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95Z71
04-09-2011, 01:42 AM
Grass is starting to come out of dormant, is it still to early to topdress with river sand?

Smallaxe
04-09-2011, 07:57 AM
Grass is starting to come out of dormant, is it still to early to topdress with river sand?

This is a strange custom that you southerners have for your turf... Why is that?

georgialawn88
01-23-2013, 09:44 PM
ive searched so many threads on here about topdressing and it seems top dressing with bermuda lawn bothers smallaxe very very much. It is to level out the lawn!

Skipster
01-24-2013, 08:41 AM
This is a strange custom that you southerners have for your turf... Why is that?
Topdressing began as a practice used on the cool season golf courses of Scotland in the late 1800s.

Topdressing with sand has several benefits, including OM dilution (too much OM reduces water infiltration, gas exchange, and OM mineralization), thatch reduction (via increased microbial activity), crown protection, increased water infiltration, increased gas exchange, and site leveling.

In lawns, the influence of OM in the rootzone is much less significant than it would be in golf course putting greens, so those topdressing benefits related to OM management aren't as noticeable. But, whether you're managing bermudagrass in Georgia or Kentucky bluegrass in Wisconsin, sand topdressing can help to level out the bumps in an unlevel lawn.

Smallaxe
01-24-2013, 10:53 AM
We level out ruts and such with sand or topsoil, when necessary... but we also have sidewalks and roadways, so even 1/4" of new sand every year would mean a full inch every 4 years... not to mention how much will wash down even the slightest slopes over the course of a season...
The idea of sanding bluegrass in Wisco, is not a smart idea at all... I do not know of a lawn that would benefit the KBG by topdressing with sand every Spring... in fact after the Spring rains were finished the lawns would look like sand dunes...
Imitating the greens of Scotland doesn't make for good lawn care here,,, but if that's what the grassy weed called Bermuda needs, then that answers my question... :)

Skipster
01-24-2013, 11:29 AM
We level out ruts and such with sand or topsoil, when necessary... but we also have sidewalks and roadways, so even 1/4" of new sand every year would mean a full inch every 4 years... not to mention how much will wash down even the slightest slopes over the course of a season...
The idea of sanding bluegrass in Wisco, is not a smart idea at all... I do not know of a lawn that would benefit the KBG by topdressing with sand every Spring... in fact after the Spring rains were finished the lawns would look like sand dunes...
Imitating the greens of Scotland doesn't make for good lawn care here,,, but if that's what the grassy weed called Bermuda needs, then that answers my question... :)

The topdressing blends into the thatch layer and the soil below that. Putting greens that are topdressed at 1/8" depth twice monthly usually only rise about 1" every 10 years or so. But, if you core aerate regularly, you'll create room for your topdressing material and you don't get much rise at all.

I agree that topdressing lawns isn't needed for the most part (if your lawn is level enough for your taste), since most folks aren't pushing their lawns to the edge of death in an attempt to create a high performing athletic surface. But, using the right amount, you don't get any noticeable sand up on the surface -- its all down in the canopy. After heavy rain (or any kind of rain), you still have a nice lawn.

But, your bluegrass in WI would benefit much more from regular sand topdressing than it would from microbial applications or compost applications. KBG is a good thatch producer and allowing that thatch to accumulate on its own without aeration or topdressing will reduce microbial activity, as opposed to topdressing or aerating, which will improve soil oxygenation, bring C:N ratios in better alignment, and increase microbial activity.

Now, all this won't get you super-noticeable results on your lawn -- you're not adding a fertilizer here. But, research has shown that it will do more good for the "soil food web" than microbial additions or compost applications.

Above Par Lawns
01-24-2013, 01:18 PM
But, your bluegrass in WI would benefit much more from regular sand topdressing than it would from microbial applications or compost applications. But, research has shown that it will do more good for the "soil food web" than microbial additions or compost applications.

Does this hold true for Fine Fescue lawns on heavy clay soil? I've always been told compost applications following aeration in Spring or Fall was the way to go.

Smallaxe
01-25-2013, 08:15 AM
Does this hold true for Fine Fescue lawns on heavy clay soil? I've always been told compost applications following aeration in Spring or Fall was the way to go.

Good question... when you're 'informed' about making concrete/adobe, it is good to keep in mind what OM does to the mix of concrete and adobe...
Good luck... :)

Above Par Lawns
01-25-2013, 01:02 PM
Good question... when you're 'informed' about making concrete/adobe, it is good to keep in mind what OM does to the mix of concrete and adobe...
Good luck... :)
Ever give a straight forward answer?
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RigglePLC
01-25-2013, 04:19 PM
Anybody willing to try it? Topdress half--untreated, other half of your front yard.


I will visit my mother's house this week. 200 miles away. I wanted to put crabgrass control on before spring. Is it Ok to apply on top of 12 niches of snow?

Skipster
01-25-2013, 04:42 PM
Does this hold true for Fine Fescue lawns on heavy clay soil? I've always been told compost applications following aeration in Spring or Fall was the way to go.

There are a few what-ifs that go along with this. But, the short answer is that sand topdressing is a long-term process and it's not going to add OM to your soil. So, if you have a low-thatch producing turf (fine fescue) and a heavy clay lawn that's giving you problems, core aerating will help you more than topdressing, either with sand or compost. If you *REALLY* need to change the composition of your rootzone (ground is so hard you can't pound a stake into it or it never drains, etc), then maybe you would want to core aerate, then topdress with compost, just to lighten up the soil characteristics in the upper part of the rootzone.

Whta I was talking about was regular light sand topdressing applications (done monthly or so) in loamy soils. If you compared that to regular light compost applications, you would get more benefit out of the sand.

Smallaxe
01-26-2013, 07:51 AM
Ever give a straight forward answer?
Posted via Mobile Device

Just giving a 'heads-up' that anytime the discussion of adding sand to clay, in an effort to form more of a loam,,, somebody usually drops in to say that doing so create concrete/adobe and about how stupid one must be to even think about it...that's your straight answer about bringing up the subject... :)
When clay is too heavy I like to use a sandy compost after aerating... Your biggest advantage will be to build soil structure of course and pay attention to how much sand is adding into areas with sidewalks, houses and hardscape, becuz there is a big difference betwen sanding putting greens and residential lawns...

Crimson Lawn
01-26-2013, 10:16 AM
Above Par,
One of the best things to do in our area is to aerate in the fall and apply Pelletized Gypsum. Gypsum breaks down clay over time. Also by adding the Gypsum in the fall, it will work into the aerated plug holes and work even better by going through the freeze/thaw cycles of winter and then into spring. If you aerate in the spring and apply gypsum, would recommend topdressing with loam or sandy compost. You really do not want those aerated holes exposed when we get in June, that will only speed up the evaporation of the soil moisture.

Kiril
01-26-2013, 10:16 AM
Does this hold true for Fine Fescue lawns on heavy clay soil? I've always been told compost applications following aeration in Spring or Fall was the way to go.

There are numerous benefits to topdressing with compost rather than sand, even on sports turf, do your research. There is absolutely no need to manage resi/com turf in the same manner as sports turf. If you need to level the surface use a sand & compost or loam and compost, providing you aren't creating a substantial layer.

Kiril
01-26-2013, 10:21 AM
Above Par,
One of the best things to do in our area is to aerate in the fall and apply Pelletized Gypsum. Gypsum breaks down clay over time.

Apply gypsum if you have determined a need for it via a soil test. Also it doesn't break down clay, it helps to flocculate it in some cases.

Crimson Lawn
01-26-2013, 11:04 AM
Apply gypsum if you have determined a need for it via a soil test. Also it doesn't break down clay, it helps to flocculate it in some cases.

Yes, very true about a soil test. It does, however, over time, trend toward easing compacted clay soils combined with aeration. Some of our clay soils are very acidic so the gypsum helps with the ph.
When I working down south(Bama, Florida) we would bring in sandy loam to top dress about the time the warm season grasses were waking up from winter. A thin layer, less than 1/4 inch in any areas that were tracked or just low. After a few cuts, the yard was mostly level and no eveidence that was done.
Here, spring growth is crazy and just dont see much of that happening here. Golf Courses, yes, but residental and commercial, no. Complete yard renovations I see from time to time.

Kiril
01-26-2013, 11:13 AM
Yes, very true about a soil test. It does, however, over time, trend toward easing compacted clay soils combined with aeration. Some of our clay soils are very acidic so the gypsum helps with the ph.

Gypsum does little to nothing for pH adjustment. If anything, you will see a decrease in pH, not an increase. Not a good choice for acidic soils. It also will not help a mechanically (physically) compacted soil. Understand what your amendments will do to the soil before you apply them as you can easily do more damage than good.

kennc38
01-27-2013, 07:59 PM
Ever give a straight forward answer?
Posted via Mobile Device

No, he doesn't. He either asks more questions or tells YOU need to inform or educate yourself. It's a never ending circular discussion if you will look at his threads.

Above Par Lawns
01-27-2013, 08:12 PM
No, he doesn't. He either asks more questions or tells YOU need to inform or educate yourself. It's a never ending circular discussion if you will look at his threads.

There's a couple guys on this site that do that. Just because they have a wealth of knowledge they think they can belittle others who come to them with questions or have a difference in opinion. I wonder how they treat their clients?
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kennc38
01-27-2013, 08:16 PM
There's a couple guys on this site that do that. Just because they have a wealth of knowledge they think they can belittle others who come to them with questions or have a difference in opinion. I wonder how they treat their clients?
Posted via Mobile Device

I don't think him having a "wealth of knowledge" is the problem. :laugh: