just bought a new home and we're trying to get our lawn started.
Some of the grass seed is up, but there are large areas that didn't
come up. They had spread about a half inch of loam over the yard and
that's on top of very sandy soil. What can we do to get the grass to
grow? Thank you for any help you can provide.
A. At one of my gardening
workshops I was asked the same question recently, only their soil was
mostly clay. The answer is the same for both situations.
Spreading loam was a good idea to improve the soil,
but there should have been more than just a thin layer of it and it
would have been better to mix the loam into the existing soil, rather
than spreading it on top.
What probably happened is your grass seed that was on
top of the thin layer of loam dried up when the loam dried up and the
seed wasn't able to sprout. The sandy soil (or clay soil) that is
underneath does not hold moisture well, either. A sandy soil dries
out quickly and when a clay soil dries out it really dries out and
cracks looking like a desert.
What I'd recommend is to redo those areas where the
grass seed did not come up. Whether you have sandy soil or clay soil,
the solution is to add and mix in organic material to amend the soil.
(Organic materials include, but are not limited to, compost, manure,
peat moss, top soil, or humus.) Most importantly, make sure you mix
or rototill the organic material into the soil well.
Once you've leveled and rolled the area, sow the grass
seed. It is very important to not let the grass seed dry out until it
has germinated, so set up sprinklers and turn them on each day until
the grass seed has sprouted. After that, the lawn should get one inch
of water each week, either from your watering or natural rainfall.
In addition to improving the soil, the organic
material you will add will help the soil retain moisture and help
your new lawn get established.