KC Gardens

How about fescue on top of 30 tons of dirt?


I have a yard that is just dirt (had 30 tons of topsoil spread around). What are the pros/cons of broadcast seeding with fescue….then verticutting? - Dieter -


  1. 6 months, 4 weeks ago

    Wow, that is a lot of dirt. One would normally verticut, then seed into an established lawn so that the seed has good soil contact.

    Since you have just soil, you can go ahead and seed, along with a starter fertilizer. You need to do this now, as the window for successful seed germination and establishment is fast closing.

    Here is the KSU bulletin on Planting a Home Lawn, and then the link to the bulletin on Tall Fescue: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/mf1126.pdf and http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/mf736.pdf

    Your alternative would be to lay sod. Also, you don’t say if you have tilled in the new dirt, so that it mixes with the old. This would be important do. A soil test would also be in order. And be prepared to keep the seed moist, and water appropriately to get it established. Lots to do.

    Good luck,

    Carole Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

  2. 6 months, 4 weeks ago

    Dieter, you don’t say how large an area you covered with that thirty tons, which would be about thirty cubic yards, but for purposes of this answer, I’ll assume you had it spread between one and two inches thick.

    First of all,we are approaching the end of the season for doing a large lawn seeding project, so this should be done as soon as possible. The success you have will be dependent on the weather and the consistency of moisture you give the new lawn. One critical thing to watch out for is the forecast of any very heavy rains. You never want new seed on bare ground to be washed away by a “gully washer”. I think you are safe from that happening for the next week or so.

    If the soil under the new topsoil is hard and compacted, then you should mix the new topsoil with your native soil a bit. You can do this with a small tiller or even with a verticutter, but do it before you seed, mixing the fluffy new topsoil with the chunkier native soil as you go.This will leave you with a good seed bed that has nooks and crannies where the seed can contact the soil and beheld in place against a moderate rain.

    Verticutting creates slits where the seed can make contact with the soil. Since you will already have created a nice seed bed by roughing up the soils (topsoil and native soil), verticutting would be a redundant step. So broadcast the seed at the recommended rate for new lawns, fertilize with a good starter fertilizer, and keep it consistently moist.

    You will want to begin mowing the new lawn when it reaches a height of about three inches.

  3. 6 months, 4 weeks ago

    Carole! Here I was crafting that long answer and you beat me to the “post comment” button!

    Tina, Extension Master Gardener

  4. 6 months, 4 weeks ago

    Hey folks….thanks for the quick responses. I have spread (and mixed) the topsoil over 5000 sq ft. I was just unsure if I planted correctly. I seeded last Wed and went over it with a verticutter. I now question whether I may of forced the seed to deep. The verticutter only went down about an inch but it did stir up the dirt.

  5. 6 months, 4 weeks ago

    Grass is seeded fairly shallow, maybe an 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep. At this point only time will tell whether the seed was placed to deeply. Since the soil is loose not heavily compacted the seed will have a better chance to sprout and grow. In hind sight after spreading the seed it might have been best to run over the area with a rake and lightly incorporate. At this point I would say water and hope for the best. Next fall you can overseed again if needed.

    Dennis - Johnson County Extension

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