I would like to remove the top 2 inches of my compacted clay soil and replace it with the best soil to grow Bermuda grass. In other words my current soil is garbage that nothing will grow in so I plan to till it and remove the top 2 inches. After that I plan to lay down 2 inches of new top soil then planting Bermuda seeds. I don't know what type of top soil I need to plant my bermuda grass seeds into. Can someone please advise? Thank you in advance.

  • Can you explain what's happened that makes you think your current soil is garbage - are you saying nothing at all grows in it, not even weeds?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 23:55
  • It is VERY compacted clay. I have a 1.5in layer of centipede grass on it that barley survives. Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 23:57
  • Removing the top two inches won't solve the problem, the top spit is usually a spade's depth or around 6-8 inches deep - if its badly compacted, you should till it and incorporate plenty of humus rich material, such as composted animal manures, leafmould,, spent mushroom compost, or your own garden compost, to improve it somewhat. Clay soils retain nutrients quite well compared to light and sandy ones, so its not all bad.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 23:59
  • So rent a rototiller, buy compost and good top soil from homedepot and this should do the trick. The topsoil from homedeport looks like poor quality soil. Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 0:05
  • Depends what you mean by 'compost' - in the UK, that could mean potting soil, so what you need isn't that - anything they sell that's sold as a soil conditioner or is actually composted animal manures, not sure what they have on sale in the USA
    – Bamboo
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 1:15

2 Answers 2


Do not mess with your soil. I've been reading comments from people in your part of the world (my family comes from SC) and they mostly HATE Bermuda and go with Zoysia. Do get sod. Make your edges well defined and use a consistent radius for each curve. Big long curves look best. Reduce your lawn as much as possible. Zoysia likes a bit of shade. These grasses do just fine with clay. Clay has gotten a bad rap by those who unknowingly screwed up the management. Do not rototill. Grade best you are able when the soil is dry. You can then bring in topsoil (not sand) to fine tune and fill in dips. Compact with a water filled roller, grade again and roll again. Then install your sod. Roll again. Water and in 2 weeks go ahead and fertilize. Do not worry about weeds or weed killer. Later you should be able to spot kill with glyphosate and a tiny paint brush. The edge should be a 6"X6" trench between your plant beds and lawn. This will help keep the grass from invading the plant beds and makes the perfect edge. Clean out and toss on plant beds before adding mulch once a year. I'd have a gas 'weedwacker' line trimmer for sure to keep that edge in control along the trenches as well as your concrete walkways. And a gas blower (Stihl is my go to for these lawn tools). Fertilize with the proper formulation for the time of year and blow that fertilizer off your concrete/asphalt. Forget about shaving off 2" of soil. Below that is more clay that is even more dense that the 2" you want to take off. Try to have some slope for water to drain into the trenches where it is able to be reabsorbed into the ground slowly. Clay holds onto water and fertilizer well and will reduce your costs for upkeep.


stormy is right. removing the top 2" will leave you with even more compact earth underneath. What you need is to add organic matter to your soil

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