Unscreened Loam - Rookie Mistake :-(

edrocks3

LawnSite Member
So... I had about 135 yards of loam spread... hydroseeded in the fall. Lawn started growing little blades of grass even though much washed out from the HEAVY fall rains.

Here is my concern... I find myself walking around picking up 100's of rocks that were in the loam. It became painfully obvious that the good deal I got on the loam was just that... a good deal.

At this point the extra $1000 in nice loam would have been worth it.

Is my "new" lawn any good? The loam looked beautiful when the piles were dropped but now that the rocks have come to the surface I'm finding myself always out there picking up rocks.

What do I do? Can I rake them out in the spring without ruining my new grass?

I planned on overseeding in the spring to fill in the wash out areas but now I'm concerned about the rocks.

I've plucked all the larger ones but now I'm seeing many many little ones.

Again the overall quality of the loam seems good enough to be growing grass.


Thanks in advance for your advice.
 

Darryl G

Inactive
I had a customer do the same thing...he had unscreened top soil brought in, spread with a dozer and then he seeded it himself without much raking...it was horrible. I ended up bringing in my tractor with "York" rake, winrowing the rocks and then hand raking it all out. So I'm afraid to say that I think you need to just start over and get it raked out with a York rake, Harley rake or maybe something like the Rotodairon soil renovator. Yes, it would ruin your new grass. You could always just keep on picking rocks...little kids are pretty good at that...kinda like an Easter egg hunt :)

How big of an area are we talking about?
 
OP
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edrocks3

LawnSite Member
I had a customer do the same thing...he had unscreened top soil brought in, spread with a dozer and then he seeded it himself without much raking...it was horrible. I ended up bringing in my tractor with "York" rake, winrowing the rocks and then hand raking it all out. So I'm afraid to say that I think you need to just start over and get it raked out with a York rake, Harley rake or maybe something like the Rotodairon soil renovator. Yes, it would ruin your new grass. You could always just keep on picking rocks...little kids are pretty good at that...kinda like an Easter egg hunt :)

How big of an area are we talking about?
About 15k sq ft total. I'm just not sure what to do now. I like the neighborhood kids idea... but wonder if that would be ok?

Can I hand rake lightly the rocks out from the grass without ripping out the new grass? In the spring. Winter is here now in MA.
 

Darryl G

Inactive
You could try to rake them out. Something like a 2 or 3 foot landscape rake with the non-gouging rounded teeth, not the chisel teeth...those are for grading...and then overseed if needed...which it sounds like you need to do anyway if you had a lot of wash outs. It depends how well the grass is established though...kinda hard to rake the rocks out once there's grass growing. I use a rubber paddle power broom for getting driveway gravel out of lawns in the spring, but not something I'd want to do on 15k sq feet.

As time goes on and the turf gets established, it will cover over a lot of the rocks. Kind of hard to know exactly how many rocks and how bad it is without pictures...pictures always help. Where are you located? What kind of grass?
 
OP
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edrocks3

LawnSite Member
You could try to rake them out. Something like a 2 or 3 foot landscape rake with the non-gouging rounded teeth, not the chisel teeth...those are for grading...and then overseed if needed...which it sounds like you need to do anyway if you had a lot of wash outs. It depends how well the grass is established though...kinda hard to rake the rocks out once there's grass growing. I use a rubber paddle power broom for getting driveway gravel out of lawns in the spring, but not something I'd want to do on 15k sq feet.

As time goes on and the turf gets established, it will cover over a lot of the rocks. Kind of hard to know exactly how many rocks and how bad it is without pictures...pictures always help. Where are you located? What kind of grass?
I will put together some pics definitely to show you... we went with the Pearls Premium seed. It sprouted pretty good but definitely some overseeding in the spring is critical due to all the washouts. Right after we seeded all that Oct rain killed us. It was painful to watch.

We are north of Boston about 25 minutes in MA.

I like your idea of the landscape rake non-chisel teeth. You seen this at the big box stores? Or more of a specialty rake?

Thanks again for your help.
 

Darryl G

Inactive
Just keep in mind it's not going to work very well in dense/long established turf...if it's sparse and/or short you may have a chance...probably as soon as you can in the spring...late March or early April depending on what kind of winter we have. Not a bad tool to have around anyway...I use them for final grading of soil and for moving piles of leaves onto tarps and such.
 
OP
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edrocks3

LawnSite Member
Just keep in mind it's not going to work very well in dense/long established turf...if it's sparse and/or short you may have a chance...probably as soon as you can in the spring...late March or early April depending on what kind of winter we have. Not a bad tool to have around anyway...I use them for final grading of soil and for moving piles of leaves onto tarps and such.
Ah this gives me hope... it is definitely sparse and short right now. It isn't even thick enough to hide the rocks yet. I will take your advice for the EARLY EARLY spring before the growing kicks in.
 

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