The Q&A Archives: Hay ruined soil

Question: After construction, we spread new loam. I seeded and put hay on as mulch. But for the most part nothing grows. I've reseeded 5 times, to no avail.
Could hay have ruined the loam? How do I correct the soil to allow growth. Watering was not an issue. It was watered plenty.

Answer: The hay would only cause a problem if it were treated with an herbicide prior to delivery to your landscape. If this were the case, exposure to sunlight and air would certainly get rid of any residues over time and you should be able to get things to grow. Or, if you applied too much hay it may be generating too much heat as it decomposes and that might be what is keeping the grass seeds from germinating and growing. I would be inclined to have the soil tested to see what you are actually dealing with. It may be that you will need to rototill the entire area and start all over again. If so, I would not recommend the use of hay or straw to cover the seeds. Use compost or peat moss instead. Best wishes with your turf!

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