I re-seed and with what type of grass? The soil seems to be primarily clay. That is pretty typical for our area. The excavators graded the lawn using the dirt from where they dug our basement.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: New Lawn in Southeast Tennessee

Your best option now is to sod your yard as long as the ground is not frozen. Trying to seed this spring will eventually lead to a weedy mess by the middle of summer. Sod is going to cost you more up front, but seeding will be a lot more work and eventually cost you more.

RE: New Lawn in Southeast Tennessee

What a mess! Your builder is an idiot. Hope your house was built better than the lawn. Builders almost never use seed because high quality bermuda turf is readily available. He and you should have agreed to sod with Tif 419 bermuda in the spring when the turf becomes available.

At this point it is time to punt.
What kind of grass do you want?
What are you going to use the lawn for? Any sports or dogs?
On the ridge means full sun, right? Are you on the south or north side of a ridge? West or east?

Spring is a bad time to grow grass from seed because crabgrass wants to sprout from seed at the same time. That's why sod is used.

Since your soil is a real unknown, you should have it tested at Logan Labs in Ohio. Their basic $20 test is much better than any land grant university test in the country. Your basement soil really needs to be characterized and likely corrected before much of anything will grow well. When you get the soil test results back, write in here and we can find you a place to get them interpreted for free. It can seem overwhelming, but there is a place that makes it easy.

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