Do I need to remove grass before building up a low spot?

B737

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I have a 4" depression holding water in the backyard after rain, it's not that big, maybe 5'x10'. If I build it up, the water should run off down the existing grade. Do I need to remove what thin/little grass is there before adding soil mixture? Or can I just build it up and re-seed.

I'm not a grass guy, my yard is not and will never be a golf course. Tools available: tooth bar, box blade, l/s rake, tiller
 
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Crash277

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I did that with a section of my yard. I had a small skidsteer on loan at the time (this was way before i got my tractor). what I did was used the bucket to scrape off the sod and then piled it out of the way. I then added my dirt and then put the sod back on. it wasnt pretty the first summer but the second year you cant tell that i did it. the depression was right next to my foundation so i raised it up to get the water away from the house. Didnt even use any grass seed on that area.
 

B737

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Thanks Crash
What is the purpose of removing the existing grass, won't it just decompose anyways? When I search online the consensus seems to be, to strip as you suggested...

I'm using "grass" loosely as what is currently there, it's more like dirt, weeds and clover at the moment... :)
 

Crash277

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Thanks Crash
What is the purpose of removing the existing grass, won't it just decompose anyways? When I search online the consensus seems to be, to strip as you suggested...

I'm using "grass" loosely as what is currently there, it's more like dirt, weeds and clover at the moment... :)
I removed it cause it was grass. I used the bucket to cut it off so that I could just put it back down. Then I didn’t have to buy grass seed and wait For it to grow. I could have just dumped some dirt on top but figure for the 20 min it too me to cut the sod with the skid steer I might as well try to save and reuse it.
 

B737

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ah ok that makes sense, there is def no grass here worth saving, not a lush lawn by any stretch, just a place for the dog to run, play ball ect.
 

Motion

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As always do as you feel is best. On that small of an area I'd suggest adding a 1 inch layer at a time (rain will wash it in) to give whatever ground cover that's there now to come up, keep layering until you get to the desired slope. Just use your bucket and drop three little piles of good soil and rake it out by hand. On the last layer tickle in some grass seed that matches the rest of your area. Just my .02
 

Creature Meadow

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As always do as you feel is best. On that small of an area I'd suggest adding a 1 inch layer at a time (rain will wash it in) to give whatever ground cover that's there now to come up, keep layering until you get to the desired slope. Just use your bucket and drop three little piles of good soil and rake it out by hand. On the last layer tickle in some grass seed that matches the rest of your area. Just my .02
Establishing new grass by seed can be a pain.

I like this idea Motion has. Add some topsoil to the area inch or so at the time. The grass will grow through it.

As Motion says once you reach the desired slope toss some more seed on for good measure and add some fertilizer.

Second option, add topsoil to desire slope and buy sod to place on it, much faster than seeding. Instant grass just fertilizer and water.

As for dumping soil on existing spot I think it would be fine but doubt the grass would grow through 4 or so inches of soil.

Around perimeter of my back I yard have a ditch that when we get a good rain overruns in one place. Gradually I add a 1 to 1 mix of topsoil and sand to the area to build it up. Back up with my trailer and feather it out. The grass grows through it and I repeat. Couple more times and I will be good to go, water will stay in the ditch. Very similar to what you are wanting to do it sounds like.

Good luck.

Jay
 

B737

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Thank you for the tips guys!
It sounds like removing the turf, is when there is turf worth removing. There is nothing in that dip of any significance. I will get to it!
 

Creature Meadow

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Thank you for the tips guys!
It sounds like removing the turf, is when there is turf worth removing. There is nothing in that dip of any significance. I will get to it!
When planting seed remember to water, water and water....

Grass seed will be in top inch of soil so it will dry out quickly and when it sprouts do the same. While grass is young and tender treat it like a baby.

Once up 4 to 6 inches maybe use sharp blades and cut it.
 
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forky

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What works well here when seeding new areas is to buy a bag of oats from the feed mill for prolly $5 for a 50lb bag. It does not have to be seed oats....they work well mixed with the grass seed for a quick sprout and shade for the slower grass seed.....once it is cut it is done, but valuable for helping start the expensive grass seed.
 
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Motion

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Until you have established good growth stay off of it with mowers especially the ones with high lift blades, weed eat the high cowlicks so it don't look so bad.
Sometimes f you have a steep slope you may need to use degradable erosion control matting and staples.
Another thing I like to do is keep a stash at least one load of red, brown, and black dirt, sand and mulch. You'll find as you continue to embellish your property there will low spots./divots from settlement, old tree roots, etc., trees to be planted, holes from various animals, ruts in your road or you dog who decided to make concave hole to lay in. Sometimes I need a full front end bucket, maybe a 5 gallon bucket or the wife just needs a flower pot full. I hate having to go buy little bags and pay out the wazoo for it.
 
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Russell King

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If you put too much dirt over vegetation it will be in a low oxygen condition and won’t compost but will turn into an ammonia (I think) rich rotten mess and kill the soil biology and plants on surface. I think that depth is around 6 or more inches. I suggest you remove the existing “grass” before adding much (at one time) dirt on top to avoid that problem.
 
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Newaterman

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If you put too much dirt over vegetation it will be in a low oxygen condition and won’t compost but will turn into an ammonia (I think) rich rotten mess and kill the soil biology and plants on surface. I think that depth is around 6 or more inches. I suggest you remove the existing “grass” before adding much (at one time) dirt on top to avoid that problem.
but if I want to put down gravel once leveled that should certainly help keep the weeds down right?
 
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Justasquid

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Probably a little late to the discussion, but if you haven’t done the work already, I would do what crash has suggested. The main reason being if this is a place for your dog to play, trying to have new seed sprout and take hold will take all of a month or more. Any disturbance by anything, such as your dog, will leave just a big bare dirt spot. If you can just drop the old 4-5 inches of material back on top another filling, you can just water and your dog can still cross it without Causing much damage and you can still have that area to use. In a few weeks, it wont even look like you did anything.

Not only that, spring time is great for things to grow, including weeds and and anything else that is in the dirt you are going to bring in. If you can wait, fall is the better time to plant areas since weeds are much less likely to take over.
 
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Russell King

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but if I want to put down gravel once leveled that should certainly help keep the weeds down right?
It depends on how clean the gravel is and how deep it is. Weeds will grow through the gravel from below and seeds from above will sprout. You can pull or spray herbicide drag the gravel but you will get weeds in gravel. They are easily managed.
 
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