Possible Limestone - Knowledgebase Question

Signal Mtn, TN
Avatar for meadowsbm
Question by meadowsbm
August 19, 2010
We are trying to put a tree and start grass in an area that we think was a prior driveway and may have had some gravel, limestone, or mixture of stuff.
Will we have problems, if we put a good layer of topsoil, or planting mixture, before we put in the tree or grassseed? If there anything else we need to do first.

Answer from NGA
August 19, 2010
A previous driveway will have compacted soil due to the weight of the vehicles. Compacted soils won't drain well and can be problematic for both trees and lawns. I think the best approach is to rototil the area to help loosen the soil. The tiller will bring up whatever material was used to make the driveway. If you find a lot of gravel and/or stones, rake as much as you can out of the area. If you leave it in, you'll be forever mowing over the rocks and stones which can damage the blade of your mower and you might even send the projectiles flying when you mow. This can cause harm to people and property. Once you've removed most of the stones or rocks, spread 3-4 inches of compost or other organic matter over the area and rototil it in. This will reduce compaction and give the roots of your grass an opportunity to penetrate deeply so the grass will thrive. Level the area and seed your lawn. Tree roots are typically deep enough to penetrate native soil so you should be able to plant a tree without too much trouble. Best wishes with your renovation project.

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