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In case anyone doubts the veracity of the screwdriver test: It works. Have a troubled spot? Before pouring on more costly water and fertilizer, pull out your trusty screwdriver. Push it 6-8 inches into the ground and see if you find anything under the grass, like construction debris or rocks. That can be a simple cause for troubled spots in your lawn.

I hope this is the end of my troubles in this spot!

 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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Holy crap Batman!!! That is a HUGE piece of concrete!
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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J_nick said:
MQ's have you been doing that to people's yards?
I have done something like that but it's usually during construction so it's up to the builders to remove anything the concrete truck has "washed down" after pouring. That is just poor site cleanup after the house has been built.
 

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5.6ksqft Bewitched KBG in Fishers, IN
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Reviving an old thread. This is an example on when the screwdriver test did not work. This trouble area always dried up on me sooner than the rest. The screwdriver test passed, but I knew something was wrong. After a rain with a 12in spade shovel I found the problem.





The builder left these shards of concrete/rock in the corner of the driveway. The landscape crew covered it with 8in of fill dirt. It was ~6in deep. I filled 5-6 of these buckets. I back filled with top soil and tried to compact it the best I could. I had to stop because the 92F heat got to me and I ran out of top soil. I need to continue this work. It was cool to see all the roots within the rocks (I missed taking a picture).
 

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g-man said:
Reviving an old thread. This is an example on when the screwdriver test did not work. This trouble area always dried up on me sooner than the rest. The screwdriver test passed, but I knew something was wrong. After a rain with a 12in spade shovel I found the problem.





The builder left these shards of concrete/rock in the corner of the driveway. The landscape crew covered it with 8in of fill dirt. It was ~6in deep. I filled 5-6 of these buckets. I back filled with top soil and tried to compact it the best I could. I had to stop because the 92F heat got to me and I ran out of top soil. I need to continue this work. It was cool to see all the roots within the rocks (I missed taking a picture).
Wow, that's impressive that something only 6" deep would cause so many troubles for lawn fans on the surface. Nice detective work! How'd you get them so clean? Looks like you have the beginnings of your own chi garden.
 

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5.6ksqft Bewitched KBG in Fishers, IN
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I scouped them out. The clay did not move thru it. It was just a layer of that stuff. I'm trying to figure out how to get rid of them. Maybe it will go with the trash one bucket per week since it is heavy.
 

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This thread is painful. When 50% of your lawn has dead areas due to subsurface stones and construction trash, you are no longer growing grass. You are raising rocks. I didn't use the screwdriver test until last Fall. I was in a state of denial. I bought an aerator instead. Maybe I'll post some picks one of these days. But for now...it's too soon. /wry smile
 

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How deep does the soil need to be to have healthy growth? I'm pushing down around 6-8" in weak spots in my yard with no obstructions.

EDIT: Going around the entire yard reveals that weak spots have something hard underneath, about 2 to 4" beneath the surface. I'm going to have to dig up probably 10% of the surface area of the lawn by guesstimate. Since the plan was to level next spring I suppose I should use that opportunity to dig up the rocks, fill it in with sand/topsoil, then hope the grass will spread over those areas over the summer?

At least I know what needs to be done to the backyard before allowing sod to be laid down.
 

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Humm, I wonder what this 2FT exposed piece of wood laying flush with the ground is? It's preventing lawn growth to fill in this spot. Could it be a cut tree root when the home builder cleared the lot? Let's dig it up and find out, won't take too long - :rolleyes:


30 minutes later ... Nope, doesn't look a tree root.


Another 30 minutes later ... It's a 25FT felled tree trunk that got hastily shallow buried when the house was built.
 

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5.6ksqft Bewitched KBG in Fishers, IN
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Started doing the trench for my last irrigation zone. I strated in the corner thinking it will be easy. I was so wrong.

First I discovered a concrete rock.





But then I found a larger one. I started to break it up with a chisel, but I was not getting it out. So I grabbed the pick axe.





It was a large chunk of leftover concrete buried in there. This corner always struggled, but being a corner I assumed it was normal to dry out.

That consumed most of the afternoon, so now I am behind schedule.
 
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