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        Laying sod in sand Sign In/Join 
        posted
        We live in Florida and our front yard is nothing but sand.
        We want to put St Augustine sod down but not sure how to go about this as we also have drainage problems. Can someone please give me some tips?
         
        Posts: 9 | Location: United States | Registered: Apr 23, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Nona is our resident Florida expert and could probably give you good advice about Florida soils.

        Offhand, I'd be concerned about even trying to lay sod on a sand base, as I don't think it's a substantial enough base without soil amendments.

        There's another post titled Moss Where There Should be Grass (http://boards.diynetwork.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8421916776/m/3603933967)

        with discussion about soil amendments. The situation discussed is different, but the basic good soil components are the same.

        Given that you also have drainage issues, I think I'd work on those first before trying to establish a lawn.

        I'm wondering though what kind of drainage issues exist with sand? Could you be more specific?

        Is this a new house with a yard that the builder didn't prepare properly?
         
        Posts: 1729 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Compost improves all soil types and would certainly give your grass something to grow on.

        As I understand it, compost makes poor draining soils like clay able to drain better and feeds the plants. In sandy it helps hold water for the plants. If you're having drainage problems with sandy Florida soil, I suspect your water table is just below the surface. While I lived in Florida for a year and a half back in the 1980's I wasn't concerned with growing grass back then. Living in either a AF dorm or an apartment. I do recall sand spurs though and didn't much care for them.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 605 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        This is not a new house. We are in an over 55 mobile home park and recently they have cut down some dead trees that were blocking our sun. Now the entire yard is in full sun and is nothing but weeds and crab grass and we'd like to get rid of that and put in sod.
        The main drainage problem is the house next door that has small gutters and downspouts so the rain just sheets off the roof onto our yard. It puddles quickly but also drains quickly but I'm afraid it might damage the sod
         
        Posts: 9 | Location: United States | Registered: Apr 23, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        BriteEyz, I think you have a neighbor problem rather than a drainage problem Smile. Still, the puddling may affect your lawn until it's established, depending on the quantity of rain and the area it hits. I tend to think it would affect a seed grown lawn more though.

        I'm assuming it's not realistic for the neighbors to resize their gutters, but I'm also wondering if there are codes that establish the size of gutters relative to the size of the motor home and if this might an avenue to correct the problem?

        According to a neighbor who was the first or second in our sub, my yard sits next to what was a marsh, or some variant thereof. The developers poured sand in, but did nothing else. The soil was terrible. I added a lot of compost and now the soil is beautiful and productive (especially to junk trees).

        It's well worth it to use compost to amend the soil before planting.

        Because of the rain, though, you might want to think of some other option in that specific area. How large of an area is actually affected by the runoff?
         
        Posts: 1729 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        My experience in Florida was standing water right after a rain storm was common, and it normally cleared within an hour. If it is clearing after the rain it won't likely damage the sod once it is established. If if were underwater for days on end it might.

        I'd kill off the existing weeds, improve the soil with compost and lay new sod. I'm not sure when the best time to lay St. Aug sod would be. It is a warm season grass so it may be ok to do now. Here we try to do most of our grass work in the fall, mainly because we still insist on growing cool season grass like tall fescue instead of Bermuda or Zozia. Those look great in the summer but brown out when the frost hits in the fall. They are just starting to green up now.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 605 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        The water disappears very quickly so standing water is not the problem.
        So we planned on getting Roundup tomorrow and getting rid of the weeds. Two weeks we will put down compost and then another two weeks dues to money constraints, we put down the sod.
        Does that sound like a plan? Confused
         
        Posts: 9 | Location: United States | Registered: Apr 23, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I would probably try to put the compost down just before I laid the sod. A heavy rain would make a mess of your compost.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 605 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Good point!! Cool
         
        Posts: 9 | Location: United States | Registered: Apr 23, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        sounds like a plan, BriteEyz. just a little note for the doubters... golf courses are all built on a deep base of sand. if it wasn't there, they haul it in. does require a lot of watering, but I doubt anybody would claim you can't grow grass on a golf course.

        I would personally go heavy on the compost and till it in. and don't lay sod on dry hot sand, water the base first. makes happy roots. happy roots make happy grass.

        they are starting to run a "desperate landscapes" promo saying that sod should be rolled into the base after laying it, so look around for a sod roller near you.


        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
         
        Posts: 5478 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Great tips! Thanks so much. We have one of those "Desperate Landscapes" but hopefully after all this good advice, it won't be for long!

        Thank everyone so much Big Grin
         
        Posts: 9 | Location: United States | Registered: Apr 23, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Just a thought...I'm assuming a trailer lot is relatively small. You could avoid the toxins and remove the crab grass and weeds by using a scuffle hoe, which is really easy to use. I don't know what Roundup costs, but a hoe might run you around $25 and up. If you have a flower garden, it can be used in the beds for regular maintenance to keep the weeds from sprouting and easily eliminate the ones that do.

        Compost is best dug under or tilled in, if you have access to a rototiller. If you were gardening, though, the compost (after well rotted) could serve as mulch, but for sod, I'd turn it under, and before you lay sod so it has a chance to begin amending the soil. Better soil before laying sod would help the sod adhere and grow.

        If you're a coffee drinker, you can also put coffee grounds in with the compost; they encourage worms, which are good aerators of the soil. This isn't a joke about worms. It's true. I put coffee grounds on clay soil and let the worms do the work of breaking it up for me.
         
        Posts: 1729 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        We are in a double wide mobile home so our lot is twice the size of most of the home in here. We measured the front yard and we have 473 sq. feet to do. The weeds and crab grass are growing well so I think the Roundup is our best bet.
        We are not exactly spring chickens either so that's another factor we have thought about and there are not any young people around.
         
        Posts: 9 | Location: United States | Registered: Apr 23, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        I understand your position. I'm not a spring chicken either Big Grin.

        Good luck with your project.
         
        Posts: 1729 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        You already have gotten some good advice, but I'll add my 2 cents worth. In my 50+ years in florida I've never seen a contractor supplement the soil before sodding, but it certainly wont hurt. If you do supplement it, rototill it in
        What has me baffled is the sandspurs, they usually grow in dry soil, so it indicates to me that your yard is unevenly watered even with the neighbors run-off
        I think using a weed killer is a good idea, but understand that while it will kill the weeds, it wont kill the weed seeds , and the sandspurs are seeds
        A well tended yard that is mowed on a regular schedule and not over fertilized or over or under watered, will give you a thick strong turf and that will control the weeds
        I would try to remove the sandspur grass with the seed head attached as best as you can and after you put in the st. Augustine , watch for any sprouting and remove it before it forms a seed head.
        Also, if you mow regularly, you will mow off the seed heads before they can mature and the healthy, strong, grass will choke out the plant as well
        If you have pets, make sure to remove any stickers from their feet and fur, as they will try to lick them off and can hurt their digestive system
        Good luck
         
        Posts: 2501 | Location: florida | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Nona,
        Many contractors go the quick and cheap route when laying sod. Improving the soil before you lay sod will do nothing but good for the sod. It is much easier to do it before you lay the sod than trying to improve the soil after the fact. If you rototill the soil you'll need to roll it before you lay the sod to firm it up. Mixing the compost into the top 4-6 inches isn't a bad idea, in fact it is a great idea but you don't want to lay sod on loose soil.

        I have heavy clay and when they planted grass seed in my yard they pretty much just raked it smooth, removed whatever rocks they picked up and threw down seed and straw. I've been working for the last 14 years to improve the soil from above, it is a long slog to do it that way. Compost will improve clay or sand. It is the rare soil that can't be helped with some good organic material.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 605 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        And what about the Roundup -- what are their instructions as to how long you should wait before replanting? If you break their rule, you could end up with a dead new lawn.
         
        Posts: 870 | Location: No. California | Registered: Mar 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        It says 2 weeks.... Smile so that's what we will do
         
        Posts: 9 | Location: United States | Registered: Apr 23, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I don't know what the accepted practice is in N.C., but in Fla. I have never seen anyone , homeowner, lawn specialists, or contractors, or anyone else supplement the soil. Probably because the grass is grown at sod farms for resale in a muck or marl soil which is nothing more than old compost. The sod is sold in 2 sq. ft. strips (most of the time ) and laid on the leveled soil Certainly adding supplements wont hurt, but isn't necessary because the nutrients leach out long before it is used up by the grass, some of it is used, but most disappears.
        The best thing he can do is fertilize with a low nitrogen fertilizer, when necessary, water deeply when necessary, and mow often enough to keep the seed heads from forming. the healthy lawn will choke out the weeds
        Another thing he might do, but this is only a guess, is to lay down a weed block fabric prior to laying the sod. The weeds will be deprived of light and will eventually die, while the sods root will penetrate the pores of the fabric. I saw this happen recently when I had to replace some chinch bug killed lawn, and the sod I purchased was laying flat on the fabric and literally had to be pulled free, taking fabric, roots and some soil with it. ordinarily I wouldn't purchase sod like that but it was a special type of bug resistant grass that was unavailable elsewhere. The new sod is thriving and no chinch bug are present in it. I didn't supplement the soil incidentally
         
        Posts: 2501 | Location: florida | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I live in AZ and about 5 years did exactly this in our front yard. The area was about the same size. We lay sod in the spring here. We used roundup - it took 6 applications over several months to kill off the old bermuda, dicondra, St. Augustine and a bunch of weeds. The process was Roundup, wait several days and water, wait several more days and Roundup again. The idea is to get everything to do all the growing at once. I removed the dead materials twice - in the middle and at the end. We laid the St. Augustine two weeks after the last treatment. Our soil is a sandy loam so we added some top soil and did use a roller. It is a beautiful, weed free lawn now.
         
        Posts: 2484 | Registered: Apr 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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