Should you mend your soil? (Experiment)

Question

We get asked the question a lot, do I need to put down any type of soil before I lay my sod? In this experiment over the last 5 months, we watched how sod took with different amendments.

Supplies

-1 pallet St. Augustine Seville

-Mushroom Compost

-Topsoil

-Preplant

-None (control group)

Data

OCT 10, 2019

-Pallet Laid

OCT 17, 2019

-Picked up a piece in each section, was able to lift easily, but new roots were seen

-Watering daily

-All sections still have “pillowing” effect, where you can see each individual piece

-No significant difference between each section

OCT 24, 2019

-Still watering every day

-No significant difference between each section

OCT 31, 2019

-Running on regular irrigation (3 days a week)

-“Pillows” are gone

-A couple of weeds have popped up in both the topsoil section and the control section

-No significant difference between each section

DEC 5, 2019

-Mowed for the first time

-Yard is very green and well established

-Irrigation being run 2 days a week

-No significant difference between each section

JAN 9, 2020

-Few patches of brown, some in the topsoil section and some in the control section (there were a couple pieces of sod that did not have a good “backing” meaning there wasn’t at least 1 inch of dirt for the roots to be held in, I believe this is the reason for these areas to be doing poorly rather than the amendments)

-Weeds are present, dollar weed especially. Primarily in the control section and the mushroom compost section. I hand pulled all.

JAN 26, 2020

-More weeds popping through, this time the majority are located in the control section

-Mowed a second time

FEB 6, 2020

-Increased irrigation with the warmer weather

FEB 20, 2020

-Yard looks lush and green!

-Weeds mainly located in the control section, but few spots throughout

Conclusion

After 5 months, it seems like the most weedy section is the control, where no amendment was made, but it is hard to decipher whether or not this is the cause of the issue. In regards to establishment, the pallet of St. Augustine Seville did well in each section of the experiment. I will be interested to watch the growth this spring (and will keep this blog post updated!) to see if the sections have any differences with their growth, color, etc.

 

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