Leatherjacket / Clay soil

So every year for the last 3 years I've suffered badly with leather jacket and despite being treated by my local lawn expert, it's still happening.

However, I'm also thinking I might have an issue with the soil.  Before I laid it originally, I had some dumpy sacks of proper loam soil and it was all nice.  It's also been top-dressed at least 2 years running yet when we last looked at a sample, it was very clogged up and looked more like the leftovers of a builders site rather than the nice soil I put down.

I've also spoken to my neighbour on the other side of the fence and they said that they had similar issues with lawns and with it being very wet and I can't help thinking I'm seeing a similar issue.  The neighbour to my side though has a lovely lawn and never affected.

I've just been out to take these pictures and the ground is still wet despite the sun we've had the last few days.  I know it's not been warm, but I wouldn't expect it to be wet as it is.  While stuck at home I was wondering if there are any tips as to what I can do, part of me just wants to dig it all up and fork it over, but obviously like to try and see if there is an issue which explains why it's so wet all the time.  Even some of the gravel (just out of view) has grown some moss so is a damp area.

Any help or tips gratefully received.


Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,947
    What you have there is a bog @stuarta99
    You need to address the drainage, because clearly there's a problem there, but to be honest, the size of the plot means that grass is unlikely to get enough sun, unless those boundaries are very low. Shade is bad news for grass - even with the right type of seed. 

    Those two problems combined make it hard for grass to be successful.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • stuarta99stuarta99 Posts: 47
    edited 25 March
    That's what I'm thinking.  When it's been seeded before, around May we get a nice lawn and it flourishes throughout the summer, but then dies off at the end of the year and in a cycle of reseeding.

    Any suggestions for improving the drainage.  It gets professionally aerated when seeded and top dressed, I think I should spike it in the autumn but haven't but keen to use this time at home to do something.  Although I'm thinking I might miss the window for reseeding
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,947
    Have you dug a hole, filled it with water, and waited to see how long it takes to drain?
    It would be worth doing. 

    Clay forms a 'pan', and unless that's properly broken up, you'll always struggle with drainage. There are a few solutions, but you need to test the ground further down than the top few inches.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 19,367
    If the neighbour with the good lawn is at the same level as you it would seem to me that you and the other neighbour with a  bog may well have either a water pipe leak or a drainage leak somewhere beneath your plots or an underground spring.

    It may be worth getting a dowser person to come and see what they can find - once movement restrictions are over - or a surveyor or the water board.   Failing that, you'll need some serious drainage works done to allow you to grow anything very much but, as @Fairygirls says, your plot looks a mite shady for decent grass, especially if it's intended as a play area.  Maybe rethink the design? 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • stuarta99stuarta99 Posts: 47
    Fairygirl said:
    Have you dug a hole, filled it with water, and waited to see how long it takes to drain?
    It would be worth doing. 

    Clay forms a 'pan', and unless that's properly broken up, you'll always struggle with drainage. There are a few solutions, but you need to test the ground further down than the top few inches.
    Can do, how deep do you think I should go?  Got nothing to loseObelixx said:
    If the neighbour with the good lawn is at the same level as you it would seem to me that you and the other neighbour with a  bog may well have either a water pipe leak or a drainage leak somewhere beneath your plots or an underground spring.

    It may be worth getting a dowser person to come and see what they can find - once movement restrictions are over - or a surveyor or the water board.   Failing that, you'll need some serious drainage works done to allow you to grow anything very much but, as @Fairygirls says, your plot looks a mite shady for decent grass, especially if it's intended as a play area.  Maybe rethink the design? 
    It did cross my mind that there is some underlying issue making it wet, too much of a coincidence when I heard my neighbour mention the same, apparently they gave up.  It's only there to be decorative as the wife wants some grass to stick her toes in during the summer but I can't keep relaying it every year. 

    Front lawn is lovely, but plenty of sun
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,947
    I'd dig down about a foot if you can. 9 or 10 inches anyway. If there's solid clay, you'll probably reach that by then anyway.
    I'd echo @Obelixx's comments about an underground problem with a burst pipe or spring. I'd think the signs of a burst pipe might be visible elsewhere though, but it's hard to say.

    If there's a spring or high water table, it's not going to be simple though. If you really, really want grass, and that's the case, you'd have to create a raised area to grow it.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • stuarta99stuarta99 Posts: 47
    Fairygirl said:
    I'd dig down about a foot if you can. 9 or 10 inches anyway. If there's solid clay, you'll probably reach that by then anyway.
    I'd echo @Obelixx's comments about an underground problem with a burst pipe or spring. I'd think the signs of a burst pipe might be visible elsewhere though, but it's hard to say.

    If there's a spring or high water table, it's not going to be simple though. If you really, really want grass, and that's the case, you'd have to create a raised area to grow it.
    ok thanks, maybe I should make some holes 2m apart ;)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,947
     :) 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • stuarta99stuarta99 Posts: 47
    Just thinking, if we were to raise it, how high do you think I'd have to go because it could be a possibility as there are steps to go down to it and I wanted to raise the gravel edges to put decking lights in. Also would it just be a case of making the height up from some form of soil?
  • stuarta99stuarta99 Posts: 47
    Looks like decking ain't gonna be cheap, think it's about 13sqm
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