Landscape Design forum: Rocky Soil?

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Name: Ryan Baskett
Bellevue Washington, USA
Jul 13, 2017 2:40 PM CST
Can anyone provide me with some advice on what to do about rocky soil? The rock sizes are anything from about the size of a baseball down. Trying to determine how to clear the soil of rocks for about two feet down everywhere in a yard without basically just having to pick rocks out of the dirt by hand. Is there some sort of technique or machine for doing something like this?

Thanks for any help!
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 16, 2017 5:29 AM CST
I've never heard of any such.
In new england, farmers used to go out rock picking with a wagon, to collect the rocks that winter heave pushed up to the surface.

Is there a particular reason for wanting to be shut of the rocks?

They don't hurt anything, and may help the plants grow by providing extra minerals.
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jul 16, 2017 5:40 AM CST
I sift the rocks using a home-made device made from a black plastic tray normally used to contain packs of annuals with a hardware cloth insert. It is about 12" x 24". A. M. Leonard (Gardener's Edge) now sells a device like the one I put together, but nicer looking:
Carol H. Sandt

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein
Name: Ryan Baskett
Bellevue Washington, USA
Jul 17, 2017 10:29 AM CST
I was just thinking about it because we are going to be planting new grass in our yard soon. I was thinking perhaps rocky soil might not be the best kind of soil for planting grass seed. Thanks for any tips!

Q. Is rocky soil alright for planting grass seed?
Q. Would it be better to order a truck load of topsoil before planting so we have fresh dirt?

Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Jul 18, 2017 10:28 PM CST
We have rocks from the size of bowling balls to golf balls and all inbetween, that inhabit a very disagreeable clay soil. The area where the grass was planted was lightly raked removing what rocks the rake caught. Top soil of maybe 4 inches was put down, and we have great grass with no rocks popping up from heaving.

I am in a development, and the new homes are having grass planted without any topsoil, and their grass looks just fine as well.
Good luck.
[Last edited by lauriebasler - Jul 18, 2017 10:29 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Jul 18, 2017 11:00 PM CST
If you can add some good soils on top of your rocks, you would never regret it. I'd go with 4-6" of a local compost mix.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Aug 27, 2017 9:41 PM CST
You can, in some areas, rent a skid-steer with a rock picking bucket. I.e. the bucket has tines that will let the dirt sift out and then you can go dump the rocks in a pile.
This does not work unless the soil has been loosened some how first.
I.e. attaching a drag to a skid-steer to first loosen the soil.

I do not know how small , tine gap, they come in but I have seen those for prepping yards.
The more fine the gap, the more dirt that will be moved with the rocks, no matter how hard you try not to.

Grass grows better in as near as rock free as you can get and I used to have to walk behind a driverless tractor crawling along and pick rocks by hand down to golf ball size.

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