Turfgrass

Add soil, aerate, or both

Add soil, aerate, or both

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l0zj076 – posted 07 September 2006 09:21

My 2 year old backyard is 90% grown in, with several types of grass(some good grass some bad. The homebuilder probably used the cheapest seed available) The soil is not so good consisting mostly of clay. I am going to do some serious over-seeding this fall, and my question is ” What would be the best for my yard? 1) Aerate, which would help break up some of the clay. 2) Add an inch or two of topsoil over the lawn and water the new dirt down to the existing soil. 3) Or Both, in which order?”

cohiba – posted 07 September 2006 15:05

I would not add topsoil over the top. I would be fearful of layering and weed infestation. I would rather see a soil sample taken first. Then aerate, add sand to the top and drag in with a drag mat or a piece of fence. Next see if is feasible to add gypsum if the soil could handle the added gypsum.

Note: if you take a soil sample and the pH is low and the calcium is not in ratio with Magnesium (3:1, Calcium to Magnesium)you need to add High-Cal lime. If pH is low along with the Magnesium in the soil add dolomitic lime. If the pH is near 6.2 just add the gypsum.

Thereoetically the gypsum should help loosen the soil up as will the sand. If you can add the sand over time and maybe even remove the clay plugs you will improve drainage. But remember this is a lot of work and alot of places around the country have and grow great turf in clay.

Just some thoughts…………

l0zj076 – posted 12 September 2006 11:17

What is the easiest way to take a soil sample?

quote:Originally posted by cohiba:I would not add topsoil over the top. I would be fearful of layering and weed infestation. I would rather see a soil sample taken first. Then aerate, add sand to the top and drag in with a drag mat or a piece of fence. Next see if is feasible to add gypsum if the soil could handle the added gypsum.

Note: if you take a soil sample and the pH is low and the calcium is not in ratio with Magnesium (3:1, Calcium to Magnesium)you need to add High-Cal lime. If pH is low along with the Magnesium in the soil add dolomitic lime. If the pH is near 6.2 just add the gypsum.

Thereoetically the gypsum should help loosen the soil up as will the sand. If you can add the sand over time and maybe even remove the clay plugs you will improve drainage. But remember this is a lot of work and alot of places around the country have and grow great turf in clay.

Just some thoughts…………

cohiba – posted 12 September 2006 19:45

Contact your local Cooperative Extention, they should have small bags to send in to a lab for testing. In NJ I use Rutgers soils lab. They provide a pretty good test report. The tests run around $10.00.

To physically take the test: take a small trowel and a small pail into your yard and take samples of soil from various spots. thoroughly mix the samples in the pail and take your send-in soil sample from that pail. Fill the bag to the line and fill out the questionaire and mail it in. In a few days you should have results.

Share the results and we may have more info for you………

l0zj076 – posted 19 September 2006 09:22

soil analysis report

C.E.C 21.5org matter .6soil ph 7.8lime index 70P lbs/ac 9K lbs/ ac 96Ca lbs/ac 7403Mg lbs/ac 696

Ca Sat’n 86%Mg Sat’n 13%K Sat’n 1%Base Sat’n 100%

Ca/mg 6.4Mg/K 23.6

Their Feterlizer Guidelines (Expressed in Lbs/acre)Nitrogen 170Phosphate 154Potash 132Zinc 5

What does all of this mean?

l0zj076 – posted 25 September 2006 09:18

Cohiba, are you still there?

quote:Originally posted by l0zj076:soil analysis report

C.E.C 21.5org matter .6soil ph 7.8lime index 70P lbs/ac 9K lbs/ ac 96Ca lbs/ac 7403Mg lbs/ac 696

Ca Sat’n 86%Mg Sat’n 13%K Sat’n 1%Base Sat’n 100%

Ca/mg 6.4Mg/K 23.6

Their Feterlizer Guidelines (Expressed in Lbs/acre)Nitrogen 170Phosphate 154Potash 132Zinc 5

What does all of this mean?

cohiba – posted 26 September 2006 15:14

I’m back!!!

I was out of touch for a while……

Anyway: WOW… high pH!

soil analysis report shows:

C.E.C 21.5 = (Cation Exchange Capacity)is the ability of soil to hold Nutrients yours is good)

soil ph 7.8= (high, most cool season grasses like it in the low to mid 6 range. warm season grasses like it around 6-7 range. you should look to add acid to the soil as far as fertilizers go , use something like ammonium sulphate fertilizers, but beware they are “hot” and can burn your turf. Always water them in ASAP.)

Did you lime or fertilize before doing the test? Some of the numbers look really funky to me. I will look through some of my other stuff for more info and get back to you later.

Till then……

cohiba – posted 26 September 2006 15:20

A website that has some good technical info is

http://www.ncagr.com/agronomi/ustr.htm

l0zj076 – posted 27 September 2006 07:30

I have been doing some hardscapes in my yard, so I have not fertilized since May. I have applied Fertilome? to kill the clover and other hard to control weeds (canadian Thistle?, I think )in my yard. Remember, my yard was a pasture/farm ten years ago.

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