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cgaengineer
05-27-2009, 02:35 PM
As some of you know I did a manure topdress a few weeks ago and I was impressed with the results.

On Memorial Day we had 6 yards of river sand delivered and we topdressed the entire front lawn along with the two sides.

Lawn Prior to scalping:

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Topdressing/Picture009.jpg

Turf density prior to scalping (scalped to 1/2")

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Topdressing/Picture011.jpg

Lawn during scalping:

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Topdressing/Picture008.jpg

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Topdressing/Picture010.jpg

Sand application:

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Topdressing/Picture017.jpg

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Topdressing/Picture020.jpg

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Topdressing/Picture021.jpg

It rained just as we were finishing:

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Topdressing/Picture018.jpg

I have a few spots to repair due to yesterdays torrential downpour (1" of rain) and plan to get
another yard of sand to repair these areas.

All_Toro_4ME
05-27-2009, 03:32 PM
Looks absolutely terrible.... (kidding) That lawn has come a long ways and is really shaping up. Nice work....

cgaengineer
05-27-2009, 03:42 PM
Looks absolutely terrible.... (kidding) That lawn has come a long ways and is really shaping up. Nice work....

Thanks A,

It actually looks terrible now after some of the sand washed away from the buckets of rain yesterday!! Im going to broom/rake it tomorrow...if I need more sand I will get another yard or so...I'm not giving into the rain gods!!

dave k
05-27-2009, 07:49 PM
Outstanding!:clapping:

bigslick7878
05-27-2009, 10:55 PM
I have to ask because I am not familiar with southern type grasses,why the sand??

Up here we would never top dress with sand of any sort for any reason that I know of,usually a compost or something like that.

Is it a special type of sand? What does it have in it that helps a lawn??

Confused.

cgaengineer
05-28-2009, 07:43 AM
I have to ask because I am not familiar with southern type grasses,why the sand??

Up here we would never top dress with sand of any sort for any reason that I know of,usually a compost or something like that.

Is it a special type of sand? What does it have in it that helps a lawn??

Confused.

Bermuda and other southern grasses can be topdressed with a few light applications of sand to level or smooth out a lawn. This particular sand is a river sand with a mix of large and small particals. You are correct that you cannot topdress cool season grasses with sand.

cgaengineer
05-28-2009, 07:47 AM
Outstanding!:clapping:

Thanks Dave, I also appreciate the use of your stiff bristled broom. After I finish my accounts today I am going to get another yard of sand to fill in the eroded areas and also scalp the island and re-topdress it. I was a bit upset with the rain on Tuesday and all the hard work that went into the job and some areas getting ruined, but all in all the job still looks pretty good...hopefully we wont have a freakin flood for a couple days while the grass comes in and the sand settles.

hmartin
05-28-2009, 10:38 PM
CGA,

Will you describe the processes that you went through to do this job? Is there anything you would have done differently? Was a certain part of it really a pain?

What did you use to spread the sand?

I have about 1.5 acres of bermuda that is pretty smooth but could be better. I can buy fill sand with very few rocks locally for about $150 for 20 tons delivered and have access to a bobcat and a large tractor. In my area, chicken farms will give away manure as long as you pay for the hauling. I don't want to spend a ton of money on hiring someone to topdress 1.5 acres. I am just trying to figure out the best way to do it myself.

Smallaxe
05-29-2009, 12:06 AM
What does the sand do for Bermuda that it would not do for cool season grasses? You are dealing with clay soils, correct?
Looks promising BTW. :)

Next month's pictures will tell the complete story...

:laugh: If you end up with concrete, adobe, or brick... let us know... :laugh:

cgaengineer
05-29-2009, 07:34 AM
CGA,

Will you describe the processes that you went through to do this job? Is there anything you would have done differently? Was a certain part of it really a pain?

What did you use to spread the sand?

I have about 1.5 acres of bermuda that is pretty smooth but could be better. I can buy fill sand with very few rocks locally for about $150 for 20 tons delivered and have access to a bobcat and a large tractor. In my area, chicken farms will give away manure as long as you pay for the hauling. I don't want to spend a ton of money on hiring someone to topdress 1.5 acres. I am just trying to figure out the best way to do it myself.

The process was pretty easy, but it was hard manual labor. What I did was load the sand from the pile in my driveway into a trailer on my 4 wheeler. I would then deposit the sand in piles on the lawn and push them out with the back of a landscape rake. I had originally started slinging the sand but quickly realized it was more work to sling shovel then to push the landscape rake. I have also built a lute for the project with an 8' 2x4 and a handle from an old hand tool. The lute worked great for the flatter areas and allowed me to get those areas smooth as a baby's butt.After the sand was distributed I used the back of a wire rake to force the grass blades to the surface. The first rain really helped the sand settle, the second rain however, caused me great heartache as I lost some sand into areas down grade. I have some areas I will re-topdress tomorrow and everything should be fine.

For 1.5 acres you would probably be best to rent a topdressing machine and a Dingo to load it unless you don't mine doing it the way I did it. Like I said before, it was not difficult to do it my way, but it was hard work. Another thing I thought of, if you have a tractor and you are good with the bucket and can easily control the amount of sand you dump you could probably deposit the sand very quickly this way. I would then suggest a drag mat for a lot that size.

Feel free to contact me via this thread or pm for additional questions.

cgaengineer
05-29-2009, 07:43 AM
What does the sand do for Bermuda that it would not do for cool season grasses? You are dealing with clay soils, correct?
Looks promising BTW. :)

Next month's pictures will tell the complete story...

:laugh: If you end up with concrete, adobe, or brick... let us know... :laugh:

I am not sure about this but I think the reason you cannot topdress cool season grasses with sand is because the root system is shallower. Also the aggressive growing habits of warm season grasses allow the lawn to recover quickly.

As far as the sand addition to clay to form concrete...I have heard it, but I call BS on it. In my front gardens is where the sand pile was when they did the stonework, its some of the easiest digging soil around...anywhere in my front garden I can grab a full scoop with a shovel. The main problem you would really have to consider is the addition of so much sand that when it rains the water would percolate through the soil very quickly with just about no benefit to the grass, I dont think this is a problem with a light topdressing of 1/4" to 1.5" even. The purpose of the sand is to smooth the lawn, not to fill in deep holes. If you have deep holes you should fill them with a similar soil.

You also have to consider that an application to the surface of the lawn will take many years to work its way into the soil profile, if ever.

Smallaxe
05-29-2009, 08:32 AM
I am not sure about this but I think the reason you cannot topdress cool season grasses with sand is because the root system is shallower. Also the aggressive growing habits of warm season grasses allow the lawn to recover quickly.

As far as the sand addition to clay to form concrete...I have heard it, but I call BS on it. In my front gardens is where the sand pile was when they did the stonework, its some of the easiest digging soil around...anywhere in my front garden I can grab a full scoop with a shovel. The main problem you would really have to consider is the addition of so much sand that when it rains the water would percolate through the soil very quickly with just about no benefit to the grass, I dont think this is a problem with a light topdressing of 1/4" to 1.5" even. The purpose of the sand is to smooth the lawn, not to fill in deep holes. If you have deep holes you should fill them with a similar soil.

You also have to consider that an application to the surface of the lawn will take many years to work its way into the soil profile, if ever.

Yes, I agree, that we don't cover grass too deeply. I personally only go about 1/2 inch at a time, whether sand or topsoil.
I use sand as a mulch to hold water on top of compacted heavy soils.

cgaengineer
05-29-2009, 08:56 AM
Yes, I agree, that we don't cover grass too deeply. I personally only go about 1/2 inch at a time, whether sand or topsoil.
I use sand as a mulch to hold water on top of compacted heavy soils.

So are you topdressing cool season grasses with sand Smallaxe? If so I would like to hear any issues you have experienced. I have a small area of fescue on heat tolerant blue that I would like to add sand to.

Smallaxe
05-29-2009, 09:03 AM
Not sure if fescue roots can expand into the sand the way KBG does , but at 1/2" I never killed any grass, that I'm aware of.

cgaengineer
05-29-2009, 09:07 AM
Not sure if fescue roots can expand into the sand the way KBG does , but at 1/2" I never killed any grass, that I'm aware of.

I cannot think of a media easier to grow in then sand so I cant see the problem...besides with a topdress application the roots should be below the sand surface anyway. I wonder if the cool season grass topdress with sand is nothing but BS and its in fact ok to do so?

unity
05-29-2009, 10:24 AM
cga, how did you calculate the amount of sand you would need, and how much did the sand cost you(i realize prices will vary for my area)? also, if you had not finished your project right before rainfall, would you have watered the lawn to help the sand settle?

btw, i think it looks great so far. i cant wait to see pictures after the grass has filled back in.

cgaengineer
05-29-2009, 11:05 AM
cga, how did you calculate the amount of sand you would need, and how much did the sand cost you(i realize prices will vary for my area)? also, if you had not finished your project right before rainfall, would you have watered the lawn to help the sand settle?

btw, i think it looks great so far. i cant wait to see pictures after the grass has filled back in.

For figuring sq yards this calculator makes it really easy http://aggieturf.tamu.edu/aggieturf2/calculators/topdress-sheet.html

6 Yards of river sand delivered was $331

I had started to water lawn after install so that I could get a break from manual labor so yes I would have finished watering to settle it in had we not received rain.

The lawn has actually looks pretty good right now and is coming in very well. I will post pictures this evening as I forgot to take them this morning before work. From a short distance you can no longer see the sand. I will likely cut it this weekend.

cgaengineer
05-29-2009, 11:35 PM
Topdressing 5 days later. I cut it at about 5/8" tonight. Picture quality is not that good as it was starting to get dark so I will take some shots tomorrow in better light.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Topdressing/Picture013.jpg

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e223/cgaengineer/Topdressing/Picture014.jpg

jmoore16135
05-31-2009, 12:26 AM
Native soil (clay) Little League infield, aerated first then topdressed with 2+ yards of sand.
149851

Little over a week later.

149852

This field is at a elementary school and is their main kickball field and only a baseball in the evenings and weekends. And this is cool season grass, perennial rye.

terrapro
05-31-2009, 09:00 AM
Well that solves that(insert dusting hands smily here).

georgialawn88
09-06-2012, 09:57 PM
yea I'm stalking ya trying to learn. looks great!!!

Florida Gardener
09-06-2012, 10:38 PM
Only warm season sports turf gets sand. St Augustine gets topsoil, in Florida, for obvious reasons.
Posted via Mobile Device

cgaengineer
09-07-2012, 06:51 AM
yea I'm stalking ya trying to learn. looks great!!!

It's not hard to do...piece of cake.
Posted via Mobile Device

RigglePLC
09-08-2012, 10:57 AM
Here is some of the science of what happens when sand is added to clay. Soil does not become a desirable sandy soil until the percentage of sand approaches 50 percent. This scientist does not discuss topdressing by itself.
http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20chalker-scott/horticultural%20myths_files/Myths/Amendments%202.pdf

On the other hand, sand cap for failed athletic fields is recommended by Michigan State experts.
http://www.turf.msu.edu/built-up-sand-capped-athletic-field-system

cgaengineer
09-08-2012, 11:06 AM
Here is some of the science of what happens when sand is added to clay. Soil does not become a desirable sandy soil until the percentage of sand approaches 50 percent. This scientist does not discuss topdressing by itself.
http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20chalker-scott/horticultural%20myths_files/Myths/Amendments%202.pdf

On the other hand, sand cap for failed athletic fields is recommended by Michigan State experts.
http://www.turf.msu.edu/built-up-sand-capped-athletic-field-system

Which is why top dressing with pure sand causes zero problems.
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TurnerLandscape
09-22-2012, 07:06 PM
i thought mixing clay and sand makes concrete!!!!!

Patriot Services
09-22-2012, 07:09 PM
i thought mixing clay and sand makes concrete!!!!!

Only if your name is Smallaxe.
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cgaengineer
09-22-2012, 11:23 PM
Only if your name is Smallaxe.
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Actually it's if your name is Krili...
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Smallaxe
09-23-2012, 09:51 AM
Only if your name is Smallaxe.
Posted via Mobile Device

Actually I was the only one who suggestted adding clay to sand and vice-versa and have been attacked from all sides as a result... I'm glad to see that the mythology,,, of sand added to lawns has the same magical result as,,, say a driveway,,, is dead...
It's amazing how physical properties of dirt have different responses in different circumstances...

Anyways, don't place me in the flat-earth society that way... :)

Patriot Services
09-23-2012, 10:11 AM
Actually I was the only one who suggestted adding clay to sand and vice-versa and have been attacked from all sides as a result... I'm glad to see that the mythology,,, of sand added to lawns has the same magical result as,,, say a driveway,,, is dead...
It's amazing how physical properties of dirt have different responses in different circumstances...

Anyways, don't place me in the flat-earth society that way... :)

Doh! Mea culpa.
Posted via Mobile Device

Kiril
09-23-2012, 11:51 AM
Actually it's if your name is Krili...

Curious if anyone here has taken a penetrometer and/or an infiltrometer and tested various scenarios of topdressing sand on top of a heavy clay through the full range of soil moisture contents? After all, we wouldn't want to be caught talking out of our asses without some hard data to back our statements .... would we?

Oh wait ...... I forgot where I was ...... the forum where opinion is presented as scientific fact. :rolleyes:

cgaengineer
09-23-2012, 11:55 AM
Curious if anyone here has taken a penetrometer and/or an infiltrometer and tested various scenarios of topdressing sand on top of a heavy clay through the full range of soil moisture contents? After all, we wouldn't want to be caught talking out of our asses without some hard data to back our statements .... would we?

Oh wait ...... I forgot where I was ...... the forum where opinion is presented as scientific fact. :rolleyes:

And science is never wrong...or maybe a little inaccurate sometimes? Skewed?

My findings with clay based Bermuda lawns and sand top dressing has not yielded concrete...only a lawn that's mowed 3-4 times per week.
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Kiril
09-23-2012, 12:10 PM
And science is never wrong...or maybe a little inaccurate sometimes? Skewed?

Would that be the science of making adobe bricks or some other science? Further, what does this have to do with the scientific process?

My findings with clay based Bermuda lawns and sand top dressing has not yielded concrete...only a lawn that's mowed 3-4 times per week.

That is a good thing it hasn't yielded concrete, given mixing clay and sand doesn't produce concrete.

Smallaxe
09-23-2012, 01:01 PM
I've discovered over the course of my lifetime that ,,, What works, Works,,, and what Doesn't work, doesn't work...

I wish I could add some sand to my clay soil and make an Adobe Framed Garden Wall around the foundation of my house, but alas, only increased drainage and a greater fertilizer response...

The other thing I've discovered was: Why bother... :)

Kiril
09-23-2012, 03:22 PM
Case in point.

walker45
09-25-2012, 08:20 PM
This what I was looking for I live in a red clay area been working on yard for several years now still have some bad places for grass to grow, my grass is southern lawn extreme which is tall fescue with heat tolerant bluegrass. I live on a river and have lots of sand would this work good for me like the thread we are on now if so how should I go about it. Should I mow short aerate and spread or any input into this will be appreciated the pics of the yard they did looks great.

Florida Gardener
09-25-2012, 08:45 PM
This what I was looking for I live in a red clay area been working on yard for several years now still have some bad places for grass to grow, my grass is southern lawn extreme which is tall fescue with heat tolerant bluegrass. I live on a river and have lots of sand would this work good for me like the thread we are on now if so how should I go about it. Should I mow short aerate and spread or any input into this will be appreciated the pics of the yard they did looks great.

From what I've been told, TF needs to be cut high. Why would you cut short and topdress with sand?
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walker45
09-25-2012, 09:48 PM
I thought cut short topdress overseed, wouldn't the sand help stop the compaction of clay any other ideas I should look at to help, I presently cut grass 3 1/2 to 4 inches

cgaengineer
09-25-2012, 09:53 PM
I thought cut short topdress overseed, wouldn't the sand help stop the compaction of clay any other ideas I should look at to help, I presently cut grass 3 1/2 to 4 inches

If you cut that high don't waste the sand...or your time.
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walker45
09-25-2012, 10:07 PM
I overseed every year but there are a couple places in yard that grass doesn't take off it burns off or dies for some reason and just have bare spots

Smallaxe
09-26-2012, 07:32 AM
walker45,
If the patch is dead, why not go all out and work up that area,,, add your ammendments about a foot or so deep,,, plenty of compost to go along with the sand and clay,,, mix it all together and you've got a better topsoil(or adobe)...

No different than mixing cocoa and powdered sugar to make frosting... I've done it all over my 2-3 feet deep of clay,,, gardens... it's how I've turned this hostile area into a thing of beauty and this hilltop has become like a sponge that everything from the largest oak tree to the annual bean plant thrives on... I can grow grass in a heartbeat here if I wanted to...

Sometimes the only way to learn is to do it and don't be afraid to experiment...
It's funny,,, that nature is supposedly have put together these "Real soils" over millions of years of haphazard, chaotic and chance events,,, yet it is taboo to put together a sensible recipe that does the same thing,,, on purpose,,, with intelligent planning... :)

Kiril
09-26-2012, 11:06 AM
walker45,
If the patch is dead, why not go all out and work up that area,,, add your ammendments about a foot or so deep,,, plenty of compost to go along with the sand and clay,,, mix it all together and you've got a better topsoil(or adobe)...

Bad idea, particularly if it is irrigated, that is unless you are looking for areas in your turf that respond differently than the rest.

Sometimes the only way to learn is to do it and don't be afraid to experiment...

Yea, let's charge people to experiment on their properties because that is what professionals do. :dizzy: :nono:

It's funny,,, that nature is supposedly have put together these "Real soils" over millions of years of haphazard, chaotic and chance events,,, yet it is taboo to put together a sensible recipe that does the same thing,,, on purpose,,, with intelligent planning... :)

:laugh: :rolleyes:

Smallaxe
09-27-2012, 11:05 AM
As I read the post it seemed that there were certain areas ,,, that were responding differently than the rest...

Professionals do the same failed actions repeatedly and never step outside the box and experiment... I often present concepts to clients that move them away from their difficulties and experiment with something that actually makes sense...
things make sense in the big picture world of concepts applied to living things as though they are living and require suitable living conditions... I'm way past the stage of having ideas about specific issues... I put together concepts of forming the whole eco-system into one sensible inter-relating and supportting environment...

For exa:
Where one scaper may say "Hey, put down some NPK",,, I would ask, "Is the NPK readily available to the living plants?"...

If a plant is struggling, it is best to look at the big picture,,, then decide which component parts are likely candidates requiring refinement...

It would be fun to pursue the discussion at this level,,, but I know that even the first 2 statements of this post, will NOT be thot about long enough,, to actually be understood... I won't be hanging around for the tantrum of the apples, because he can't see the oranges... :)

turfmd101
09-27-2012, 12:15 PM
As I read the post it seemed that there were certain areas ,,, that were responding differently than the rest...

Professionals do the same failed actions repeatedly and never step outside the box and experiment... I often present concepts to clients that move them away from their difficulties and experiment with something that actually makes sense...
things make sense in the big picture world of concepts applied to living things as though they are living and require suitable living conditions... I'm way past the stage of having ideas about specific issues... I put together concepts of forming the whole eco-system into one sensible inter-relating and supportting environment...

For exa:
Where one scaper may say "Hey, put down some NPK",,, I would ask, "Is the NPK readily available to the living plants?"...

If a plant is struggling, it is best to look at the big picture,,, then decide which component parts are likely candidates requiring refinement...

It would be fun to pursue the discussion at this level,,, but I know that even the first 2 statements of this post, will NOT be thot about long enough,, to actually be understood... I won't be hanging around for the tantrum of the apples, because he can't see the oranges... :)

I'm with ya smallaxe. I don't have much credit here. So I don't know that it matters.

I'm not sure most see the big picture. I was given crap for saying how hard my customers work for ME!
My customers understand im no magic man. Yes I can make things happen...but my customers understand without doubt that everything that occurs culturally between my visits greatly dictates our success. They understand magic wands don't exist. But they seem to think I can make magic happen.

The thing is....it's not magic. Its simply understanding what can and can't happen threw environmental dictation. I guess I'm just good at playing mother natures crazy twisting game.

The environment has a 12345 process. Never in the same order and always changing. These 12345 processes are easy to teach but what can't be taught is their daily sequences. If you can't see when its 41352 or 25143 and so on. You will be doing alot of different applicating. Like I said. The sequences can't be taught. They have to hit you like an epiphany one day. That will change your world. I seldom use anything beyond nutrient. I almost never use pesticides. Under any environmental conditions. I don't control the environment but man I can sure foresee what's gonna happen and make a controlled manipulation happen.
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DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-28-2012, 01:11 AM
I like the picture OP posted where it was pouring rain the best.

It never does that around here anymore:(

cgaengineer
09-28-2012, 04:14 AM
I like the picture OP posted where it was pouring rain the best.

It never does that around here anymore:(

And it stopped here too...
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Smallaxe
09-28-2012, 09:53 AM
I'm with ya smallaxe. I don't have much credit here. So I don't know that it matters.

I'm not sure most see the big picture. I was given crap for saying how hard my customers work for ME!
My customers understand im no magic man. Yes I can make things happen...but my customers understand without doubt that everything that occurs culturally between my visits greatly dictates our success. They understand magic wands don't exist. But they seem to think I can make magic happen.

The thing is....it's not magic. Its simply understanding what can and can't happen threw environmental dictation. I guess I'm just good at playing mother natures crazy twisting game.

The environment has a 12345 process. Never in the same order and always changing. These 12345 processes are easy to teach but what can't be taught is their daily sequences. If you can't see when its 41352 or 25143 and so on. You will be doing alot of different applicating. Like I said. The sequences can't be taught. They have to hit you like an epiphany one day. That will change your world. I seldom use anything beyond nutrient. I almost never use pesticides. Under any environmental conditions. I don't control the environment but man I can sure foresee what's gonna happen and make a controlled manipulation happen.
Posted via Mobile Device

I like your use of the word 'epiphany', in that 'suddenly the whole thing makes sense'... there seems to be a real disconnect between the education and the practical application of any kind of knowledge...
Even the idea of adding another bit of N right now, because it is time to(according to my edu.),,, requires an 'epiphay' to know that the practical application of such practice,,, would mean doubling the amount of unused N lieing in the dust...
A certain tunnel vision seems to occur when one is 'educated' in a certain 7 step program, in that the meaning of each step is ignored and therefore it becomes impossible to realize that a particular step, would not apply, under these circumstances...

I think there would be more 'epiphanys' if people thought more about the sentence they just heard and try to see how it applies to the real world... :)