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  #1  
Old August 7th, 2006, 10:30 AM
anna bruzzese anna bruzzese is offline
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Adding soil before putting down turf

We are installing a new lawn turf. First we had to put drainage pipe. That's done. They also added crushed rock. Now my question is how much soil do you need to put on top before adding new turf. My installers are saying that they just need to put sand for proper drainage and then new turf. Please advise asap as they plant to do the work on Tuesday but I am a little nervous about this.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 04:22 PM
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Buzzbee Buzzbee is offline
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Re: Adding soil before putting down turf

we just had our done in May.Same thing with drainage etc.
They put the sand underneath the top soil. They put about 3 inches of top soil, then used a tamper to tamp all the soil down, before the turf was laid down. They did our backyard 3 years ago and it is great.
Let me know how you make out with your turf.
We are very unhappy with ours. Our turf came with a type of weed grass called Poa. I don't know if you can see it in this picture. This is very invasive, spreads quickly, and your new lawn looks like someone has spray painted light green circles about the size of baseballs, after a week or so you will have three times, then they multiply like rabbits. It cannot be killed with any products.
Look up the stuff on the internet and then after reading about it and if you are concerned about it especially after you are paying all that money for a great lawn with good drainage,.
Ask the people doing the work if they guarantee a Poa free lawn.
We had never heard of Poa before and had we known we would have asked our Landscape people about it.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 04:23 PM
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Buzzbee Buzzbee is offline
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Re: Adding soil before putting down turf

sorry I didn't send the picture. If you want to see it let me know

Buzz
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Old August 7th, 2006, 08:16 PM
anna bruzzese anna bruzzese is offline
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Re: Adding soil before putting down turf

Thanks!
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  #5  
Old August 10th, 2006, 12:35 PM
WesternWilson WesternWilson is offline
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Re: Adding soil before putting down turf

The more topsoil you put down the better, and unless you have big drainage problems, the less sand in the mix the better. Particularly given summer watering restrictions, you want to be sure there is an nice deep layer of moisture retentive (organic rich) soil under your turf.

One further consideration: are you ever going to put flowerbeds where the sod is going? Expand them, change their outlines? If so, put as much good earth under the sod as you would use for a new bed...ie. 1-2'. That way you do not need to excavate and re-earth if you decide to alter your garden plan.

We recently re-did our entire front yard (earth was a gumbo like cement mixture of clay and gravel...impossible to dig) and spent a small fortune on good, deep earth. You only get one shot at laying in the new earth, so I wanted to do it right. From now on, all I will have to do is topdressing with my home made compost.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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growing4it growing4it is offline
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Re: Adding soil before putting down turf

I believe that the BC Landscape Standards jointly prepared by the BC Society of Landscape Architects and the BC Landscape Nursery Trades Associations specifya minimum of 150mm or 6" of growing medium for grass. It wouldn't hurt to have more soil but it will cost. I suggest that you install at least the 6-12" and then add more soil to the recommneded soil depths should you expand your perennial/shrub/tree planting beds. Hopefully the turf supplier will recommend a grass mix suited to the sun exposure.

I also suggest that you don't eliminate sand from the soil - drainage is really important in the winter rains. Healthy grass with deep root systems (i.e. in deep soil) would be more tolerant of summer droughts.

One last thing, you may want to keep a band drain rock against your home foundation/siding to let stormwater drain away from the building.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 10:55 AM
Dave-Florida Dave-Florida is offline
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Re: Adding soil before putting down turf

This discussion is a reminder of the difficulties of doing lawns in Portland, Oregon (where the soils are weird due to the city's site being repeatedly swept by the great Pleistocene Columbia River floods). The school board discovered that sand and drains could make athletic fields playable through the winter.

I worked on only one small site, a piece of bare sloping ground under an oak from which soil (if you could call it that) was washing into a parking lot. My amateur efforts (gypsum, peat, sand, vermiculite--the works) seem to have done long-term good. Not to mention that the narcissuses planted on the site liked it!

That said, growing4it has the right idea--check the BC standards and such.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 11:22 AM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: Adding soil before putting down turf

Finer textured soil placed over a coarser material such as sand will not be likely to drain until it reaches field capacity (saturation), the result of this being that the soil over the sand will tend to be soggy during wet periods. In other words, a sand layer beneath a soil layer would be expected to have the effect of decreasing rapid drainage of the soil, rather than improving it.

A shallow sand layer above soil has been used to make a protective cushion beneath turf on heavy soils, where there is significant wear such as in playfields.

Gypsum floculates alkaline clay soils only, very probably you are not dealing with an alkaline soil in Portland. You should sample your soil and have it tested before adding any additional chemicals, contact Oregon Cooperative Extension for assistance.

Most local soils should support the growth of turfgrass, adding soil should not be necessary - unless the site was scraped of topsoil and now consists of subsoil.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 06:41 PM
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growing4it growing4it is offline
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Re: Adding soil before putting down turf

I want to clarify that I did not recommend a separate sand layer. I recommended keeping keeping sand in the soil mix and not having all organics. Peat bogs have high organic content and couldn't be considered well-draining. Your point about strata created between particle sizes is noted. The point is to have moisture retentive yet well-draining soil.

Good Luck
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