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Old 02-20-2012, 08:53 PM   #1
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What soil type/mix is needed to stay "firm" in extremely wet conditions? We just had 5" of rain and I guess I need a few loads of crushed rock/gravel to spread around my weekend place.

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Old 02-21-2012, 12:13 AM   #2
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I see why you got no replys.
Is this on the lawn, in the driveway?
You would never put stone in the yard to fill in wet spots.

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Old 02-21-2012, 02:27 PM   #3
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It's acreage- some wooded, some cleared- and a long driveway (350')
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:20 PM   #4
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Road base.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:26 PM   #5
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Do you want things to be able to grow in it? Sounds like you may have some grading issues no type of soil/fill will resolve.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Do you want things to be able to grow in it? Sounds like you may have some grading issues no type of soil/fill will resolve.
you are correct in that --
I have a huge mound of "dirt" which was excavated from a pond we had built, but I'm not sure if I spread it around it is the "right type" of "dirt" we want -- it's a mix of sand, clay, and rock, but seems to get real soft when wet --

I definitely have some grading issues -- will be addressing that soon --
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:02 PM   #7
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If you don't want to grow on it, cover it with some type of stone, ie. River rock, or 3/4 clear stone. If you want to grow on it, spread it out making sure to have surface drainage of some type, let it dry out a bit and roll or plate compact it. Then put a thin layer of some type of growing medium that you could sod on if you want. Is this kinda of what you were looking for? The soil will become more wet when it is in a pile because the particles are not as tight allowing water to move through the pile filling pore space. Once it is compact water will have more of a tendancy to run off the top layer of clay type soils. Also if you are going to sod the areas where you spread it, before putting a thin layer of growing medium, pick out debris and big rocks so they later won't come back to the surface.

Note that possibly installing some weeping tile lines to drain areas wouldn't be a bad idea. You could drain them to your pond. Pics would probably not be a bad idea if the grading issue is confusing.

Last edited by RegLearning; 02-22-2012 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:11 PM   #8
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Note that possibly installing some weeping tile lines to drain areas wouldn't be a bad idea. You could drain them to your pond. Pics would probably not be a bad idea if the grading issue is confusing.
If legal. Dead on advice about clay soils. They will plug up when saturated and you might as well have used concrete. Everything will run off them. If you are going to plant you might as well use the dirt excavated for fill to start, removing any large piece obvious, then add ammendments to form a top soil layer. Sod is expensive. Hydroseeding will establish faster than sod at a fraction of the cost if turfgrass is your goal.

When designing landscapes, I tried to discourage people from using turf so much unless they had reason for it. And the run off from all the high nitrogen fertilizer and other chemicals will not do your pond a World of good. Just look or smell a common reclamation pond in a housing development with green lawns all around it to see what I mean.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:32 AM   #9
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Very good points. Possibly installing if possible a small aerating fountain in your pond could help this problem of water becoming dirty. Algae and other things don't grow in water that moves. I always tell people to put as much turf as possible because that's how I make money...lol... Hydroseed is a great idea as well..
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:09 AM   #10
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Very good points. Possibly installing if possible a small aerating fountain in your pond could help this problem of water becoming dirty. Algae and other things don't grow in water that moves. I always tell people to put as much turf as possible because that's how I make money...lol... Hydroseed is a great idea as well..
I am not trying to put turf and lawncare companies out of business. I specified turfgrasses and counseled on turf management myself so know where you are coming from. And there is something to be said for nice, lush turfgrass. As you know, turf is high maintenance and much more costly to maintain than any other plant material. People underestimate both requirements. And nothing looks worse to me than poorly maintained turfgrass. So why not scale the amount of it in a landscape design to a manageable level? I am certainly not suggesting all landscape be free of turfgrass!

As a practical matter drought (and water rationing) looks as though it will be a continuing problem whether folks are pro or anti climate change science. Lawns are still going to dry out and look awful no matter which side of the argument you are on. And if lawns comprise the majority of landscape design? One is stuck with a nasty dead looking frontyard where some native or adaptive groundcovers, trees and shrubs, might have been planted and equipped with drip irrigation to at least indicate some signs of plant life.

The reclamation pond issues are complex. Aeration does help but in some communities there is just too much stuff being dumped in them. I sold specially fermented and combined, naturally occurring bacteria for treating such ponds for a time to residential and commercial developments and to golf course managers. The bugs worked great and could keep the water sparkling clear. They died with exposure to sunlight so ironically, the more clear the water the quicker they died. And you had to keep adding them. People did not want to pay the price for ongoing treatment.

Some of the ideas coming out of the natural swimming pool industry have promise for reclamation ponds but again some are not willing to pay the price to create the environment needed. And at some point, the amount of stuff flowing into the ponds has to be better controlled and reduced. Some of them in Central Illinois got so bad in summer, people could not even open their patio doors because of the stench let alone float the little boat tied to their docks. Lawns were nice and green though!

Last edited by user1007; 02-23-2012 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:36 PM   #11
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this is farmland (100 acre family farm - we have a 25 acre piece) -- actually no crops, we have a rancher leasing the farm (a dozen cows) -- we've built our "barn-do" in a 4-5 acre clearing surrounded by pretty dense woods -- the entire 100 acres is probably 25 acres woods / 75 acres pasture. (we have the most wooded section with a creek running through it, and probably have 13 acres woods / 12 acres pasture/cleared.

bottom line, there's no fertilizers or chemicals to speak of, but i am concerned about pond management as we move forward -- the pond aforementioned is new, but we're between it and an "old' pond, which has not had any "management" through the years and seems to do OK -- we will want to stock the new pond with fish of some sort. I think a tethered "geyser" aerator is on the "to buy" list.

BTW there's all kinds of wildlife out there; deer, hogs, rabbits, owls, hawks, skunks, etc. (not to mention snakes, scorpions, armadillos, etc) fun, fun, fun!

We've fenced in the "barn-do" @ about 3/4 of an acre (this will be the improved portion for the tax man, while the rest will stay "agricultural") and we want to have this fenced area sodded with turf -- everything else is going to stay pretty much "natural'

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Old 02-24-2012, 04:19 AM   #12
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Think about hydroseeding before investing in sod. It will provide you with an established lawn faster and for a fraction of the cost. It take a lot of water to establish a sod lawn and it is, at the end of the day, a plant transplant product. Nothing against it in some circumstances but hydroseeding just makes more sense.

With hydroseeding the seed, fertilizer and a protective coating are sprayed on the prepared seed bed in a slurry that hardens to a crust. The crust provides sun, wind,, erosion and bird protection while the seed germinates. All you have to do is keep it moist during germination like you would with any seed. It is also great for planting on slopes (highway departments use it for expressway/freeway embankments).

Does not have to be turf seed, by the way. I have seen wildflower and erosion control mixes used.



Of course whether seed, hydroseed or sod, the key to starting turf is in the soil prep so don't skimp on that.

Last edited by user1007; 02-24-2012 at 04:26 AM. Reason: Added Photo
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:51 AM   #13
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Think about hydroseeding before investing in sod. It will provide you with an established lawn faster and for a fraction of the cost. It take a lot of water to establish a sod lawn and it is, at the end of the day, a plant transplant product. Nothing against it in some circumstances but hydroseeding just makes more sense.

With hydroseeding the seed, fertilizer and a protective coating are sprayed on the prepared seed bed in a slurry that hardens to a crust. The crust provides sun, wind,, erosion and bird protection while the seed germinates. All you have to do is keep it moist during germination like you would with any seed. It is also great for planting on slopes (highway departments use it for expressway/freeway embankments).

Does not have to be turf seed, by the way. I have seen wildflower and erosion control mixes used.



Of course whether seed, hydroseed or sod, the key to starting turf is in the soil prep so don't skimp on that.
Great advice - I will look into this -- one thing, with the rain theres a pretty thick growth of clover on half of our fenced in area (do not know where this came from!) -- what prep do we need for hydroseeding over the clover?
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:42 AM   #14
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what prep do we need for hydroseeding over the clover?
I guess you could, but I would not use hydroseeding as an overseeding method on non-prepared soil. You will get out of it more than conventional overseeding but not what you will starting from scratch. You mentioned sod so I assumed the lawn areas would be new?

As mentioned, if you are planting a lawn by whatever method---seed, plugs, sod, hydroseeding---etc. you will want to prep the area.

1. Get at least a soil Ph sample (you can buy a kit at the nursery for $20) or a complete soil lab analysis (not expensive and could save you in the long run). Soil labs will usually make suggestions and recommendations for improvement, if needed.

2. Till the soil for the seed bed. Remove any large weed clumps, rocks, stump fragments and so forth.

3. Purchase and spread soil amendments like peat, compost, vermiculite and anything needed to adjust the soil Ph. Spread the recommended starter fertilizer (for seed and sod---hydroseeding will come with it).

4. Fold all the ingredients in "3" into the soil by tilling it all again to a depth of at least 6-8". The deeper and fluffier and more air you give the new planting bed the better.

5. Grade the planting area.

How you proceed next will depend on the planting method you choose. You will want to roll everthing with a landscape roller about 1/2 full of water. If hydroseeding you will roll first. With sod and seed you will roll after.

Post again if you want more details. Or PM me if you prefer but others may have similar questions.

One thing to mention before I forget? If you are installing a lawn irrigation system, you should leave the sprinkler heads above grade until the turf settles to its ultimate height. This may mean buying longer risers to start or you can get adjustable ones. If you seat your sprinklers to grade before you start, you could find the end up below where you want them.

A tiller or tractor blade should not go deep enough to be a problem BUT IF THERE IS ANY DANGER OF HITTING UNDERGROUND PHONE, CABLE, ELECTRICAL, WATER, ETC. LINES CALL YOUR FREE UTILITY LOCATING SERVICE TO MARK UNDERGROUND UTILITIES FOR YOU.


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