New Sod-Colorado Front Range

Asked February 24, 2016, 10:38 AM EST

We will be sodding currently bare soil this spring. We can/will add top soil before sodding. My question is-the soil is sandy ..ballpark how many inches of top soil would be best? I have read: ". If soil is compacted, cultivate soil to a depth of 12 inches.. Over-cultivation can be just as detrimental as soil that has been under-prepared." I hesitate to think of adding 12" of top soil-and should we rototill before adding top soil or work it in all together or would any or all of this be "over-cultivation"

Thank you .

Linda

Weld County Colorado

3 Responses

Sod usually has about 2 inches of roots and soil, which is a good rooting media itself. The idea is to put the sod down onto the surface of the existing soil so that the roots can penetrate into the soil to become established. Most turfgrass roots are in the top four inches below the turf itself. Adding about 1.5 - 2.0 inches of good quality topsoil or organic matter to the existing soil and working it into the top 2-4 inches of the existing soil will provide a suitable rooting media for the sod. If the soil is very clay-like, then adding topsoil along with composted organic matter will help with loosening the clay soil. The roots can then become established and the turf will be firmly established onto the soil surface. There is no real need to work the soil to 12 inches since turf roots only grow into the soil about 4 inches unless there is a need to have the site drain faster temporarily.The soil will return to its original bulk density or compacted state within a short time within the depth of about 4-12 inches. The surface 3-4 inches where the topsoil was incorporated will be improved enough to support turf establishment. Survival of turfgrass depends on having good quality soil to begin with. A soil test to determine pH, salts, and nutrients in the soil will give you an idea as to whether there may be problems that would prevent turf development. Careful selection of topsoil is important to avoid high salts or too many nutrients. Salts should not be more that 2 mmhos/cm. Frequent initial watering is also necessary to prevent dehydration especially in hot conditions.

Thank you!