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  #1  
Old 04-06-2009, 02:52 PM
metallrulz metallrulz is offline
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Need to replace stone with topsoil. Options?

My wife and I bought a foreclosure a year ago and we're finally getting to the back yard. There's a section of my yard that's stone - about 1100 sq ft. It looks terrible because sticks/leaves get all in it (many trees in the back yard) and the underlayment is torn (10 yr mesh and it's been 19 yrs), so plants grow up in it.

We'd like to bring in topsoil and plant grass. There are about 1"-3" of stone and it's mixed well with soil. Then I'm going to need topsoil to level off the whole area. I think about 5 yards would be enough to level the whole area off. I'm trying to find my options to deal with this.

1) Rent a mini skid steer loader and dig up the gravel and find somewhere to dump it. May have a dumping trailer to use. Then have topsoil delivered and use the skid steer to spread it out and level it.

2) Hire someone to do it all. I have a feeling this is going to be very expensive and we won't be able to afford it.

3) Bring in topsoil and put it down directly on top of the stone.

I already tried removing some of the stone by hand and it's just too much work for one person IMO. It would also take too long to do and I'd like to get grass seed planted before then end of the month.

Anyone have any opinions or other options I haven't thought of?



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  #2  
Old 04-06-2009, 03:54 PM
betmr betmr is offline
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My opinion is to remove the stone, bring in soil, and regrade.
This is not the best time for sowing a large area of grass here in Jersey. We use cool season grasses, and most of them have long germination times. So, by the time the stresses of summer arrive, they may not be mature enough to survive. Do your prep work, to be ready to plant in late August to early September, this is a better time to start cool season grasses.
Also be sure to consider the amount of sunlight in this area, as this is an important factor in your choice of grass species.
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  #3  
Old 04-06-2009, 09:40 PM
betmr betmr is offline
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I thought more about your pictures. What are the chances the previous owner put that gravel down, because it's just to darn shady back there to grow grass ?

In just those two pictures I count NINE mature trees in that 1100 sq. ft., that's a lot of shade. There are grasses that do better in "Shady Areas" than others, but all grass needs a degree of daily sun light, that's why you don't see much grass growing in the woods. What grass I can see looks pretty sparse. Think you might need a Shade Garden, instead of grass ?

Does'nt look like a happy place for grass. Just my opinion.

Last edited by betmr; 04-06-2009 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:37 PM
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ed2hess ed2hess is offline
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Just scoop that gravel up and haul it to the curb and load it into a dumpster. Why add more soil just plant in what you got and see how it goes. Probably too shady and in the end you will mulch over the area.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:19 AM
Newt* Newt* is offline
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If you bring in more then 2" of soil you risk suffocating the roots of your trees. You should also remove those heavy pavers from the base of the trees as that will further compact the soil and harm the trees.
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/02926.html
http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/trees_turf.aspx
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/MG/MG08900.pdf
http://www.tlcfortrees.info/planting%20depth.htm
http://warnell.forestry.uga.edu/serv...php3?docID=118

How to mulch trees.
http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/mulching.aspx

If you don't like the look of mulch in the shady areas consider stepable groundcover.
http://stepables.com/
http://classygroundcovers.com/

Newt
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:29 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is online now
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I too imagine those stones were put there because grass around those trees is difficult at best. I didn't see the canopy, but they are likely dominating that area. The most sun you had when taking that picture was slipping through the garden fence and shining on the other fence. Either early morning or late afternoon and zero sun on the stones.
Do you know how many hours of sun you soil will get? Morning hours or afternoon hours?

Just rake the stones to the perimeter and make them look nice at the base of those fences.
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  #7  
Old 04-07-2009, 09:36 AM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newt* View Post
If you bring in more then 2" of soil you risk suffocating the roots of your trees. You should also remove those heavy pavers from the base of the trees as that will further compact the soil and harm the trees.
Bingo. Any major work done under those trees and you risk losing those trees. Plus the change in management practices from what it is now to turf may very likely push those trees even closer to death, if not right over the edge.

You need to pick one or the other, trees or turf. Personally I would stick with the trees, get rid of the rock, and landscape the area with proper understory natives.
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  #8  
Old 04-07-2009, 10:40 AM
betmr betmr is offline
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I like Kiril's idea. Make a little woodland wonderland. Put in some shade plants, with walkways. Could also take your time doing it, a little at a time.
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  #9  
Old 04-07-2009, 11:56 AM
metallrulz metallrulz is offline
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Thanks for all the great responses. I may rethink what I'm doing based on all your suggestions. I was skeptical about planting grass in that whole area because of the lack of light. That area gets at most a few hours of sun around sunrise and sunset because the sun comes in sideways. I'd hate to take down all the trees for some grass and I don't think that would even help much because the neighbors have just as many trees, so it would still block sunlight.

The problem with a lot of the stone is that it's heavily mixed with soil. Right now i'm pulling the stone away from the front of the shed because I want that to remain stone. I'll put down some better landscape fabric, redesign the brick barrier, and put down the stone I can find without dirt in it. I may end up still removing the stone/dirt.

I'm going to talk to the wife to see what we can come up with. Maybe we can make larger mulched areas around the trunk of the trees and implement some kinda "shade" garden like you guys are suggesting. Gotta do some search to see what will grow .

Thanks all!
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  #10  
Old 04-07-2009, 12:00 PM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metallrulz View Post
The problem with a lot of the stone is that it's heavily mixed with soil. Right now i'm pulling the stone away from the front of the shed because I want that to remain stone. I'll put down some better landscape fabric, redesign the brick barrier, and put down the stone I can find without dirt in it. I may end up still removing the stone/dirt.
Make sure you only use fabric for rock areas, and get a high quality geotextile to save yourself headaches down the road.
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