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Minimum depth for top soil

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by cross1933, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. cross1933

    cross1933 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    What is the minimum depth needed for grass to grow? My reason for asking is that I took a soil sample, from backyard, and found that there was 1" soil and 5" sand. The shocking part is that I am not surprised.:dizzy:
  2. Birdhunter1

    Birdhunter1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Grass will grow on it but it will needs lots of water. Is this for a yard or a field? Take a sample by a farm service and they will be able to help you. I am guessing that is pretty sandy soil in most of your region being you are on the Illinois River, are you in part of the river bottom/floodplain area or are you on much higher ground? If you are in the bottoms area do any of your neighbors have teh same type of soil and if so are they growing grass, you might check with some of them?
  3. cross1933

    cross1933 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    Grass grew to about 1" and then stopped growing. I planted some grass on the top soil I brought in has grown about 15", this is the only reason I have had to mow the yard three times( I have the mower set on the highest possible setting. The builders grass has done good up to about 1' from the house, found a nice to soil in that area.

    This is my backyard, new home build last year.

    Created two samples and sent to a soil testing lab this week. One sample of the existing soil and one of the top soil that I brought in, wanted to do a comparison.

    The soil in that area is sandy, but the issue here is lack of topsoil from the builder before they seeded it. I plan on correcting the grade and reseed the first week of September. I think I have given up on the builder, it will be less stress if I do it myself and get it done right. Yes it will cost me more money but I will know that a quality top soil and seed were used.Also we will be adding some berms with plants and trees. I will be getting the city engineer to approve any modifications and have that added to the plot.

    Not in any bottom area, our home is one of the highest on the street. This is a new subdivision in the city limits.
  4. cross1933

    cross1933 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

  5. Dotens

    Dotens Banned
    Messages: 196

    you need a minimum of 4 inches of top soil. We put 6 inches compacted to 4 on all of our lawn istalls
  6. Bill S

    Bill S LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    3" will work, 4" is ideal. If money isn't an object go to 6" of topsoil. This will promote the roots growing down and creating a healthy plant. Otherwise the roots will want to stay near the surface and will be effected quicker with heat stress.
  7. cross1933

    cross1933 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    If I were to put six inches of top soil would it be better to,

    1. put down 4" and rool lightly,put the remaining 2" and then seed
    2. put down 6" , and then seed

    My reason for this question is compaction concern. The previous soil, 3 months later, still has a spongy feel to it when I walk on it. I concerned about the sinking of my trampoline and the riding lawn mower. I do not anticipate to mow the grass this year, but the possibility does exist.

    What is the best method to spread the seed around to get soil to seed contact? The last attempt at this created clumps of grass.
  8. Bill S

    Bill S LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    put down your 6" of soil, assuming you are using a machine to install you will be packing it as you go when you back drag. Lime the soil and give a final grade raking. Apply starter fert and seed. You can at this point, if you so desire, give a light rolling for good seed to soil contact or you can flip your leaf rake over and drag over soil to "kick" some soil up over the seed...again seed to soil contact.

    Keep the seeds evenly moist and be ready to mow in 21 to 28 days. Fertilize again lightly. Maintain proper mowing height and get all the leaves off before snow fall.
  9. cross1933

    cross1933 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    "Back drag",is that using the bucket to grade the yard while traveling backwards?

    What is the reason for the lime, this will be planted in new pulverized black top soil?

    No need to worry about leaves, no trees.
  10. cross1933

    cross1933 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    Can someone explain these test results for me?One is from the existing soil and one is for the top soil I brought in.


    SOIL BUFFER P1 K Ca Mg OM CEC Base Saturation
    SAMPLE# pH Ph Lbs/a Lbs/a Lbs/a Lbs/a % meg %Ca %Mg %K %H
    LIGHT 7.5 7.0 57 160 3171 714 2.6 11.1 71.5 26.9 1.9 -
    DARK 7.5 7.0 72 316 6090 1617 3.2 22.4 68.0 30.1 1.9 -
    AVERAGE 7.5 7.0 65 238 4631 1166 2.9 16.8 69.7 28.5 1.9 -

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