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Cheapskate way to level/replant lawn


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#1 Greasy6020 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 09, 2016 - 05:08 PM

My front lawn is not really a lawn... It is rough and not really a lawn anymore. It is composed of clay based acidic soil (surrounded by pine trees) doesn't get much light directly (pine trees and multiple Apple trees) and has mostly creeping Charlie with a little bit of grass here and there.

How should I go about levelling it off and replanting it? I want to do it as cheaply but well as possible. I know limestone will be needed...

Thanks in advance.
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#2 glgrumpy OFFLINE  

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Posted February 09, 2016 - 05:20 PM

Don't pines lay down a layer of needles under them and make grass hard to grow?  If I had pine grove, would have all the branches cut way up high, enough to drive a GT around them if I was mowing.  I would think a tiller or heavy disc at least pulled around and then drag with screen or pallets with weights, much like they do for new home yards. OR, big money, trucks of new top soil and grade IT down easier and plant new grass.  If you don't kill bad plants/weeds, I'm sure most of that will just pop-up thru or again to take over. No idea how to fix that. HMMM! Spike tooth Harrow just popped into my thoughts. Little weight on it to bite down in. Hours of running back and forth with GT or less time with BIG tractor.


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#3 Bruce Dorsi ONLINE  

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Posted February 09, 2016 - 05:31 PM

Greasy:

 

I have similar soil type & shade condition, and have sodded twice with bluegrass sod, but that dies off after about 2 years and weeds take over.

 

I even brought in screened topsoil before the second sodding, but that didn't help.

 

I have been advised to seed with Tall Fescue & Perennial Rye seeds because of the limited sunlight available.  ...That is my task this coming Spring. ....I plan to run a de-thatcher ( from a rental yard) to score up the soil before seeding.  ....The loose surface should allow light grading/leveling, while covering the seed.

 

I'm in New Jersey, but I don't know if these seed types are hardy for your northern climate.


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#4 jabelman OFFLINE  

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Posted February 09, 2016 - 05:34 PM

you need to take the ph of your soil first, that will tell you how much lime. lime takes a few years to reach its full effect
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#5 propane1 ONLINE  

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Posted February 09, 2016 - 06:32 PM

Pave the yard, then put down green indoor outdoor carpet. No worries about it growing, don't have to cut it.

Just a thought,

Noel
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#6 CanadianHobbyFarmer OFFLINE  

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Posted February 09, 2016 - 06:42 PM

Pines tend to have roots close to the surface and big pines will have big roots, so I think you will have a hard time loosening the soil to level it. I have one big spruce tree in my front yard and it also has roots close to the surface. it is easy enough for me to just add a bit of topsoil around it every few years to smooth it out, as I have only one to deal with. I have also done like GLGrumpy suggested and cut off all the lower branches. this not only gives you head room to mow under the trees, but also lets in more light for the grass to grow. You might also consider removing a few of the trees altogether to allow a bit more light through. PH is important, but even with correct PH, grass won't grow well without light.

 

Jim


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#7 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted February 09, 2016 - 07:31 PM

Like has been said, eliminate a few trees to start with.  Get the PH of the soil right.  Let the first round of weeds come up than kill it all off, Roundup.  A tilling with some fertilizer, lime or what ever your soil needs to get the soil loose.  Then drag a bed spring over the yard in all directions.  Won't need any weight.  It will break up the clods and level it out better than anything else you can come up with.  There is a grass seed that WILL grow in shaded areas.  I got mine at True Value years ago and the grass is till growing on the North side of a long building on a bank that slopes to the North.  After it is seeded you have to keep it mulched and watered.  Just part of it.  Best mulch I have found is grass clippings.  Ground straw will work also.  Takes a lot of work and dedication.  Good luck with you project.


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#8 jabelman OFFLINE  

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Posted February 09, 2016 - 09:19 PM

I am not sure where you are from but if you get heavy snow or ice and you cut the lower pine branches you risk potential of damaging the tree in storms. Personally I think pine trees belong in the forest not in yards because they are messy

#9 Greasy6020 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 09, 2016 - 09:21 PM

Don't pines lay down a layer of needles under them and make grass hard to grow? If I had pine grove, would have all the branches cut way up high, enough to drive a GT around them if I was mowing. I would think a tiller or heavy disc at least pulled around and then drag with screen or pallets with weights, much like they do for new home yards. OR, big money, trucks of new top soil and grade IT down easier and plant new grass. If you don't kill bad plants/weeds, I'm sure most of that will just pop-up thru or again to take over. No idea how to fix that. HMMM! Spike tooth Harrow just popped into my thoughts. Little weight on it to bite down in. Hours of running back and forth with GT or less time with BIG tractor.


Yes pine needles do that. What I'm more concerned about is away from those pine trees. I agree a disk or tiller is a good choice...

I know I should take soil ph. It really isn't MY lawn I'm just calling my lawn to keep it simple here. So I don't make the big decisions about it...

#10 farmer john OFFLINE  

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Posted February 09, 2016 - 11:56 PM

as the others said, lime lime and more lime, ( horticultural lime) I had pine trees and the ever tell tale signs of bad soil by no grass and very hard clay, I found putting down lime will work and you will get grass and less weeds as weeds like acidic soil, but I think one thing people are missing is aeration, spike it , plug it, cut slots in it any way you can, if not the rain will wash away any benefits from the lime, also put it down in the winter if you get snow as when it melts it will go further into the ground



#11 karl OFFLINE  

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Posted February 10, 2016 - 05:42 AM

Pine trees = no grass.


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#12 oldedeeres ONLINE  

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Posted February 10, 2016 - 12:59 PM

Is your heart set on mowing and having a lawn? Maybe work with what you have. Grow and maintain grass where it wants to grow, sculpt those areas to go around the "bad" spots. Under the trees etc. put down heavy mulch or a growth barrier and spread heavy gravel, decorative rocks, lawn art, large pots containing plants that thrive with less sun like hostas, ferns, etc. Lots of possibilities if you're into that kind of thing.
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#13 Greasy6020 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 10, 2016 - 06:20 PM

My dad was wanting to level it off and replant it... I'm just in it for the tractoring... He wasn't planning on doing anything this year though.

I agree with just working with the pre existing lawn. Or just liming and overseeding.

Edited by Greasy6020, February 10, 2016 - 06:26 PM.

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