Double edged question...leveling, improving soil quality.

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by FIRESCOOBY, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. FIRESCOOBY

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 981

    I live in NE Georgia. My yard is 100% red clay with virtually NO topsoil. I have been working on getting my Fescue seeded grass to grow for 4 years. It gets better every year, but still leaves alit to be desired.

    I basically live on the side of a mountain and the water runoff has created some uneven places in the yard.

    I was wondering if spreading some sand this spring would improve the soil quality and the uneven spots? I haven't got a soil analysis, but intend to this spring. I know Fescue will not grow through the sand like Bermuda (or so I've been told). I planned (if it is acceptable) to spread the sand with a tow behind rotary spreader.

    Will this work for Fescue leveling?
    Will this work for improving the red clay soil?
    Can you spread it with the homeowner spreader?
    How much should I use?

    Thanks
     
  2. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Posts: 784

    the best thing you could do is add some organics and sand. but to incorperate organis you might have to tear the lawn up. orgains help eliviate compaction. the number 1 enemy in turf. also look into spreding some gypsum. this will help with compaction also.
     
  3. FIRESCOOBY

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 981

    Can you elaborate in spreading the gypsum? Have no idea on HOW to do it, or where to get it?

    Thanks
     
  4. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    Do not spread sand on fescue.Although it works great for warm season grasses,sand will burn fescue and you won't get any benefit from it.Also,you can't spread sand with a fertilizer spreader.
    What you need is a compost/topsoil mix.Aerate the lawn and topdress with your mix.
    As for leveling,you'll need to spread topsoil in the areas that need it and then re-seed.If the areas are small,you can roll it with a lawn roller.
     
  5. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Posts: 784

    sorry for the delay i forgot i had posted in this thread. gypsum comes in a granular form and can be spread by a broadcast spreader. most turf supply joints should have it.
     
  6. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    If you live in NE Ga, you are getting pretty close to my area. Gypsum is usually not recommended for this area. Better choice is dolomitic lime. Of course a soil test is needed to be certain but just applying gypsum without the benefit of a soil test can have disasterous results. I am pretty firmilar with the N Ga area, exactly which town do you live in. There are a lot of myths about gypsum and how it works, I am not suggesting that it doesnt help relieve compaction but in our area most of the time, 99.999% of the time, Lime is a better choice. Reason being that the heavy clay soils are usually acidic. Gypsum does little in the way of raising or lowering Ph. Gypsum will provide a quick burst of calcium to the soil but this quick release of calcium will also release harmful elements such as Aluminum and chlorine which can be harmful to the plants.

    Do yourself a favor and get a soil test done before applying gypsum on the advice of a internet forum poster that has never seen your lawn and isnt firmilar with your soil conditions. If you need help interpeting the soiltest results you can post those results here and get better advice on how to proceed.
     
  7. FIRESCOOBY

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 981

    I currently live about 7 miles south of Cleveland (Near Helen). Born and lived for 25 years in McCaysville (about 12 miles north of Blue Ridge) on the GA/TN/NC line.
     
  8. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    7 miles south of Cleveland and Helen would put you close to Lula, Cornelia Or somewhere inbetween, unless you are south on 129 which would put you just outside of Gainesville. Anyways you are around between 50 and 75 miles from me. I was born in Copperhill, Raised in Nc and raised He(( allover Ga. Still, you are out of my service area. If you havent done anything to your lawn, get a soil test done and post the results, I still believe Lime is going to be your best choice for a calcium source.
     
  9. FIRESCOOBY

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 981

    Yes, I am 7 miles south on 129, north of Clermont.

    Copperhill huh? You for sure know where McCaysville is. Brings back some memories.
     
  10. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Yep, Copperhill, I also know where Ducktown and Farner are. Trivia fact, one of the two first White settlers in this area was two or three great grandfathers before me. The white settlers took indian wifes, got in a bitter feud and my ancestor killed the other white settler. Most of my kinfolk walked the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. I have more kinfolk in Oklahoma than I have here.

    I also know where Clemont is, just east of the intersection of hiway 283 and hiway 129. Never been in the town tho, usually just drive by on 129 on my way to Gainesville. You live in the flatter portion of North Ga. Your soil are generally more clayish than what I am used to. All we have up here is ground up slate. The U of Ga in Athens will test your soil and give you results and recommendations on what to use to improve the soil quality. Fee is probably around $10 +/-. Best money you can spend. As cheap as that bag of Gypsum that you probably dont need. You will have to look up the link to UGA's testing facility unless someone here can post it for you. I know there are several UGA attendies on this forum. Maybe one of them can provide a link.
     

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