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-   -   Question regarding soil makeup (will my soil amendment idea work?) (http://www.diychatroom.com/f16/question-regarding-soil-makeup-will-my-soil-amendment-idea-work-9446/)

joeyboy 06-26-2007 06:04 PM

Question regarding soil makeup (will my soil amendment idea work?)
 
I'm in middle FL and my lawn is practically 100% sand.

I'm under the impression that to have a good lawn, my soil needs 3 primary attributes:
1) ability to hold moisture
2) ability to drain properly
3) nutrients for growth

So, I want a great lawn. I've been approaching those 3, respectively, like this:
1) heavy peat moss application
2) (nothing needed here, sand drains fine)
3) adding good, dark, composted dirt


So, right now my lawn is all sand. I've got a ton of peat moss, that will be tilled into the top ~6" of soil, along with the good dirt (for nutrients).


Here's the catch - getting dirt (without paying many hundreds of dollars to outright buy it) is a helluva process. We go to this place that has 'recycled mulch', which is probably half dirt. We use lathe (mesh screen basically) to 'sort' the dirt out of the composted/recycled mulch, and then bag it / bring it home.

This process is not efficient at all - we spend all day in the sun, hunched over, and get horrible yields. We were starting to think we should just cave in and drop hundreds to buy the dirt and have it delivered to us.

*BUT*, I think I just came up with an idea that may save me a ton of time and money. If I'm getting that dirt solely for its nutrients, why can't I just buy those nutrients separately? I'm now starting to think that, instead of tediously hauling dirt here, little by little, that maybe I could just get high quality, timed release granules of fertilizer/nutrients, mix those with the peat moss, and till those into the soil with my peat moss.

That would give me what I'm looking for (if my assumptions on soil are correct): ability to hold moisture (tilled in peat moss), ability to drain (already present sand), and nutrient composition (tilled in nutrient/fertilizer granules).




Could anyone tell me if this will work, and if possible, what specific kinds of products (or general ratios and ingredients, etc) I'd use for nutrients? I already have the peat moss, got the sand, just need the nutrients, and afraid that we've been going about it in a very wrong, inefficient manner.

joeyboy 06-28-2007 02:51 PM

Is my line of thinking flawed because peat moss will only hold moisture for a short period of time, after which it will become compost and no longer hold moisture?

Maybe use something that won't compost instead? (vermiculite, clay, perilite, colloidal phosphorous?)

sflamedic 06-28-2007 08:48 PM

try here man...

http://www.allaboutlawns.com/

Hopefully they can help you out a little more.

joeyboy 06-29-2007 08:26 AM

Will do! Thanks!

crecore 06-30-2007 07:49 PM

if you have time you may be able to find a sawmill, tilling in sawdust will essentially make compost and nutrients as it rots.

You'll also want to test your pH, chances are your sand is slightly acidic. You can add lime, or in New England we use ashes from a wood stove.

handy man88 06-30-2007 10:24 PM

Personally I would not till any sawdust and would be a little cautious about tilling in mulch. It will surely attract termites. I'd go for mixing the peat moss with some good top soil.


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