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Rain Wash Away Seed???

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by OCTO13ER, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. OCTO13ER

    OCTO13ER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Hey guys!! Newbie here with a couple of questions before I plant my seed:

    I've got new construction that needed 8 truckloads of fill to bring it to grade. It's really good farmland soil (even smells like manure) that we got graded two weekends ago. I also spread a load of sand (mason #1) over the entire area because the soil did contain some clay, I figured the sand would help loosen up any clay and keep it from compacting. Well, last weekend we rented the biggest rear tine tiller we could find and set about to tilling. We got it tilled up real fine (some parts are still golf ball size or smaller, just couldn't break 'em up any more) and raked it all smooth. I started spreading seed and about halfway through the first spreader full, it started dumping rain. My guess is the seed that got wet in the spreader may be ruined (what do you think?). Anyhow, it proceeded to rain pretty good over the weekend and again on Wednesday. What I noticed and became concerned of was that in one area of the yard the rain washed quite a bit of dirt out to the street, created some ruts (little rain gullys) and brought quite a few small rocks to the surface over the entire yard. Now my questions:

    If I spread my seed, then the mulch/starter fertilizer (the kind that's made from recycled newspaper), then roll it by hand with a 200 lb. roller (normally pulled by a tractor, but I'm a big boy) will that keep my seed/soil from washing away in the next big rain? Or will I have to invest in straw/erosion control?
    Also, should I bother picking up the thousands of tiny rocks that surfaced? My neighbor said don't bother because there are thousands more yet to come, but what happens to them if they're not removed? Will the grass/topdressing eventually overcome them?
    Also, should I go ahead and make arrangements to rent a tiller for this weekend or will a good raking be sufficient? It still hasn't dried out all the way and all of the fine dirt/sand washed to the bottom leaving the clumps (golfballs) on top. I'm afraid that by tilling it while it's still moist I may just cause more clumps, but I've got to get this grass seed down. The weather just won't cooperate.

    Just some info: <7000 sq. ft., Penncross seed ($friggin' expensive$), about a 25-30 degree grade on one side only.


  2. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Messages: 784

    your going top pull a 200lb roller by hand across 7k sqft and on a grade? you going to kill your self
  3. OCTO13ER

    OCTO13ER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    That wasn't the question that needed answered but I salute your attention to detail. I'm 6'-4" and weigh 245 lbs., I bench just under 500 lbs. and am 31 years old. I run 2 miles every morning and work out every other day. I also work in a steel fabrication shop and move 150 lb. plate almost all day, everyday. I find the 200 lb. roller to be an easy load.
    If I sat on the couch all week, I'd hire you to plant my lawn, but I'm a hands on and slightly restless individual. I work hard because I enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.
    I'm also having a frustrating day so I apologize for seeming irritable.
    Does anyone have any good insight to offer?
  4. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Messages: 784

    here is what i would do. i would bring in my topsoil and spread around the yard. then i would apply my seed/fert/lime/. then roll it. then put erosion matting down.

    i would bother with tilling again. just a rake it again and roll the heck out of it scince the yard was tilled heavy.
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Sand does not help clay unless it is used in huge massive amounts.
    Let dry out a bit then,rake it out well(the clumps as much as possible) then re-seed after filling the erroded areas in,roll and cover w/topper or straw or errosion matting like suggested above
  6. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Messages: 784

    I forgot to add that if you want to get rid of compaction in clay soil add gypsum and incoperate organics in with the soil you have.
  7. OCTO13ER

    OCTO13ER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Thanks for the input. It's not heavy clay, there's a minimal amount. It's mostly organic/soil with some clay and now sand mixed. I was poking around in it last night after work and it's dried out pretty well (in spight of the gully washer on Wednesday) and is still pretty loose, too. :)

    I wonder if the rain runoff was because it was still so loose from tilling?

    Anyway, thanks again for the response. I won't bother tilling again, maybe I'll just rake up the bigger clumps (and rocks) and put them where the flower beds will be going in the future. I've still got enough soil in some areas to fill in any low spots left by the clumps and runoff. Plus I can shovel the dirt from the sidewalk and curb and reuse it!! :p Sounds like I had better go ahead and invest in some erosion matting as well. I didn't think the slope was enough to need it and was hoping the fertilizer/mulch would magically keep it from running off in the rain. Doesn't sound like it though. But this time of year a one time application of seed and matting should be far cheaper than reseeding, reseeding, reseeding... If I'm going to put down more seed I'd rather it be to overseed the lawn and not the storm drains!
  8. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    You dont use gypsum in clay soil unless the ph is neutral and your calcium levels are low. In NC, the state you say you are from, neutral ph and high calcium levels are unlikely unless the area has been properly admended, your soil should benefit more from dolomitic lime than gypsum.
  9. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Messages: 784

    lime and gypsum are apples and oranges. care to fill me in as to why you shouldnt use gypsum unless the ph is neutral? lime doesnt do anything for compaction, it corrects an acidic soil.
  10. OCTO13ER

    OCTO13ER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Who cares??? Go argue on your own thread.

    I didn't add any of the above as I didn't need it. I did rent a tractor pulled pullverizer and re-pullved the entire lawn. It broke up the remaing chunks and allowed me to fill in the eroded areas. I seeded, mulched/fertilized, and rolled the heck out of it (used the tractor since it was there, it was kind of fun). I did not use erosion matting as I still believe I do not need it, and after rolling the soil it has not gone anywhere. It was simply that it was still loose from the tilling. Now the temps have dropped below 60 daily and I'm wondering if I'll see any germination in the next couple of days. If not, it'll come up next spring and we'll get back after it next fall for overseeding.

    By the way, I've heard Nitron A-35 is really good for loosening up hard soil if applied after aeration.

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