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wvphysics 06-14-2011 02:10 PM

Solutions for grass not getting enough water
 
I some areas of grass that seem to have trouble maintaining grass. The soil typically seems dry, hard, and a light brown instead of the nice dark brown for good top soil. This is mostly in places along the drive way and along the house. My best guess is there isn't much water either getting to or being retained by the soil due to the roof overhanging and that the lost is slope. I am trying to figure out what might help. I could try putting down some better topsoil, but not sure that might work. Of course a sprinkler system might work, but the rest of the yard rarely needs it, so I am looking for something a little more passive and wouldnt waste much water.
I've thought about tapping into the gutter system for the areas along the house. The gutters drain into PVC pipes that are buried and run along the house under the areas where I have the problem. I have seen perforated pipe that I think is supposed to allow some drainage into the dirt where rain might have trouble getting to. I am wondering what the cons would be of using that (aside from the manual labor), or if anyone has some other ideas to try.

rollinastang 06-16-2011 09:50 AM

not sure how big this area is that stay dry?the second story of my home overhangs one of my landscaped beds sp when it rains my plants rarely get water. i ran one of those soaker hoses throughout that area... it works well i turn it on after work about 5pm and let it do its thing till i go to bed about 10pm. it does not spray out a ton of water just enough to keep that area moist. this may be a quick and cheap fix for ya with minimal labor.

jamiedolan 06-16-2011 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wvphysics (Post 667228)
I some areas of grass that seem to have trouble maintaining grass. The soil typically seems dry, hard, and a light brown instead of the nice dark brown for good top soil. This is mostly in places along the drive way and along the house. My best guess is there isn't much water either getting to or being retained by the soil due to the roof overhanging and that the lost is slope. I am trying to figure out what might help. I could try putting down some better topsoil, but not sure that might work. Of course a sprinkler system might work, but the rest of the yard rarely needs it, so I am looking for something a little more passive and wouldnt waste much water.
I've thought about tapping into the gutter system for the areas along the house. The gutters drain into PVC pipes that are buried and run along the house under the areas where I have the problem. I have seen perforated pipe that I think is supposed to allow some drainage into the dirt where rain might have trouble getting to. I am wondering what the cons would be of using that (aside from the manual labor), or if anyone has some other ideas to try.

You can work up the top 6" or so of top soil and mix in well about 30%-50% sphagnum peat moss. or for less work, you could try to just top dress with without working up the soil, but there is a lot more disk of the peat drying out then.

**Helpful Tip: It's much easier to wet peat using HOT water. Run a hose out from your hot water tap if you can and you will find it far easier.

If you don't mind spending a couple bucks; you can get something called SoilMoist. It is ideal to till it in 6", but it might work if you rake it heavily into the surface. It is superior to peat in that if it drys out it will easily and rapidly absorb water again, where peat can be difficult to re-wet. When peat is worked into the soil, there is rarely if ever a problem with it drying out, at least in my climate (wiscosnin), might be different if your in southern cal or some other toasty area.

The SoilMost brand is quite expensive. Here is an ebay auction for the generic of the same thing. Don't even bother buying it locally as the SoilMost brand, it comes in little pint size things mainly used for flower pots, they are around $10 for the pint. I've been meaning to order some from that ebay auction to try with container plants, but just have not gotten around to it. I water frequently and peat works well for me, even in containerized plants, though I hesitate to suggest it to others for pots, as they are quicker to dry out and then as mentioned can be very hard to re-wet with peat.

The chart on that auction says 10 pounds for 1,000 sqft or 1 pound for 100 sqft. They are selling it in 1 pound bags.

If you do till up the ground you could also add some more compost / organic matter to the soil.

Just a guess from your username is that your in West Virgina, then your most likely zone 6. I think you could get away with peat; though if it isn't more than a few hundred sq ft, I'd just order that stuff off e-bay and work it in. You can rent a tiller if you want, depending on how hard your soil is to work with and how large the area is.

The good thing about either of these solutions is they are likely to be virtually permanent and require no ongoing cost, labor or maintenance. Peat is very slow to break down and I'm not sure that the polymer crystals ever break down, though they might over a long period of time.

Piedmont 06-17-2011 03:53 PM

I have that issue as well. My issue next to my driveway is that it slopes so any water that lands on my driveway or on the edges gets carried away. Then, when the sun comes out and hits my driveway it just bakes drying out all the edges. Same with the overhang, I have one as well that almost no water gets to the plants below it (especially since the way the wind blows causes any rain to overshoot that area).

I will say, burying perforated pipe will certainly make a difference. I have all the drains in my house go into catch basins, and then it's piped away with PVC until I get 10' away from my house then switches to perforated pipe for about 60 feet ending at the edge of my property (basically dumping at my boundary line). Since I'm not supposed to change the water flow/conditions of my property but I did by adding the piping the 60' of perforated pipe was to drain as much water as possible before dumping it at my boundary. All I will say is, there is absolutely no doubt my lawn grows best above the perforated pipe it's so easy to tell where it is burried in my ground. So, yes it is a lot of work but it will work. You don't want perforated pipe too close to your house though (not within 10 feet) else you risk causing water issues to yourself.


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