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  • Can someone help me with my grass?

    Hi all,

    Knowing how knowledgeable you all are, I'm hoping you can help with my grass problem (Nick... it's not THAT sort of grass... )

    I have very heavy clay soil and all through the winter, we had quite alot of rain and my grass has been like a bog for most of the winter. Yesterday was the first time we've been able to get out there and clear out after the summer stuff died down

    I was wondering if it's too late to try to improve the drainage with some sand - can I do this at this time of year?

    If so... what kind of sand should I use? I would use sharp sand for improving drainage for cuttings etc.... but as this is more heavy duty drainage needed, is there a better sand to use - or even... a better alternative to sand?

    My garden could be so much nicer - if only I could get out in it between October and Feb!! So please help with any info you can! Would love to get out there and get started on a patch!!

    Any ideas gratefully received

    Slug

  • #2
    Hi Slug !
    The problem with a really heavy clay soil in wet weather is that even just standing on it is going to compact it and ruin the structure further.
    Short of properly installing a complete drainage system to the area, it's just best to keep off it when it's like that, or if you DO have to work in that area, lay down a few boards to tread on rather than the actual soil, which will distribute any weight 'evenly' rather than 'locally'. But to be frank, if the soil is that sticky to stand on, you certainly shouldn't be on it trying to do anything with it at all....
    I know what you're saying though. You want to try and improve it probably more short-term, and when conditions allow. 'Spiking' and back-filling with sharpsand is OK, and do it off a wooded board when the ground's a little more user-friendly?
    I wish you lots of luck with it.

    Comment


    • #3
      [QUOTE=Slug;62713]Hi all,

      Knowing how knowledgeable you all are, I'm hoping you can help with my grass problem (Nick... it's not THAT sort of grass... )

      If it was THAT sort of grass I could help (see my profile picture) Old Picture from many years ago!!!?
      Last edited by bubblewrap; 05-02-2007, 04:21 PM.
      The river Trent is lovely, I know because I have walked on it for 18 years.
      Brian Clough

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Slug View Post
        Hi all,

        Knowing how knowledgeable you all are, I'm hoping you can help with my grass problem (Nick... it's not THAT sort of grass... )

        I have very heavy clay soil and all through the winter, we had quite alot of rain and my grass has been like a bog for most of the winter. Yesterday was the first time we've been able to get out there and clear out after the summer stuff died down

        I was wondering if it's too late to try to improve the drainage with some sand - can I do this at this time of year?

        If so... what kind of sand should I use? I would use sharp sand for improving drainage for cuttings etc.... but as this is more heavy duty drainage needed, is there a better sand to use - or even... a better alternative to sand?

        My garden could be so much nicer - if only I could get out in it between October and Feb!! So please help with any info you can! Would love to get out there and get started on a patch!!

        Any ideas gratefully received

        Slug
        Maybe you should just start again with the grass Slug. Skim the turf off & stack it then rotavate a load of sharpsand into the soil & relay with new turf

        If it really is that bad rather than using a fork to spike it maybe you should buy one of the hollow tine aerators that take a plug out then you could fill the holes with a compost/sand mix (1:2) - I may be tempted to do this every year for the next 3 or 4 years that way you'll get some decent drainage then.

        Or you could used the same approach as me and cover the lot with 3 ton of pea shingle loogs good all year & now mowing - Winner
        ntg
        Never be afraid to try something new.
        Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
        A large group of professionals built the Titanic


        ==================================================

        Comment


        • #5
          It all depends on how much you are prepared to spend!'

          If money was no object you could:-

          *Strip off all the clay topsoil
          * Lay a piped drainage system (wrapped with teram to stop pipes silting up), backfilled with washed pea gravel to within 2" of surface and top up with sand, remembering that a silt trap would be required at the water outlet
          *Replace old topsoil with a rootzone mix (70/30) of good screened topsoil and sharp sand to within 2" of finished surface
          *Apply 2" of even grained sand to surface and ameliorate in
          *Either drill seed a Fescue/Bent mix or Ryegrass mix if it's a utility lawn OR lay a good quality turf i.e Rolawn
          * Let drains settle for a year allowing grass sward to establish
          * If waterlogging is still a problem, Sand slit at 1 metre intervals 2" wide at right angles to piped drainage and right down to drainage pipes
          * Try another years growth, if waterlogging is still a problem, sand slit at 4" intervals 1/2" wide at right angles to last slits i.e. same orientation as drains.
          * To keep the surface open and allow the water to percolate to the drains a top dressing of 50 tonnes per acre per year should be applied in two dozes.
          *Regular aeration with solid tines and bi-yearly with a hollow corer would also be required

          You did ask!!

          PS Appologies for swapping between imperial and metric measurements, but I was brought up using both!
          My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
          to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

          Diversify & prosper


          Comment


          • #6
            As Snadger says, it all depends how much you are prepared to spend - the route Snadger suggests is time consuming and expensive but will give you a lawn to be proud off - the sort that deserves stripes ! The only point I would add is that the purpose of this type of drain is to physically lower the water table so you relly need to dig it deep - 2.5 to 3ft minimum. I also wouldn't bother wrapping the pipe in terram - a good covering of gravel should be sufficient.
            Nicks route is quicker, cheaper and less hassle and will give you a perfectly respectable lawn.
            Have just read this back and sounds as if I am belittling Snadgers method - not at all, I've been laying drains for the last 4 years and he is spot on - except for the terram
            Rat

            British by birth
            Scottish by the Grace of God

            http://scotsburngarden.blogspot.com/
            http://davethegardener.blogspot.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by sewer rat View Post
              As Snadger says, it all depends how much you are prepared to spend - the route Snadger suggests is time consuming and expensive but will give you a lawn to be proud off - the sort that deserves stripes ! The only point I would add is that the purpose of this type of drain is to physically lower the water table so you relly need to dig it deep - 2.5 to 3ft minimum. I also wouldn't bother wrapping the pipe in terram - a good covering of gravel should be sufficient.
              Nicks route is quicker, cheaper and less hassle and will give you a perfectly respectable lawn.
              Have just read this back and sounds as if I am belittling Snadgers method - not at all, I've been laying drains for the last 4 years and he is spot on - except for the terram
              Why no teram rat? Just wondered? Is it not used now to stop em silting up?
              The reason I ask is because we had some layed without teram and the pea gravel hadn't been washed, resulting in impeded drainage!

              It depends how bad it is but I used to garden for a woman years ago who had waterlogged lawns full of moss. For years I hollow cored it for her with a hand corer and brushed in sharp sand..all to no avail, she finished up having the whole lot drained and relayed.(The house name was Marshend!) All you are doing by hollow coring is allowing the water to get away from the surface but if its got no where to go you are left with hollow cored areas full of water!
              Any aeration or sand topdressing will be beneficial but you may still finish up with a sub standard lawn after years of graft and expenditure, do you not think?
              My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
              to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

              Diversify & prosper


              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks all... that's really given me something to think about! Fab ideas! I already have to do as Wellie suggests... and I garden on big wooden boards most of the time! Unfortunatley at the moment... even the big wooden boards would sink into the ground

                Will definitely get something done this year once the ground settles a bit - appreciate everyone's help with this

                Slug

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