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room for new soil  RSS feed

 
Amber Cairns
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I'm wanting to follow the adding soil suggestions in the article http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp for my lawn but adding even 6 inches let alone a foot of soil would send my new dirt cascading into the sidewalk and riding a foot up my fences, encouraging termites (which are already a problem here) and perhaps encouraging my new soil to wash away with the deluges that South central Texas is known for. I feel like the only solution would be to remove large amounts of my existing dirt/rock first but this prospect is daunting for me for many reasons. Anyone have other solutions or advice?
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I would try the other easier option on the list and only if those dont work would I start excavating my yard busting gas pipeline trucking in topsoil etc.
You could bring it in 1inch per month over a year. or you could bring in straw and compost it compost it.
You could also go for a meadow lawn. Or you could switch over o white clover, it only get to a height of 2-4inches and it makes it own nitrogen.
So less/no mowing or fertilizing.
Or you could go all out and plant 10ft tall fruit trees instead of lawn.
Here is a huge list of manageable fruit tree you can plant.
http://www.onegreenworld.com//index.php?cPath=1
 
Amber Cairns
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S Bengi,

While a garden is much more appealing than a lawn my HOA doesn't allow it and I don't have enough room for multiple trees. I live on 1/10th of an acre plot with a single story house taking up most of that. I plan to put a pecan tree in the front yard but don't want to do that until I know if I will need to be digging out several inches of soil. I'm thinking that the pocket hole soil improvement method he recommended might be a good idea and trying some compost over the top twice a year. My gradient is just so steep, necessary for drainage on my plot, that I'm worried about loosing anything I put on top before the plants can secure it.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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AHH, the HOA, too bad.

If it was not for them you could still plant on the fence line and prune the half that goes over into your neighbors yard, a living fence or quasi-espalier style.

As for the steepness you could use some wood/stone or something to hold it up untill some grass/root take over and hold the soil.
If you have 30ft between the tree and your house/foundation I say go for the pecan tree otherwise I would be cautious.
If all you are doing is digging a 3ft deep and wide hole and then adding 1inch of compost per month then I dont see a big problem.
However please be mindful that if you add dirt/compost/etc to the hole it will be rootbound, only expanding an additional feet or so.
And while 3-4ft might be enough for a 8-10ft tree (think container plant) it will not be enough for a 30-50ft tree.

Maybe you dont even have 1ft of soil all you have is bedrock/clay.
If that is the case you are just going to have to import that 1ft+ of soil
But with the steepness you are going to have to add it inch by inch giving the grass/plant root time to colonize and hold it.
Its only after this is done that you will be able to plant your trees.

 
Cris Bessette
gardener
Posts: 816
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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A few more details would be helpful:

How many inches of top soil do you already have?
Are you just trying to improve the grass / what are you using the lawn for?

Maybe just working some compost or topsoil into the existing lawn will fix things up.
 
Amber Cairns
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There isn't any "soil" it's just dirt. If it's been wet I can dig a hole without a pick ax. There isn't bed rock just the dirt is vary rocky, the dirt tends to shed water more than it absorbs it so it doesn't hold moisture well. When it's dry it is impossible to sink a shovel into the dirt. "mixing in" presents a problem because of the gradient in my lawn there isn't room for me to add, everything would just go cascading out into the sidewalk. The front lawn is mostly for show and keeping up the value of the house so we can sell it in a few years. The back lawn is being used mostly my the dog although I'm back there gardening during the growing season as well.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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OK dig a hole, plant your tree and then up hill from that dig another hole (hugelkultur) fill it with alot of the good stuff and keep it wet. the roots from the plant will find it and have alot of nutrients. The water will also drain downhill and once the soil around the tree is also wet it will stop repelling water and if it is simple rocky but with dirt the tree will make space for its roots. You could also dig a tiny trench to funnel all the runoff into either holes that you have dug. Best of luck.
 
Cris Bessette
gardener
Posts: 816
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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It seems to me if there is grass there, then putting some organic amendments ON the grass and raking it in should work.
The blades of grass will keep the new stuff in place while the grass starts infiltrating the new soil.

Just rake in a a quarter to a half inch of top soil or composted bark,etc. , water it in, wait a few months and do it again if necessary.
Let the grass grow an inch or two taller to facilitate holding new materials (not to mention that is one of the other "richsoil" steps anyway.)
 
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