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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2003 8:27 am 
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I have several related :?: questions: My front yard has a good growth of bermuda grass but there are a few places that need some leveling work. Is it too late in the year to consider having dirt work done? If not, is it best to use sand for leveling work? Also, a large portion of my back yard has a hard, light tan to gray clay like dirt that not much of anything will grow on. Over the past two years, I have used organic fertalizers and even reverted to chemical fertalizes. Nothing seems to have helped. Am I expecting too much too quickly? Do I need to have top soil added. If so, what is the best to use? Who can do soil sampling and give me suggestions as to what to do?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2003 10:49 am 
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Bro John-
You are going to have to update your profile and tell us where you live before we can recommend people to help you. I would never bring in "top soil" to level my yard. It is rarely the same consistency of the original soil, which creates various other problems. Start by applying a liquid soil conditioner on the existing lawn to begin the process of loosening the soil. Next add about 1/2 inch of compost going heavy in the low spots. Next year you may have to do the low spots again. I don't know what type of grass you have so I can't go any further other than to suggest you continue using organic fertilizer, both granular and liquid.
Tony M


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2003 12:28 am 
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The best soil test lab I know of is Texas Plant and Soil Test Lab. They test soils from around the world. Tell them what you want to grow and send in the sample. They cost slightly more than average but they do much more testing than average. If you asked a regular lab to do all the same tests, it would end up costing you more and you'd wait longer for results.

http://www.txplant-soillab.com/

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 10:38 pm 
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I understand your frusteration and no I don't think your expecting things to quick.
I would strongly consider adding compost and beneficial nematodes.

I know may folks in this forum do not think aerating in necessary but I had wonderful results this spring.

I have some thick clay soil as well .... we aerated well and covered the yard very lightly with composted soil a few days later (it filled in the holes) with a tad bit more in the low areas.

The combination of compost, nematodes, organic fert, and aeration has worked well for us.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2003 11:32 pm 
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I'm one of the folks who don't think aeration is "necessary." The only time I argue with folks about it is when someone claims that it IS necessary. Otherwise, I think aeration can help in some cases but it is never necessary.

Clear as mud? Let me try again. If you have compacted soil, you can aerate and get quicker results than if you simply applied compost and corn meal. Otherwise if you applied compost and corn meal you'll end up in the same place by next season. Time is the difference.

When you aerate you punch maybe a few thousand holes in your entire landscape. The microbes can punch trillions of holes in every square foot of soil. But the microbes must be healthy and well fed. Sometimes mechanical aeration is just the kick needed to get more water under the top crust and invigorate the microbes in the root zone.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 11:13 pm 
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Aeration isn't a requirement, but for those with compacted soil, it is a great jumpstart when combined with the appropriate soil ammendments. In Bro. John's case, core aeration could be a very good answer for his leveling requirement. Following the aeration, simply rake the cores into the low spots.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 10:29 am 
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I just want to remind everyone that aeration can be done mechanically or with soil conditioners. I have no problem with the mechanical method but I've used an aerator, it's no fun and can raise heck with the sprinkler system if your are inexperienced. If you decide to go that route, I would consider contracting it. I know Soils Alive in Dallas does core aeration for about the same price as a rental.
Tony M


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 10:57 am 
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I really like Mr Clean's idea about leveling by raking the aerator core plugs to the low spots. That's great! Of course I don't get to do that because I don't have to aerate. I level with sand.

I also want to second what Tony said about aerators on in-ground sprinklers. A good aerator weighs 250-300 pounds fully loaded with counter weights. When it hits something, the thing it hits usually breaks. Maybe there are smaller aerators that homeowners can use to maneuver around the sprinkler heads, but I've not seen one.

Shallow roots and rocks can be a hazard, too. When you hit one of those, the 300-pound aerator will buck and become a real bronco to hold on to. If you have roots or rocks, two days after you use the aerator you usually feel like you've wrestled best 2 out of 3 falls against Gorilla Monsoon and Haystack Calhoun.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 8:11 pm 
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Haystack Calhoun, eh...That was a couple of decades ago... :)

THose aerators certainly are certainly a workout....as Dchall said they really buck when they hit something hard. I aerated 9 small golf greens this spring, thats alot of changing direction and running along mounds around the greens. Direction changes and trying to keep the machine straight on slopes is real challenge, not to mention the sore shoulders and lower back the next morning :shock:

After i aerated i spread 10/1000 rolled corn. I am certain that the corn was much more effective than the machine. I have core aerated these greens before with little improvement in the turf. The turf now feels like carpet with a thick underpad.

Now i just wish it would rain.... :cry:

Dave


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 11:24 am 
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Dchall_San_Antonio, I can't honestly take credit for the idea, I heard HG mention that some years ago.

I have never done the aeration myself, rather have relied on pros. I have had it done 3 times in my 9 years at this site. Each time, I experienced noticeable improvement in the appearance of the lawn. Results coming much quicker than with ammendments alone.

As for sprinkler systems, this is IMO another good reason not to have one. As long as I am physically able to move a hose and a sprinkler, that's what I'll do. Besides, I love to collect sprinklers :)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 6:45 pm 
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I like to collect sprinklers also.

I heard[ I believe it was on Howard Garrett's show] that you could use hydrogen peroxide sprayed on the yard to achieve aeration.

Is this true? Are any problems/concerns? What amounts?

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