Lawn went from bad to worse/ need assistance

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by DWhite, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. DWhite

    DWhite LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Hi All-

    I hope not to intrude on the forum too much. I am a homeowner and not a professional but what better place to ask then a group of pro's?

    I have a home that is about 4 years old. It is in Dayton Ohio. I believe the area I am in is mostly clay type soil.

    Originally my yard was graded and then seeded. The grass came up nicely for about 2 years. After the 2 years rocks upon rocks (quarter to half dollar size rocks) started coming up through the soil and grass to the point that the grass was blotchy in areas beacuse of so many rocks. Then last year I think grubs got it. So, now the backyard is mostly dead grass, uneven as can be (like twist an ankle uneven) and rocks galore.

    I would like a lawn where my kids can go out and run, play and roll in the grass? I am not a man with a big wallet so please keep that in mind if possible.

    What would be my best plan of action to restore this to a nice lawn?

    Thanks, I appreciate any advice
  2. hole in one lco

    hole in one lco LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,793

    cheap is what you got now . So you need 2 spend some money post some pics and ill tell you what 2 do.
  3. BFLL

    BFLL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    Just keep picking up the rock until there is no more. and then start working on making the lawn nice again.
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,457

    You think you had grubs? Find out for sure--or call a professional in your area to get an evaluation and examination to be sure, or to rule out grubs. The owner of a small company with deep experience is the best bet. He will look at all other aspects, too.

    Is it irrigated? Wasn't it super dry in Ohio last year? You could have lost some grass due to drought. Pick up the rocks--but a few pebbles will not matter if your grass is thick.

    What about disease? What about weeds and crabgrass?
  5. B_gerrits

    B_gerrits LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 297

    Well with the lack of info I can only guess to what happened. My guess is that the grass was rye grass which actually looks good and is extremely easy to grow however it does not last long. My guess as to why rocks are showing up all over the place is the area was not properly prepped as in a bunch of topsoil was raked over poorsoil and eventually broke down exposing the poor soil underneath the topsoil. The remedy is a lot of hard work first use roundup to kill all undesired growth then till the soil and remove the rocks and debris. Then add topsoil and rake the area with a landscaper rake to level out. At this point you can either seed, Hydroseed or sod the area. Seeding is the cheapest solution but must be watered constantly during the germination period which varies on the type of grass planted. Hydroseeding is more effective requires less watering than seed but will have done by a professional call a landscaper and price out how much per sq ft. Sod is the most expensive but is possible to install yourself with a lot of work. Sod will need to be watered daily for about two weeks. The actual amount of watering will vary with the temps of the area and time of year. Seeding will not germinate until the ground temps exceed 50 degrees which means it is to early right now. As for grub problems did you see a large amount of bird activity and or moles digging up the lawn if so you need to apply an insecticide to the lawn area you can get info on what to use in your area from a good garden center.
  6. DWhite

    DWhite LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Sorry for the late reply. It snowed last week and I could not get pictures of the lawn.

    I say the lawn got hit by grubs because I found some in the mulch bed and my neighbor also said he had grubs but he treated them earlier in the year.

    There is really not a whole lot of the lawn left. I could go through and pick up the rocks but it would literally take me a month or more to harvest them. Most of them are the pebble to small nickel-quarter sized rocks. I do not think it would be practical to try and manually get them all up? I do not explain myself well sorry, but does that seem logical?
    My first thought was to scap it all and rty to start over in the spring. I was thinking of treating the Grubs with grub-x or similiat then maybe having some topsoil brought in. Like 3" over the existing surface. Then try and figure out a way to smooth it out and then finally, plant some grass seed?
    Good? Bad idea? thoughts? Thanks

    Oh, I will try and get some pictures up tonight.
  7. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    your lawn consists of construction fill dirt not good topsoil. I would remove the first 6-8" of your lawns fill dirt and then bring in some good topsoil and reseed. Grubs are a problem everywhere at some point, put down some granulated insecticide like diazinon and water or put it down right before it rains.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    3 inches of topsoil was going to be my suggestion. Cover the rocks and seed in something good and thick to ensure no weeds take over.

    Don't cheapout on the seed though. You don't need fancy seed just plenty of good seed. Overseed the thin spots all summer long if need be but only as much area as you can irrigated at one time.
  9. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    You haven't mentioned the size of the lot, but if there is much size to it at all, the recommendation to bring in several inches of top soil could prove to be cost prohibitive, as well as completely disruptive to your yard at a time when you would like to use it.

    Others have alluded to watering, but no one has specifically addressed the fundamental issue. You can't have the thick green lawn of your dreams without consistent watering. That can be done with hose and sprinklers, but it is an enormous commitment of time and energy. Installing an irrigation system is your first step toward where you want to go. Next, I would cut the lawn very close, topdress with about a 1/2 inch of 70/30 compost/sand blend, slit seed, roll, and start laying the water to it several times a day, but only for a few minutes -- the goal being to keep the seedbed moist, without puddles. When you have complete germination, water less frequently but longer.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Jeff makes a good point and perhaps iron raking the stones and redo one area at a time. 1000 sq. ft. or so every other weekend. Focusing on one small area should get the grass growing well in under 10 days.
    Be careful of summer heat with new seedlings.

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