My developer stripped off all of our topsoil. Can you seed over clay or do I need topsoil brought in?
Welcome to the world of new construction. Ideally you want to establish your lawn on top of a fresh layer of loom soil no less than 3 to 4 inches deep. Too much clay in the soil will hold water at a rate that creating and maintaining a lawn is more of a challenge. Additionally, clay soils – minus the other elements of good soil such as sand and organic matter – do not allow air and needed nutrients to flow freely to growing root systems. That being said, your problem can be overcome using several methods.
The most important thing is to have your soil, clay or not, prepared to be fluffy and lose at the time of application. Hydro-seeded grasses initially grow in the cocoon created by the mulch it is encapsulated in at the time of application. Days or weeks later – depending on watering schedule and other environmental factors – the mulch dissipates and your new grass has to find a permanent home for its roots. Our hydroseed mixtures can grow, and have grown, on concrete and metal surfaces only to die off when water and nutrients can no longer be found. Hydroseeding over hard, compacted soils will yield a nice plush lawn for a few weeks but then quickly lead to failure.
In your case it is a matter of budget and after care. Bringing in 4 inches of good topsoil, and having it spread, can add more cost to the project than can be afforded after all of the other expenses of your new home buying experience. If this is the case, Classic Lawn & Tree’s team can still loosen and supplement your clay to a level where your lawn will grow. More frequent mowing, fertilizing, aerating etc. will eventually build in the ingredients that your initial clay soil lawn lacked (see our section on Aerating & Over-Seeding). Hope this helped?
How much do I need to water after my lawn is hydroseeded?
This is not an easy question to answer since conditions of each job-site are unique. However, as a general rule, you will need to water twice a day for very brief periods for the first week to ten days and then you will alter your watering schedule to either once a day or even every other day for a week or so more and then as needed. This is the same schedule you would have used if you installed sod or used seed & straw method. Your goal with watering a hydroseeded lawn – for the initial germination period – is simply to keep the mulch cocoon moist as the seed grows and then back off as the roots develop. Classic Lawn & Tree finds this to be such an important step that we provide ongoing guidance and education to both our residential and commercial clients for weeks, and sometime months, after application.
What type of grass do you recommend for our area?
95% of the time we recommend a blended mix of cold weather fescue grasses (we use a blend of three different fescues to establish new lawns because each has a different temperature and light requirement range and blended together gives our clients a nice looking lawn for most of the year in the greater Knoxville / Maryville area).
However, we do have a growing number of clients who desire Bermuda or other warm weather grasses because that is what they are used to mowing and maintaining. In the long run Bermuda will require less maintenance but will be a challenge during the odd cold/damp summers we sometimes experience. We have also found that the closer our client is to the foothills, or the Smoky Mountains, then Bermuda is not at all recommended. Additionally, aerating and fertilizing schedules are reversed with warm weather grasses (see our Aerating & Over-Seeding page).
My builder used some sort of plastic/straw mat in my yard before closing and now all I have is weeds and dirt. Can you fix that?
Yes. Traditionally, in the greater Knoxville area, approximately 30% of our clients come to us with this problem – new home owners who had grass at closing that quickly died off. Unfortunately there is no one solution to this common problem. We sometimes have to kill off and rip up the lawn and start over but then, at other times, we can blend our hydroseeding and aerating services along with a selective weed kill off to start the client’s lawn on the right path. Each of these options will be explored and discussed on client by client – lawn by lawn – basis.
You hydroseeded our lawn a few months ago but I am seeing a weed here and there. Should I pull them or spray weed kill on them?
No. Even in a perfect environment for establishing a new lawn the soil can contain some percentage of weed seeds (our seed and other ingredients are certified weed free). Those existing weed seeds are going to love the fertilizer and other ingredients in our mix just as much as your new grass does. We, at Classic Lawn & Tree, purposely put 20% more seed in our mix than required per square foot specifically to combat this problem. Our technique grows more grass seedlings per square inch than required and tends to choke out foreign and unwanted plants such as common lawn weeds. Depending on the time of year of your planting, some of your good grass seed may still be dormant during this period. Applying a chemical weed killer will kill of this un-germinated seed as well as the young established grass plants. Waiting a cycle to begin a weed kill off is recommended in this case.