Sanding yard to fill in low areas and overseeding??

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Terra-Scapes, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Terra-Scapes

    Terra-Scapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    I have one property that is approx 1 acre and has a 50/25/25% split of Bermuda hydorseeding, broadleaf weeds, and bare red clay. The client wants to fill in the low spots with sand, have it aerated, and over seeded. I am new to the industry and I haven't level a lawn with sand or aerated before. What would be the best thing to do first and how much should I charge?

    The other property is a new Emerald Zoysia and the client wants me to top dress the front yard to prep it for Reel mowing. I haven't done any top dressing before and I'm not sure what it in tells. Should I slowly apply sand the yard in weekly increments and let it stabilize before I apply another layer? What does top dressing in tells exactly?

    Josh
     
  2. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Posts: 688

    topdressing- adding the same particle sized sand back into the soil in weekly apps. You should be fine barring the soil now is the correct size for optimum root growth ie. sandy loam. When you todress, it would be best to brush it in with an industrial broom or drag mat. that way, you won't smoke the reel mower that quickly.
    As far as leveling the other lawn, i would aerate and drag the lawn four or five times, the cores will fill in the low spots for you.
     
  3. GardnerLandscaping

    GardnerLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    I saw a neighbor dump bags of cow manure and rake into their yard before for centipede on the Georgia coast.

    I've also dropped Humus and raked out before to add moisture retention and nutrients for a soil base that was white clay and sand for centipede on the Georgia coast and to fill in for resodding. I used sand as well, but it seemed in vain except to help spread seed because of the bulk needed and how much I was willing to buy, lift, and spread without calling in a dump truck to drop on the driveway to shovel all day.

    Neighbors also dropped sand for what they said would help Centipede spread.

    I personally liked working with Humus than anything because it was lighter for the coverage. It is also mixed with sand.

    What exactly is the purpose sand and what does it do for the soil and grass?

    My gut feel from understanding its behavior on the beach is to prevent washing (holds in place like glue) and provide better irrigation (dries out but retains when water is applied constantly) but doesn't provide much as far nutrients and reduces acidity, great for beach grass that needs lime, but not so great for grass that need acidity and iron. From what you said too, it seems to allow for roots to work their way into the soil and prevent thatch.

    I think I've answered my own questions after thinking about what I was asking.
     
  4. Turfco Tim

    Turfco Tim LawnSite Member
    Posts: 101

    The main benefit of the sand will be to provide better drainage. Aerate the lawn first so the sand can be worked into the aeration holes.
    There are several precautions you should take when top dressing. As you stated the sand will not hold nutrients or water as well as an organic mixture. However, with the base being clay that should not be an issue. Most sand applications are not straight sand but a mixture of sand and organics. A common mixture for a home lawn would be 70% sand and 30% organic. Also be aware of the particle sizing of the sand you purchase. The majority of the particles should be within a 10% range of sizing. Also the particles need to be fairly large to provide pore space. If the particles are too small there will be no drainage.
    When applying top dressing material make sure that you do not bury the existing turf. More thin layers are much more beneficial than one or two heavy layers. Most mechanical top dressers will not apply more than a 1/4" of material per pass.
    The last thing is price. Top dressing material does not seem very expensive initially but if you figure in the square footage and multiple apps it can become very expensive.
    Here is a formula that will calculate how much material you will need for a job.
    # of square feet x # inches deep x .0031 = # of cubic yards
    Hope this helps.
     
  5. GardnerLandscaping

    GardnerLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    Thanks. Very helpful.

    I'm faced with restoring the landscape of a rental property. Most of the grass is worn and plan on putting down pine straw fairly thick to reset traffic under tree areas where the tenants like to sit outside under the trees.

    The soil isn't too compacted, but it is primarily sand on top with some areas of composted organic material. I assume there is red clay underneath.

    I'm thinking of just running a tiller lightly over the area and seed with a high quality fescue mix and add hay to prevent washing. I've read hay is to incubate new grass. Would hay do more help than harm in hot temperatures? I'm thinking of getting a local company to aerate for $45. Would you recommend aerating before planting seed? Any other tips? I have a good tiller and am trying to avoid running up the cost for a rental property.
     
  6. Turfco Tim

    Turfco Tim LawnSite Member
    Posts: 101

    Aerating prior to seeding does seem to produce better results. I think it is a combination of loosening the soil and bringing up loose soil which makes it easier for the seeds to root.
    One of the reasons for a seed "cover" is to retain moisture which is vital to good germination rates. The only drawback with straw is the introduction of other weed type plants.
     

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