OK to topdress yet?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by 95Z71, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    There are a few what-ifs that go along with this. But, the short answer is that sand topdressing is a long-term process and it's not going to add OM to your soil. So, if you have a low-thatch producing turf (fine fescue) and a heavy clay lawn that's giving you problems, core aerating will help you more than topdressing, either with sand or compost. If you *REALLY* need to change the composition of your rootzone (ground is so hard you can't pound a stake into it or it never drains, etc), then maybe you would want to core aerate, then topdress with compost, just to lighten up the soil characteristics in the upper part of the rootzone.

    Whta I was talking about was regular light sand topdressing applications (done monthly or so) in loamy soils. If you compared that to regular light compost applications, you would get more benefit out of the sand.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Just giving a 'heads-up' that anytime the discussion of adding sand to clay, in an effort to form more of a loam,,, somebody usually drops in to say that doing so create concrete/adobe and about how stupid one must be to even think about it...that's your straight answer about bringing up the subject... :)
    When clay is too heavy I like to use a sandy compost after aerating... Your biggest advantage will be to build soil structure of course and pay attention to how much sand is adding into areas with sidewalks, houses and hardscape, becuz there is a big difference betwen sanding putting greens and residential lawns...
  3. Crimson Lawn

    Crimson Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    Above Par,
    One of the best things to do in our area is to aerate in the fall and apply Pelletized Gypsum. Gypsum breaks down clay over time. Also by adding the Gypsum in the fall, it will work into the aerated plug holes and work even better by going through the freeze/thaw cycles of winter and then into spring. If you aerate in the spring and apply gypsum, would recommend topdressing with loam or sandy compost. You really do not want those aerated holes exposed when we get in June, that will only speed up the evaporation of the soil moisture.
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    There are numerous benefits to topdressing with compost rather than sand, even on sports turf, do your research. There is absolutely no need to manage resi/com turf in the same manner as sports turf. If you need to level the surface use a sand & compost or loam and compost, providing you aren't creating a substantial layer.
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    Apply gypsum if you have determined a need for it via a soil test. Also it doesn't break down clay, it helps to flocculate it in some cases.
  6. Crimson Lawn

    Crimson Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    Yes, very true about a soil test. It does, however, over time, trend toward easing compacted clay soils combined with aeration. Some of our clay soils are very acidic so the gypsum helps with the ph.
    When I working down south(Bama, Florida) we would bring in sandy loam to top dress about the time the warm season grasses were waking up from winter. A thin layer, less than 1/4 inch in any areas that were tracked or just low. After a few cuts, the yard was mostly level and no eveidence that was done.
    Here, spring growth is crazy and just dont see much of that happening here. Golf Courses, yes, but residental and commercial, no. Complete yard renovations I see from time to time.
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    Gypsum does little to nothing for pH adjustment. If anything, you will see a decrease in pH, not an increase. Not a good choice for acidic soils. It also will not help a mechanically (physically) compacted soil. Understand what your amendments will do to the soil before you apply them as you can easily do more damage than good.
  8. kennc38

    kennc38 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    No, he doesn't. He either asks more questions or tells YOU need to inform or educate yourself. It's a never ending circular discussion if you will look at his threads.
  9. Above Par Lawns

    Above Par Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    There's a couple guys on this site that do that. Just because they have a wealth of knowledge they think they can belittle others who come to them with questions or have a difference in opinion. I wonder how they treat their clients?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. kennc38

    kennc38 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    I don't think him having a "wealth of knowledge" is the problem. :laugh:

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