Rejuvenating Back Yard
I live in S. Louisiana with heavy, acidic soil that is naturally low in just about every nutrient and low in organic matter due to our heat and heavy rainfall. When I first moved into this house about 12 years ago, I had beautiful centipede sod installed and it looked beautiful for the first few years, but the underlying soil was not amended and it just slowly declined.
Adding to the problem was the fact the backyard flooded badly every time it rained. I have gone a long way to fixing this by just completing a drainage project which includes 2 drains in the lowest spots that flow through underground pipes to the ditch parallel to the street in the front yard. I am happy to report that I did this myself and it actually works!
I have also started liming with dolomitic lime (one application last fall and one this spring at the recommended rate of 50pd per 1000 sq feet--plan to repeat twice a year) I have also decided to go the organic route and have been having some success in the front yard by using alfalfa, milorganite, and top dressing with manure/compost.
Last fall I turned the back half of my backyard into a huge perennial bed, so I only have about a 500-700 sq ft area left that I want to re-create as lawn. Almost all of the original lawn has died off and now there is just a covering of weeds with a few runners of centipede and St. Aug here and there. Should I amend the existing soil and resod? Or should I try to coax the grass back that is still there somehow? I just got a load of mason or sharp sand to level out some low spots and contour the slope in some areas to flow better toward the drains. Shoud I till some of this sand with some organic matter into the soil? I always thought I had heavy clay but my soil test tells me its loam. I have noticed that the soil does respond nicely to the addition of organics and I have acheived a lovely soil in some of the beds in which I have mulched and topdressed with manure over several years.