We moved into a house a couple months ago, and I am trying to get a handle on...

Asked August 12, 2014, 10:04 PM EDT

We moved into a house a couple months ago, and I am trying to get a handle on the yard. There is a 2-1/2 foot wall across the front of the house, and the dirt has settled along the wall - about 4-5" just along the front. We are building a deck, and I thought it would be smart to put the dirt they dug up along the wall. When they were digging they hit dirt, and then clay, but I can't notice any clay in the dirt by the wall. BUT - the dirt just looks dead. It's kind of a light brown, and now I wonder if I should add a bunch of peat, or just ditch the dirt. There are two big trees in the yard and no grass - just hosta. I want to plant more hosta, but feel that the new dirt won't support growth. The yard is divided in two sections by the sidewalk/steps and each part is about 18X18'. Ideas? Thanks

Ramsey County Minnesota

6 Responses

We're not sure what you mean by the "dirt looking dead." However, it's common for soil of various kinds to be exposed and redistributed wherever construction occurs.

What to do with the soil removed when the deck was constructed depends upon your plans for the area along the wall. Do you intend to maintain turf there, a flower or shrub border, or put it to some other use?

If you simply want to raise the level of the soil along the wall, it's OK to use what's been removed during construction. However, if you want to grow something there, it's best to fill with topsoil and dispose of the excavated soil some other way.

If you want to create soil suitable for growing grass and/or more hostas elsewhere in the yard, obtain a University of Minnesota soil test and amend the existing soil according to the recommendations that will accompany the test results.

This website explains how to prepare soil samples and where to take or send them for testing:

http://soiltest.cfans.umn.edu/how-to-submit-samples/lawn-garden/


Yes, I think I knew the answer already. The dirt looks the color of cement, and I want to plant hostas. Thanks for the input.

Yes, I think I knew the answer already. The dirt looks the color of cement, and I want to plant hostas. Thanks for the input.

Yes, I think I knew the answer already. The dirt looks the color of cement, and I want to plant hostas. Thanks for the input.

Yes, I think I knew the answer already. The dirt looks the color of cement, and I want to plant hostas. Thanks for the input.

Yes, I think I knew the answer already. The dirt looks the color of cement, and I want to plant hostas. Thanks for the input.