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Can Lasagna Gardening method be used for sod?

Posted by steph_wants_yard TX (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 12, 09 at 15:41

I have a large backyard filled with mostly weeds, LOTS of grassburrs, and some wild grass. The soil is of poor quality, lacking in organic matter and nutrients. It is also extremely rocky and on top of a rock/limestone base. If you dig even 4 inches deep, you're likely to hit rock.

I want to resod at least a large portion of the backyard and would prefer to do it as naturally as possible. Originally I had planned to kill what exists, till the area, bring in new topsoil/mulch, and then lay the new sod. Of course, I'd prefer NOT to do the backbreaking work of tilling!

Can the lasagna gardening method be used as preparation for a yard? If so, what adaptations need to be made?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can Lasagna Gardening method be used for sod?

So don't till it...if you weren't going to till it lazanga style then just lay the paper and bring in the new top soil...I think the idea behind the las. method and no tilling was that with this method you incorporate lots of organic material such as manure, leaves, shredded paper etc and that causes the worms to come up through the poor soil under it and therefore breaks up the poor soil. If you actually did a proper layered las. garden I think you would have a lot of settling and indents whenever anyone walked on it. You could probably get a layer of manure and a layer of topsoil and spread that over the newspaper and do it that way but spreading wet newspaper over a whole lawn seems like a LOT OF WORK...couldent you just get total wipe out concentrated and apply it to kill the weeds and then layer some manure and top soil?

RE: Can Lasagna Gardening method be used for sod?

You will probably have to do it in two steps, but it can be done.

It sounds like you have soil like used to have: desert sand, quite alkaline, caliche underneath. I dug a hole down to the caliche layer (this is a form of chalk) and cleared away a good bit of soil, then pounded a hole in the caliche. I discovered it was just under a food thick. I wasn't going to break it up in the whole back yard, so I just built on top. Check yours and see how thick it is. If it's just a few inches, maybe you could get someone to break it up for you. Not tilling or smashing it and mixing with the soil, just putting some holes and cracks in it with a breaker bar.

Bring in as much organic material as you can find: weeds (in the lower half is fine -- no light+ no weeds sprouting), grass clippings (thinly, or they stink), leaves, kitchen vegetable parings, old hay (moldy is fine), straw, practically anything you can find. Don't worry about the layers, just pile it on. But anything that might have unwanted seeds in it should be on the bottom half.

Get it at least eight inches thick (twelve is better). Be forewarned that your strong TX sun will cook it down more quickly than in cooler places. Add more stuff as you find it. If you have to put a short, temporary fence around the area to keep people and animals from kicking it apart and tromping it down, do it. Bare spots = weeds.

I would sprinkle a bag of alfalfa meal (not seed, meal) over the top to give a nitrogen boost, and water the whole thing well. Give it several months to break down.

If you're seeding the grass, what time of year is the best to do it there? Call your local Cooperative Extension Service and ask if you aren't sure. If you work against the weather, you'll be wasting your time.

Not more than a day before you're ready to seed, gently till the leftover mulch residue into that top few inches of soil you've got. Rake it level, then rent one of those lawn roller things. It looks like a barrel with a lawnmower handle -- you fill the barrel with water to add weight, then roll it up and down your seed bed.

Spread your seed as evenly as you can. Then rake the whole area again to mostly cover the seed with soil. Empty the water from the roller and go over the seed bed again. You want light pressure this time.

Water thoroughly with a fine spray, don't just lightly water the top. Then water thoroughly several times a day to keep the soil moist if you aren't having rains. If you work 12 hrs a day, you'll have to have someone else do it. If the seed sprouts and then dries out, it's all dead. Seed sprouts do not forgive neglect, they just die.

Check out the lawn forum here for more precise info.


Here is a link that might be useful: GW Lawn forum

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