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Extremely hard, dry compacted lawn - what to do??



 
 
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  #1  
Old 07-08-2007, 06:47 AM posted to aus.gardens
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Posts: 2
Default Extremely hard, dry compacted lawn - what to do??

Hi all

I live in Beenleigh Qld. I have what was once a lawn in the front of my
house - now it is a completely dead, very hard, dry, compacted soil
surface. I have noticed that when we have gotten some rain over the past
couple of years, what grass was still alive greened up a little but
never actually grew. It seems to me that a complete renovation of the
soil is needed to take advantage of any rain that may eventually come
our way.

I read somewhere that you should be able to hand force a screwdriver 3
inches into a lawn . Well, I can't penetrate my ground even one inch
with a screwdriver. It is not rocky - just very hard clay. I have been
considering renting a machine lawn corer - but I suspect that the
machine would not actually be able to core this ground.

Short of using dynamite - does anybody have any suggestions as to what I
could do with this ground to make it even a little bit desirable for
grass seed to grow when/if the rains come? Would a rotary hoe turn it?
If so, what should I do with the broken ground then? Dolomite, fertilizer??

I have an area of around 300 square meters that needs help.

Thanks for any advice from any who have faced a similar situation.

Barry
Ads
  #2  
Old 07-08-2007, 08:45 PM posted to aus.gardens
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 193
Default Extremely hard, dry compacted lawn - what to do??

g'day barry,

not into resource wastefull lawns as such but i hear your plight,
apart from suggest turn a lot more of it into efficient gardens??!!

a coring machine would likely do the job might take a bit, as they
generally are used on sandier mediums ie.,. lawn bowls greens.

anyhow back to your um lawn, i would spread a very good layer of
gypsum over the whole area and get a good sandy loam type top soil and
top dress with that, would also suggest throwing some el-cheepo lawn
seed around so you get some growth to hold it all together until the
grass that is there springs back a not too heavy cover of that fine
sugar cane mulch will help hold a bit of moisture.

before laying the gypsum maybe give the area a good water with your
grey water a bit of detergent could help the clay hold water better.

about all i can suggest if you need hands on?? me i'd just wait for
the wet season to come and whatever green grows back let it be, reckon
in our drier conditions you could do worse than let the lotinomus,
wynn-cassia and clovers grow as ground cover/lawn at least they are
all soil improvers and very hardy.

On Tue, 07 Aug 2007 14:47:12 +1000, Barry Ward
wrote:
snipped
With peace and brightest of blessings,

len & bev

--
"Be Content With What You Have And
May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In
A World That You May Not Understand."

http://www.lensgarden.com.au/
  #3  
Old 08-08-2007, 12:37 AM posted to aus.gardens
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 713
Default Extremely hard, dry compacted lawn - what to do??

"Barry Ward" wrote in message
...
Hi all

I live in Beenleigh Qld. I have what was once a lawn in the front of my
house - now it is a completely dead, very hard, dry, compacted soil
surface. I have noticed that when we have gotten some rain over the past
couple of years, what grass was still alive greened up a little but never
actually grew. It seems to me that a complete renovation of the soil is
needed to take advantage of any rain that may eventually come our way.

I read somewhere that you should be able to hand force a screwdriver 3
inches into a lawn . Well, I can't penetrate my ground even one inch with
a screwdriver. It is not rocky - just very hard clay. I have been
considering renting a machine lawn corer - but I suspect that the machine
would not actually be able to core this ground.

Short of using dynamite - does anybody have any suggestions as to what I
could do with this ground to make it even a little bit desirable for grass
seed to grow when/if the rains come? Would a rotary hoe turn it? If so,
what should I do with the broken ground then? Dolomite, fertilizer??

I have an area of around 300 square meters that needs help.

Thanks for any advice from any who have faced a similar situation.

Barry


i think you need to get LOTS of water in there before you can do anything
about it! machinery won't work on rock-hard ground, and nothing else is
going to be effective if the soil is so hard & dry either. after that, you
can begin aerating (which sounds very necessary) & adding organic matter &
anything needed to balance the soil and encourage what it is you want
growing there.

use water on it gradually to soften it up. only water to pooling/run off
each time, then start again the next day. this might take weeks, but that is
all right, because you can use that time to think about if you want another
grass lawn or if something else is a better idea (one suspects the latter
;-) something like dichondra, or even a very tough grass or perhaps a herb
lawn (e.g. thyme), might be a better idea than traditional "lawn".
(expanding the beds around the lawn is also a good idea, but that's not
exactly what you asked ;-)

like len said, use grey water. we use our washing machine water on the
garden, & this way we have a lot available & it gets used twice (sometimes 3
times if we had a shower in it first g)

but do think about it. i haven't got a problem with lawn (particularly since
they're so happy with grey water) because some of them can be really good
(even if falling out of favour lately), BUT, there really isn't a point to
it at all if it's just going to die. choose something that can still live
and look good in the conditions that you have.
kylie


  #4  
Old 09-08-2007, 05:12 AM posted to aus.gardens
SG1
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 117
Default Extremely hard, dry compacted lawn - what to do??


"0tterbot" wrote in message
...
"Barry Ward" wrote in message
...
Hi all

I live in Beenleigh Qld. I have what was once a lawn in the front of my
house - now it is a completely dead, very hard, dry, compacted soil
surface. I have noticed that when we have gotten some rain over the past
couple of years, what grass was still alive greened up a little but never
actually grew. It seems to me that a complete renovation of the soil is
needed to take advantage of any rain that may eventually come our way.

I read somewhere that you should be able to hand force a screwdriver 3
inches into a lawn . Well, I can't penetrate my ground even one inch with
a screwdriver. It is not rocky - just very hard clay. I have been
considering renting a machine lawn corer - but I suspect that the machine
would not actually be able to core this ground.

Short of using dynamite - does anybody have any suggestions as to what I
could do with this ground to make it even a little bit desirable for
grass seed to grow when/if the rains come? Would a rotary hoe turn it? If
so, what should I do with the broken ground then? Dolomite, fertilizer??

I have an area of around 300 square meters that needs help.

Thanks for any advice from any who have faced a similar situation.

Barry


i think you need to get LOTS of water in there before you can do anything
about it! machinery won't work on rock-hard ground, and nothing else is
going to be effective if the soil is so hard & dry either. after that, you
can begin aerating (which sounds very necessary) & adding organic matter &
anything needed to balance the soil and encourage what it is you want
growing there.

use water on it gradually to soften it up. only water to pooling/run off
each time, then start again the next day. this might take weeks, but that
is all right, because you can use that time to think about if you want
another grass lawn or if something else is a better idea (one suspects the
latter ;-) something like dichondra, or even a very tough grass or perhaps
a herb lawn (e.g. thyme), might be a better idea than traditional "lawn".
(expanding the beds around the lawn is also a good idea, but that's not
exactly what you asked ;-)

like len said, use grey water. we use our washing machine water on the
garden, & this way we have a lot available & it gets used twice (sometimes
3 times if we had a shower in it first g)

but do think about it. i haven't got a problem with lawn (particularly
since they're so happy with grey water) because some of them can be really
good (even if falling out of favour lately), BUT, there really isn't a
point to it at all if it's just going to die. choose something that can
still live and look good in the conditions that you have.
kylie

Paint it green


  #5  
Old 09-08-2007, 05:18 AM posted to aus.gardens
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 11
Default Extremely hard, dry compacted lawn - what to do??

SG1 wrote:
"0tterbot" wrote in message
...
"Barry Ward" wrote in message
...
Hi all

I live in Beenleigh Qld. I have what was once a lawn in the front of my
house - now it is a completely dead, very hard, dry, compacted soil
surface. I have noticed that when we have gotten some rain over the past
couple of years, what grass was still alive greened up a little but never
actually grew. It seems to me that a complete renovation of the soil is
needed to take advantage of any rain that may eventually come our way.

I read somewhere that you should be able to hand force a screwdriver 3
inches into a lawn . Well, I can't penetrate my ground even one inch with
a screwdriver. It is not rocky - just very hard clay. I have been
considering renting a machine lawn corer - but I suspect that the machine
would not actually be able to core this ground.

Short of using dynamite - does anybody have any suggestions as to what I
could do with this ground to make it even a little bit desirable for
grass seed to grow when/if the rains come? Would a rotary hoe turn it? If
so, what should I do with the broken ground then? Dolomite, fertilizer??

I have an area of around 300 square meters that needs help.

Thanks for any advice from any who have faced a similar situation.

Barry

i think you need to get LOTS of water in there before you can do anything
about it! machinery won't work on rock-hard ground, and nothing else is
going to be effective if the soil is so hard & dry either. after that, you
can begin aerating (which sounds very necessary) & adding organic matter &
anything needed to balance the soil and encourage what it is you want
growing there.

use water on it gradually to soften it up. only water to pooling/run off
each time, then start again the next day. this might take weeks, but that
is all right, because you can use that time to think about if you want
another grass lawn or if something else is a better idea (one suspects the
latter ;-) something like dichondra, or even a very tough grass or perhaps
a herb lawn (e.g. thyme), might be a better idea than traditional "lawn".
(expanding the beds around the lawn is also a good idea, but that's not
exactly what you asked ;-)

like len said, use grey water. we use our washing machine water on the
garden, & this way we have a lot available & it gets used twice (sometimes
3 times if we had a shower in it first g)

but do think about it. i haven't got a problem with lawn (particularly
since they're so happy with grey water) because some of them can be really
good (even if falling out of favour lately), BUT, there really isn't a
point to it at all if it's just going to die. choose something that can
still live and look good in the conditions that you have.
kylie

Paint it green


Concrete it first! Italians do it better!
  #6  
Old 10-08-2007, 01:21 AM posted to aus.gardens
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 149
Default Extremely hard, dry compacted lawn - what to do??

Barry Ward wrote:

Thanks for any advice from any who have faced a similar situation.


Mulch it.
  #7  
Old 12-08-2007, 01:11 AM posted to aus.gardens
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 32
Default Extremely hard, dry compacted lawn - what to do??

I'd go the grey water. lawns love it. The easiest way if you lawn is
lower than your washing machine is to drop the hose to the floor (with
appropriate extension to reach out to the yard) and let it run. Change
spots each time. Some machines won't fill up again unless you raise the
hose again. Otherwise a small pump from bath or laundry tub. Doesn't
matter if it's slow, probably better for absorbtion that way anyway.
Getting grey water onto it will improve it quite quickly.

The main question, really, is just how patient are you? Do you really
want it improved fast? You'll need to go the major reconstruction route
for that. But maybe you like those sorts of projects? If you'd rather be
patient and do less work you would use the grey water to get it growing
and then when you mow cut it at the mowers highest level. Don't worry if
it looks uneven at first. As the lawn improves it will all grow up to
the same height. A long lawn looks particulary lush anyway. Wonderful to
walk on. The advantages are that longer grass will produce a longer root
system and that will help in all weather conditions. Longer roots also
help the soil structure. And longer grass tend to stop lots of lawn
weeds from growing.

The next thing is to leave the grass cutting on the lawn every second
cutting. (I hear gasps!) If you have a 'mulching mower' it looks neater
because it spreads them more evenly. I don't worry about appearance so I
leave them a bit clumpy. Or you can take a rake to the clumps to spread
them. The advantage is the grass clippings rot back into the soil
feeding the growing grass and improving the soil.

Using this method I've managed to get a piece of dry dead ground from so
bad it had inch wide cracks in it to lush lawn. It was substantially
green in less than a year and lush in less than two. I didn't feed it
except the clippings. No dolomite or anything else. Grey water, high
cutting, and leave the clippings down every second go.

good luck

j



Barry Ward wrote:
Hi all

I live in Beenleigh Qld. I have what was once a lawn in the front of my
house - now it is a completely dead, very hard, dry, compacted soil
surface. I have noticed that when we have gotten some rain over the past
couple of years, what grass was still alive greened up a little but
never actually grew. It seems to me that a complete renovation of the
soil is needed to take advantage of any rain that may eventually come
our way.

I read somewhere that you should be able to hand force a screwdriver 3
inches into a lawn . Well, I can't penetrate my ground even one inch
with a screwdriver. It is not rocky - just very hard clay. I have been
considering renting a machine lawn corer - but I suspect that the
machine would not actually be able to core this ground.

Short of using dynamite - does anybody have any suggestions as to what I
could do with this ground to make it even a little bit desirable for
grass seed to grow when/if the rains come? Would a rotary hoe turn it?
If so, what should I do with the broken ground then? Dolomite, fertilizer??

I have an area of around 300 square meters that needs help.

Thanks for any advice from any who have faced a similar situation.

Barry

  #8  
Old 12-08-2007, 02:42 AM posted to aus.gardens
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 43
Default Extremely hard, dry compacted lawn - what to do??

Wait for some solid rain first.
No point starting something that may take enormous effort, then have it die.
A garden should be a pleasure to look after, not an uphill battle
against the elements



none wrote:
I'd go the grey water. lawns love it. The easiest way if you lawn is
lower than your washing machine is to drop the hose to the floor (with
appropriate extension to reach out to the yard) and let it run. Change
spots each time. Some machines won't fill up again unless you raise the
hose again. Otherwise a small pump from bath or laundry tub. Doesn't
matter if it's slow, probably better for absorbtion that way anyway.
Getting grey water onto it will improve it quite quickly.

The main question, really, is just how patient are you? Do you really
want it improved fast? You'll need to go the major reconstruction route
for that. But maybe you like those sorts of projects? If you'd rather be
patient and do less work you would use the grey water to get it growing
and then when you mow cut it at the mowers highest level. Don't worry if
it looks uneven at first. As the lawn improves it will all grow up to
the same height. A long lawn looks particulary lush anyway. Wonderful to
walk on. The advantages are that longer grass will produce a longer root
system and that will help in all weather conditions. Longer roots also
help the soil structure. And longer grass tend to stop lots of lawn
weeds from growing.

The next thing is to leave the grass cutting on the lawn every second
cutting. (I hear gasps!) If you have a 'mulching mower' it looks neater
because it spreads them more evenly. I don't worry about appearance so I
leave them a bit clumpy. Or you can take a rake to the clumps to spread
them. The advantage is the grass clippings rot back into the soil
feeding the growing grass and improving the soil.

Using this method I've managed to get a piece of dry dead ground from so
bad it had inch wide cracks in it to lush lawn. It was substantially
green in less than a year and lush in less than two. I didn't feed it
except the clippings. No dolomite or anything else. Grey water, high
cutting, and leave the clippings down every second go.

good luck

j



Barry Ward wrote:
Hi all

I live in Beenleigh Qld. I have what was once a lawn in the front of my
house - now it is a completely dead, very hard, dry, compacted soil
surface. I have noticed that when we have gotten some rain over the past
couple of years, what grass was still alive greened up a little but
never actually grew. It seems to me that a complete renovation of the
soil is needed to take advantage of any rain that may eventually come
our way.

I read somewhere that you should be able to hand force a screwdriver 3
inches into a lawn . Well, I can't penetrate my ground even one inch
with a screwdriver. It is not rocky - just very hard clay. I have been
considering renting a machine lawn corer - but I suspect that the
machine would not actually be able to core this ground.

Short of using dynamite - does anybody have any suggestions as to what I
could do with this ground to make it even a little bit desirable for
grass seed to grow when/if the rains come? Would a rotary hoe turn it?
If so, what should I do with the broken ground then? Dolomite, fertilizer??

I have an area of around 300 square meters that needs help.

Thanks for any advice from any who have faced a similar situation.

Barry

  #9  
Old 13-08-2007, 05:40 AM posted to aus.gardens
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 68
Default Extremely hard, dry compacted lawn - what to do??

I love the job rotary hoes do :-) We converted a similar sounding area in
Perth into a nice garden by going over with an industrial strength rotary
hoe, then piling on gypsum, another run with the hoe, then chaff and cow
manure followed by another run - then just for good measure a couple of
inches of sand and none more run with the hoe.

But as Kylie says you need to soften the clay a bit first or it will be a
very painful job on the end of the machine :-)

Best of luck - but grow something that needs less water .

Geoff

"0tterbot" wrote in message
...
"Barry Ward" wrote in message
...
Hi all

I live in Beenleigh Qld. I have what was once a lawn in the front of my
house - now it is a completely dead, very hard, dry, compacted soil
surface. I have noticed that when we have gotten some rain over the past
couple of years, what grass was still alive greened up a little but never
actually grew. It seems to me that a complete renovation of the soil is
needed to take advantage of any rain that may eventually come our way.

I read somewhere that you should be able to hand force a screwdriver 3
inches into a lawn . Well, I can't penetrate my ground even one inch with
a screwdriver. It is not rocky - just very hard clay. I have been
considering renting a machine lawn corer - but I suspect that the machine
would not actually be able to core this ground.

Short of using dynamite - does anybody have any suggestions as to what I
could do with this ground to make it even a little bit desirable for
grass seed to grow when/if the rains come? Would a rotary hoe turn it? If
so, what should I do with the broken ground then? Dolomite, fertilizer??

I have an area of around 300 square meters that needs help.

Thanks for any advice from any who have faced a similar situation.

Barry


i think you need to get LOTS of water in there before you can do anything
about it! machinery won't work on rock-hard ground, and nothing else is
going to be effective if the soil is so hard & dry either. after that, you
can begin aerating (which sounds very necessary) & adding organic matter &
anything needed to balance the soil and encourage what it is you want
growing there.

use water on it gradually to soften it up. only water to pooling/run off
each time, then start again the next day. this might take weeks, but that
is all right, because you can use that time to think about if you want
another grass lawn or if something else is a better idea (one suspects the
latter ;-) something like dichondra, or even a very tough grass or perhaps
a herb lawn (e.g. thyme), might be a better idea than traditional "lawn".
(expanding the beds around the lawn is also a good idea, but that's not
exactly what you asked ;-)

like len said, use grey water. we use our washing machine water on the
garden, & this way we have a lot available & it gets used twice (sometimes
3 times if we had a shower in it first g)

but do think about it. i haven't got a problem with lawn (particularly
since they're so happy with grey water) because some of them can be really
good (even if falling out of favour lately), BUT, there really isn't a
point to it at all if it's just going to die. choose something that can
still live and look good in the conditions that you have.
kylie



 




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