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Bermuda Lawn Sanding Progress w/ pics

posted by: proudx on 04.17.2008 at 12:53 am in Lawn Care Forum

I had many issues scalping my lawn when using my 7 blade reel mower last year. In one spot around curbs and concrete the bermuda was as much as 3inches lower making mowing difficult.

june 12th 2007 cut at .75" see the problems with the ground, notice the curb
http://proudfamily.phanfare.com/album/401509#imageID=25552909

august 9th aggresive sanding! completely covered.
http://proudfamily.phanfare.com/album/405369/559737#imageID=25835804

sept 5th 2007 update cut at 1"
http://proudfamily.phanfare.com/album/405369/607445#imageID=28167996

sept 10 update 2007 cut at 1"
http://proudfamily.phanfare.com/album/405369/618362#imageID=28639975

april 9th, 2008 cut at 1/2"
http://proudfamily.phanfare.com/album/592760#imageID=39001953

everything has come back smoothly and i am considering touching up with riversand again in a week or two.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 07.04.2012 at 09:13 am    last updated on: 07.04.2012 at 09:15 am

My Experiences Leveling My Lawn with Sand

posted by: jv982 on 04.26.2011 at 11:31 am in Lawn Care Forum

I guess I should introduce myself. I have been a lurker here for several years, but have always used the site to learn and research. I never felt experienced enough to have anything useful to contribute until recently so I never joined the site.

About a year ago I purchased my first home, a foreclosure in North Georgia. It is a 4 year old house that has always had renters in it. The renters severely neglected the lawn and landscaping. Over the past year I have spent a ton of time (and a bit of money) planting shrubs and fixing the lawn.

I spent a bunch of time researching how to level my lawn and everyone has a different opinion as to the best way to do it. I am not claiming to be any type of expert, but I would like to document my experiences in leveling my lawn. Hopefully someone will find this useful as I have learned so much from the site, I am hoping to be able to give back a little to the forum.

About the Lawn:
I have somewhere around 4,000 sq/ft of Bermuda. I am unsure of the type. It is probably some cheap builder grade stuff but I am unsure. The front yard gets a ton of sun and grows great. The back yard does not get any afternoon sun and grows much more slowly. I do not have an irrigation system. I use a old honda self propelled mower.

Spring 2010:
The lawn was probably 40% weeds and 60% Bermuda. The lawn was so bumpy and rutted that I was unable to mow at 2" without bottoming out and scalping the lawn all over the place.
I spent the entire year treating the lawn for weeds and babying it to get the bermuda to thicken up. By the end of the growing season I had gotten rid of most of the weeds. The bermuda grew in nicely and looked pretty good by the middle of July, but because I had to mow it so high, it didn't grow very thick.

I decided to level the lawn. After tons of research, I was unable to find much consistent info. Some people said to use builders sand. Other people said you should never use builders sand and you should only use river sand. And other sources said that you should not use sand at all and only use top soil or a combination of top soil and sand.

I was torn as to which direction I should go. In spring of 2010 2 of my neighbors paid a company to level their lawn. Both of the neighbors yards had MASSIVE improvements. The leveling company used river sand. They explained to me all of the steps that the Leveling company took, and they told me what they liked and didn't like about the service. Their huge complaint was that after a year all of the sand had settled to the bottom leaving TONS of small pebbles everywhere. Tons! The pebbles were probably around 1/4 in diameter. The lawn was not comfortable to walk on barefooted, and it seemed like the pebbles were not allowing the grass to grow as dense as it could. They also had problems with the sand on the hills on the sides of their houses. Rain moved the sand a little and left these little ridges on the hills that looked like mini terraces. I decided that I would only spread a small amount of sand on the hills at a time to help prevent this.

From their experiences I completely marked river sand off my list. I read about 1 other person on this site that used builders sand and seemed to have great results. The links to all of his pictures were dead, and I never was able to see them, but it appeared as though everyone was impressed. After reading that post, I decided to use builders sand, and I decided that I would try and replicate everything that the Leveling company did to my neighbors lawns.

My goal is to level the lawn enough to use the lowest setting on the mower (~3/4") and have the lawn grow super dense.

April 2, 2011:
I mowed the lawn as short as I could with my Honda Mower (about 3/4"). This was the first cut for the season. The grass was just starting to show a little green. It was super time consuming between emptying the clippings every 20' and bottoming out every 2' it took me a couple hours to mow. One huge benefit to mowing the lawn short was that it helped us to more easily see the highs and lows in the lawn.

We had gotten a ton of rain in the couple days before so the ground was nice and soft. I rented a walk-behind aerator from HD, and plugged the yard pretty heavily. I broke up the plugs with a rake.

April 3, 2011
I had 5 yards of builder's sand delivered. I used my ATV to pull a large wagon, and between my neighbor and I we spread the majority of the sand in about 4-5 hours. We used a large push broom to do the majority of the smoothing. I built something to drag by had using a baseball diamond drag. I used 3'x10' chicken wire and attached a couple 4x4 posts to it and pulled it around with a rope. This helped to level it even more.

On the high spots we had the sand fairly shallow, but in some of the holes the grass was completely buried. When the neighbors had this done their lawns looked very similar. In the deep spots the sand had to fill in from the sides.

After all of the sand was spread and leveled, I set out the sprinklers for several hours. It was amazing how much the sand moved around. The water moved the sand from the high spots to the low spots. It worked great.

Once I was done watering I applied some Vigoro SuperGreen. It is a 36-0-4 if I remember correctly.

Here are some pictures of the front yard immediately after watering the lawn for the first time. My wife said she loved her new beach!!

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NOTES:

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clipped on: 07.04.2012 at 09:07 am    last updated on: 07.04.2012 at 09:08 am

Bermuda Sahara Question

posted by: therian on 06.28.2012 at 01:48 pm in Lawn Care Forum

So I gaving up on my fescue lawn, with these past 3 BRUTAL summers, the amount of water needed to keep it going is becoming more than I want. I figure I would go with Sahara Bermuda as I can feed it to my pet rabbits and its cheap to seed.

I am wondering if its too late to seed? I was told it could be done in summer but its pretty brutally hot atm. High today is suppose to be 103F and its currently 94F (boiled a tomato on the vine) Common sense tells me no, but I would like to get it started this year if at all possible.

Thank you.

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clipped on: 07.04.2012 at 08:35 am    last updated on: 07.04.2012 at 08:35 am

Lawn Leveling with Sand: My Experience with Pictures!

posted by: VisualCSharp on 06.28.2012 at 10:42 am in Lawn Care Forum

Hello, fellow GardenWebbers! My name is Nathan Alden, and I'd like to share my lawn leveling experience with everyone. Leveling is a popular topic here in the Lawn Care forum and hopefully my experiences will prove useful to others looking to undertake this challenge.

I'd like to begin by thanking my fellow posters here on GardenWeb for their advice leading up to me leveling my lawn. Your experience and advice proved most useful!

Next, information about my lawn and lawn care practices:

  • Region: Round Rock, TX
  • Grass: Bermudagrass Tifway 419
  • Turf origin: Sod laid September 2011 after new home construction
  • Soil: More clay than sand
  • Front lawn area: ~2000 sq ft
  • Mow height: 1"
  • Mower: Honda rotary model HRR216VKA
  • Clippings: Mulched
  • Mowing frequency: Every 3-4 days

Materials used for leveling:

  • 3 cu yd white masonry sand
  • One shop pushbroom
  • Garden hose with firehose nozzle
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Two people
  • Lots of effort

When I first moved into my new home, I knew next to nothing about lawn care. The extent of my experience came from mowing my parents' lawn when I was a teenager. This being my first home, I was determined to take care of the lawn and avoid the shabby to outright hideous look of most of my neighbors' lawns. The first thing I did was read the book Lawns: Your Guide to a Beautiful Yard. This book proved to be a great introduction into various lawn care practices. Using the information in the book, I was able to keep my lawn looking decent even after last year's drought. Here's a picture of a piece of my front yard from April:

Many folks might say my lawn looks pretty good, but I knew it could be better. Notice how the grass around the tree appears rutted and inconsistent. I mow at 1", and the mower would frequently bottom out, scalping several areas of the lawn and ruining the appearance. Determined, I decided that I would research how to level the lawn and hopefully create a much smoother, consistent, healthy appearance. I wanted to set a good example for the neighborhood!

I had been lurking on GardenWeb for some time, but in April 2012 I decided to create a thread asking for advice on leveling my lawn.

Notice the terribly uninformed title--I actually wanted help with leveling, not aerating and top-dressing; it goes to show how much I knew back then! Using the excellent wisdom provided by dchall in combination with other resources on the Web, I decided that I would level my front lawn in mid-May. Although dchall and others advised me to wait until June or July to level--when Bermuda is growing its best--I decided to level a bit earlier for a couple of reasons:
- I couldn't truly scalp my lawn; 1" was the lowest I was able to mow due to not owning a reel mower and the bumpy nature of the turf
- I knew it would be brutally hot in late June or early July; yesterday was June 27 and the temperature was 105! Neither the wife nor I wanted to be outside in that kind of heat pushing sand around.

After deciding on the timeframe, my next step was to acquire the leveling material. Although I have read information that says one should never add pure sand to a lawn, the reasons for using pure sand made more sense to me. I decided on masonry sand, as it consists of jagged edges that more easily lock together, meaning the sand stays in place better than other types of sand. After comparing prices for several area suppliers, I settled on Whittlesey Landscape Supplies' white masonry sand.

I ordered 3 cubic yards, enough to cover my 2000 sq ft lawn with 0.5" of sand, on average. Whittlesey delivered the sand in three giant white bags--one cubic yard each--on pallets. About these bags: They were /not/ water-proof. If you have sand delivered you'll want to cover any bags or piles with a water-proof tarp if you expect rainfall. I didn't do this and the effort required to shovel, wheelbarrow and push around the sand increased greatly as a result. Water evaporates from this amount of sand very slowly, even in Texas heat.

I started leveling on May 15, 2012. I was unable to find anyone interested in helping, so it was up to my wife and I to level the entire front lawn. We divided up the effort such that one of us would be filling up the wheelbarrow and trucking sand around while the other would be pushing it around with a pushbroom. She would shovel sand in lines perpendicular to the direction we were spreading, then I would push and pull the sand until there was a thick, consistent spreading. On our first pass of a portion of our lawn, we used too little sand, so you'll want to be liberal with the amount you spread. We eventually learned that the right amount of sand was enough to nearly cover the grass completely; we were barely able to see the grass after spreading. Remember that the sand will be watered into the grass, so don't worry about smothering your grass. By the time we finished we had only a few cubic feet of sand left, so it turns out our calculations were just about right.

For the spreading I used a standard shop pushbroom. Originally, I wanted to use what is known as a flippable lute, but the only ones I could find were only sold out of the UK, so I settled on what I had on hand. The pushbroom actually served as part lute and part broom. I flipped the broom over and used the rounded wooden side to move large volumes of sand around and the bristles to brush the sand into the grass. Eventually, I realized that merely watering the sand would work it into the grass via gravity, so I ended up mostly using the broom as a lute. The sand did ruin the front bristles, though, so you'll want to avoid using any prized brooms for this job.

I have an irrigation system, but I found that using a hose with a firehose nozzle was a more effective way to water in the sand. It took less time and allowed me more control over where the sand flowed--and yes, it does actually flow when it gets saturated.

I knew that there were some pretty deep depressions and holes in certain spots, so I used extra sand for those spots. The spots smoothed out nicely after watering.

Here are some pictures of a portion of my front lawn with the sand watered in:








Over the next few days, my wife and I finished the remainder of the front lawn. Soon thereafter, I fertilized with a 29-0-0 urea-based fertilizer. I also kept the grass heavily watered so that it could re-establish its thick blade system. Once the sand dried out, I noticed some of it had clumped on top of the grass. I used the pushbroom several times to brush the clumps free.

Here's my lawn on June 28, one-and-a-half months and a few touchups to some depressions and holes later:



Not golf-course quality, but certainly much better-looking than before! The mower hardly ever scalps, either; there are just a couple spots with which I must be careful to slightly raise the deck while mowing.

Something to consider is that adding sand will effectively raise the elevation of your turf. Depending on how low you mow, this can be a problem along edges when mowing header strips. In my pictures you can see that I have a concrete driveway with concrete sidewalks. The turf is now effectively 0.5" higher than it used to be. When I mow header strips, one side of the mower is on the concrete with the other side on the turf. In certain spots, the mower will bottom out, although it doesn't scalp because the grass is so thick and healthy.

Next year, I plan on addressing the lack of organic material in my soil by top-dressing with a good quality compost. Also, although the pictures do a good job of hiding it, I have a slight problem with crabgrass that I will also address next year. The lawn should look even better than this!

Thank you for reading! If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 07.04.2012 at 08:33 am    last updated on: 07.04.2012 at 08:33 am

bermuda yellow spots

posted by: chevyz98 on 07.02.2012 at 11:09 am in Lawn Care Forum

I live in Weatherford Tx just west of Fort Worth. Last year we had a hybrid bermuda yard put in along with a sprinkler system. Everything has been going good until recently. I have these yellow spots showing up in my yard and would like to know how to treat them. I mow about once a week and grass from ground to top of blade is roughly 3" tall. Sprinklers come on evey other day. I fertilized in april. Just need some help on where to start.
Any input or help would be appreciated just dont to loose my yard after time and money involved.

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clipped on: 07.04.2012 at 08:32 am    last updated on: 07.04.2012 at 08:32 am