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Topsoil Depth

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by raschmid07, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. raschmid07

    raschmid07 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    Hey guys, I just got back for Christmas break and have one or two projects coming up while I am back in town. One of my previous mowing clients lives on an old farm on the lake and are trying to grade a very rough portion of their property. The area is where cows used to be led over the years, compacting different portions of the land over time making it almost impossible to mow now without extremely scalping the grass. In addition, there are a couple large boulders sticking up out of the ground also making it hard to mow. I am going to go in and regrade area of their property in addition to trying to break up some of the rock. I am also placing some rip rap around the lake, but that's another story. Anyway, I am going to bring in some topsoil to help provide a better base for the grass they will be replanting, so my question is how deep should I estimate the topsoil to be for the new area? I will be able to move a large portion of the dirt to regrade the portion, but I am not sure as to how much topsoil I should put on it after. Thanks for your help in advance.
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Does the owner have some well composted cow manure around?
    This would be a great and probably almost free source amendment to the existing soil. Forget hauling in top soil and make it on site.

    Good soil has 3 to 5% organic matter, great soil has 5 to 7% organic matter, above that it depends on the climate on whether it creates more issues than it solves.
    They just did a project in front of the Capital building in DC with HEAVILY compacted soil and went down 8 to 12 inches. They took the top of the soil off, piled it, added several truck loads of compost mixed it up with loaders and spead it around
  3. raschmid07

    raschmid07 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    Unfortunately there isn't any manure around. This is around a 10 year old house on an old farm, probably hasn't seen any actual farm use in around 50 years or so. The farmland go split up into about 3 houses in a cove, all with around 6 acres or more. It's actually pretty funny to look at, on one corner a beautiful brick house and on the other end an old, worn down wooden barn. It's kinda sad to see what used to be beatiful farmland on the lake and now pretty much a subdivision.
  4. SiteSolutions

    SiteSolutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,114

    War Eagle!

    Does your family give you a lot of grief for not going to UT?

    However you make it, haul it onsite, whatever, 4 inches would be a good start and should provide a good bed for grass. 6 inches might be better. 8 inches would be overkill.

    If I read the original post right, it seems like you have some dirt there, you just want it to grow grass. You might try putting an inch of cow 5h1t down and tilling it in a good 6 inches and then grading. Just busting up the compacted soil would help a lot.

    Good luck and post some pics.
  5. Dirt Digger2

    Dirt Digger2 LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,396

    you dont need any...moldboard or chisel plow it...that will bring the rocks to the surface and smooth it out...then run a disk over it a few times and plant your seed
  6. raschmid07

    raschmid07 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    Thanks for the replies, especially SiteSolutions. I've posted two questions on here about projects and you have definetly been the most helpful in both of them. To answer your question, my Dad went to Virginia and my Mom went to UT but both of them though it would be good to be on my own for 4 years. Also, they both know my fascination for the construction industry so with Auburn being one of the only schools around with a Building Science degree, it was a good choice. Thanks again for your help.

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