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Advice on friend's yard

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by forgop, May 24, 2006.

  1. forgop

    forgop LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    I have a friend that lives in one of those box style homes in neighborhoods going up all over the place. I saw her yard a couple of weeks ago and the area that was sod looks terrible. It's hard as a rock, is so overcome with thatch, sits directly on top of hard clay, and doesn't really even grow at all. She has a few fairly small areas where there was some sinking, but not really bad.

    I went through and dethatched for her last night, but it didn't really pull that much of it up. I told her the conservative approach would be to try to save it by dethatching/aerating and possibly putting some lime down as I heard that helps break up the clay. Overseeding will be an absolute must as well. I said the most aggressive and most successful would be to just pull up all the sod, put down 4" or so of top soil, and then seed.

    Any thoughts???
  2. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    There's a couple of products that help break up the clay that are even available to retail consumers - enviromax & earthright. I have had customers swear by them.

    How old is the house / lawn??? You may be able to get the developer involved on the sinking trees.
  3. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    Lime doesn't break up clay, it adjusts the pH level of the soil. I would start by core aerating, followed by one of the mentioned clay busters, topdressing with compost, fertilize and then water, water, water. Without looking at it, it sounds like it did not get watered in right to begin with. It may be too late.

    If it is completely dead, there's no point in ripping it up just to spread top soil. The sod brought some great top soil with it. Go through something like I outlined above, and if it doesn't work within a couple weeks (new green growth showing up in the sod), cut it as short as you can set your mower, overseed heavily, topdress with a light layer (1/8" or so) of compost and lay the water to it again. When trying to get the sod to respond, water for long periods everyday or every other day. If you overseed, water lightly 2 or 3 times a day. The difference is keeping the seed at the surface moist all the time vs. deep watering for the roots.

    I had exactly the situation you described happen to my yard a few years ago. The sod was dead when they laid it. I knew it, they knew it, but the contractor was paying them instead of me, so they laid it anyway. I watered it just as prescribed, but it was too late. I threw a fit and they agreed to aerate and overseed. Within a few weeks we saw results -- but you'll never see them without diligent watering.

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