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Old 04-05-2009, 06:51 PM   #1
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Best Way to Establish Plantings Over Sand


My house sits on a site that is ledge (bedrock) over very shallow (rocky) soil. The house itself in built on concrete piers that sit directly on the bedrock. The builder excavated down to to bedrock and then back-filled around the concrete piers using a tremendous amount of what appears to be beach sand.

The whole areas around the house is sand with no organic material. This includes under the house (which is open) and about 20 feet in all directions from the house. The sand creates some problems:


1. The site is very windy and it blows all over in a strong wind.
2. The house is near the top of a hill and runoff tends to carry the sand down the hill. The amount of erosion is actually pretty small but over many years will be problematic.
3. Nothing will grow in it.

I would like to do something to keep the sand from blowing around and running downhill (at a minimum). It would also be nice if I could get things to grow near the house.

My first thought was to bring in enough topsoil to cover the sand a few inches deep and then plant something aggressive with dense roots to keep the soil in place. Do you think this would work ? If so, what type of planting would be appropriate. The site is generally pretty wet with runoff from higher up the hill. The site has full exposure except the northern side of the house which is fully shaded by the house. This is Zone 5.

The other thought I had was gravel. In this case, I wondered if the sand and gravel would just mix resulting in a big mess. I suppose I could use landscaping plastic between the gravel and sand but I have had bad experiences with this in the past so I would be reluctant. Is there some other technique that can be used to keep the sand from mixing with whatever is above it ?

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Old 04-05-2009, 10:39 PM   #2
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Best Way to Establish Plantings Over Sand


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My first thought was to bring in enough topsoil to cover the sand a few inches deep and then plant something aggressive with dense roots to keep the soil in place. Do you think this would work ? If so, what type of planting would be appropriate. The site is generally pretty wet with runoff from higher up the hill. The site has full exposure except the northern side of the house which is fully shaded by the house. This is Zone 5.
Ayuh,... A few inches of top dirt,+ a Grass /white clover mix is what I'd do....

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Old 04-06-2009, 12:16 PM   #3
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Best Way to Establish Plantings Over Sand


Thanks for the info Bondo.

Do you think I will have any trouble with the sand coming up thru the topsoil ?
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Old 04-06-2009, 07:23 PM   #4
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Best Way to Establish Plantings Over Sand


Where are you? Is water nearby? If there is is it salt or fresh? A picture might be nice. How deep is the sand? Water/soil moisture is going to be an issue.

Last edited by Dugger52; 04-06-2009 at 07:26 PM. Reason: Those durn spelling errors
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:38 AM   #5
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Best Way to Establish Plantings Over Sand


I am in MA at the top of a hill- about 1000 feet above sea level. The sand was trucked into the site. I am nowhere near the beach.

The site is wet, however. We are not quite at the top of the hill and the runoff is noticeable. Because the soil is very thin, the water runs along the bedrock and comes to the surface wherever the soil is particularly thin. I think that the builder used sand rather than regular fill for this reason. The sand drains quite well. The site is mostly forested but the area around the house (where the sand is) has been cleared. We have good sun in this area.

The amount of sand is hard to estimate but it is alot. I have been told that the builder sited the house where there is a notch or depression in the bedrock about 6 feet deep. From appearances, the sand fills this notch to its full depth. The extent of the sand is about 40 feet by 70 feet, although it seems unlikely that it is anywhere near six feet deep over that entire area.
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