Homeowners spend hours and hours a week ensuring their lawn and gardens are growing well. A healthy lawn and gardens add value to your home and raise the curb appeal aesthetics. Every homeowner knows that lawns need water to ensure green, healthy growth.
Not every homeowner realizes that too much water can be very damaging to your lawn. One solution to improving your lawn drainage is by using sand. This choice is not practical for all lawn types. This guide will help you to better understand where, why, and how sand can work for your lawn drainage.
Why Improve Lawn Drainage with Sand?
Lawns can become waterlogged when rainwater and runoff sit on top of the soil and drains slowly or not at all. Water can stop air from infiltrating the soil which can result in drowned roots and dying plants. Water logging is most common on soils that are clay in composition or heavily compacted.
You will know if your lawn holds too much water because you will notice pools of water that collect in places throughout your yard. Your lawn may also seem squishy or muddy, long after the rain passes, and other areas of your lawn is dry and firm. Another sign of waterlogging is yellowing grass that dies. Coarse textures allow for water to flow past the grains and absorb into the sand under the lawn.
How to Use Sand to Improve Lawn Drainage
Most lawn specialists suggest that you aerate your lawn before applying a topdressing. After the lawn undergoes aeration, spread the top dressing over the surface of the lawn about 1/2 of an inch thick. Using a rake, brush the top dressing into the grass so it is as close to the soil as possible.
Once the top soil is down, you can add more seed to replace any grass that has died or is patchy due to the waterlogging. The top dressing will help to protect the grass seeds until they germinate. After a few weeks, the sandy top dressing will work itself down into the top layer of soil helping to break up compacted soil.
Adding fertilizers such as compost, will give your grass available nutrients quickly. Fertilizer should come after the top dressing and seed is down. Sand cannot provide nutrients for plants which can be a problem with top dressing your lawn. Mixing compost or laying fertilizer can ease this problem.
Where to Use Sand?
Sand for lawn drainage is a popular choice for loamy soil textures. Soil that has a clay composition is not suitable for sand top dressing because the sand and clay mix together to form a concrete like material. This material will make your lawn solid and impenetrable. A great substitution for sand in clay soil is organic matter.
Organic matter, such as garden compost, manure, grass clippings, leaves, potting soil, worm castings or other organic materials will coat the clay particles. This opens the soil pores so that air and water can move past the clay particles. This process may take a longer time. Even up to a few years. But, you do not risk a yard that is irreparable due to concrete build up in the ground.
Sand also has no nutritional benefit for the soil and can decrease the fertility of the land. One place that sand is especially useful for lawn drainage is on golf courses because the courses are built from sand to begin with.
When to Use Sand for Lawn Drainage
The best time to top dress your lawn with sand for water drainage is in the early spring or fall. It is important to top dress your lawn before excessive heat or cold. This is especially true If you plan on over seeding your lawn as well. You will want the grass to grow and to mow the lawn 3-4 times before the weather begins to affect the grass.
When using sand to improve lawn drainage, homeowners and gardeners must remember that the process to fixing waterlogging through top dressing takes several years. Use these top-dressing methods every year to ensure consistent drainage throughout your entire lawn over the course of a few years.