How To Prepare Your Soil For Your New Turf grass Soil Preparation
Benefits of Proper and Complete Soil Preparation
- Improved uniformity
- Increased density
- Faster recovery from wear
- Reduced use of water, fertilizer, & chemicals
- Reduced maintenance
How Deep Should the Soil Be For Turf grass?
The absolute minimum quality soil depth for a care-free lawn is 10 cm (4 inches); however, for deeper root penetration and the benefits that brings, the accepted standard is 15 cm (6 inches).
Preparing Your Soil For Planting (Guide Prepared by TPI Turf grass Producers International)
- Clear the site of all building materials (wood, cement, bricks, etc.), as well as any buried stumps, rocks , stones or other debris that is larger than 4-5 cm (2-3 inches) in diameter.
- Rough grade the entire area to eliminate any drainage problems on the property. This would include sloping the grade away from building foundations, eliminating or reducing severe slopes and filling low-lying areas. A tractor-mounted blade and/or box are most often used for rough grading, but if the area is smaller, it can be done with hand tools. The rough grading will probably uncover more debris that should be removed and not buried.
- Initial tilling, to a depth of at least 5 cm (2 inches), should be completed prior to adding any topsoil or soil amendments. This will control most annual weeds, alleviate subsoil compaction and permit a bonding of the topsoil to the subsoil and improve root penetration and water movement.
- Add topsoil to achieve a total topsoil depth of 10-15 cm (4-6 inches), after firming. The topsoil should be a loamy sand, sandy loam, clay loam, loam, silt loam, sandy clay loam or other soil suitable for the area. To the extent possible, practical, affordable and available, incorporate humus (fully decomposed organic matter) into the topsoil.
- Test the soil pH with a chemical soil test to determine if any pH correction materials are required. Acidic soils (pH of 6 and below) can be improved with the addition of lime. The type (or source) and total amount of applied lime will be determined by the level of acidity and should be based on the recommendations of a reliable garden center or turf professional.
Alkaline soils (pH of 7.5 and higher) can be improved with the addition of sulfur or gypsum. As with acidic soil correction materials, the type and total amount of materials will be determined by the level of alkalinity and should be based on professional recommendations.
- Apply "starter fertilizer" that is high in phosphate (P, or the middle number on a bag of fertilizer), at a rate recommended for the particular product. To prevent root injury to newly installed turf grass sod, this fertilizer should be worked into the top 7 to 10 cm (3-4 inches).
Finish grade the entire site, maintaining the rough grading contours and slopes, with a tractor-mounted box blade on large areas or heavy-duty rake on smaller sites.
- Roll the area with a lawn roller one third full of water to firm and settle the surface and reveal any low spots that should be filled to match the surrounding grade surface. If time permits, allow the area to settle further with rainfall or by applying irrigation water.
Additional Sod Resources
Download and view PDF's on Turf grass sod installation, benefits, courtesy of Turf grass Producers International.