Grass in front yard
I have a well established (40 year) front yard, with a slight slope from left to right. During this winter there has been so much rain it is incredibly muddy and most of the grass is gone. We have 2 beautiful dogwoods in the area. Should we put in some soil and sow some seed? I'm afraid it will all just wash away again either this Spring after planting or next winter.
New Castle County Delaware
There has been a lot of rain this year. First - determine where the excess water is coming from and divert it so the damage will not repeated. Allow the muddy area to dry out, as working it while wet will cause compaction. A soil test is recommended if one has not been taken recently. This will establish the proper fertilization and/or amendments needed.
You did not indicate how large an area is affected or how steep the slope; however, the following can be used on any area. (Re: Maintaining a Healthy Lawn)
Prepare the seed bed
Prepare the seed bed by amending 2-4 inches of organic material (compost or mushroom soil)
Rototilling to a depth of 2-3 inches (a smaller area can be tilled using a garden shovel).
Remove any clumps and rocks.
Add 1/2 ib. nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft., Smooth final grade.
Roll the seed bed to compress slightly
Select the Proper Turf Species
You may wish to repair the area with cultivated-certified sod
A moderate maintained lawn – Turf type tall fescue
High maintenance lawn – a blend of Kentucky blue grass with some perennial rye for quick germination
Shady lawn – Fine leaved fescue with Kentucky blue or perennial rye
Plant the area
Spring is not the ideal time to plant seed as soil temperatures are too cool for germination and weed competition is great.
Consider sodding the area. You will have an established turf and ease the problem of erosion.
Seeding should be done uniformly and in at least two different directions for good coverage
Cover the seed by lightly raking for good seed to soil contact
Apply a light mulch of straw which will help maintain moisture and reduce erosion.
Care after seeding or sodding
Water the sod or seeded area daily. Keep area moist until seeded area reaches 1-1/2 inches tall. About 3 weeks after germination. Mow at 3 inches using a sharp mower. Sod is well rooted when the sod cannot be lifted easily.
3 or 4 weeks after planting fertilize with 1 pound nitrogen.
For additional information refer to the University of Delaware’s Living Lawns Managing a Healthy Lawn. http://udextension.s3.amazonaws.com/factsheet/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/D32536_LivableLawns_REVSIED_FINAL.pdf or contact the Garden Line (302)831-8862.