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Old 04-02-2010, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
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As you may know, we lost many pine trees this winter, including all the trees on a hill. Now that the trees are down and the stumps are ground, we find we cannot grow grass there. I guess the ground is way too acidic from years of pine needles.

Is there something I should mix into the soil to "detox" it over the next few months so I can plant grass next autumn? Or should I just cover the hill up with a thick layer of new topsoil?

I'm also open to a different ground cover. It doesn't have to have grass, as long as it's something you can walk on.
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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my aunt who moved to NorCal had a similar problem growing grass and she thought it was the soil (because it was formerly heavily wooded), until she began observing hoof prints & talked with local nurseries who explained that most likely new grass was being disturbed by a herd of deer that's using the cleared land for their own playground. just a thought!
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Old 04-02-2010, 03:03 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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The ground is probably acidic so a lime treatment would be good for it. How steep is the hill? A ground cover might be better than lawn if it's steep (mowing a hill is a pain). You might want to make discrete beds with paths and do a perennial show using daylilies (you can get separate varieties than will bloom from mid-June through September) and/or other flowers. Stella d' Oro will start blooming the end of June and bloom the rest of the summer. I don't have the hill but I have all different types of day lily beds throughout my yard so something is blooming all summer.
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:13 PM
 
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The OP might consider buying a soil tester and then taking that pH level info to a garden center for product recommendation for the reading obtained.
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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Pines do make the soil acidic, the soil test is a good idea, a ground cover plant (how about clover?) rather than more grass to mow is a good idea too.

*probably* lime is in order, but you need the test to know how much, at the same time the test will indicate what else you need to apply.

Some farm co-ops will custom blend a fertilizer/soil amendment mix for you.

Helps to know what you want to grow, different plants have different preferences

You could always re-plant pine seedlings. I would rather have a stand of pines than more grass to mow.
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
You could always re-plant pine seedlings. I would rather have a stand of pines than more grass to mow.
Never, never, never again. Those damn trees could not stand up to the blizzard we had this year. They broke, caused a huge amount of damage, and cost a fortune to remove. Another person in my forum had a pine tree break and fall onto a neighbor's house. All over my metro area you see broken and bent over pine trees. As far as I'm concerned they're great in the country but I there's no way I'm planting them in my yard again. Geez, even the Bradford Pears did better than the pine trees.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Way on the outskirts of LA LA land.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
The ground is probably acidic so a lime treatment would be good for it.
According to one of the books I've been reading recently, wood ashes will also work to neutralize the acidity in the soil. If you have a wood burning fireplace, you will most likely have ashes on hand. I agree with the others, though, in that you should test your soil before adding any amendments to it. Depending on your soil type, the size of the area you wish to treat, and the pH of the soil, you may need a fair amount of whatever additive you select. If ashes are used, you may need to collect them from friends and neighbors in addition to using any you may already generate.
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:32 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Yeah, I add wood ashes to my garden. Problem there is figuring out ratios. I trust my ashes because I know what I burn but I wouldn't necessarily trust my neighbors (treated wood being burned for one).
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:09 AM
 
Location: Albemarle, NC
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In VA, Lime. You can start with 40lbs per 1000 sq ft, but a soil test would tell you just how much. Replant acidic loving trees and plants. Red maples are beautiful in the spring. Azaleas, camellias, dogwoods, and rhododendrons love acidic soil. They do like some shade though. Southern Magnolias are another good choice. You can find them fairly cheap and they grow to huge specimens, 60' tall, though it can take decades to reach that size.

Wood ashes are great for raising the pH of the soil. I use my own as well. It also discourages slugs and snails. I spread them around my hosta each winter.
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Old 04-06-2010, 06:47 AM
 
Location: NE Florida
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normie
you can take a sample of your soil to your local extension office for a soil test

Though I am with others in putting in some acid loving plantings with waking paths and even maybe a small bench so you can enjoy the it as a little special get away area.
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