loyalgirl1111
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:09 am
Location: Garner Nc

Growing grass in clay

I live in Raleigh NC, my yard is full sun, and all red clay. I have planted fescue 3 times and have not had much success. Right now the grass that came up has turned to weeds.

Looking for advice. Do I lay sod? Bermuda seed? or is there something else that would better serve my purpose.
Thanks for your help,

Loyal

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Well, hot sun and heavy clay soil is not the best environment for grass. You could consider doing something else with the area, plant it in groundcovers, flowers, shrubs and have a standout garden!

But if you insist on having lawn, if you till in compost, aged manure, and gypsum, it will help break up your clay. Fescue might not be your best choice. Bermuda grass, zoysia, or centipede grass might work better.
Here's a little article about types of grass:

https://www.american-lawns.com/lawns/best_lawns.html

Talk to people in your neighborhood that have nice lawns see what they do or talk to the local Master Gardeners or county Extension Service office.

Charlie MV
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Agree on all of Lady Star's suggestions [ed. I think he means me -- rainbowgardener] except that I think fescue is the best choice. We grew that on clay in Charlotte but couldn't make Bermuda preform well. Here in Aiken, Bermuda is the ticket but we're 180 miles south of you.

We could grow Bermuda in Charlotte but it was very needy as far as maintenance. Neglect it for a second and poof, no grass. We are on an acre here and about 1/4 is grass. I reduce it a little each year.

I would grow vegetables in the front yard if my wife and MIL would let me.

loyalgirl1111
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:09 am
Location: Garner Nc

Thanks for taking the time and giving me some ideas.
I have almost an acre and have done some flowers and ground covering, but really would prefer some grass. (the up keep would be easier I think.)
I have not had much luck with fescue and think I will give bermuda a try.
Considering bringing in some topsoil. Not sure how to calculate how much I need. How many inches deep should I go? Are ther differnt kinds or is topsoil pretty much the same?

In addition to the topsoil..I can add some compost and gypsum..but again, have no clue on the quantity.

This is my first home and I really have no clue what I am doing. I appreciate any help you can offer.

Thanks
Thanks for your help,

Loyal

Charlie MV
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Bringing in that much topsoil would be a job. You're talking dump trucks, not pick up truck. I don't know what kind of equipment you have but you'll need to be really strong to tackle that with a wheel barrow and rake. You need to till a little just to scratch the clay. Then lay 2 to 3 inches of topsoil. If you bring in topsoil you can grow anything. I'd still grow fescue up there but you can call your county extension agent and get excellent advice for your area. Like I said, we grew fescue in Charlotte. Fescue also stays green year round. if you plant Bermuda, you can over sew annual rye if you want green grass in the winter. I do that so I have year round clippings for compost.

An acre is really big for a one person job. You may want to check with a landscaper. It may be cheaper. But I'd start with the county extension office.

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tomf
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It will cost you a little bit to do it right but it will pay out in the end.
First thing clay holds water and does not let it pass through very well so even if you do top soil you may have problems.
The first thing to do is to get a number of trucks of sand and till it in. Have some top soil ready to spread on top. Adding compost would be good as well. You can rent a tractor with a tiller and do it your self if you wish. On my vegi garden I used a 4 way mix but it is a bit expensive $450 for 14 yards delivered. After you have worked the sand into the soil spread the top soil. You want 1" to 3" or what ever you can do. An alternate way is to till in 1/2 of the sol and spread the rest. You need to work the soil. With that much lawn the tiller will do a good job of smoothing if you learn to use it. Rake out the rest. You can get a spreader for a ridding mower and spread the seed, if you have the ridding wower, or use a walk behind spreadder. You want to rake the seed into the soil after you spread it. Then put on the fertilizer. running it over with the ridder mower will help put the seeds into the ground. Keep watered until it grows strong.

ust off my head I would say you will need about 8 to 12 trucks holdin 10 to 12 yards of sand and some where close to this in top soil.

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