My existing lawn is in bad shape and someone who has a great garden
suggested to me to use compost. He suggested a thick (6-8 inches) of
compost and then over-seed. I can get compost from the municipal dump
for free. Would this scheme work? I don't really want to spend the
money and energy on the existing lawn.
The lawn is 1/4 acre. The lawn has moss, brown patches, and weeds --
all the good stuffs. There are many mature trees that block the sun
and their roots are quite shallow. So, rather than tilling the soil,
I was thinking about putting new top soil and then this person
suggested a lot of compost will even be better.
If the yard is as shady as your post suggests, turfgrass will probably
always do poorly. Unless you really need turf grass because of child play
areas or homeowner association requirements, consider shade-compatible
alternatives to sod. I had one home in Alabama with numerous slash pines
which kept the lawn in complete shade year-round, and a previous tenant had
planted the entire area in ivy. The only care that was required was to go
around every six months or so and keep the ivy off the trees -- no mowing
required. I've done the same thing here in Central Florida, where I'm using
Boston Ivy in shaded areas. It doesn't take very many plants, just some
time to fill in everywhere.
If you put down six inches of compost, you'll probably also solve your
problem, but it'll take a longer time. That much compost will put most
trees into decline and eventually kill them. That'll bring sunlight back to
your yard and then you'll be able to grow grass -- but it'll take a few
years, and you'll have to dispose of the dead trees -- :-)
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