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ok..what do i do?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by buysell, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. buysell

    buysell LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 111

    hey guys.....live in north caldwell nj 07006

    i had a 40x126 piece of my property that i just cleared...i rented an excavator and cleared and leveled such......got out the landscapers rake and cleaned and leveled some more......put down a 25lb bag of lesco sun and shade and lesco starter fertilizer....then i remembered...with the clearing with the 6k lb machine i have compacted it to say the least..when i was back racking the seed i would only be able to move around about a 1/4 inch of soil.....will the grass take root and grow or do i have to get a tiller and start over?

    thanks in advance!!
  2. robtown

    robtown LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 224

    how was the soil??
    clay ...sand...any organic material?
    if it is that compacted i would say get some compost and rototill it in.
    I would try to get 1 inch tilled in.
    you will have to reseed.
    you might as well get everything into the soil now instead of trying to squeeze it in later.
    good luck.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,568

    Are you watering every day? Is the soil temp warm? Were weeds growing on the property? If weeds will grow--grass will grow. Will probably do OK. Remember, even a few hours of dryness will kill new seed--it has very little roots. In warm weather it should be a half-inch high in 7 days. Keep plenty of wter coming. Add more seed if needed. When it is about 3 inches high, apply high-nitrogen fertilizer. You want it to grow as fast as possible before cold weather sets in, and until it is 100 percent covering the soil, (then cut back). What are ingredients of the seed blend? Be sure to begin cutting the grass as soon as it is 3 inches high. Let it dry for a day to make sure the soil is firm enough to mow without leaving tracks. Then water. Mowing it right away helps it grow sideways not strainght up. Fertilize again about once a month until it is thick or until the mowing becomes burdensome. Remember the ryegrass comes up first--the blue is about 3 weeks slower. Rust is a common problem on rye during a fall seeding. Keep the fert levels high--that will help-- and rust disappears about the time of frost. Weed control can be applied after 3 mowings, if needed. Apply crabgrass control in spring, April.
  4. buysell

    buysell LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 111

    thanks robtown and riggle

    weeds were growing for sure..the soil is clayish...when its dry its basically a light tan color...dryd out i assume...the ph is 6.5 ...where do i get compost? does a big box stoor sell it..i looked and never saw it unless its under a different name...high nitrogen? will that make it grow to fast with out the roots being strong enough?...in other words doesnt it make sense to have a phosphorous number?


    when should i apply any fertilizer..i just planted it yesterday...the 23rd
  5. atouchofnature

    atouchofnature LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    The big box store will likely have a bag labeled "Composted Humus & Manure" that would serve your purpose.

    You would be better off buying bulk compost for the amount that you will need. You would need a minimum of 125 - 150 bags to make a good impact at around $2 a bag. Prices differ, but I buy compost for $10 a scoop in my area, and the scoop is about 1.5 cubic yards (the equivalent of about 40 bags).

    If you can find some good quality bulk compost, put about 6 cubic yards on and till it to at least 6 - 8 inches for best long term results. Use your excavator to spread the compost somewhat evenly on top of the ground before tilling. Checking with places that sell bulk mulch or topsoil would be a good place to start looking for the compost. Some municipalities will give you composted yard waste for free, so check with your city hall. If you use that much compost, there will be no need to fertilize this year. In regards to fertilization, it would be best to do a soil test next spring before making your decision, you likely won't need to fertilize for a year or more. Just do a soil test every 6 months and follow it's recommendations. You will also need to reseed. I'm not sure what is in the seed blend you used, but unless it has a lot of bluegrass, 25 lbs isn't enough. When starting with bare ground, I usually use about 10 lbs per 1000 sq. ft for tall fescue or around 4 lbs per 1000 sq. ft for bluegrass. Spread your seed on with a broadcast spreader, then lightly rake it in with a bow rake.

    Check the PH again after you are finished tilling in the compost. The compost may alter your PH. Of course, adjust the PH, if needed, as soon as you get the results.

    The 1 inch deep tilling mentioned above would definitely help with germination, but would encourage a shallow root system. The grass roots are going to look for the best soil, so if the good soil is only 1 inch deep, your roots are going to hang around that area rather than going down into the clay where the soil isn't as good.

    Doing the extra work of adding a large amount of compost right now while you have the excavator handy will save you a small fortune on fertilizers, soil amendments and pesticides, as well as a lot of back breaking work over the long haul.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If you start with compacted soil you will be fighting it forever. Nothing compares with a vibrant roots system in well structured soil. Be sure it is not too wet or too dry when you till it.
  7. buysell

    buysell LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 111

    thanks to all!!!!!:clapping:
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

  9. robtown

    robtown LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 224

    Atouch of nature: thank you for expaining that better. I was saying put an 1 inch of compost down than till it in 6 - 8 inchs.
    buysell : I dont know how close you are to Lincroft NJ but a supply place called Molzons carries really nice compost. It is bleanded for topdressing. Laurel valley makes it and will send you test results for there compost. The last one I recieved the PH was 7.0.
    good luck
    It really is better to fix it now.

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