I re-sodded my yard, How to cure TOO soft soil?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Firefighter337, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. Firefighter337

    Firefighter337 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 373

    I will add before and after pictures, probably Thursday.

    Sorry for the long post, this is My own yard. I have never experienced TOO I recently tilled my "concrete" like very sandy soil with a dingo soil cultivator. It broke the "sand" up very well. It became soft of a sandy soil. Almost like beach sand.

    After I did my rough grading, I installed a sprinkler system. MP rotators, 2000's. Head to head coverage, the whole 9 yards.

    I did my pre-final grade using a 36" landscape rake to where it was smooth as a babies butt. Then used a sod roller to compact the sand some.

    I ran the sprinklers for 30 minutes or so. Let it dry out some....Sod rolled again. Re-graded for one last time using the 36" rake.

    One week ago tomorrow, I laid 7 3/4 pallets of Empire Zoysia. Came in great shape. Per the sod seller, I applied a fungicide and in insecticide as his recommendation. I applied T-Storm and bifenthrin granulars.

    The sod went into shock within approximately 2 days as it should of. Not the best of time to plant sod, but I had to get it done. It was 94 degrees when we laid it, and has not had a day of sunshine under 95 degrees yet, most days 98 - 100+.

    Friday I began watering 2 times per day for 30 minutes each cycle. Once in the early AM and once at around 3 pm (when the heat index his 105 or so). The grass has greened up very well. Improving daily. I may have 10 or so squares that are less than 70 percent green up. The rest is 90 plus.

    There is a spot that is roughly 500 square feet in the once concrete like soil area that is so soft, not muddy, just soft. When walked on, you sink to almost your ankles, but only in the spot that was literally like Concrete.

    Is this because the soil under it is so hard that water is not able to perculate? It is only in this spot that were very, very hard.

    OR am I simply overwatering? I am afraid to cut back until the yard has rooted in.

    Anything to topdress with? Should I just keep rolling the sod until it compacts then top dress with top soil this fall or spring?
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,311

    I suspect a leak in your sprinkler pipe or head. Dig down 6 inches--is it too wet? Double covered? Triple?

    It is also possible that fungi were cementing your sand grains together. Maybe you killed the fungi. Give it time--I suspect it will be firm--maybe hard, again in a few weeks.
  3. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Are you sure it's sandy soil, not clay? I've never seen hard packed sandy soil, just clay. It matters because sandy soil percolates water through it, while clay soil under the tilled up depth might tend to block infiltration and allow water to pool above it maybe. Usually on sandy soil the problem is water moving through it too fast and drying out again quickly.

    I have mowed many newly sodded lawns and it's common for them to have very squishy areas at first as I suppose the disturbed/amended soil needs to settle. One I do now is unfortunately a mess, I suspect overwatering and some soil prep issues (just dumping topsoil on top of existing hardpan clay, not working it in) , plus possible sprinkler leaks. Foot pressure sinks in over much of it after 3 weeks, so this is not a good situation.

    On the other hand, I sodded my back yard with Bermuda just 10 days ago and it has never been squishy, nor has it had drainage issues, and it's nicely green with 2 good rainfalls and moderate watering 1-2 times a day. Then again I didn't do any extreme deep tilling, just worked in a load of topsoil a few inches down.

    Definitely check the sprinklers for leaks and maybe lay off watering to see how quickly that spot dries out.
  4. Firefighter337

    Firefighter337 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 373

    It is an over water issue. I missed watering the other day and at the end of day when I get home it was close to perfect. And now under watering once per day, Later in the day it becomes much better.

    I do have sunken spots where I put the sprinkler pipe. I am going to have to top dress pretty heavily to make that side of the yard even. It does not currently look bad and the average joe would have no Idea. I just know it could be better.

    I am very close to ripping that side of the yard up (approx. 2 pallets) and bringing in some sand to fill in low spots, then re-sod. But then again. I know it can fix it with alittle top dressing.
  5. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,777

    Dont tear it out...let it be and topdress next season. You will likely have to topdress the entire lawn anyway because even if your prep work was perfect the pieces of sod are not cut exactly the same thickness.
  6. Firefighter337

    Firefighter337 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 373

    I rolled it several times over the last couple of days after the morning water. It is getting much smoother and less soft. Actually the soft spots are almost gone, even after 30 minutes of water. (MP rotators)

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