The Q&A Archives: Hard soil

Question: My back yard is hard. I tilled and just scraped the top. I put down some 10-10-10, but was hoping to put down some sod or seed. It is all dirt right now. Last summer I put down some lime to help. I also cut down twenty pine trees last summer. I have been pulling roots and sometimes water the dirt. There is clay under the top inch or so of hard dirt. what can I do to soften the soil?

Answer: You've started on the right track by tilling the soil and liming, but you'll also want to add some organic matter prior to seeding or sodding. The amount of time you spend on preparing the soil now will reward you for years to come. Spread 4-5" of organic matter over the entire area and till it in to a depth of 8-10". You can use compost, peat moss, shredded leaves or aged-manure as organic material. After you've tilled it in, rake to level the area and it will be ready to accept seeds or sod. The organic matter will loosen the soil and make a perfect seed (or sod) bed. You'll have a beautiful lawn for years to come!

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