How To Create A Healthy Lawn in Clay? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Thread Tools
#1 of 4 Old 08-13-2010, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
sparkprincess's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 3,482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We live in St. Louis. It's considered a "transition zone" because the temps can swing pretty wildly here.

We built a house about 3 years ago and our lawn is a mess. Most lawns in our neighborhood are. We've discovered that we basically have no topsoil. Just clay and rock. We've tried natural methods: "natural", "organic" fertilizers and those special concoctions (vinegar, beer, etc). Nothing works. I really think that our grass isn't growing well because there's no real soil. But what can we do short of stripping off all the sod, adding real topsoil and resodding?

DH wants to get Zoysia, but from what I've read our lawn will be brown 6 months of the year. Plus, it will take us anywhere from 2-5 years to have an established lawn.

What can we do?
sparkprincess is offline  
#2 of 4 Old 08-13-2010, 10:48 PM
JamieCatheryn's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: SW Pa
Posts: 5,103
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Good topsoil is full of organic matter: decayed live stuff. You can build that up over time. Add composted manure, composted kitchen scraps and leaves. Leave the cut grass on the lawn or compost it then put it back - never throw it out unless the weeds are *bad*, even then a good hot compost pile can kill seeds and turn it back into safe good soil.

To really get it in there, you can aerate the lawn before spreading the composted manure. Rent an aerator that you push back and forth like a lawn mower while it pokes holes in the sod. Then spread the compost or manure and rake it in. To thicken the lawn back up add grass seed afterward when you've got mild weather that won't scorch or freeze new grass.
JamieCatheryn is offline  
#3 of 4 Old 08-18-2010, 11:12 AM
Owen'nZoe's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,322
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just wanted to second the idea of spreading composted manure (or other compost) over the grass each year, and mulching your grass clippings. It won't improve the lawn immediately, but over time the soil will get better.

I've also spread rabbit food (the alfalfa pellets) over my lawn in the past. If you buy them in large bags from a feed store, it is a cheap way of getting organic material into the soil. Depending on how many issues you have with rabbits, though, this may not be your best option. I don't have a ton of rabbits here, so what little they ate was more than repaid with bunny droppings, which were probably even better for the soil than the alfalfa pellets.
Owen'nZoe is offline  
#4 of 4 Old 08-18-2010, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
sparkprincess's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: St. Louis MO
Posts: 3,482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks ladies! I think these are great ideas. I told DH and he's def. willing to give it a try, which I'm psyched about!
sparkprincess is offline  

Quick Reply
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off