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Add topsoil over grass or regrade entirely?

Posted by deebs43 z5 Michigan (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 5, 07 at 22:21

We have a 1/2 acre lot with sad grass. The turf is dented, vole-holed, and uneven. Early in the spring I want to start calling lawn places to have it fixed, but I want to think about my options first.

Complicating any lawn work is a very old, non-functioning sprinkler system attached to an unused well.

So, I'm wondering about the feasibility of each option: 1) rake topsoil over the lawn, filling in the dents and low spots, and overseeding; 2) dig out the old sprinkler system, fill in those trenches, and then do option 1; or 3) dig out, fully regrade, and reseed or sod the whole mess.

Cost is a factor. But I'm also interested in pros/cons. What do you think?


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RE: Add topsoil over grass or regrade entirely?

Please keep in mind that anything you do in the spring that involves new grass seed will give you a yard full of crabgrass all summer. The reason is that crabgrass seed needs exactly the same conditions that you would give new grass seed (bare soil, sunlight, and continual water). You can minimize crabgrass by growing your grass up as high as the mower will let it grow and by minimizing your watering once any new grass is established. Then next fall, once the summer heat breaks, reseed again to fill in where the crabgrass tried to take over. Fall is the best time to reseed because you don't get the ugly weeds and you can establish a nice dense turf. So even if you get a lot of crabgrass, don't worry. It can be fixed without Herculean effort.

If you decide to dig out the sprinklers, just do it with the same tractor as you will hire to regrade. It should be a tractor, not a skid steer or a bobcat. The attachment he will use is a box blade with rippers.

If you decide to just fill, then you can do that yourself. Keep a bucket of sand or topsoil with you when you mow. Use a broom to sweep the dirt or sand down into the turf so the grass is not covered. You can easily smother your grass with too much. Again, tall grass helps.

If you are worried about your soil, you might look into an organic program. All the reasons not to try organics are pretty much gone. It is about the same cost as synthetic fertilizers, does not smell bad, and will not kill your grass. Furthermore you don't have to live with weeds, and even if you want to use a weed killer, you can minimize damage to the soil by spraying each weed rather than dumping dry chemicals on the soil.


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