I have an area behind my chicken coop where pine trees used to grow.
The area is in partial shade (eastern part of the house)
This is agricultural zone 5 (Northrn Illinois)
We cut those trees down and removed stumps, and planted 4 fruit trees.
We want to plant grass lawn in the area. Most of the area is barren,
but there is some weed type growth on one side.
My plan is:
1. Kill weeds with ROUNDUP. Wait 2 days.
2. Rent a TILLER and TILL the area, and level it (it is uneven).
3. Sprinkle a layer of TOPSOIL
4. Spread high quality SEED
5. Sprinkle more TOPSOIL
6. WATER the area on a 3x Daily basis for 1 month
Is this sensible?
I already have roundup at home... So your comment, while possibly very
wise, does not apply.
Okay, so at least that's a good idea to till.
No, I just want to add maybe 1/2" of topsoil for the seeds to start
growing. The soil in the area is tolerable and I do not want to really
build up, all I want is to provide nice environment for the baby
seedlings, so to speak.
The area is about 20x45 feet, pretty large. I am however, very open to
the idea of using sod, but it is a bit too much hard work, it seems.
Someone in the biz told me that if I use SOD, I have to "flood" it
with water even more, according to him.
You have a plan but have no basis for a plan. No one here knows what you
soil conditions are so no one can give you good advice. Let's go through
The directions on the bottle should be followed.
After a soil test and the addition of any needed chemicals or fertilizers
tilling and leveling is ok
This makes no sense unless the soil test suggests that you have no top
This is correct but when will you do this? Now may not be a good time for
planting in your area
No, this doesn't make sense
This sounds like too much watering.
There should be a local office of your State's ag extension service. Call
them and get expert advice suited to your soil and your climate. They'll
probably test your soil for free but now is the busy season so don't expect
your test results anytime soon.
Sounds like a huge hassle, the soil looks okay to me, why should Itest
it? It looks like all other soil in my yard, and Iknow that grass
thanks, appreciate that.
What is a good time?
To be honest, I also suspect that it is not a good time, but will
appreciate some more detail about what is a good time and why now is
not a good time (need to explain this to WIFE).
Why, I need to hide the seeds from birds...
that's what the instructions on the seed say.
Thanks, will check it out... Is it by state or county?
Grass grows in cool weather goes dormant in heat of summer
planting in fall is best the roots keep growing after the grass slows down
and starts before the grass next spring
early anytime after the heat of summer is gone
First I would test your soil to see if any amendment is needed.
I would skip the herbicides. Rototilling will uproot the weeds and you
can rake them out and toss them in a compost pile.
This may not be necessary, depending on your soil test, above. I do
like to add organic matter, such as peat moss, during the rototilling.
Before seeding, you want to make sure the surface is smooth and somewhat
compacted. Rake for smoothness, then rent a roller to compact it. If
you don't get it fairly compacted at this stage, you will have to later
deal with lumps and holes that develop. Don't ask me how I know this.
A lot of people use straw (not hay; hay has seeds in it) to cover the
new seed and protect it from birds. The grass grows right through the
straw. A smart bird won't let this stop him, though. A far better
method is cheesecloth, or the plastic equivalent. The fabric has to let
air and water and light through, so it can't be plastic sheeting. I
staked mine down with stakes I made from old coat hangars. Take up the
cheesecloth once you have seedlings.
This seems excessive. I would start out at twice a day, early morning
and noon, and adjust as necessary. You want the soil damp, but not
Take your time on this. The growing season is the spring or fall. Its
too late for spring. Seed in the early fall, say early September; the
grass will grow even under snow, and you will have a pleasant surprise
in the spring.
SPAMBLOCK NOTICE! To reply to me, delete the h from apkh.net, if it is
Just some musings from my 30 years of trying to grow a lawn in Woodstock,
1) Use the Round up, allow 7 days before seeding(per instructions). What
you want to do is kill off the weed grasses. Quack grass is next to
impossible to root out by hand. Broad leaf weeds are very easy to kill with
24D (Ortho weedbgone, Spectracide, others) but won't touch the weed grasses.
2) Get the soil tested and the amendments added while rototilling. You can
skip the amendments but when you end up with a scraggly lawn, you'll never
know what went wrong. Now having said that, I should practise what I preach.
I have never done it. Why was the area barren? Good soil should be sprouting
green things all over the place.
3) I prefer a good turf type tall fesque seed. Pro's: deeper root system to
withstand our summers better, requires less fertilizer. Con's: browns out a
bit more than bluegrass in our winters. But readily turns green in the
spring, grows a bit faster than kentucky blue. . Grasses come in various
widths. Decide if you want a course, medium or fine bladed lawn. Fine blades
(original kentucky blue) matt down easily, course blades are like walking on
razor blades (Kentucky 31 fesque). THere are numerous medium bladed
cultivars in both fesque and bluegrass. Also don't forget pereninial rye
glass. Some people mix all three. If you have a slope consider mixing in
some annual ryegrass. It sprouts in 3 days and will hold the dirt untill the
good seeds can sprout (called quick and thick). It will die off over the
winter leaving just the good seed. Buy a cultivar for partial shade
4) Spring and fall are the desireable times to grow grass in the chicago
area. The sun is less direct and the soil stays moist longer. Also there
is less competition from weed seeds. I prefer the week before labor day to
do my work. The warm days and cool nights are ideal for germination.
5) Grass needs sunlight to germinate. Covering it with topsoil will just
cause it to rot. Spread your seed over the rototilled dirt and then gently r
ake it in. You want the seed in contact with the soil but not buried in it.
6) Covering with straw is good. Keeps the rain from washing your dirt and
seed away. Does nothing for the birds. Mice also like to eat grass seed. If
your up for an experiment, cover a patch of seed with a newspaper
page(weighted down with rocks in the corners). You'll find it sprouts about
twice as fast as uncovered seed.
7) I usually water twice a day (in the evening and morning). With the less
direct sun , that shouild be suffiecient for germination.
8) Put the correct amount of seed down. If you put down too much seed, it
will suck the nutrients out of the soil and die. Newly sprouted seed doesn't
have the root system to get nutrients elsewhere. (thats really the reason
you should do the amendments to the soil when you start.) Follow up with a
good starter fertilizer shortly after germination if you skip the
amendments. IF your newly sprouted seed starts to yellow, get out the
starter fertilizer ASAP.
9) I dislike sod. I find that sodded lawns are more prone to drought damage
and thatch. I have never had to detatch a seed lawn
Good luck to you. I hope my comments made sense.
Roundup is supposed to stick around for up to a year. If you really want
to plant here, it may not be the best choice. Unless you have a huge
stand of dandelions (and they're past their prime season already), say,
or something nasty and kill-resistant, I wouldn't bother. Roundup is
better used those places you don't want to plant, or won't at least
Decent idea. The weeds will become mulch for your new lawn, even if you
don't zap them, and you can spot-treat wherever it manages to survive.
Optional. What is there is probably fine, it just needs breaking up,
after being weedy and tamped down for so long.
You may also want to consider a "starter" type of fertilizer at this step.
Some people swear by the pH testing step, but I don't think it's
strictly necessary. Look around you; if the adjacent soil is growing a
decent lawn, you probably have nothing to worry about.
Make sure it's a shade-resistant variety that will thrive once the fruit
trees grow up.
Optional, again. The usual is to gently use a garden rake to till the
seeds into the topmost layer of soil.
A bit excessive. Don't overwater, but don't let the soil dry out,
either. Even though it's summer you'll get some grass, and the yard will
look a little nicer by then. You'll want to overseed in the fall and you
can expect second-year growth to be much more robust.
Sure. It isn't rocket science; mainly growing grass requires attention,
timing, patience, and diligence. When you're done, you feel a real sense
of ownership -- that grass is YOURS, damnit.
I agree, roundup bio-degrades in a few days. I sprayed some turf for
new garden space and planted brussel sprouts two weeks later. They are
about 18 inches high already. A couple of good rains should just about
do the trick.
"Cook him till he's blue,
and smother him in onions."
No need for round-up, once you have grass growing, a thick yard will choke
the weeds out. Till the ground, seed, lightly rake seed in, straw to keep
birds out & more important the straw holds moisture. Do not water 3x a day,
you will rot the seed. As another poster suggested, water every other day.
Do not rake the straw out, it will compost or the birds will take some of it
for nesting. Wait till the grass has rooted b/4 mowing, otherwise you will
tear the grass out. I suggest looking into a 50/50 mix for seed.
This is Turtle.
When ever a bunch of pine Trees have been growing in a area. The ground will
become very high level of acid in the ground. Very few
plants or grass will grow under a pine tree because of the high acid level of
the dirty. To get the high level of acid down. You can
put burnt ashes of fire wood or lime down and then till it up to kill the acid
level. Get the acid level down and things will start
to grow there or wait about 20 years and the acid will dissovle by it'self. Very
rarely will you see a lot of brush or green grass
under a bunch of pine trees.
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
Thanks, I will add lime to counter acidity, your advice makes complete
sense as the ground beneath the pins was barren.
Which brings up a question, I planted a few fruit trees where pines
grew. Is it too late now to do something to counter the acidity of the
soil to help those trees? Would dumping a bunch of lime on the ground
Take several soil samples to your local extension service and have
them tested to find out the actual PH of the soil. Then till in the
proper amount of lime, per instructions on the bag or in a turfgrass
book. It takes quite a while for the lime to be absorbed into the soil
and for the PH to adjust. People generally lime the soil the previous
fall. Pulverized lime works fastest. You can go ahead and plant the
grass seed, but best results won't happen until you get into the right
PH zone (ask the agent at the extension service what this is in your
area). Blindly "dumping a bunch of lime on the ground" is not the way
to approach this, although grass is pretty forgiving.
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