judoroe – posted 04 June 2013 21:56
Ok. Totally new to all this so up front I want it known that I am a total noob.
Ok. That out of the way here is my situation: my yard had various types of grass and looked like garbage. Must wife wanted a nice lustful yard like her parents have. So…I rented a tiller, tilled up the yard, raked all grass clumps and debris from the yard and following the advice of locals I had a load of red dirt (clay/sand mixture) brought in. I spread that over the yard about 2in thick and now this weekend I am planning on laying sod. I am worried a little about the clay/sand mixture not being a good base and all my newly planted sod dieing. Any advice/opinions? Quite a few people in my area have done this and have nice yards ( that’s why I did it. Well that and cause my yard was nothing but sand which wouldn’t stay moist
Spriteman – posted 05 June 2013 15:43
Give us a little more info about your situation – where are you, did you kill all the weeds before you tilled, what type of sod are you considering, is your lawn shaded, sunny or combo, do you have an irrigation system, how much time do you like to spend caring for your lawn, etc.? That should give us something to go on.
judoroe – posted 05 June 2013 16:18
I am in Central Florida around Orlando. The type of grass I am looking at putting down is floraTam. The area I’m working in is sunny. Yes I have an irrigation system and I’ve never worked on the yard before but I guess I’m willing to put in whatever work is necessary. I was told that that type of dirt/clay mixture would work in my area so that’s why I went with it I sure hope it will work. However I’m thinking that I’m going to have to till the area up again in order to mix the clay in with the Dirt. Oh and yes I kill the weeds before I tilled the area. after I tilled I removed all the grass clumps and left nothing but loose dirt then I put the the clay/ sand mixture on top of that. Its roughly 2 to 3 inches in depth. Hope this information helps. Thanks for any advice you can give me.
Spriteman – posted 05 June 2013 21:12
Of course Floratam is a cultivar of St. Augustine – very popular grass type in Central Florida. I’m not sure why someone suggested a dirt?/clay mix (dirt is a term for soil or just your particular mix of soil types – it doesn’t really identify a soil type.
Here’s a link to a good diagram for soil types –
I believe Central Florida would mostly fall into the sandy/loam category.
You’ve probably added a clay/loam combination if I were to guess – you can ask your soil person what they delivered. Either way you definitely want to till it into the existing soil. You should probably use a water roller before you lay your sod – go over it a couple of times with the drum filled with water. This compacts the soil enough to give the sod a good foundation to lay on and it closes the soil in so your roots don’t dry out during the hot days.
By the way – in Central Florida having a mostly sandy soil keeps the water moving through the ground which keeps the grass from becoming a target for fungus and other diseases. That’s a good thing.
When you’ve finished rolling you could spread a little starter fertilizer directly on the soil to kick start the growing process for your new grass – just don’t go overboard on the fertilizer.
Just before you lay your sod I would do a light watering.
When you lay your sod, off-set the pieces so you don’t have corners of no grass – this will allow it to fill in quicker. Use a sharp tool to cut any pieces that you need to shape for curves and other fitting – don’t just hack away with a dull machete.
After you’ve got the sod down – the only thing you need to worry about is watering. If you’re getting a good amount of rain each day – that’s Florida for you – then you shouldn’t have to worry about watering.
If it gets sunny during the first two weeks just give it a 1/2 inch every other day or so – St. Augustine only needs about 1 inch of rain each week when the lawn is grown in and mature. But you don’t want to go to all the trouble of putting down an expensive lawn and killing it because it lacked for water.
Once the grass starts growing you’ll want to mow so the grass is 3″-3.5″ even 4″ tall – down mow it down – that will kill it quicker than a herd of hungry sheep. The rule of thumb for mowing St. Aug. is to only cut 1/3 of the existing grass length.
You can probably mow after 8 or 10 days – the longer the better – it will give the grass time to grow roots down into the soil. You can use a good mulching blade on your mower if you don’t want to bag grass every week – that will also return the nutrients back to the soil. Make sure your mower blade is sharp – this will reduce the chance for disease and damage to your grass.
That’s about it – let me know if you have any other questions – I’m sure some other knowledgeable folks on here might have a good tip to add as well.
Good luck on your new lawn – check back in and let us know how it’s going.
[This message has been edited by Spriteman (edited 05 June 2013).]
judoroe – posted 05 June 2013 21:38
The soil I have (after using Google) best looks like loamy sand. So will I be ok…or should I still till this into the soil that I covered (mainly black sand.) I had a lot of low spots In my yard so I needed to bring something in to raise those up anyways. The sand/clay mixture ( or loamy sand) was what was reccomended by a few local lawn companies, a few friends and some people that do that type of work on the side. However I want to make sure before I spend the money for sod that it will be adequate. It has rained a few times since it has been put down and it holds moisture but dries at a decent rate. Thanks for all the info…I can definatley use it