Lawns & Beach Sand

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by DLCO, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. DLCO

    DLCO LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 14

    Hi everybody new to the site and new to lawn care. I have just moved to an area that is all sand. What chance does sod laid on beach beach sand have of becoming a healthy lawn? would topdressing with compost help build up the soil beneath the turf? Or would it be best to rip up the lawn remove 6" of the sand and replace it with triple mix?
     
  2. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    not sure in Canada. But where I'm at. were in sand. we have a mix, But as you know there are only 3 types of soil. if your talking about ST. Aug, sod. it does very well here. we use very little nitrogen. But always before I spend over 400.00 for any type of sod. I REQUIRE a soil sample.

    the soil sample is VERY cheep. here our Ph. balance is one " if Not the only " main issue. if the PH. is NOT with in the scope. I simply will NOT SOD. <--- notice the period

    also. " again NOt knowing your area " in the past I hae used steaks while installing sod...... sounds stupid right?

    well YES in soft sand it can move on you. I'm not talking about a square or two. an entire mound can start moving downward.
     
  3. DLCO

    DLCO LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 14

    I think it would be safe to assume that the turf is a mix of cool season grasses. From what I've been able to find as far as research goes is that sand has/holds no nutrients and the water drains too quickly? Using my house as the example, it is new and the builder threw down the sod. will adding ammendments and organic fertilizing be enough to have the lawn be healthy coupled with correct maintenance techniques? Or does it only really have a shot if the sand is replaced with good soil?
     
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,777

    Lots of sports fields and golf putting greens are established on high-sand-content soils which are mixed and hauled in. It is because they drain well and resist compaction. You should be fine--if--you have good irrigation to compensate for the rapid drainage.
    Since sand does not hold nutrients well--plan to use a fertilizer very high in slow release nitrogen. 50 percent of the nitrogen should be slow release. 70 percent would be better. If you can find some slow-release potash, that is good, otherwise plan to apply light potash 4 times per year. Beach sand tends have round granules--it is a bit unstable at first--too soft in the first few months. Phosphorus is not desirable near any lake area, probably not legal. Organic fertilizer is not ideal, as it usually contains phosphorus.

    Most sod is 100 percent Kentucky bluegrass, (up here in the north). When this snow melts you will be OK. Keep in mind...the best sod greens up slowly in the spring...be patient.
     
  5. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,560

    Adding compost is very beneficial to sandy soils.
     
  6. DLCO

    DLCO LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 14

    thanks guys I appreciate the input.

    I am by trade in landscape construction. I moved to a new area and decided to start my own business, devoting a couple of days per week to lawn maintenance, to hopefully provide a study income, as I do not really know what to expect as far as getting business.

    RigglePLC, you mention irrigation. Would it be suggested that lawns laid on sand should receive more than the recommended 1" of watering per week as compensation for rapid drainage?

    Also, I am set on being 100% organic. Is there a big potential for Phosphorous to leech? I was under the assumption that N was the one to worry about? The organic fertilizers I was considering using were: corn gluten meal, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, greensand and kelp meal.

    Which brings me to another question... I get that soil tests are important. In all the research I have done there a some basics that are constantly mentioned.... soil testing is one of them...BUT... in the absense of soil sampling, can you just do some basic fertilizing and still have good results?

    EG: CGM & SBM mix in the spring time, and in the fall a greensand and alfalfa mix?
     
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,777

    http://www.cropservicesintl.com/Tech_Lit_Pk/revGreensand Tech Sheet.pdf
    Greensand sounds like a good bet.

    IMHO on sand, irrigation should be more frequent and lighter; a tenth of an inch per day would work; add 25 percent if temps rises above 85. Corn gluten meal and alfalfa meal are fine, just remember they are low in nitrogen--it will take a lot to get dark green color.
    Maybe Barry at Phasthound can advise you on the best fert for your sandy situation--and yet help you avoid contamination of lake Ontario. Over time you can build up the organic matter in the soil. The roots will provide more stability. It won't wash away during rain or blow away during storms.
     
  8. DLCO

    DLCO LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 14

    Thanks again for your advice this is very helpful to me. Not that it really matters but I'm more centeral ontario. I'm just a couple of km from georgian bay (which runs off lake huron). Though, I wouldn't be too worried about lake ontario, the factories in hamilton pollute that water more than enough.
     
  9. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,250

    Just remember that beach sand or any sand that's been in water has had the micro and macropore's worn off because of the motion of being in the water. Those pore's are what water and nutrient's cling to. In my opinion, beach sand is not a suitable medium for turf. I've seen putting green's that were constructed out of beach sand and they were failure's because they couldn't hold water. Even after 2 inch's of rain in 2 hour's, they were dry in about 20 minute's. But i don't know about removing any soil, that sound's like a major ordeal. I would try to heavily amend what you have. Good luck.
     
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,777

    Phosphorus does not leach--not much. It moves easily with soil particles which may runoff during heavy rain events.
    Here are a few photos of two houses near me where families recently built two new houses and added sod to our very sandy soil in my neighborhood. Sandy as you can see from construction photos. So far sod looks fine--with the exception of some dollarspot and rust fungus which appeared in the fall...minor problem.

    http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=389668
     

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