Asked on Mar 15, 2020

How do I start up a new lawn from dirt and mulch?

AnnieDeb KKmdreamer


We just had trees cut and stumps ground. My husband spread out the dirt/ mulch from the stumps. Can we just bring in some top soil and buy some grass to start the lawn? Any special secrets to growing a great new lawn?

17 answers
  • Topsoil and a spreader for the seed should do it. Whenever we've planted grass seed, we raked it in a bit and kept it well-watered.

  • Redcatcec
    on Mar 15, 2020

    You might take pictures of your yard now that it has fewer trees to your local nursery and ask what type of grass seed will do the best in that area of your yard. They will have the information they need to advise you. Your idea about bringing in top soil is a good one.

  • Vimarhonor
    on Mar 15, 2020

    Hello. Sometimes it’s not as easy as just going to the hardware store and picking up a bag of grass seed to ensure success. Knowing your regional growing conditions soil type, soil test, sun, shade situation might determine the best planting situation.

    A great resources your cooperative extension. Many locations have universities associated with the cooperative extension for example our at Virginia Tech will publish a list of grass seed seed recommended for use in their area.

    Your county extension agent might provide specific info. re: your site, soil type, slope issue sun, shade and growing season.

    I would highly suggest contacting your cooperative extension. These extension offices are manned by volunteer master gardeners on site there waiting to answer the communities questions that know your local situation quite well.

    Master gardeners are required to volunteer back designated hours ( plus continuing education) each year to maintain MG certification -this community outreach and education is their goal. There is nothing better than free local personalized advice to guide you. Hope this helps.

  • Em
    on Mar 15, 2020

    I have never had a problem with reseeding. I rake the area to scuff up the top layer, sprinkle grass seed then cover with a layer of fresh soil.

  • Knowing what zone you are in, soil condition among other things will ensure success. Visit a reputable local nursery and chat with the Master Gardener on staff for the best suggestions for your area. Here are some sites with tips and tricks. And if you do not have a sprinkler system in place, and need one, now is the time to plan and install before seed goes down.

    I had my entire backyard lawn killed off, dug out all the problem areas and reseeded from scratch last year. I also added in white clover as well. Turned out beautifully.

  • Dee
    on Mar 15, 2020

    It depends on the area you live in. Here we have St Augustine sod. Buy it at Lowes or Home Depot, put down topsoil, or sand, [not play sand] water the topsoil, then place sod on top, Keep it watered for at least 2 weeks so that the sod takes root.

  • DesertRose
    on Mar 15, 2020

    The best way to start a lawn is to aerate it, then spread seed, then cover it with straw, then keep it moist. The grass will come, be patient, aerate it annually, feed it, and keep it watered daily until it gets up good and thick.

  • Cindy
    on Mar 16, 2020

    Hi Susan. Take a walk thru a local nursery or home improvement store. Read the bags. They will provide everything you need to know. As far as planting the grass seed, rake the existing yard and remove any rocks, sticks, or big clumps of dirt. Then put down the top soil. Next is seeding. Use a spreader to distribute the seeds evenly. And, last, spread out hay or straw. The hay will deter the birds from eating all the seed. Water your seeds every day for a week or so. Then graduate down with the water. And soon you will see those little sprouts.

  • Chloe Crabtree
    on Mar 16, 2020

    If there is a lot of mulch, you will want to rake that out of the dirt first. Then you can easily seed the lawn.

  • Johnavallance82
    on Mar 16, 2020

    Hello there,

    Do let the soil in the holes where you removed plants settle or borrow a "Wacker Plate" to tamp down the soil. Then use a roller. If you don't do this you could end up with "Sinkholes" in your lawn.......

  • Dianacirce70
    on Mar 16, 2020

    What kind of trees? If they were fir trees you will probably need some fresh top soil. If they were just regular trees, like oak or maple, definitely aerate it, and put on the seeds and keep moist until they start to show growth

  • Simple Nature Decor
    on Mar 17, 2020

    You will need top soil, spread it evenly and later apply grass seed. You will need to apply hay over the grass seed so the birds don't eat it.

  • Kmdreamer
    on Mar 17, 2020

    Yes get some soil or turn over the soil you have now then sprinkle seeds then take them in and water.

  • Deb K
    on Apr 9, 2020

    Hi Susan, I have a patch of shade in my yard and I do lawn patches every spring on it, I add black dirt, then grass seed, then put peat moss on top and water it every day. it grows fairly fast, and the peat helps keep the birds from eating the grass seed. Hope this helps you

  • Annie
    on Apr 30, 2020

    Lots of grass seed, don't skimp on that. And really be sure to keep the area moist, all the time if you possibly can. It's a bit of pain for the first week but well worth it

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