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#4836888 - 08/10/18 10:08 PM Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn
irv Offline


Registered: 10/08/06
Posts: 1272
Loc: Oshawa, Ont. Canada
My lawn is in dire need of some soil. When we moved in years ago I said there is hardly any soil on our front lawn but I have always managed to make do.
This summer with the extreme heat/drought and not being around much to water/maintain it, it finally caught up with me.

I would like to add an inch or 2, maybe more in the lower spots but I am confused what type of soil I should use?

I don't plan on resodding, just using a good quality seed but at the same time I am worried, if we get a heavy rain, that a lot of it will be washed away as my front lawn is sloped somewhat.

My guess is, just some good quality soil that I can roll lightly after it is seeded and then water the heck out of it and hope it sprouts sooner rather than later.

Currently my lawn, like I mentioned, is in rough shape so should I till/loosen that up first or just throw/spread the soil over top of what's there?

Also, if anyone can recommend a good hearty, heat/drought resistant seed, I'd appreciate that too.

Although I never measured the front lawn, I am guessing it is roughly 30-35' by 20-25'?

For the smart a**es, keep in mind, many states are north of me and my lawn isn't covered 24/7 in snow like some of might think. spank

Alaska* Maine* New Hampshire* South Dakota*
California Massachusetts New York Utah
Connecticut Michigan* North Dakota* Vermont*
Idaho* Minnesota* Ohio Washington*
Illinois Montana* Oregon* Wisconsin*
Indiana Nebraska Pennsylvania Wyoming
Iowa Nevada Rhode Island






Edited by irv (08/10/18 10:10 PM)
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#4836897 - 08/10/18 10:26 PM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: irv]
PimTac Offline


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4942
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Pennzoil Platinum.
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#4836899 - 08/10/18 10:28 PM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: irv]
dishdude Offline


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8941
Loc: Phoenix
That lawn looks amazing. You should see mine. cry
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#4836904 - 08/10/18 10:36 PM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: dishdude]
irv Offline


Registered: 10/08/06
Posts: 1272
Loc: Oshawa, Ont. Canada
Originally Posted By: dishdude
That lawn looks amazing. You should see mine. cry



Thats an older pic, it looks nothing like that now, trust me. puke
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#4836906 - 08/10/18 10:38 PM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: irv]
sleddriver Offline


Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 4794
Loc: Central Texas
What's wrong with that? Far worse down here in lousy soil & extreme heat.

First, you should aerate. Not with one of those machines either. They don't work well on lousy soil. You'll have to do it by hand using metric-equiv. of 1/2 or 5/8" PVC with a right angle fitting hooked up to a garden hose. This will make larger holes + water deeper than any surface-only irrigation. Space each hole about 2'. On a downslope, angle the PVC so that as water runs off, it's caught in the water-made hole.

Second, spread a suitable fertilizer for both your grass & latitude.

Third, top dress with 50% sand & 50% compost or something similar. You'll need a good amount. Rake it out even.

Fourth, water all of this in evenly. At least an inch of water. Maybe more.

Fifth, wait two weeks.

I do this here albeit much further South, in lousy soil. Never had to reseed nor resod in 30+ years. Point is to make an environment for your grass to thrive! It will fill in and grow letting you know you're on the right track.

Works for me......
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#4836908 - 08/10/18 10:54 PM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: irv]
JC1 Offline


Registered: 11/29/08
Posts: 3112
Loc: Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Irv,

Do you know how much soil you have before you hit clay? I've used triple mix, soil as well as sheep manure (from Canadian tire) over the years. I've aerated my lawn twice in 15 years and put seed down every 2-3 years. I usually only add 1 - 1 1/2 inches of soil at a time. I take it into the lawn and then water it for the first 2 weeks.

Some guys dethatch the lawn as well before adding more soil. I'm thinking if you add too much soil at once, it's going to be a mess.

The other key I find is to cut my grass with the highest setting on my lawn mower. The grass stays much greener. Cutting it too short up here when we get a few weeks without rain turns that lawn brown fast.
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#4837027 - 08/11/18 07:17 AM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: irv]
ragtoplvr Offline


Registered: 01/14/15
Posts: 577
Loc: missouri
if you mulch cut high, fertilize and if necessary lime, and have a good night crawler population, your grass will makes its own soil. You can get a plug aerator, and then rake sand the plug holes, and water. The removed plugs need composted to break them down into soil. Then you can broadcast that. I do not know what cool season grasses do well there. Here Bermuda is the choice. And Crabgrass does extra well, although many do not like the light green color.

Rod

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#4837053 - 08/11/18 07:52 AM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: irv]
Rolla07 Offline


Registered: 11/05/11
Posts: 4791
Loc: MTL, CANADA
Id go with compost if not too expensive. I just dump the bags and rake it to being a half inch. I wouldnt go with an inch or two, otherwise you might get the issue of run off. I must say Ive been successful with top soil as well. Are you going to order a truckload I assume? Hopefully the quality is good. As for seed, I like C-I-L but have had luck with others as well. Compost breaks down into the earth and is good for it. If your lawn is in rough shape id just repeat the process of a 1/2 inch and seeding every spring and fall for a couple years to build it up.
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#4837057 - 08/11/18 07:56 AM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: JC1]
Rolla07 Offline


Registered: 11/05/11
Posts: 4791
Loc: MTL, CANADA
Originally Posted By: JC1
Irv,

Do you know how much soil you have before you hit clay? I've used triple mix, soil as well as sheep manure (from Canadian tire) over the years. I've aerated my lawn twice in 15 years and put seed down every 2-3 years. I usually only add 1 - 1 1/2 inches of soil at a time. I take it into the lawn and then water it for the first 2 weeks.

Some guys dethatch the lawn as well before adding more soil. I'm thinking if you add too much soil at once, it's going to be a mess.

The other key I find is to cut my grass with the highest setting on my lawn mower. The grass stays much greener. Cutting it too short up here when we get a few weeks without rain turns that lawn brown fast.


Excellent point on mower height, I do the same and my lawn did better than most in my city when we got extreme heat and drought this year. The longer blades of grass provide shade to each other from the sun. An aeration can also be a good place to start in fall, followed by compost and overseeding.
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#4837106 - 08/11/18 09:12 AM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: JC1]
irv Offline


Registered: 10/08/06
Posts: 1272
Loc: Oshawa, Ont. Canada
Originally Posted By: JC1
Irv,

Do you know how much soil you have before you hit clay? I've used triple mix, soil as well as sheep manure (from Canadian tire) over the years. I've aerated my lawn twice in 15 years and put seed down every 2-3 years. I usually only add 1 - 1 1/2 inches of soil at a time. I take it into the lawn and then water it for the first 2 weeks.

Some guys dethatch the lawn as well before adding more soil. I'm thinking if you add too much soil at once, it's going to be a mess.

The other key I find is to cut my grass with the highest setting on my lawn mower. The grass stays much greener. Cutting it too short up here when we get a few weeks without rain turns that lawn brown fast.


JC1, unfortunately I do not. I guess I should do some digging to find out but if I had to guess, I have very little to no topsoil.

My front lawn, imo, consists of dirt and not much of anything else. Talking with my neighbors, the contractor cheaped out with topsoil when these houses were built so most have had more brought in over the years.

Also, imo, because of the lack of topsoil, I don't get much water retention and most just runs off or dries up way too quickly.

I have areated and with previous years, through a lot of work, I have been able to maintain a decent lawn. When we moved in, this lawn, both front and back were a nightmare filled with weeds, patchy grass, burnt areas, you name it. When our Liberal Gov'T banned weed and bug killer, that is when things started going south on me. Plus, with the purchase of our trailer and still working, the time I use to spend maintaining it definitely fell to the wayside.

I also believe I have chinch bugs and I know I have grubs as well. I just sprayed with some bug killer my neighbor allowed me to use so hopefully when I get those under control, I can start this lawn on its road to recovery.

As suggested, I'll likely just start bringing in a yard or 2 of topsoil/compost each spring and fall to only add a little bit at a time.
I also forgot about sheep manure. I have heard that works really well.

My back lawn, which gets a lot of shade and actually looks like it has topsoil, has done really well. I cut it 2-3 times more than I do my front lawn, and yes, I do have my mower raised pretty good.

Thanks for the tips so far guys. I guess I just have to decide what soil product would work best on this lawn then take it from there. I also need to find a more hearty, drought resistant seed that I know exists.

cheers
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#4837274 - 08/11/18 12:19 PM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: irv]
ecotourist Offline


Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 1087
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Have had exactly that done professionally in the last year. Here's what was done:

[*]de-thatched
[*]power aerated
[*]about an inch of best quality soil added as top dressing
[*]grass seed raked in
[*]rolled
[*]watered once or twice daily for at least 2 weeks
[*]no mowing until the grass was well up, whipper snipped only early on, later mowed with a freshly sharpened blade at a high setting

[/list]

That worked quite well.
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#4837290 - 08/11/18 12:44 PM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: irv]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6318
Loc: MI
Seek out the wisdom of local experts regarding seed choice, etc.: http://www.guelphturfgrass.ca/factsheets ...In our climate, I prefer a good blend of bluegrass,fescue,and rye species that are specific to your local conditions. Blends tend to be more resistant to disease, drought, etc. and require less input (fertilizer, etc.) vs. pure bluegrass.

This site from one of the premier turfgrass programs in the U.S. should also have suitable, similar climate advice: https://www.canr.msu.edu/home_lawns/



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#4837349 - 08/11/18 01:50 PM Re: Top soil, triple mix or something else for top dressing lawn [Re: irv]
ecotourist Offline


Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 1087
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
If your lawn is 30' X 25', you have 750 sq ft to cover. To add 1 inch (1/12 = .0833') you'd need 750 X .0833 = 62.5 cu ft of topsoil. With 27 cu ft per cubic yard, you'd need (62.5/27 =) 2.3 yards of topsoil.


But an inch is probably too much (it might kill the grass you already have), so depending on how many hollows you have to fill, and how much topsoil you want to retain or use elsewhere, 1 or 2 yards (as you suggested originally) would be about right.
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