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joeyboy 07-23-2007 11:34 AM

Is my lawn even worth tilling?
I was going to till my lawn to get my soil amendments (peat moss, fertilizer granules, compost/manure) into my sandy (pure sand, FL) soil. However, I'm starting to realize that it may be pointless - my back yard has a very large tree, whose limbs cover most of the backyard (which is 90% of my lawn). I'm under the impression that the roots are primarily higher up in the soil, and that they'll be spread through most of my back lawn.

I'm starting to think that rototilling may be a bad idea, given that
a) I may not be able to till any respectable % of the lawn because of the roots, and
b) I may hurt my tree by constantly hitting its roots with the tiller.

The only other idea I have would be to just put the amendments on teh top, and use a stiff garden rake to work them into the top couple inches manually. I'd use less amendments this way, I wouldn't get them as deep into the soil, and it would be a ridiculously tedious job.

What do you guys think I should do here?

joeyboy 07-23-2007 11:35 AM

Oh I should add that I'm doing this to basically restart my lawn. I'm going to do a roundup application, wait until it's safe, then do the tilling (or raking) of amendments, then seed the entire lawn (bahia probably, I'm in central FL on the gulf coast).

HiFi 07-29-2007 12:21 AM

Another idea would be not to till it but to add soil over the top of the old one loose soil mixed with the things U mentioned.This will save the tree and will allow u to do the criops.But I have a question does the tree block the sun?

joeyboy 07-29-2007 10:19 AM

it blocks it during the afternoon... I'd say it's canopy covers ~25% of the backyard maybe. But the spots under it get light before and after noon, as the houses to the east/west of the tree aren't tall/close enough to block most of the light. The grass there won't get as much light, but I think it'll be enough (using bahia btw).

joeyboy 07-29-2007 10:21 AM

you said to just top dress over the old loose soil - that's the problem, the current soil,despite being almost totally sand (sugar sand they call it I think), isn't easy to break through (thatch I'd guess, but I'm new to this).

I'm thinking that if I don't use a tiller, I really can't do any thick top dressing, since it'll need to be worked into the soil naturally (rain), and not mechanically. (for the top dressing I'm thinking peat moss and manure/compost. I have a bunch of bags of both, figured i'd mix them (any recommendations on ratios?) and mix in some slow(er) release fertilizer, like milorganite. And then put an extra thin layer of peat moss on top of my seeds once they're spread).

joeyboy 08-01-2007 09:11 PM

Well, did it up today.

I was using 1 cubic foot (or is it yard? damnit) of peat moss mixed with 40lbs compost/manure. I mixed them together in the wheelbarrow, and gave my lawn maybe a 1/4"-1/2" top dressing. Used the rotary spreader to spread a starter fertilizer (I blended scotts and vigoro's as I had both on hand), and then spread my bermudagrass seeds. Watered afterwards, and it's been lightly raining, so that should keep them good.

Will keep watering lightly / frequently til they establish, then infrequenlty/heavily once established, to promote deep root development. I'll link to the showcase subforum once the lawn's actually grown :wink:

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