Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

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sheepfescue
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Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by sheepfescue »

It's been said on the interwebz that mixing sand with clay soil creates a substance that is like a viscous concrete slurry which dries into an impenetrable cement.

Is this true, or can sand be put on clay-rich soil without issue?



I'm tired of trying to use topsoil to level my lawn, and want to use sand. Even if I had endless money, motivation, time, and energy... I'm not having good results with soil, so think I should try sand instead.

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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by Deadlawn »

In the absence of organic matter, you should not mix sand and clay or you could get something similar to concrete. As long as you have a good supply of organic matter, this will not happen. But if you add sufficient organic matter to your clay, you won't need sand anyway, so it's irrelevant.

I would get some good quality bulk compost.
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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by ABC123 »

have you done a jar test to determine that its clay?

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sheepfescue
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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by sheepfescue »

Yes, it is clay (well, that's not quite accurate as written; it has clay in it).

My organic matter from a soil test was 6%, I believe... is this enough organic matter to allow me to use sand as a lawn-leveller?

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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by Deadlawn »

sheepfescue wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:28 am
Yes, it is clay (well, that's not quite accurate as written; it has clay in it).

My organic matter from a soil test was 6%, I believe... is this enough organic matter to allow me to use sand as a lawn-leveller?
6% OM is very good. Not sure I would use sand as a lawn leveler though unless you till it in with the soil beneath. And if you do that, you don't need to amend.
Tier 1 - I just want something green. Perennial "weeds" that stay green year round are welcome.

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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by g-man »

You can topdress with sand without any problems. I've done it, connor ward, Ryan knife, athletic fields, golf courses, etc. You can't make concrete without cement.

Do NOT tilt sand into clay, only topdress. That will create a big uneven mess.

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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by Deadlawn »

g-man wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:49 am
You can topdress with sand without any problems. I've done it, connor ward, Ryan knife, athletic fields, golf courses, etc. You can't make concrete without cement.

Do NOT tilt sand into clay, only topdress. That will create a big uneven mess.
Interesting to know. I stand corrected again! 8-)
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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by Babaganoosh »

Sand is for leveling.

Compost or good topsoil is for improving your soil.

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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by Deadlawn »

Babaganoosh wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:21 pm
Sand is for leveling.

Compost or good topsoil is for improving your soil.
I guess sand is much cheaper than compost, so that makes sense.
Tier 1 - I just want something green. Perennial "weeds" that stay green year round are welcome.

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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by Jacks_Designs »

I top-dressed my test area (400 sqft) this fall. I’m already obsessed. Not only does that area look better than the rest of my yard but I can now mow at 1.25” without scalping. I’m already set on during the rest this spring.

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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by JimFromLawnGuyland »

In the summer I leveled a spot where a large oak tree once loves with sand from an old sandboz from my daughter. I mixed a small amount of topsoil from the area and it sits on top of hard clay. Seeded heavy in the spot along with the rest of the yard and it seems to be doing better then all the rest despite being in several inches of sand

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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by Babaganoosh »

Deadlawn wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:16 pm
Babaganoosh wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:21 pm
Sand is for leveling.

Compost or good topsoil is for improving your soil.
I guess sand is much cheaper than compost, so that makes sense.
There's also no potential weed seeds in sand.

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Re: Once and for all: can sand be top-dressed on clay-rich soil?

Post by Allan-00 »

Babaganoosh wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:21 pm
Sand is for leveling.

Compost or good topsoil is for improving your soil.
This. :thumbup:

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