I performed dormant overseeding last year with amazing results in Ohio. All I did in late December was walk my spreader over my yard. The freeze/thaw cycle pulled the seeds deeper into the frozen cracks throughout the winter and the wet spring we always have here germinated a ton of the seed for me. This year, I am set to do it again. My front lawn if great looking, but the back is still a little behind it; I have two kids and a dog. I have some bare spots that the overseeding simply does not work well with. The seeds just washes away with the melting of the snow. I wanted to mix some medium and seeds together to spread over these bare areas.

Having a dog, I want to prevent his paws from tracking mud into the house come spring. Is there an alternative medium to top soil I could use that would be easier on the carpet in my home? I was thinking maybe vermiculite, but it would probably just wash away. Any ideas would be great to hear.


Cover it with hay. That'll keep some from getting on feet/paws.

Alternatively, just get some flexible green/orange fencing and prevent the dog from getting in that area. I did a 50 foot roll plus a few 3' ground-stakes for under $30.

  • 1
    The main problem with hay or straw is the weed seed it is likely to contain. The fencing, however, sounds like a good idea. – TeresaMcgH Dec 12 '13 at 23:35
  • I have fencing but I potentially could spread a lot of it around the back yard in bare spots. – Evil Elf Dec 13 '13 at 15:02

Clean sand? It would still be tracked in some, but should also come off your dog's paws a lot more easily on his way in, especially if you put out a nice big outdoor door mat in front of all house entrances.

  • I have pondered sand. I am little weary of mixing sand in with me Ohio soil. Couldn't that potentially make is more compact? Ohio soil has some clay content. – Evil Elf Dec 13 '13 at 15:02
  • It would probably take a LOT of sand to significantly affect your soil's structure. Sometimes folks actually try to use sand to open up clay soils - and generally fail - because it takes so much to make a difference. There is a folk saying that goes with this: "Clay in sand, money in hand - sand in clay, throw money away." – TeresaMcgH Dec 13 '13 at 15:23
  • I have never heard that before. I have read that adding soil to to clay soil could result in concrete essentially. – Evil Elf Dec 13 '13 at 18:29
  • You can't have concrete without cement, so unless your soil contains a lot of lime or lime-like elements, you should be quite safe. Besides, it would take far, far more than just a thin top-dressing of sand to cause your clay soil to change its basic structure. – TeresaMcgH Dec 13 '13 at 23:45
  • Your feelings about adding sand to your soil I feel, are correct. The ONLY thing us humans can add to soil that actually improves soil, is decomposed organic matter. Making 'concrete' is a great analogy. Don't worry about mixing it into your soil, just dump it on top. The micro and macro organisms will do all the mixing for free. Do you know the pH of your soil? Contact your Extension Service for free or low-cost testing. Clay is great soil. Just have to know how to manage it correctly...last time you aerated, pulled plugs of soil from your lawn? – stormy Jan 14 '15 at 21:08

Try covering your bare soil areas with row cover. It allows water and sunlight in and will protect the seedlings from wind and maybe a paw-step or two. It is very inexpensive and you could hold it down with metal pins. Remove it when the grass has germinated and is about an 1" high. Leave some fluffiness when you pin it down.

I'd get rid of any lawn that doesn't grow well...make a plant bed instead, or cover with gravel (4" with landscape fabric beneath, use 3/8minus if you can find it, compact. Edge with PT 2X4 or recycled plastic 'Treks' between lawn and planting beds to keep the gravel neat) making paths, eddies or patio flooring. Make nice edges to your lawn with straight edges or when curved, all edges should be curved, each curve is a maintained radius until you go the other way. Use a straight edge shovel and dig a trench 4"- 6" deep standing on your lawn and throwing the soil up on your planting beds. This edge lasts a long time if you use a lawn-trimmer. If the curve is too subtle, make the radius smaller or make straight edges in that area. Use a sod cutter to initially establish your edges, remove sod from new gravel walkway or patio and use the old sod to build up your plant beds by turning over and covering with the soil you need to dig out to allow 4" of gravel. Just another idea...

  • The row cover idea is a pretty good one. I have never heard of it being a kid from the suburbs. – Evil Elf May 29 '14 at 12:55
  • Grin, let us know what works! – stormy May 30 '14 at 4:14

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