Hello! My name is Leslie and I live in Crozet, VA. I currently have very large patches of red clay dirt in my yard and my yard has several slopes, which leaves a big muddy mess all the way around when we have any sort of rain or wet weather. I would like to try to plant grass seed this Spring in hopes of eliminating all the red mud I am constantly cleaning in my house, (I have two dogs....you can imagine!), but am unsuccessful in finding good information online about what type of seed to use. I did, however, find several suggestions to contact you in hopes of having a test soil done to determine what type I need? Or perhaps just getting some basic advice on what has worked best in this area with this type of soil. (I do not have a lot of extra money to pay for expensive tests, so advice might be the way to go!) Any help you can provide would be great. I don't want to spend money wastefully in this regard. Thank you!
Albemarle County Virginia
Hi Leslie, Please check out the information below. Drop me a line if you need anything else. Take care, Cathy
http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/418/418-013/418-013.html - detailed instruction on using switchgrass for erosion, grazing and wildlife
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHMCJSxQAgo - a good video talking about soil covers
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/va/home/?cid=stelprdb1097429 - soil health overview from NRCS.
Please contact the local NRCS office for their help too. They will be very helpful to you. Area III: Farmville
100-D Dominion Drive
Farmville, VA 23901
http://www.tjswcd.org/UrbanProgram.html - financial incentive programs to implement conservation practices. City of Charlottesville residents only.
re: soil testing. The tests run $10 each and I can assist you with getting the form and box you need to submit the sample. The samples are processed at the Soil Testing Lab in Blacksburg, VA at Virginia Tech. This test will provide you with basic soil parameters - pH and nutrients, primarily - and make recommendations for how to amend the soil to be in optimal shape for whatever you decide to grow there.