Lawn problem

Asked July 6, 2020, 7:06 PM EDT

We are in a new construction community, where builder hauled away all the topsoil. What’s left is mostly hard clay soil. We have this area where it’s heavily sloped (storm water management), the pic was taken last year, now it’s a lot more weedy than before. We can’t do core aeration because of the risk of flipping over. How can I grow the grass back?? We have tall fescue lawn. I want to improve the soil but I can’t do core aeration and top dress would get washed away by rain.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

You did not mention if this is community property or part of your property. We do not know who or how the property is cared for. It looks like some type of equipment or car ran over the area.

You mentioned you are concerned about weeds and growing grass. You should identify the weeds so you know what you are dealing with. Here is our website on weed identification https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/weed-identification-photos

We see that you live in Montgomery County. Earlier this year they passed a Pesticide Ban on conventional pesticides.

Montgomery County’s pesticide law bans the use of most synthetic pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides on private lawns, playgrounds, mulched recreation areas, and childcare facilities. Organic pesticides are allowed. There are some exemptions for the use of synthetic pesticides, including for biting insects, indoor pests, and tree and shrub pests. Go to the following website for information regarding the law and organic lawn care information, www.MontgomeryCountyMD.gov/lawns
You can also ask them questions, Email AskDep@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov or call 240-777-0311.

Also, soil improvement after a lawn is established is difficult because to comply with Maryland's Fertilizer Law, the amount of compost that can be applied (topdressing) has to be dictated by a soil test and a compost analysis. See the law
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-fertilizing

Overall the grass does not look that bad. One solution is to fill the ruts
and seed this fall with turf type tall fescue. If you cannot renovate the turf, all you can do is continue to overseed in the fall and get a thick stand of turf and tolerate some weeds. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/challenge-growing-lawn-maryla
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/organic-lawn-care

Another approach is to consider some storm water management practices such as a rain garden in the area. Since you are located in Montgomery County, read about the Montgomery County RainScapes Program. This program is designed to deal with just managing stormwater. Rebates are offered to Montgomery County residents to support the implementation of approved projects such as rain gardens, rain barrels, and/or conservation landscaping. You can find the information at the following link and contact your Department of Environmental Protection for assistance. https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/water/rainscapes/index.html

Marian