Planting grass seed on hard soil with some pebbles

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garyb
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Planting grass seed on hard soil with some pebbles

Post by garyb » Sun May 14, 2017 8:04 am

Hey all,

So, I know the general idea/answer to this question is to buy grass seed, plant it, and keep watering it every day, and spread hay on top of it. But... I want to basically turn this area into grass:

Image

This area had some wood 2x4s nailed to some framed 4x4s in the ground. Since it's a bit lower than the rest of the grass, I figure I'll need to buy some bags of topsoil to level it a bit. And because the ground is kind of hard, will I need to buy or rent a rototiller or a rotary cultivator or something to turn up the ground first? Or doesn't that matter since I'll be covering it about 2-3 inches w/ topsoil?

Also, I have no idea what different types of grass are available or what my existing grass is, but I kinda want it to match if possible... is there a way to figure that out? :)

Edit: One more quick question - do I have to compact the topsoil at all or leave it loose?

Thanks!


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Shannon
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Re: Planting grass seed on hard soil with some pebbles

Post by Shannon » Sun May 14, 2017 8:43 am

Well this a little different from the questions we usually get here but I think we can point you in the right direction still.
If you are adding 2-3" if loose top soil then IMO you really should not need to till the existing soil unless it is as hard as pavement? Add your soil and rake it out level as you want it. I would also spread it to be about a inch higher then the surrounding soil because over time it will pack down lower. I would then spread a good covering of grass seed and then what I use is grass clippings to cover the entire areaAbout an inch thick. This acts as a mulch cover to help hold in the moisture until the new seed can get established and also keep the seed from getting washed away during watering.Once the clippings are spread use a lawn roller (one of those ones you fill with water to give them weight) to run over the area to pack it a little. All you really need to do is firm up the seed bed a little so that once the grass is established and you are walking on it you are not sinking in and leaving deep foot prints. You can usually rent these rollers. Then give the entire area a good soaking of water. Continue the soaking every day or two depending on the heat of your days you wanna keep it damp below the surface of the grass clippings.
As for the type of grass, I really do not know my grasses but you could take a small clump into a good garden/green house and they may be able to help you with that.
Good luck ,let us know how it works out!
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garyb
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Re: Planting grass seed on hard soil with some pebbles

Post by garyb » Sun May 14, 2017 9:36 am

Shannon wrote:Well this a little different from the questions we usually get here but I think we can point you in the right direction still.
... (snip) ...
Good luck ,let us know how it works out!
Thanks a bunch! I never thought about the settling, and using grass clippings instead of hay. Good call.

Do you fill the roller up w/ water at all or not and just give it a really light roll?

Thanks again!

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A. Spruce
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Re: Planting grass seed on hard soil with some pebbles

Post by A. Spruce » Sun May 14, 2017 5:43 pm

You really kind of want the same soil everywhere, which means tilling will be in order. If you simply overlay some new soil, the grass will grow and behave differently in this area, by tilling, you're mixing existing soil as well, making growing conditions fairly uniform. You could also redo the entire area, tilling it first, then raking surrounding soil into the low spot, only do this as long as it doesn't interfere with yard drainage. If you need to bring in soil, bring in soil.

If you only work the area in question, the rolling is going to be necessary to achieve a fairly uniform surface across the yard. If you work the whole area, then rolling isn't a necessity, simply water it good a few times and it will settle out on its own.

As to what to plant, just figure that you will never match what you have. You could try taking a sample to a seed or sod supplier, but it will be a slim chance of matching because grass strains not only change yearly, they mutate over time due to growing conditions in your yard. I always vote for installing sod because it is instant green and usable within a week or two with minimal effort. Seed takes a long time to germinate, takes meticulous watering and care, and will take several seasons to fill in. An added benefit to sod is that it will help to smother out weeds.

When to use a roller. Any time you have loose, unsettled dirt, rolling will be needed to firm up the ground for you to be able to walk without damage. Rolling helps to minimize overall settling, so if you're trying to keep the finished grass level at a certain height to walkways, patios, etc., then grading and rolling will help you achieve that. Sod requires rolling to set it into the ground and promote growth, seed does not, though seed does benefit from being covered lightly to minimize bird foraging and the seed itself from drying out during germination. You roller weight is controlled by the addition of water into the barrel and is something that you can kind of judge as you're using the roller because too light and it won't do anything, too heavy and you won't be able to move it.
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Shannon
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Re: Planting grass seed on hard soil with some pebbles

Post by Shannon » Sun May 14, 2017 7:42 pm

garyb wrote:
Shannon wrote:Well this a little different from the questions we usually get here but I think we can point you in the right direction still.
... (snip) ...
Good luck ,let us know how it works out!
Thanks a bunch! I never thought about the settling, and using grass clippings instead of hay. Good call.

Do you fill the roller up w/ water at all or not and just give it a really light roll?

Thanks again!
Yes fill the roller with water usually 3/4 full is fine but adjust till you are happy with the job . I also tend to roll the surface In a couple directions to get a good over lap.
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marisaford1122
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Re: Planting grass seed on hard soil with some pebbles

Post by marisaford1122 » Tue May 30, 2017 3:29 am

Make sure you take care of the weeds and pests too. And I agree with A. Spruce here, you need to keep the same soil.

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