Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Warm season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede & Paspalum
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Mightyquinn
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Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Mightyquinn »

I thought I would start this thread here for people who might have questions and for those of us who have done it in the past can give some pointers. I'll go first as I am sure I will miss some things since it has been quite a few years since I did it.

1. You will need some kind of sand, personally I don't think it makes a huge difference on the type of sand as long as it does NOT have any large rocks or pebbles in it that would damage a reel, anything smaller than 1/8"-1/16" should be fine. Whatever you can find around you for the cheapest price will do the job. I just started working in the concrete industry and found out we sell our sand for $40 a ton which is about 2-3 pick up truck loads of sand, you will have to find a way to transport it yourself but it's a viable option. I haven't had the chance to inspect it but it looks like it would do the job and it sits outside all day every day so it may be wet if you just had some rain.

2. You will want to mow as low as you can as this will help you find all the low spots and you will use less sand in the process and get better results.

3. Find a good drag mat (it's worth the money!) they sell some on Amazon, just make sure you get one that fits your lawn and that you have the equipment (tractor, riding lawn mower, ATV....) to pull it. If you have a small lawn you may be able to get away with pulling it yourself. This is something I wish I had invested in when I did mine as I went cheap and tried to make my own. After actually purchasing a real one and using it this year, it was night and day between the performance.

4. You will need about 1 yard of sand per 1K of lawn depending on how bad your lawn is. You can adjust your amount up or down depending on the severity of the job at hand.

5. You will want to lay down fertilizer after you are done dragging the lawn so as not to "collect" it all in one spot when you do turns.

6. Water, Water, Water. Irrigation or a good rainfall will help settle the sand down into the canopy and it will also wash it down into the low spots too. It's not a bad idea to get everything good and level and the apply water to the lawn and see if there are any spots you need to touch up or not. You will also need to water often for the first week or so to help the grass grow up through the sand and start filling in.

7. Aerate, I think this is a good step to do right before you level as it will create channels for water and nutrients to get down into the root zone and it should help "lock" everything together too. This is another step I wish I had done when I did my lawn.

Well that's it for now but if I think of anything else I will be sure to come back and add it to the thread. Please feel free to chime in with ANY and ALL questions and things you might have learned during your project.

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Red Cup
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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Red Cup »

One thing I'm curios about, Ware bought several bags of sand and had them placed around his yard where most of the level projects I have seen, everyone gets the large pile in one location. Was the effort of fixing the ruts from the lift that dropped them off worth having the shorter distance to put the sand out?

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by MrMeaner »

Excellent post - You should add your leveling pictures here MQ
One mans weed is another mans highly prized turf

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Mightyquinn
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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Mightyquinn »

MrMeaner wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:20 am
Excellent post - You should add your leveling pictures here MQ
I actually thought about that! Great idea! Others should add theirs too!

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Ware
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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Ware »

Red Cup wrote:
Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:26 pm
One thing I'm curios about, Ware bought several bags of sand and had them placed around his yard where most of the level projects I have seen, everyone gets the large pile in one location. Was the effort of fixing the ruts from the lift that dropped them off worth having the shorter distance to put the sand out?
I think it helped, but I underestimated how well the Gorilla Cart would work for moving the sand to where I needed it. I still liked the big bags though, and would probably do that again even if I just had them placed at the curb. It really kept things tidy and helped me "meter" how much sand I was putting on a particular area (e.g. 2k ft2 back yard got 2 bags of sand). It also helps keep the sand dry if you don't plan on doing the job all at once, or want to keep some leftover sand for touching up some areas after a couple weeks of settling. That said, the bags were more expensive than bulk sand. I would recommend figuring out how much you will need, then compare prices locally and weigh the benefits against the total added cost.

Mightyquinn wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:59 am
MrMeaner wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:20 am
Excellent post - You should add your leveling pictures here MQ
I actually thought about that! Great idea! Others should add theirs too!
Great idea. I will try to find some of mine too.

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Ware »

Here is a quick time progression of my back yard leveling... :bandit:

April 8, 2016
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April 13, 2016
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May 1, 2016
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May 12, 2016
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June 24, 2016
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August 2, 2016
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Last edited by Ware on Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Greeeeeen

Post by dfw_pilot »

Man, I love that last shot of green, Ware.
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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by SGrabs33 »

Ware wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:53 am
Here is quick time progression of my back yard leveling... :bandit:
Would you post the timeline for the last 4 pics?
Thanks

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Ware »

SGrabs33 wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:42 pm
Ware wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:53 am
Here is quick time progression of my back yard leveling... :bandit:
Would you post the timeline for the last 4 pics?
Thanks
Dates added. :thumbup:

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by AdamC »

Great post! Thanks for this.

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by nagol »

Would it be better to do this now (spring) or could it be done anytime while Bermuda is growing?

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Ware »

nagol wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:26 pm
Would it be better to do this now (spring) or could it be done anytime while Bermuda is growing?
I did mine around this time. Some wait until mid-summer. It's really up to you. I liked getting it done early so I could enjoy it the rest of the season. Not to mention the weather was more tolerable. :D

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Mightyquinn
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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Mightyquinn »

It can be done anytime the bermuda is growing but you want to plan for a month or two for it to fully grow through the sand. So about August is about as late as you want to wait.

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by wardconnor »

I did a portion of my cool season lawn last labor day September 3, 2016. I did about 15k feet with about 20 ton of sand. I'm not sure how many yards that equates to.

A portion was hit with a skid steer to spread huge pile left by dump truck. It ended up leaving a few ruts that you can kind of see in this picture on the left. I was not able to remedy the ruts completely last fall so plan on doing another round here shortly when I'm fully green and vigorous.

This is the second time I've leveled. My yard started out fairly flat to begin with but not flat enough for my standards. All in all I've spread around 40 tons of sand. I pay 22$ or 26$(can't remember) per ton delivered. It's golf course quality sand that is shipped/trucked for hundreds miles to courses. I'm lucky that it's 30 miles from me.

I aerated and discarded cores before the last leveling project. The aerification and core collection was a major task to say the least.

One thing I can not stress enough at least for me is that it's a multi year endeavor. Reason being is that you can only add so much sand at once without smothering turf. I figure it's about one quarter to one half inch. This being kgb PRG.

I also overseeded when top dressed.

Greens mowers help flatten out the surface because of the roller.

Next time I top dress I'll be sure to document better.

My neighbors think I'm crazy but the one across the street likes it because he says it's nice to look at from the chair on his porch.

9/3/16
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10/15/16
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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Ware »

wardconnor wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:15 pm
...One thing I can not stress enough at least for me is that it's a multi year endeavor. Reason being is that you can only add so much sand at once without smothering turf. I figure it's about one quarter to one half inch. This being kgb PRG.
I completely agree. I made a lot of progress last year, but I have several areas that already need to be addressed again. I'll be leveling again after I finish my upcoming irrigation project.

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Jersey Devil »

Wow.....great posts, guys. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Can I level a cool-season lawn in the same way as you do a Bermuda grass lawn?

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Ware »

BMS wrote:
Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:37 pm
Wow.....great posts, guys. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Can I level a cool-season lawn in the same way as you do a Bermuda grass lawn?
See wardconnor's post above, he has a cool season lawn - although he mows it low with a reel. He may have some ideas if you're working with a taller height of cut though.

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Jersey Devil »

Ware wrote:
Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:44 pm
BMS wrote:
Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:37 pm
Wow.....great posts, guys. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Can I level a cool-season lawn in the same way as you do a Bermuda grass lawn?
See wardconnor's post above, he has a cool season lawn - although he mows it low with a reel. He may have some ideas if you're working with a taller height of cut though.
Thanks for pointing that out. I missed the comment about his lawn being a cool-season lawn. Very inspirational........a future project for me, perhaps!!

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by jbrown »

Question, if I aerate, do I have to remove the plugs from my yard? or can I just leave them?

I plan to aerate and sand later this month.

JB

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Re: Leveling a Bermuda Lawn

Post by Mightyquinn »

I would recommend removing them if it's possible. How low do you plan on mowing this year.

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