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Lawns : Soil Preparation

  1 - 6 of 33 answer(s)

Covering decorative bark with top soil?

I'm having some problem in removing decorative bark from an area where I want to add about 10-20 cm top soil and sow a lawn from grass seeds. Can I just leave it and cover it with soil? The bark is Shamrock Decorative Bark Mini Chips. madster, Clongriffin, Co Dublin Posted: 08/09/2016

If it is just a thin layer of bark, just cover it.

If it is more than 2cm, the bark will rot down eventually and the soil might subside, leaving an uneven surface to the lawn. Uneveness could be remedied by top-dressing with good soil raked it in a thin layer.


Unable to grow lawn

We have only shale and builders' rubble in our back garden but want to lay lawn. Would we need topsoil/clay if we want turf/sod which already has about 1" soil backing to take? Arwen, Rathdowney, Co Laois Posted: 19/04/2016

Grass lawn needs at least 15cm, ideally 30cmm of good topsoil.
More at:  http://www.garden.ie/howtogrow.aspx?id=328
If you cannot get that without raising the lawn level too much, you will have to take out rubble and then lay top-soil. Although this is onerous, it will give the best result in the end. 


heavy moss

I have used Gallop to kill grass and moss. If I just dig the garden over leaving all the dead moss and grass will it make matters worse? 031120151, tuam, Co Galway Posted: 03/11/2015

Gallop is a brand of glyphosate, similar to Roundup. It kills grass but only sets back moss which grows again.

Do not go to the trouble of digging. Use sulphate of iron to kill the moss and re-sow the grass with No. 2 seed when it is dead. The seed can be scattered on the soil surface, even onto dead grass.

In future, do not mow as tightly and apply some lawn fertilizer each spring.


Returning garden

I need to return my garden and I want to do it with roll on turf. Do I need to strip the grass or can I just roll theturf on top of old grass. Would I need to put weedkiller on it? Dougall, Dublin 14, Co Dublin Posted: 29/07/2015

Lawn turf is rolled out on cultivated, firm, raked fine and rolled and levelled soil. If you want an easy way of re-sowing a lawn with better grass, spray it carefully with Roundup or similar in late August and when you are sure you have a complete kill, simply over-sow with grass seed of your choice. This is effective and costs a fraction of cultivation and re-sodding. 

  Horse trodden lawn

Horse trodden lawn

What would you recommend to restore a horse trodden lawn to its original condition as at 4th February. Basically two horses intruded on a lawn one night and left a lot of hoofprints. The lawn is an average square sub-urban back-garden lawn with no flower-beds. The soil is fairly soft and there are just imprints of horses's hooves - see attached photos. Will a roll suffice? Should it be done now in February? Or should we wait until the ground dries out in, say April. Would it need o be aerated? Or is there something else we should do? Meadowbliss, Howth, Co Dublin Posted: 06/02/2012


The marks are not very deep and when the grass stands up again, they will not be very noticeable.

Over a few weeks the soil will weather and pretty much even out.

By summer, you should see no lingering marks, but if there are spread some topsoil with a rake to even them out.


Replacing tarmac tennis court with grass

We have inherited an old bumpy (lethal for kids to fall on) porous tarmac tennis court and the cost of replacement with astroturf is too expensive. Therefore I'd like to replace with grass. Rather than completely dig up and re-seed, is it an option to simply put topsoil over the court and if so, how much is needed for grass to grow? fmeh, Skryne, Co Meath Posted: 08/11/2011


Tennis courts are laid on a base of hardcore stone. It would be best to take away the bulk of this. Well, it would be best to take it all away but you will be able to leave some in position if the top 15cm or so is scraped out.

This could be done with a digger quite quickly and topsoil brought in to replace it. You might even find a home for the hardcore stone if somebody is making a driveway or paved area, for instance.

Putting a layer of top soil down on tarmac will leave the grass very likely to dry out in summer and a layer of at least 15cm of top soil would be needed, which will probably leave the tennic court area too high compared to surrounding area.


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