I had my yard regraded am and now left with hard, sticky, slick, red clay. I...

Asked July 21, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

I had my yard regraded am and now left with hard, sticky, slick, red clay. I would like to have grass again, but am not sure how proceed. Should I add topsoil first? If so, how much, what type, and should I till it into the clay or have it rest on top of the clay. Also, is there a particular species of grass that would be better with this soil? Would sod have a better chance than seed? Thank you!

Montgomery County Maryland

2 Responses

Your timing is great.
You should start with a soil test, which will tell you what your soil is lacking and how to fix it, and then you will be well-positioned to start a renovation this fall.
Here is our information on getting a soil test done, including a chart of regional labs which can complete the test for you.

Once those results come back, you'll know what is needed to give your new grass - turf-type tall fescues are what are recommended- a good start.
The amendment you want is not topsoil, but an organic product like compost, aged manure or Leaf-gro. You should put down at least an inch throughout the planting area to start the seed. It can be on top, as grass roots can grow in clay.
All of the information that you need about lawn renovation is covered in detail in our publication here: https://www.extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG102%20Lawn%20...

Great! Thank you!