Planting a lawn

Here’s the section of our property where I’m going to see if I can’t grow a lawn from seed.

It was just rocks and weeds when I first started, didn’t think to take any pics then. But this is where I’m at after initially tilling, sifting out all the rocks, and rolling.

Here’s the rocks I’ve sifted so far.

There used to be a lot of large lava rocks there that we had a contractor come out and haul off.

I’ve still got some grading and leveling to do. Plus, where the contractor ran his skid steer to get the lava rocks out was too compacted to rototil, so I’m going to have to break that area up with a pick axe and then till and roll it again.

I’m on a bit of a hold right now because a recent thunderstorm exposed some problems with the roof. We’ve got a guy coming out next week to give us an estimate on repairing/replacing the roof as needed.

Whatever we decide to do with the roof, I’m sure that’s going to be a high traffic area for them so I don’t want to do much more until all the roof work is done.

I’ll post more pics as things develop.

Planting Bermuda, pretty familiar with that particular grass from working at golf courses in the southern US. Pretty hardy stuff.

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Have you thought about planting some grasses that are native to Hawaii? Bonus would be that the more natural effect wouldn’t need mowing!

I’m not sure if there is a native grass here suitable for lawns. Most lawns here are some type of Bermuda.

All the sod farms are different strains of Bermuda and Zoysia.

Paspalum has started gaining a lot of popularity with golf courses.

Bermuda is popular here due to it’s drought tolerance. Like everything else here in Hawaii, water is pretty expensive. It’s not so much the water as it is the sewage. Your sewage bill is a multiple of your water usage. Watering your lawn gets expensive even though none of that water goes through the sewage system.

Looks like I won’t be planting any seed until around March or April.

The roof and gutters need replacing, and while we’re at it, probably go ahead and resurface the driveway.

No sense planting grass until all what work is done.

My doberman destroyed a lawn running beserk around it

I had to move out and the lawn needed to be replaced,
so I figured I’d just reseed it

I did heaps of work raking and seeded it and I watered it regularly,
but the trees shaded the property a little too much perhaps,
and it just came out shit, kinda sparse and wispy

The landlord ended up getting a bargain price returf which looked great straight away

Good luck with yours, hope you get a better result then I did

Yeah, seeding can be a hit or miss proposition for sure. One big problem is birds eating the seed.

I get good sun on that part of the property, plus waiting until March or April gets us into the dry time of year so I don’t have to worry too much about a heavy rain washing the seed away.

The lawn planting saga continues.

So, what started out as some leaky gutters has turned into a major $40,000.00 USD project.

New shingles, new gutters, replacement of the old solar hot water system, and removing and re-installing the 42 PV solar panels.

The cost to remove and then re-install the PV panels is around $10,000.00. Something they don’t tell you when they’re talking about about how much money those things save you.

And what a nightmare it’s been dealing with these contractors. The crap that passes for service these days is really disappointing. A couple of the contractors shot me quotes on removing the PV panels just by looking at Google Earth satellite images. I’m sure the commercial version of that is pretty accurate, but it seems kind of lazy to shoot someone a 5 figure quote just by looking at some pictures on a computer.

Hell, one of the guys who came out to quote on the solar hot water system looked liked he just came from the beach. Went up on the roof wearing Crocks!!!

My wife is leaving for Japan in a few days. She’ll discuss all of this with her Dad to see what he wants to do. I suspect he’s going to say screw it, which I don’t blame him.

At least it’s given me time to test and correct the soil in preparation for planting.

The soil is pretty barren given that it’s been covered with rocks for the last 20 some years.

My biggest problem is the pH, it’s very Alkaline. I put down some aluminum sulfate to try to get it a little more acidic, but that didn’t budge it much.

All the N P and K levels are very low.

I bought some ammonium sulfate fertilizer that I was planning on putting down today, but it looks like we’re in for some thunderstorms later today and into tomorrow so I guess I’ll wait a few days on that.

Still shooting for late March to plant the seed.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

So while I’m on hold with the seeding, I went ahead and cleaned things up on the other side of the house.

That was all weeds and rocks. Removed the rocks, ran them through a sifter I built to sift out the dirt, dug up all the weeds, put down a weed barrier, put the rocks back down and added those stepping stones that were just stacked up in the back.

Here’s the rig I built to sift the rocks.

The black plastic is covering the soil. I’ll be using that to level out and grade that area I’m going to seed.

No clue what I’m going to do with those rocks.

I’m hoping someone out there might be able to help me with a soil pH question. I seem to recall that @morgo has some ag and farming experience.

In preparation for planting my Bermuda grass seed, I’ve been working on some soil amendment, specifically lowering the soil pH.

The soil has been covered in rocks for the last 20+ years so needless to say, it’s pretty barren. All my N P K readings are very low and the soil pH is very alkaline.

Bermuda grass likes slightly acidic soil so I have been applying Aluminum Sulfate in an effort to lower the pH to a little more acidic level. The instructions on the Aluminum Sulfate I’ve been using says to use 5 lbs. for every 100 sq. ft. The area I’m working on is slightly less than 500 sq. ft. and to date, I have applied 40 lbs of Aluminum Sulfate and the pH hasn’t budged. It’s still very alkaline.

I also applied some Ammonium Sulfate about a month ago and that has had no effect either.

I’m using a soil test kit from a company called HoldAll. It’s suppose to be pretty accurate.

One option is to apply some composting material, but I’m not really wanting to do that because as with most things here in Hawaii, it’s very expensive, about 700 USD for the area I’m working on. The other problem with composting is you never know what kind of weeds or other plants you’ll be introducing into the soil.

I’m not a big fan of dumping a lot of chemicals on the ground. I’ve been reading about using watered down distilled vinegar as a means of lowering the pH, but I’m open to any other ideas people may have on the subject.


Dad and some of the extended family kinda knew that stuff, of the latter some went to ag college but they’re all gone now. I never learnt it, despite learning a lot of useful skills in a somewhat high tech operation. But no formal qualifications, I’m a high school dropout from age 15. The old man left school at 12, mastered carpentry with no training or apprenticeship, built our house by himself, not so much as a squeaky floorboard or sticky window, no leaks or drafts. Built my sister’s house too, her husband a qualified builder. He never told anyone he’d done that although all the locals and relos knew it, so I do his bragging for him.

Thanks Morgo. I dropped out at 17. 6 months later I was working on the flight deck of the Enterprise in the Gulf of Tonkin. Still beat the hell out of going to school. :grinning:

Here’s what I ended up doing with those rocks.

That was suppose to be a composting area, but all it ended up being was a habitat for flies, bugs, and mosquitos.

Cleaned all the dead leaves and crap, leveled it, put down a weed barrier and covered it with those rocks. Doesn’t look real professional, but I didn’t have any other place for those rocks.

The step son has some Aloe Vera and other plants in pots scattered around the backyard. Hope he decides to plant some of them there.

It doesn’t get a lot of sun so only big leafy things will have a chance of growing there.

Here’s my latest landscaping work.

That planter in front was mostly weeds and a few rocks. The plant on the right had been sitting in the original pot for so long that the roots had broken through the pot. It was a bitch getting it out. I was afraid it might die because I had to cut some of the roots, but it’s doing ok.

I hauled in thirteen 40lb bags of white Timor rock and spread them around in there. Boy was I happy to sit down when all that was done. :grinning:

We’re just about out of our rainy season here, so I’m hoping to get the grass seeded early next month. I’d hate to get the seed down then have a storm blow in and wash it all out.

The trade winds are finally back.

Looks like I should be able to plant the grass seed next week.


Finally got the seed planted yesterday.

Hopefully in a couple of weeks I’ll have some pics of little baby grass!!

How’s the soil there in general for growing veggies n stuff?

Soil here is actually great. Rich volcanic soil.

Ag use to be a big cash cow here. Sugar cane, pineapple, all kinds of stuff.

All of that is gone now, mostly because of politicians and environmentalists.

It’s kind of sad really. Lots of people here made decent livings in Ag. Now all we’ve got is tourism.

I would soooo have a banana tree if I lived there. :smiley:

Yep, banana trees, coconut trees, fruit trees, you name it.

We’ve got a huge coconut tree in front of the house. We have to hire people to come out every year and climb that sucker to cut down the coconuts and dead palm branches. Those things can cause a lot of damage when they fall.

Why don’t you shoot them out like a real man would? :smiley:

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Ask Keef Richards to do it, he probably learned something from that ‘fall off a coconut tree’ Hey I’ve worked worse jobs, back off :smile: