IOWA – Do new yards have enough top soil?

The Des Moines Register:  Do new yards have enough top soil?
By Donnelle  Eller
June 12, 2015

Brandy Case Haub loves her new West Des Moines home, with one exception: the yard.

She and her husband, Mike Haub, have struggled to grow anything in it since they moved in four years ago, and blame the builder for putting too little topsoil under the sod when the home was built.

“We prefer to be more organic, but there’s no way the grass will live when the soil has no fertility, when it’s just clay. So, we finally had to put down some fertilizer the last couple of years,” Case Haub said, adding that the couple planted a native prairie mix bed in their backyard to eventually help trap the fertilizer and other runoff.

Just how much topsoil should come with a new home has ignited a statewide debate. Hundreds of homeowners, environmentalists and others are pushing to keep a new rule that requires 4 inches of topsoil under the sod of a new construction.

Some city officials have chimed in, too, concerned that too little topsoil can lead to homeowners using too much water, fertilizer and pesticide to keep struggling lawns alive. The nutrients and chemicals can eventually make their way into Iowa waterways.  Read more:

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