What to do with "bad" soil.

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Old 10-17-16, 12:04 PM
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What to do with "bad" soil.

Hello,

I've been scalping large areas of the lawn that have been overrun by weeds. With the change of seasons, the areas are easy to distinguish since they are all rust colored.
I've been scalping the areas to get as much of the roots as possible. The stuff that I dig up, however, is packed with dormant weeds and a significant population of grubs.
What do I do with this stuff I dig up? I don't want to infest other areas of the lawn with it. With good reason, I can't just take it to the dump.
Is there a way to cleanse this stuff to make it usable again?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 01:36 PM
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If you don't have a compost pile, create one. Dirt alone does not make a good pile, but start adding green yard waste, kitchen waste (no meat or fats) and leaves. Water it from time to time and turn it over from time to time. Once you have enough organic matter in there, it will start to decompose and will heat up enough to kill weed seeds and bugs. It may be a year or more before you have nice, rich compost, but it's better than disposing of it in a dump and also cuts down on other waste going to the dump. Coffee grounds are another excellent ingredient for the pile. The finished compost can then be incorporated into flower beds or used as a top dressing on lawn areas. I have enough of it that I use it instead of mulch in flower beds. Keeps the weeds down a little and improves the soil all in one.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 03:30 PM
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Composting is the easiest solution but I don't agree that compost will kill weed seeds - at least if you are a lazy composter (like me). I have been composting for 30 years. Every year my compost piles sprout everything from tomatoes, squash, potatoes etc from garden waste that I toss on the pile. I try not to get weed seeds in the compost but every year I get weeds growing in the pile.

Grubs need to be removed from your lawn. Otherwise the problem will continue. I use Grub Ex effectively although a better long term solution, though initially pricier,might be milky spore disease.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 08:59 PM
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Thanks @CarbidTipped and @cwbuff.
I'm probably even lazier than @cwbuff when it comes to composting. I've tried to maintain a viable compost heap a few different times. Yes, I'd turn the heap, but probably not enough. I'd end up with moldy stuff forming in the compost and weeds growing in it. Sometimes it would smell like the circus. Frankly, I was glad to get rid of it.
For the grubs, I applied Nematodes in early May. Probably should have re-applied in August, but Nematodes are hard to find. The local garden centers do not carry it and the source I ordered from in May is out of stock.
Besides, this is a lot of dirt. I believe a compost heap needs to be fed mostly green and brown organic matter (leaves and grass clippings). The amount of dirt would overpower any organic material I could mix in.

I'd like to stick with earth friendly approaches, but I have a big problem. Is there a broad spectrum herbicide that could kill off the weeds (roots and seeds) in my pile of dirt? Similarly, is there an application of Grub killer that could kill off the grubs in my pile of "bad" soil? I'd want the herbicide and grub killer to become inert after it did its work.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 09:36 PM
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Roundup will kill most anything that has sprouted, but I don't know anything other than heat that will kill seeds. Don't know about grubs.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 10:14 PM
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My mother used to sterilize soil in an old electric frying pan. Of course this was only small amounts used for houseplants. I suspect that a person could use a propane flamethrower such as is available from Harbor Freight for about $30 (less with coupon). Spread out the soil and "brush" it with the flame, turning the soil as necessary. From what I have read you don't have to burn it to a crisp, just a light char will kill everything.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 09:02 AM
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Dang, Furd, that sounds like fun to boot!
 
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Old 10-18-16, 11:41 AM
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Flame Broiled Dirt with Roasted Grubs sounds delicious @Furd
 
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