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Is topsoil a must for St.Augstine Grass install?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by SouthernYankee, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    I am still learning about St. Augstine grass and I need your valuable insight and information.

    As most of my stories start with something about how I used to do it up north and this story is no exception. I would sub grad with my bobcat, spread loam(topsoil) and grade, then hand rake and spread seed or sod.

    BUT, when I came to Texas I found that most lcos put st.augstine right over fill dirt or even sand. I was told by some people in the biz that most guys dont use any sort of topsoil.

    I gained a new lawn account and they told me they were going to build a new house this spring. I informed them that I used to do new installs and that I would do their landscaping the right way, unlike the morons that builders use. They were very interested about putting top soil down , no matter the cost. This got me thinking that I could get more work grading and putting down top soil with my bobcat.
    sorry to be long winded.

    Is there any point putting topsoil down under st. aug?
  2. Landscape25

    Landscape25 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 199

    I am in Florida. I do not think that is common practice. The roots don't like going through two types of soil. They need to be mixed. I am no sod expert but the soil where I am is very sandy so putting a layer of topsoil on top would probably make it tougher on the plant. Ask the people that sell the sod there, they will know what the practice is in that area most likely.
  3. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    Out here we power rake the native soil, add a few inches of topsoil and then sod.
  4. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,613

    Havent used topsoil on any sodding jobs, all are looking terrific to this day. The soil here is like sand anyway and doesnt hold water well. But the sod usually has a good amount of rich soil with it so no biggie.
  5. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,218

    If the customer wants top soil...I would do a soil test and give him/her and educated reason as to why they do or don't need top soil.
  6. Carolina Cuts

    Carolina Cuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,152

    I watched the landscaping progress at my parents "New" house. New 55 and over adult community, 145 homes, small properties... The contracted landscaper there was doing all the installs "New home package deal". His crew graded the original sand and fill dirt from 'build' Dumped 16-22 yrds of good top soil (4"-6"), graded, and installed sprinkler system at same time (8"-10" depth). Sod, 18 shrubs and pine straw in flower beds installed the same day. My parents chose St. Augustine. Personally, I wasn't too happy with the sod. They cut the St. Augustine in the winter... somehow. So the quality of the sod was for sh##. 6 months later, it still looks like sh## compared to other homes where the St. Augustine was cut in season.

    IMOp go ahead a lay the top soil if you have the means and if the customer wants it... more $$$ in your pocket.
  7. Landscape25

    Landscape25 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 199

    The roots are probably reaching the building soil now. Top soil :) :) then builders soil:confused: :confused: , I am having trouble at this layer :dizzy: I think I am going to decline :sleeping: .
  8. TurfdudeNCSU

    TurfdudeNCSU LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    I would do a soil sample first off. Then if any changes are needed,add. Then bring in topsoil, but be careful (topsoil brings in tons of unwanted weed mater) Then till in with exsiting soil and grade out. Also, St. Augustine is really bad with brown patch, esp. when it is under stress like cutting it from the sod farm. So I would add in some for funicide treatments just to keep the finally product looking good, and keep the call backs away.

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