Getting your soil right from the start is essential for a great lawn!
Successful establishment of all lawn types relies on good soil preparation. Without good soil your lawn can suffer from poor drainage, compaction, or fertility problems that could have otherwise simply been prevented.
You only get once chance to get your soil right!
Soil types - Choosing a soil for your area
It is good to choose your soil based on the current quality of your soil and consider any of the additional benefits you would like. If your soil is too sandy it won’t hold the moisture adequately or if it is too clay based, it will hold water drowning the lawn roots. So good quality soil with the right blend of consistency with water holding capacity will achieve lawn success. Lawn roots can penetrate into the soil to a depth of 150mm so good soil underlay is key to success.
Soil blend options
80/20 sandy loam blend is sufficient and affordable base for your lawn, providing good consistency for root growth and establishment.
Premium Turf Mix is another soil base option which comprises of 50% washed sand, 50% organic compost and hartley loam soil. It will provide more nutrients and organics which will combine the consistency of a good lawn base with the organic and natural benefits of compost, giving your lawn an extra nutrient boost for just a little more in price.
Jeffries Special Soil, is another soil option which is a mix of organic compost and free draining soil, which is very rich in organic matter and has a great soil structure for improved moisture holding capacity and beneficial micro-organisms which will support healthier sustained growth.
Check your pH
It can be a good time to look at your soil PH levels before installing your new lawn, as pH levels are hard to adjust once your lawn has been laid.
PH stands for ‘potential of hydrogen’ and works on a scale of acidity from 0 to 14, with 0 being very acidic and 14 very alkaline.
The ideal PH range for your lawn is somewhere between 5.5 and 7. You can easily buy a PH testing kit from your local nursey, hardware or Lawn Solutions Australia online. If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline you can add some easily obtained soil conditioners such as sulphur or lime, readily available from garden nurseries to improve your soil.
Preparing a good soil foundation means preparing a good base. Firstly it is important to remove any existing vegetation of weeds and unwanted grass, Using a non selective herbicide like glyphosate in a garden sprayer, apply up to two applications to ensure all excess vegetation will be treated and remove any unwanted vegetation from the area. You can remove existing grass with a rotary hoe or for bigger jobs an excavator or chipping away with a hoe for challenging edge areas of existing lawn.
If the lawn project is a new build or the existing soil is compacted, it can be good to rotary hoe the top layer of your soil by around 150mm. This will ensure the removal of any debris, clay or poor growing medium. If the soil is more clay based you can use a clay breaker like gypsum or sand soil to decompact the clay. If the soil is too sandy, you can look at a soil type with more organics to boost nutrients.
When bringing in fresh new soil it is good to have a depth of 150mm of underlay.
Remember the level and shape of your soil underlay will determine the shape of your turf so get your levels flat. To achieve a flush finish when rolling turf by hard edged surfaces like pavers, pathways and driveways, allow 20 to 30mm from the top of your soil to these hard edged areas so your turf butts up nicely to these hard edges. Also factor in water flow and drainage when finalising your soil preparation.
Installing your new lawn
When installing your new lawn you can give your soil and lawn a helping start with Lawn Launcher – a blend of three macro nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium and moisture magnet water crystals which can last for over a year in your soil.
Sprinkle Lawn Launcher over your prepared soil which will give your lawn an extra boost in the establishment phase, keeping moisture and fertiliser by your lawn roots while they establish into the soil.
Top dressing is important once your lawn rolls are installed and as a tool for repairing unevenness and soil condition once established.
On installation of your lawn sprinkle soil where the rolls join up together and around the edges so no lawn roots are exposed. This will help to maintain moisture so that these vulnerable edges don’t dry out.
For an established lawn that has issues with holes, unevenness or soil condition, you can do a full top dress. It is best to do this late spring to early summer. For the best results, aerate or core your lawn prior to topdressing, then simply spread the mix evenly over the desired area. Rake and level into the lawn profile. Never top dress more than 1cm in a single application, making sure the grass tips are still exposed.
If you’re topdressing to improve levels, we recommend to use a washed or screened sand. If you’re topdressing to improve soil profile with added nutrients, we recommend to use a sand/loam/compost mixture.
And that’s it!
Soil is so simple and such an easy way to make sure your lawn is lush. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.