Hi all, this is my first post, so be gentle!
I moved into my first home in August 2005 and the garden was a concret
jungle - paving slabs etc. so I decided that as well as planting som
flower boxes I would lay some turf. I know nothing about gardening bu
wanted to be a bit more green.
I took up an area 3m x 5m of paying slabs to find about 8 inches o
sand underneath. Because I live in a town house, it wasn't practical t
dispose of the sand so I simply visited B&Q and brough enough turf t
cover the area of, now levelled, sand.
The next day I spoke to a friend who said there was no chance of th
grass surviving on sand. I was a bit upset by that notion but hav
continued to water the lawn and today have cut the now very thick, lon
and green grass (it's been 2 months since I laid it). It appears to hav
knitted together very well and looks healthy (although I know littl
about these things). I have not fed it yet as the plant food labels ar
against this for the first 6 months of laying the turf. I have tried t
uproot the turf on a corner to see if it has rooted - the result i
that I actually can't pull up the turf easily becuase it has rooted s
When I cut it today I left the cuttings on the lawn (this is calle
"mulching" so I understand and helps?).
My question is 1.) do you think it will survive all year and, 2.
should I feed it now? Any tips would be brill.
My best guess is that it will do fine as long as you water and fertilize.
Sand actually holds a fair amount of water and makes it available to plants,
but it doesn't hold mineral nutrients very well (has very little CEC).
You don't mention the species of grass(es) you've planted, but I'd give
it several years of close care before I would expect the roots to be
down into the native soil underneath. It's probably going to be an
interesting balancing act... if you water too often, the roots aren't
going to go looking for water lower down; if you don't water enough,
you can desiccate the sod. I'd keep a spade handy to check on
things. Some of the various soil moisture granules made of polyacrylamide
may also be a useful adjunct.
I'd also topdress with thin (1/4", 5mm) layers of compost, well rotted manure
or other fine organic matter several times a year, and do what you can
to encourage worms and other soil critters to help you stir up your soil.
If wishes were fishes, and this had been my lawn, I probably would have
started with a deep rototilling or double-digging to incorporate the sand
into the soil, and probably have added a generous quantity of compost
to the situation. Then planted. Or I would have removed at least half
the sand and then tilled.
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I grew up where we have dirt, and was taught to water until there is
puddling. In the service I was sent to California, and our house had
grass on sand. I set out the sprinkler and after a few hour realized
that it would never puddle, as the water just drains through the sand.
I started watering more frequently, but for shorter periods, and the
grass prospered. Someone told me a local polo club, recently broken up
for development, had grass with roots approaching six feet, but it had
taken years to develop.
So you can grow grass on sand, but you have to be careful of how you
water, lest you wash the nutrients away from the roots, and of course
you don't want to water too long, especially with the cost of water
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