First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Cool season grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue & Rye
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Babameca
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First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Babameca »

The time has come for another first with my Reno. The top soil put at seeding finally settled in. I mow at 7/8 and can clearly see ocean waves... :bandit: No fever/Covid free. Found USGA sand supplier and opted for 80/20 sand peat mix. I know, it may be more difficult to spread, but having a bit of organic makes me feel more comfortable. My CEC is 13 so it will also be NOT that dramatic and avoid creating layers.
I have 6000sqf to cover. Due to outrageous transportation cost I ordered 8 tons which should be around 5.5 cub yards.
I have 2 options. Use it all or split and do 2nd app in late August. I have the flat 'golf corses' rake and...shovels :roll:
Will apply 0.3N at the time of dressing. My PGR is at half of its cycle. Lawn looks healthy, happy and growing well.
Anything I am missing or to be aware of.
Cheers,
B
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Matix99def
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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Matix99def »

What size is that sand screened at??

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Babameca »

@Matix99def 1.5mm the peat. Sand is even finer:
https://www.ojcompagnie.com/sites/defau ... regats.pdf

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by corneliani »

Are you aerating or just Topdressing? I like the idea of aerating before topdress, it may even use up more of that material you got. Pull good deep cores tho.

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Matix99def »

Not a clue what that chart means haha. What are the benefits from the smaller sand? Just easier to spread?

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Babameca »

@Matix99def It is called particle size distribution (PSD). To make things simple most of it is below 0.5mm It is also 2 different shapes: oval and 'edgy' which slows down compaction. Finer goes easier in the canopy and is closer to soil in particle size...even if this can be a statement...
Last edited by Babameca on Sat May 23, 2020 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Babameca »

corneliani wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 9:58 pm
Are you aerating or just Topdressing? I like the idea of aerating before topdress, it may even use up more of that material you got. Pull good deep cores tho.
Not this time. It is the 'learning' app. In fall I will repeat with more accurate quantities and will aerate prior. Will repeat 1-2 times per year based on what I've learned.

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by drenglish »

Based on the volume of sand, it sounds like you’re doing a leveling job more than just a light top dressing. If so I’d just make sure to not completely smother the grass. I leveled my bewitched/award back lawn a month and a half ago after cutting it a little under 7/8”. My steps were:

1. Cut/scalp (within reason) and collect clippings
2. Get dry sand/let sand dry best as possible as this makes spreading it easier. Sitting the sand on a tarp on your driveway with plenty of sunshine will get the job done.
3. Make lots of little piles and then get to pushing and leveling with leveling rake and broom.
4. Once happy with flatter/smoother appearance, work sand into canopy with broom being careful to do so lightly.
5. Water to get sand to settle in.
6. Optional, but I rolled mine with a 250+ lb drum. If you have a greens mower this can work too. This really pressed the sand in nicely.

Two weeks later I couldn’t see any sand. I put about 3/4 of a ton over 800 sq feet.

Here is the lawn probably a month after sanding:
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For light/frequent top dressing (50-100lbs of sand/1000) a seed drop spreader works very well for even distribution. I did this a few weeks after initial leveling where I just piled it on with shovels and smoothed our. This second light app took one pass with a broom to make the sand completely disappear.

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Not USGA spec, but this masonry sand was the finest I’ve seen this side of Egypt. I’m sure the USGA sand is nicer. Perhaps I should inquire about their sand specs at the local concrete yard and see what info they can give me :)
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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by CrackedCornCrack »

@drenglish , one of the reasons I love this board is the variety of responses. My first thought was, “wow he’s really gonna want a lot more sand”

@Babameca , I enjoyed the aeration before topdressing but I think as long as you’re committed to continually adding sand then it’s not 100% necessary.

According to @thegrassfactor you can leave out the peat next time, if you aerate. He says that by creating a lighter, airy channel the grasses root mass will fill in the sand filled aeration holes.... which adds organic matter.

Finally, I know it’s only 6k, but a drag mat or diy drag tool is SO USEFUL.

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Babameca »

@drenglish Thanks for the detailed answer! I am planning to go even lighter with 3/4 ton over 1000. That will allow me to repeat this fall after aeration. How in reality is this going to go...I don't know. So 8 tons for 6000sqf allow me some flexibility on app rate.
I already cut at 7/8, but may drop it a notch. My puzzle is, do I stop my PGR and wait for rebound or the opposite.
@CrackedCornCrack I will be adding sand until things completely smoothen out. Considering our winters and the amounts of snow we receive, that may be forever.
I can 'borrow' a mat from my supplier but have to use human power to drag it. Have no 4 wheeler and the lot is so weirdly shaped I would crash it many times.

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by CrackedCornCrack »

Let your grass come out of regulation. My first thought after laying sand on my lawn was “Oh God, what have I done”. This is apparently pretty common.

But you’ll want your grass to come up through the sand quickly, for its physical health and your mental health

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by PNW_George »

I estimate that will average around 1/3rd of an inch of material if it is spread evenly. If your grass is growing it should pop through fine. I put some of the seed down before topdressing and added the rest after topdressing. 1/3 of an inch should allow some of the seed to germinate but for thicker areas the seed may not make it. I’ve done this a few times and just finished spreading 12 yards of sand over 10,000 square feet Friday.

This was for a full reno and I had killed the grass, fallowed a few weeks, used a verticutter, core aerated and then top-dressed. One concern I would mention if you core aerate; it can make leveling more challenging unless you remove the cores and I wouldn’t want to do that.

I rented an Ecolawn Eco 250 topdresser for $100, best $100 I ever spent. It isn’t really designed to handle the weight of sand, especially wet sand, so I was only able to fill it half way but it spread the sand so evenly I didn’t need to rake or drag at all. It also helped that my neighbor loaned me his tractor to load with. If I was looking to get a perfectly flat and level lawn I would have also dragged but I don’t have that many flat areas. It is very smooth though and handles reel mowing very well.

The previous times I added sand I used the wheelbarrow method to distribute piles around the yard, then used a landscape rake to spread it relatively evenly and to really get things level, fashioned my own “drag” mat. I took my 20-foot ladder apart, tied a rope around each end and played pack mule while dragging the ladder around the yard to level the sand. It actually worked really well. There are some more details in my lawn journal.

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Babameca »

@CrackedCornCrack Out of the regulation as you say grass will grow much faster needing a mow, which is not very recommended because of the sand not being fully off the leaves. For the reel mower that is no no. This is where the dilemma is...
@PNW_George Another calculator showed just about 1/4'' for 6 tons. I am not doing a full levelling but flattening spots, so my assumption is 30-40% of the surface will take up to 3/4'' (not more my grass will be at 7/8), some will take none. Difficult to say without throwing it down.
I don't unfortunately have access to that spreader or aby other brand. There is a local supplier but for sale only. I'd rather start with shovels throwing it randomly and see how it goes. It will 3 of us in good shape, so I am assuming there will be plenty of time for a few beers. This is not the first time the trio is spreading 8 yards of top soil, this is much heavier but more compact. I am definitely sharing my experience in my journal once done. Thanks to all chiming in again!

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by CrackedCornCrack »

@Babameca, the entire post sanding process is a sliding scale of the sand settling into the canopy and the grass growing up through the Sand.

I would estimate The first 2-3 days is mostly (85-90%) sand settling down and after that the sand disappearing is at least 50/50 settling/growing.

The only downside of fast growing grass in this scenario would be if you have very heavily sanded areas where you need to continually work the sand into the canopy. The longer the grass, the harder to work it in.

Though it’s probably out there somewhere (and probably on this site 😂), I’ve never heard of anyone recommending to leave the grass in regulation during a top dressing with sand. The faster your grass grows, the faster the sand disappears.

Sand will dull your blades in a REAL way so yeah be
cautious. I used a rotary and manual reel after sanding.

Day 0

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Day 1

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Day 8

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Day 24

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Day 30

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by drenglish »

@Babameca Yes, you’ll want the PGR to wear off to encourage the grass to push through the sand. Fast release nitrogen will help, and dropping an extra 1/8” in HOC wouldn’t hurt...things might look a little less than optimal for a week but that is part of the process. My 3 year old daughter helped me and it was such a fun process. She kept calling the lawn “a beach” and would keep running back to it with a shovel and bucket. Have fun!

The pictures above by @CrackedCornCrack are pretty much what you’ll expect to see as far as timeline if you spread the sand evenly and appropriately work it in. That lawn looks really good! One of the advantages to sanding too is a firmer play surface. It’s a notable improvement felt by walking across the lawn, mowing, etc. by 3-4 weeks you won’t see the sand unless you buried some areas too thick.

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Lungal09 »

Don't mean to hijack your post, but I also am planning a leveling project. I have some areas that are quite low so I'm so I'm wondering if I should do a mixture of top soil and sand like maybe 60/40 soul to sand to help with growth since I'll likely have to seed the spots where I lay it on heavy (~2 inches) or just stick to sand and do it slowly in multiple apps

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Babameca »

@Lungal09 Except if the low spots are almost bare (no grass) I would definitely go with option 2.

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Babameca »

@CrackedCornCrack @drenglish Thanks fellas!

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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Babameca »

This is what I am dealing with. @CrackedCornCrack @drenglish
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Re: First sand top dressing anything to be aware of

Post by Lungal09 »

Babameca wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 9:03 am
@Lungal09 Except if the low spots are almost bare (no grass) I would definitely go with option 2.
Most have grass, just big dips in my lawn. I'll probably do the small amounts of sand.

Thanks for the input.

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