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#503148 - 03/15/19 09:33 AM Grass establishment and clay dam
bcraley Offline


Registered: 06/18/18
Posts: 12
Loc: Ohio
Pond was dug in April 2018, due to work being done around the new home build it made no sense to seed grass. I seeded grass in October with little germination.

Since the house was a new build I used the topsoil from around the pond around the house. And now I have a pond surrounded by nothing but clay an have had a hard time w/ the grass.

What type of grass is best for growing in heavy clay? Should I bite the bullet and have a load of topsoil hauled in to use around the pond... not really want I want to spend $ on right now... but on the other hand my water is really dirty and I need to get grass established to clear the water.

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#503153 - 03/15/19 09:54 AM Re: Grass establishment and clay dam [Re: bcraley]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 972
Loc: West Central Missouri
I really can't speak for your location, but I put down "contractors mix" grass seed. It is mostly fescue and some rye. The rye comes up faster than the fescue and gives you some cover right away, but the fescue is much more heat tolerant and typically takes over. My dam is mostly clay, but did have some pond muck mixed in due to it being a renovation rather than a new build.

You will be much better off getting some topsoil on it in the long run, but that will be much more work and timing will be important. IMO, I would wait until after the rainy season to put it down and seed, but then you have to make sure it gets watered. I would hate to see money thrown at soil to have it wash into the pond.

Consider raking in some mixed seed now and see how it does with the idea of making it better after spring.

To be honest with you, when I have seeded bare soils on my place with the mixed bag of seed...within a year most of the original grass has been overrun with what likes my clay and rocky soil (crabgrass, fescue, and weeds. My efforts seem to contribute to an immediate coverage, but there's no way to establish pretty lawn...without a regular maintenance plan involving fertilizer and aeration, I will never have a yard worth bragging about.
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#503178 - 03/16/19 09:32 AM Re: Grass establishment and clay dam [Re: bcraley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 730
Loc: Louisiana
Something to think about is the quality of your soil. Clay/sand that was used for your dam is likely devoid of any nutrients and is probably acidic, since it was dug up from deep below what is now the pond. If you invest in some ag lime and spread it on your dam, it will help neutralize the soil so grass can more readily get started. If any runs into the pond, you're only helping the pond.

Fertilizer will help also, but then you've got to contend with possible algae issues, but most new ponds typically need a bump to get the phytoplankton blooms to start, so in that respect, it may not be a bad thing.

Regardless, you have to make sure the soil is capable of sustaining plant growth. IMO, liming will give you the best bang for your buck before you seed. Then scatter some straw (not hay) over it to retain moisture and reduce erosion.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503180 - 03/16/19 09:55 AM Re: Grass establishment and clay dam [Re: bcraley]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 254
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: bcraley


What type of grass is best for growing in heavy clay?


By far, the most well adapted grass for clay pan soils is buffalo grass. It forms a dense mat and spreads to fill in. The roots branch and are fine. Mowing and grazing increase its spreading and matting behavior. It does best where other grasses fail. It must have full sun so south facing dam would be a benefit for it. You might consider a blend of seed. The most adaptable will ultimately prevail.

I second Mike's rec for liming.


Edited by jpsdad (03/16/19 09:57 AM)

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#503197 - 03/16/19 10:41 PM Re: Grass establishment and clay dam [Re: bcraley]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 90
Loc: Bexar county Texas
I'm nowhere near Ohio, but if there are original prairie type grasses and wildflowers suited for you latitude, it is a gain for nature!
_________________________
Dan McWhirter



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#503203 - 03/17/19 08:13 AM Re: Grass establishment and clay dam [Re: DannyMac]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 730
Loc: Louisiana
Originally Posted By: DannyMac
I'm nowhere near Ohio, but if there are original prairie type grasses and wildflowers suited for you latitude, it is a gain for nature!


Absolutely! I'd always try to grow any plants that are indigenous to the area. There's a reason those plants are so prolific in that region.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#503207 - 03/17/19 09:46 AM Re: Grass establishment and clay dam [Re: bcraley]
gehajake Offline


Registered: 12/31/18
Posts: 16
Loc: MO
Lime and fertilizer are going to play a huge roll in establishing almost any grass, then there's the matter of keeping a little moisture for it during the hot summer months, at least the first year, because your clay does not absorb and hold moisture well.
After fertilizing and lime I am going to try a good seeding of rye grass for cover and then add some vetch for permanent ground cover, a mixture of hairy and crown vetch, have had really great luck with this in the past here in MO. hate fescue but it does make great cover too.

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