Sandy lawn over haul

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by billsfanvt, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. billsfanvt

    billsfanvt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    I have a friend/client that has a 8600 square foot yard. It does not grow grass well at all for it is extremly sandy soil. My plan was to bring in top soil to cover the entire yard. I was thinking about 2 inches. Put down some Fert. seed it and cover with hay. But I'm not sure if that will be enough soil, or if overtime the sand will break down the top soil and we will be in the same position. Also, I have seen in similar threads that people are using loam. Is that a better bet than top soil. How does it price in comparision to soil. And should a scrape the sod off the top before dumping soil. Any imput would be apreciated.
  2. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,226

    personally i have never done a job like this due to the different type of soil in my area. i would call the local extension office and get there advice. or a college with a turf care or horticulture program.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    I live on a sand bar. You most definitely want at least 4" of topsoil. Loam is a soil with a high organic content. Your topsoil may or may not be loam. In Vermont, I would expect that it does have a high organic content.

    Sand is a very good medium for growing grass. The problem is that you need to water it more often. Sports fields are usually made mostly with sand (70%sand blended with 30% loam eight inches deep seems to be the standars).

    If you put a finer textured soil over a coarser textured soil, the soil on top does not give moisture up to the soil below until it is saturated. That means a mud layer can develop fairly easily if the layer is thin. Another problem with a thin layer is that the grass will only root where it is getting a supply of moisture. That means it will be shallow rooted and very vulnerable to drought.

    I would suggest using an irrigation system on what you have, or at least 4" of soil, preferably 6-8".
  4. Northern Naturals

    Northern Naturals LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    AGLA is absolutely right.. almost all good new golf greens are sand-based. It is basically ideal for root structure. You need to sell them an irrigation system, overseed, and a fert program.
  5. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    As AGLA has stated, by layering your soil you will be restricting the turf to growing shallow root and be susceptible to drought injury. You would be much better suited to mix or till in 3=" of organic matter, compost, leaf mold or humus to enrich and feed the soil, not just the turf. My bringing in organic matter you will enable to soil to retain moisture and energize it with microorganisms and nutrients that are deficient in sandy soils because of the large particle size and ability to drain very quickly. If you just put a layer of soil on top, you are just putting butter cream icing on a dry nasty cake. When you get through the icing, the cakes is still dry and nasty. Improve the soil and all kinds of good things can happen. You can till the existing sod right in, then add the compost and till once more, rake and seed or sod. All of this work can be done with machines. Don't overtill, or you will destroy the structure of the soil. You don't want soil that is as fine as powder. Chunks and clods are good, along with organic matter. As Andrew also stated, irrigation will be very important and a good feeding program along with the correct type of grass.

  6. lowballer17

    lowballer17 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    Water, water, water,
  7. MJLsLawnCareNmoreLLC

    MJLsLawnCareNmoreLLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 840

    Yeah unless you want drainage problems.
  8. chriscraft

    chriscraft LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    Another good idea and has worked out well in our area. my immediate area is all clay, however the other side of the tracks so to speak 15 miles to the west is all sandy based. We have had customers with the same problem we aerarte and topdress with oranic compost 1/4". this is inexpensive and really helps a lot. But this works better if it is sone annually the more the better. We also add seed at this time and starter fert
  9. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Also don't cover with is full of seeds you don't want contaminating the lawn.
  10. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,246

    we deal with a lot of sandy properties and 2" will not be enough. You will need at least 4" JMO:waving:

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