I am in the process of establishing a new lawn. My lawn has been
garbage since I moved in almost four years ago. I have quite a bit of
shade in some areas and until last week, lots of hard packed clay.
My plan is: By next summer, whatever area is not flourishing with
lawn will given ground cover. Here are some questions followed by the
details of my recent, backbreaking work.
Questions (make more sense when reading details further below):
Can grass grow in the deep compost if I did not bring up enough of the
Do I have to worry about lack of nutrients in the compost since most
of the potash and nitrogen applied last week is further down in the
Do I have to worry about pH of the compost?
Do I have to worry about the local squirrel who is obviously upset
that I have screwed up all his nut buryings and can't find anything
anymore? I can tell he is pretty freaked out.
Here is what I have done for the lawn (hopefully doing it once right
and never again)
1. Sent soil samples to Virginia Tech lab to get accurate readings on
nutrients - received reports and quantities required. Add nitrogen,
add potash, pH is fine (6.5).
2. Killed entire lawn.
3. Rented an enormous rototiller, applied potash and nitrogen in
recommended amounts and ground up the top 4-6 inches - regraded
4. Had a ridiculous amount of high quality compost delivered - enough
to cover whole lawn area with 4-6 inches of compost (how do I know if
it was compost vs compost/topsoil - looks like the latter). I think
they gave me more than I asked for. The source of the compost was
http://www.loudouncomposting.com/ - they supply national monuments for
Washington DC so I figure it must be good stuff. Looks excellent in
my novice opinion and lawn care specialist in Fairfax (Merrifield
Garden Center) concurred. Seem to have very knowledgeable people over
5. Regraded new stuff with stiff rake.
6. Rented a lighter rototiller - attempted to mix compost into the
soil loosened previous week = problem = compost so deep that I could
hardly get to the original soil but did the best I could.
7. Regraded again with a stiff rake.
8. Put down lots of local mix seed (mixed shady and high traffic
which came in separate bags - survival of the fittest!), raked a
little with the back of a leaf rake to mix the seeds in a little bit.
9. Watered - and today am going to put out sprinklers on timers for
twice a day - one inch per week.
Thanks for any help people can lend on the questions above and
additional advice - and for those who contribute to forums on a
regular basis as I have been pouring over them the last month and a
half to figure out what to do.