lawn advice

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pH is a logarithmic scale. Compost is neutral, so it will allow your trees to grow and they will slowly bring the regular soil right. Modifying soil is a losing battle for people. Nature has figured out how to do it though!
Not untrue, but the timescale for letting nature do it can be long, and most people want a lawn next year... not after they've moved and retired to Florida.

Here's my soil analysis from last year. I'm mostly down to just doing it each year in late February now, although I used to do it twice yearly, when I was first trying to get this place in shape.

You can see the analysis at the top, followed by recommended yearly totals at the bottom, all listed in lb. per 1000 ft2. In the USA, our fertilizers are labeled with their percentages of "N-P-K", meaning N, P205, and K2O, so there's just a bit of math to get from here to there, and a bit of knowledge to know how and when to break up those yearly totals. Local help is valuable, here.

If I had needed lime, meaning my pH was anything lower than 6.4, then it would have a number followed by a C or D. In my case, if my lawn were as acidic as yours, that Recommendations table would read "25C" under CaCO3.

2023 soil analysis.png
 
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thanks @Ashful @EatenByLimestone
I have two small forests on the borders, I did a little digging, and at least 20 centimeters are all of this beautiful, dark material, the clear one is mine 😤
the difference is enormous, so organic decomposition helps this soil a lot!
IMG_20231006_115322.jpgIMG_20231006_121319.jpg
 
The one thing they ALL agree on is that the best thing for the soil is to get something growing in it. The gypsum and compost are merely the temporary means of creating a structure that permits this.
Worth repeating, here. Do what you need to do to get something growing in it, sooner than later.

As to pH, I've never seen nature want to correct that. Around here, left to nature, the soil always trends low. requiring a little nudge up with lime about every 3rd year.
 
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thanks @Ashful

the result is good, I imagine this is after the treatment, you certainly did a great job converting land, quickly, especially because you used compost, and specific components based on analysis, hats off. The "Eden" speech It's a wonderful speech anyway, maybe not quickly suitable for large field cultivation.
But it's good as a basis for thought, for agriculture
 
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It’s just mimicking nature. The organic matter, compost, is neutral.

Trees and grasses will build organic matter. Your dry soil is tough. Cover it and it’ll soften. Then it can be worked.

I think it’s the roots and worms that really break up the soil and mix it enough to change the ph.

When I’d try to mix amendments into the soil, it’d go back to the prevailing soil type pretty quickly. Just laying the compost on top and letting nature do it removed a lot of stress in the process, lll.
 
It’s just mimicking nature. The organic matter, compost, is neutral.

Trees and grasses will build organic matter. Your dry soil is tough. Cover it and it’ll soften. Then it can be worked.

I think it’s the roots and worms that really break up the soil and mix it enough to change the ph.

When I’d try to mix amendments into the soil, it’d go back to the prevailing soil type pretty quickly. Just laying the compost on top and letting nature do it removed a lot of stress in the process, lll.

This is correct. If you really want to improve the soil woodchips or leaf mulch work wonders. The slow breakdown brings in the worms and other organisms that do the actual breakdown. Also the roots of the plants you grow will break up the soil even more.
Say in a vegetable garden you would cut the finished plant at the ground line and leave the roots in the ground to further decompose and loosen the soil. Tilling the soil is actually very bad for it as it causes soil erosion and creates a hardpan just after the maximum depth of the tiller, and then the tilled earth will compact again and need to be tilled again. Broadforking works much better than tilling in my opinion and requires much less work. One and done that way.

Obviously that’s for a garden and not a lawn. A light mulch of hay over the seeded ground would help as it breaks down. You would want deep rooting grasses to help break up the soil.
 
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thanks @EatenByLimestone and @weee123

the concept is very nice and I will follow I also purchased a composter, to make less rejection, and produce a little good compost, but to start I will have to buy some as well as wood chips, a neighbor of mine produces it, at a good price I was actually almost thinking of collecting leaves and soil in the forest too the situation on this soil is disastrous, I don't see a worm, if farmers had put animal manure every year it would be much better, but everyone only thought about the agricultural harvest and fertilize with non-natural products, use of products to destroy weeds and this is it, However, the important thing is to start improving, nature will do the rest 🐛
 
thanks @EatenByLimestone and @weee123

the concept is very nice and I will follow I also purchased a composter, to make less rejection, and produce a little good compost, but to start I will have to buy some as well as wood chips, a neighbor of mine produces it, at a good price I was actually almost thinking of collecting leaves and soil in the forest too the situation on this soil is disastrous, I don't see a worm, if farmers had put animal manure every year it would be much better, but everyone only thought about the agricultural harvest and fertilize with non-natural products, use of products to destroy weeds and this is it, However, the important thing is to start improving, nature will do the rest 🐛
If you can get leaves, pile them on the soil. You can use a tractor or a tiller to chop them up and speed up the process. The warmth and decay attract earth worms and fungi. .

 
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I used to run over my layers of leaves with my lawn mower. It is what I had. It broke them down much faster as they were reduced to much finer pieces that decomposed faster.
 
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I used to run over my layers of leaves with my lawn mower. It is what I had. It broke them down much faster as they were reduced to much finer pieces that decomposed faster.
Gator blades to a great job of this. I run them on my 60" mower and while I try to direct the discharge toward the woods, probably more than half of the total mass ends up pulverized into the lawn, thanks to the Gator blades. Pulverizing a lot of leaf matter into the lawn can result in different fertilization and pH balancing requirements, versus parts of the lawn with fewer or no trees, so manage your soil testing accordingly.
 
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thanks @armanidog, @Montanalocal @Ashful

organic, is certainly the key to converting clayey soil in particular, to the surface, quite quickly, but quite slow, in depth
for the trees I mean, I was reading about sulphur, it might help, to unpack, and make available micronutrients in the clay that would otherwise not be available, I took some soluble sulfur and thought I'd put some around the trees, not too close actually and the rain will do the rest, but I'm not sure if it will help or can even do harm.
It seems to be good for microfauna too.

I had previously measured ph, and it seemed a little low, but were chinese instruments more accurate tests showed me a pH of 8, which is awfully high
 
Probably your instruments, but in any case, always make soil testing is done on a sample mixed from several locations. One person spilling out a bucket of lime used for mortar will wreak havoc on a pH test, if you happen to sample that spot.
 
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naturally 😂 One barrel is already almost full to be poured into the composter

IMG_20231017_100537.jpg


these trees had been felled 2 years ago by an excavator, the one on the right is dead but the one on the left is the greenest in the area, notice the rot around it!

IMG_20231017_122724.jpg
 
Mirco, I can't remember, what's your closest major city or region?
 
  1. Box blade or other favorite means of leveling.
  2. Rock rake or other favorite means of removing stone.
  3. Collect soil test sample, send to your local turf company / ag extension.
  4. Selective herbicide, eg. Escalade-2, to kill everything that's not grass.
  5. Wait 3 weeks after herbicide, then slit seed (preferred) or plug/core aerate, and then seed at "new lawn" rate (eg. 9 - 12 lb./1000 sq.ft.). DO NOT just broadcast seed onto ground without slit or aerator, as you'll be wasting 90% of it, and seed is painfully expensive. Slit seeder has highest germination rate (most cost-effective), and core aerator is second highest.
  6. Starter fertilizer.
  7. Follow the recommendations that come back with your soil test, just break the total recommended nutrients into 5 applications, subtracting out what you already put down in starter.
  8. Plan on a fall over-seeding, for at least the first few years, until it really fills in. If you go with tall fescue or other non-creeping turf, you'll probably want a fall over-seeding every year, depending on how nice you want to keep things.
 
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methinks that at the region he is in, the most important part is the watering after seeding and during the hot summer months...

(Or one can leave it a bit more natural, including natural "weeds", erm, herbs that promote insect life, and thus birds and rodents etc. and use less (fossil fuel produced) chemicals and water.)
 
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thanks

@Ashful

I thought it was just the skill of an excavator pilot I didn't know box blade, It would be a fantastic finish. The last sowing I did in the area at my feet (previous photo) without aeration, and without other measures was a total failure, money wasted. The only visible grass is the wild one! I'd like to start airing out that "garden" at the bottom. This mototiller in the photo should work, I hope. I believe the time has come to do a ground analysis, even if not homogeneous, it shouldn't be expensive, also to understand what type of lawn would be best at this point!

@stoveliker

Yes, unfortunately that's how it is, I spotted a type of grass, which grows as a pest in every area, also here, in winter it turns yellow, It's not ideal but everyone claims that it has roots even 20-30 centimeters long, it should propagate on its own, not suffering much from drought and the height generally does not exceed 20 centimeters, could be my solution, discordant note, this weed costs much more than normal green lawn even in winter!



IMG_20240212_173307.jpg
 
Natural grasses can always do well, but often have other undesired characteristics. The compromise is usually finding the monoculture grass or blend that has the best endurance in your climate. Here in Pennysylvania, that's always tall fescue, which has the best compromise of summer drought and winter cold tolerance for our climate, compared to other species. Your climate is a bit warmer and dryer, and with different pests, so the preferred species may be different. You'd do well to consult a local turf/seed company, in selecting a species. In most cases, you're going to want to put down a blend of about 20% something that generates super-fast (e.g. annual rye) with about 80% your desired crop (e.g. tall fescue), as the faster-germinating grass will help to protect and hold the desired seed through its often-much-longer germination cycle.

And I believe I said it back when this thread started, you will get best endurance with the least effort doing the weed kill in August and then planting in September. You can do the same now, with excellent results, but it will require watering all summer to keep those young seedlings from succumbing to summer drought.

That's why I recommended a fall over-seeding in my last post, as anything planted now will experience some summer loss, when the heat sets in. But I would not use this as an excuse to delay, as you're fighting erosion anytime there is exposed loose topsoil. Always better to get something planted now, and then repair in September.
 
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Natural grasses can always do well, but often have other undesired characteristics. The compromise is usually finding the monoculture grass or blend that has the best endurance in your climate. Here in Pennysylvania, that's always tall fescue, which has the best compromise of summer drought and winter cold tolerance for our climate, compared to other species. Your climate is a bit warmer and dryer, and with different pests, so the preferred species may be different. You'd do well to consult a local turf/seed company, in selecting a species. In most cases, you're going to want to put down a blend of about 20% something that generates super-fast (e.g. annual rye) with about 80% your desired crop (e.g. tall fescue), as the faster-germinating grass will help to protect and hold the desired seed through its often-much-longer germination cycle.

And I believe I said it back when this thread started, you will get best endurance with the least effort doing the weed kill in August and then planting in September. You can do the same now, with excellent results, but it will require watering all summer to keep those young seedlings from succumbing to summer drought.

That's why I recommended a fall over-seeding in my last post, as anything planted now will experience some summer loss, when the heat sets in. But I would not use this as an excuse to delay, as you're fighting erosion anytime there is exposed loose topsoil. Always better to get something planted now, and then repair in September.
I will not delay the sowing, this type of lawn Cynodon dactylon it seems to do well if sown in spring, because germination occurs at around 20 degrees Celsius, while the green lawn in winter germinates at lower temperatures, I'll have to wait for the soil temperature to increase and proceed before the rain. The good thing, the excavator mixed up the grasses present in that soil, and now it's slightly in turmoil, I noticed worms while planting last trees.

I'm not in a big hurry about lawn,
that garden will start to be useful when the trees are a little big, but stopping erosion is essential, even for the trees themselves.
 
added new fruit trees, I wonder if we should encourage bees, to ensure pollination
We've been overseeding our yard with dwarf white clover about every three years and really like the results. We use no herbicides or fertilizers. The turf's not perfect but the grass loves the nitrogen fixed by the clover and the bees love the clover flowers.
I'll admit though that what we've ended up with is hardly something your typical McMansion dweller would be proud of.
The deer like it though.
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