I have acidic clayey never-cultivated-upon soil in my backyard that I
plan to put a lawn in. It gets hard as rock during the summer and mushy
and sticky during the winter/rains. I plan to amend it with natural
stuff (peat-moss? compost?), till it to a depth of 6 inches, then seed
it. The area gets LOTS of sunshine (north california, sacramento area)
and gets bizarrely hot during the summer - for say a good four months
atleast. If seeding does not work, I may end up sodding it, but first I
want to try seeding.
Any lawn experts out there care to share their insights/thoughts on
such a venture?
After tilling, you should run a roller across it to insure a fairly
After seeding, you will need something to protect the seeds from the
birds. Some strew straw (not hay) and leave it there to decompose.
Some use something akin to cheesecloth, that allows water, light, and
air to get to the seed, but has to be removed after germination.
Frequent watering will be needed to insure germination.
If you are awash in cash and time, consider installing an irrigation
system while you have the yard dug up.
Forgot to mention this - yes, I plan to install irrigation while I have
the yard dug up. I should be receiving a professional plan from toro
(free!) soon on the zone-design/valves/sprinklers etc. That will go in
before the seeding.
Thanks for the other ideas above.
The nice folks at UC Davis have a series of publications for you:
You've missed the best time for planting cool season grasses from seed, but
if you want warm season grasses, early next spring will be your target to
plant. Decide whether or not you're going to irrigate permanently.
If you need some quick cover for the soil for the winter, consider some of the
annual cover crops like buckwheat.
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