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How To Remedy Sandy Soil?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Motaro, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Motaro

    Motaro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Hi, I am a homeowner trying to repair my lawn. I live in Massachusetts near the ocean. Recently moved here and the lawn didn't do well this summer; dead spots, prone to weeds, patchy, etc. I noticed the water draining right through it and drying out very quickly. I didn't have any time during the summer to investigate, but just now I went outside and dug a hole to see if I could find what I was looking for...sand. Sure enough, there was plenty of sand mixed in with the soil.(pics below) How it got there I don't know, but I do know that with the water draining this fast I will never have a good lawn.

    I've read about the benefits of tilling organic matter into the sandy soil and letting it compost for awhile. I don't really want to add matter, though, as I don't want to raise the height of the lawn. I don't have too much of a problem with the idea of removing the sand, but I wanted to see if you guys think that would be a solution. I was planning on taking up the grass with a grub axe, then shoveling all the sandy soil out and replacing it with good top soil. I could then either re-introduce the old grass or reseed completely. What do you guys think? Thanks


  2. Jaybrown

    Jaybrown LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,160

    Take out sand put compost soil mix. Or dig down deep put a layer of clay then compost and top soil the clay keeps the water at the roots
  3. imow in NC

    imow in NC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    Clay, sand, water and sun make bricks....IMO
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    So how is the process going??? did you dig down and find any clay???

    Adding organic matter such as compost does not raise the grade of your lawn... it eventually rots down to virtually nothingness in relation to mass...

    Sorry for the making bricks routine that people throw out there, I realizes it discourages the desire to get an understanding of how soils actually work with or against the root mass of plants... its not that complicated unless every diversion is thrown in to muck up the works...
  5. Motaro2

    Motaro2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Been trying to respond but looks like my account got locked out somehow so I had to make this one.

    I did all this work in early april:

    Grass was:


    Beneath it:


    Previous owners only threw a couple inches of top soil over the 5 inches sand and surely some cheap seed down without even bothering to level it out. Very bumpy.

    Too much sand to mix it in, needed to be removed. Did only the worst 1/3 of the lawn this spring, I'll do the rest in the fall. This will be good start/test. Removed top layer of sod and soil with shovel, then shoveled out all sand. Wheel barrow chose a great time to break, resorted to 5 gallon buckets for most of it. Over a dump truck load of sand came out, took a week of hard labor.

    This is only half of what came out, all gone now, thanks Craigslist)


    Dug down deep to make sure there was no more sand, laid previously removed sod grass side down, buried it with mix of clean top soil and compost. Kept grade lower intentionally as it was built up higher than it should have been. Leveled ground.


    - Kentucky Bluegrass Grass Seed 98/85

    - Scotts Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer (AI: Mesotrione)

    Applied both in correct proportions, watered.

    April 6:


    May 1:


    May 12:


    May 22: (Taken while raining)


    I wasn't even able to grow any grass in this area before because of all the sand, so this is really great. It's come in pretty good, but the crabgrass preventer wasn't 100% effective and I've had to hand pull it here and there.

    There are a few areas that have still not grown over one inch tall, and the blades are a bit yellow. Here's a pic:


    I'm not sure why this is. There are also many ant mounds in these areas. I'm guessing this is due to sandier soil in these areas, and its inability to retain moisture and nutrients compared to a loamier soil. I've fertilized it with nitrogen, didn't seem to help it. I'll just keep an eye on it.
    Last edited: May 23, 2013

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