Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time


Hi All,  I know this is a time when a lot of you have questions,  please post your questions to the blog and let me get you some answers, I’ll bet you aren’t the only thinking about your problem and maybe you will help another reader out.  Spring is tricky after the crazy last year we had, please pose your questions and lets work them out together 😉

Happy Gardening!!

Lisa (Saving the Planet one yard at a time)


  1. RT

    Lisa, when soil doesn’t drain after a rain and it’s mossy on top and slippery even after it does dry in a few days, does the soil need to be removed or amended at a deeper level for proper drainage?

    • Rebecca, you need to till the soil and add amendments to it. It just so happens that this is exactly how my yard looked after all the rain we have gotten (were you looking over my fence??)

      I amended my soil with Peat Moss, compost, manuer and a quality soil with Pearlite in it. The purpose aside from nutrients is that the soil is compacted and airless if it is growing moss on top. Whether it is from poor drainage, or too much traffic, you need to get some air in the soil. When tilling, it is best to till by hand and only when the soil is dry (see my article on soil) tilling with a tiller can create a hard pan about a foot deep in your soil that is a lot like having concrete on the base of your garden.

      If you have a really bad drainage area, you can dig a foot to 18″ of soil out of your yard and replace 6″ or more with crushed Granite for better drainage. Re-apply the ramainder of soil back on top. The stone will allow drainage below your plants and soil so they aren’t sitting with wet feet.

  2. Chuck

    Cutting St Augustine before growing season. Short or????

    • Hi Chuck, You can do a couple of things to get your sod growing. You can “scalp” the lawn which is where you cut the lawn really short, or use a special attachment on your lawnmower that has a side angeled blade that cuts into your lawn leaving it looking really ragged, but it cuts up the runners and encourages them to spread. Or you can aerate your lawn with a machine you rent at the Lowes, which removes plugs of dirt it leaves on the grass and allows air and water to penetrate the sod more easily. This is a great thing to do before composting also.

      The short answer.. is yes… do cut your lawn on the lowest setting with a mulching lawnmower to cut all of the debris into tiny pieces. If you do not own a mulching mower, rake the cuttings with a soft rake and add them to your beds, compost pile or paper bags you leave out for the city. Please do not place your cuttings in the garbage can to be left in a land fill. The paper bags are cheap and they are used to make Dillo Dirt. Great way to recycle 😉

  3. Kym Holmes


    We have Oak trees in our backyard. We have beds surrounding the oak trees. How do you prevent all the growth that comes up from the tree? Is it runners from the tree? They are taking over our beds and it is difficult to pull them out of the ground.



    • Hi Kym, That is a tricky one, they are saplings that the mature Oak Tree puts out from the roots, in fact, many of the groves of Live Oak trees you see are in fact all one tree genetically. They all come from the same root system. This means it is especially important that you handle these little guys carefully. If you poison them, you can injure or kill your tree too, if you cut them down, you can leave the tree vulnerable to Oak Wilt. My solution, all be it labor intensive, is to remove as much soil around each shoot as deeply as possible and cut the shoot as close to the ground as you can. Immediately cover the shoot with shredded mulch and move on to the next one. To avoid exposure to Oak Wilt, do not make several cuts at a time, cut and cover, repeat.

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