Poor Subsoil renovation

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by grassrootsinab, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. grassrootsinab

    grassrootsinab LawnSite Member
    from up here
    Posts: 215

    Hey all,

    We just moved to a new house (Feb) and it looks like the previous owners didn't prepare the subsoil very well before they laid the sod. It is about 3 years old. The soil is a black clay and at the corners and along the drive way the grass dries out really quickly and turns thin and brown. The middle of the lawn areas are OK for the drought we have been having.

    I was wondering if there is much I can do to ammend the soil without tearing the sod out. I dethatched and aerated in the spring and I am going to definitely aerate and topdress in the fall. Should top dressing (sand and peat with grass seed) over the next few seasons slowly improve the soil conditions or do I need to take more drastic measures?

    Thanks in advance.

    Jeff
     
  2. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 641

    Sounds like the most important soil amendment is water! I would certainly aerate and top dress on a regular basis, but given what global warming is doing to our climate, if you want a lawn, you better plan on irrigation.
     
  3. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,365

    Aeration and top dressing regularly is defrinitely the way to go. See if you can get some good compost. There are now lots of commercial compost makers out there, who make some really nice product. Check out your local area.
    Not sure where "up here" is located, but I don't like peat moss for a top dressing for my locale (CT). We already have an acidic soil problem here and don't need to add an acidifier to make it worse.
     
  4. grassrootsinab

    grassrootsinab LawnSite Member
    from up here
    Posts: 215

    Thanks guys,

    Up here is Calgary, AB. We have pretty basic soil due to the limestone in the rockies and surface water. I'll look into the compost mixture. My folks have sheep on their farm-what about top dressing with screened manure? Any other suggestions would be great.
    Jeff
     
  5. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 641

    I am guessing from his user id that he is in Alberta (AB) Canada.

    Wish we could blend soils. I am dealing with 7.0ph trying to grow zoysia that wants 6.0ph. I have been adding compost regularly, but it is a slow process.
     
  6. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,365

    Jeff
    If you want to lower your pH (acidify) then use peat moss of sulfur.
     
  7. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,365

    I would not use screened manure. I am assuming that that is not yet composted. You never want to spread uncomposted manure on a lawn. To many problems with that.
    For any sort of growing plant, from grass to tomatoes to oak trees, there is nothing better than good quality compost. Blendes seem to work best, meaning the original organic matter comes from multiple sources, like leaves, manure, lawn clippings, brush, etc.
     
  8. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 641

    From what I have read, any organic compost will acidify the soil, not just peat moss. I am using compost that I buy from our city. They collect lawn clippings, hedge trimmings, and the coffee grounds from all the coffee shops and compost it. $17 a yard. I am working on about 3/4 of an acre, so buying bagged peat moss would be expensive and time consuming. I am trying to avoid the use of sulfur. If the next couple of applications of compost don't bring the ph where I want it, I will start looking at more drastic measures. The first application really seemed to make a difference. My seeded zoysia won't be a year old until the middle of the month, and 90% of the yard looks like a green carpet. I plan on buying a Turfco 3pt hitch aerator and plugging the yard twice a year, followed by topdressing with compost and sharp sand. This time next year, I hope to be looking for a reel mower.
     
  9. hmartin

    hmartin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 590

    A soil test will help tremendously.
     

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