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Preparing Clay Soil for new Buffalo Lawn
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Preparing Clay Soil for new Buffalo Lawn

Many soil types in Australia which have a high clay or silt component will cause ongoing water logging and drainage issues for a new Buffalo lawn. Buffalo lawns with drainage issues can be weak and prone to easy and ongoing damage. They can also be prone to weeds, pests, diseases and moss, and be constantly ugly and unsightly.

So for these heavy clay or silt based soils, the homeowner must undertake major soil improvement before the new Buffalo lawn is laid, otherwise the lawn will suffer many problems throughout its lifespan.

This is a judgement call for the homeowner to make as to whether this is necessary for their property or not. For it is far beyond our scope to even contemplate such a decision. Having made that decision, then we must fix that soil, BEFORE the new Buffalo grass is laid.

In some cases, some buffalo lawn owners will already have an existing lawn that has experienced exactly the same water logging issues and may be needing to be removed and replaced with new turf.

Improving Existing Soil

Our first option is to improve the existing soil by adding properties to the soil which will greatly aid in water drainage and increase the free flow of water throughout the soil.

This should be done on soils with only minor or medium levels of water logging. Obviously this will need to be a judgement call on behalf of the homeowners themselves.

We have two options to improve drainage in these conditions.

Both options involve adding either coarse sand or sandy loam substantially to the existing soil, and then using a rotary hoe to mix and blend the two soil types together as much as possible.

Blending coarse sand into the existing soil is the first option. This should be done when the soil is of high quality, and may naturally contain high levels of organic matter. An inert coarse sand will increase the drainage of these soils best. While at the same time decreasing the level of organic matter in the soil which may create issues with lawn pest invasions, as well as a cause the lawn to grow too fast.

The soil is still rich enough to easily maintain a healthy lawn, and now has the greatest repair done for drainage problems.

Blending sandy loam is our second option, and is best suited to existing soils which may already be low in nutrition or existing organic matter. Sandy loam is a wonderful base for most lawn types, and as such would be a good choice to improve these soil types, create better drainage and reduce water logging issues.

Replacing Existing Soil

For the worst affected soil types which have the worst drainage problems of all, then the best course of action is to totally replace the top soil where the new Buffalo lawn is to be laid.

Once again, whether or not to do this will be the judgement call on behalf of the homeowner, and we cannot advise whether this is right for your property or not.

The existing heavy clay or silt-based soil will need to be removed to a depth of between 20 to 30 centimetres, and disposed of. This would best be undertaken by the use of a Kanga or Bobcat digger, or even call a professional as there is usually lots of waste matter to dispose of.

The top layer of soil would then be equally replaced with sandy loam which is available from your local soil and garden suppliers. Sandy loam is one of the best known soil types for the laying of new turf, and would thus be your first option. Be sure not to replace the soil with one which has a lot of organic matter, for the main reason that it can encourage many lawn pests and excessive growth rates.

The replacement of this top soil for the new Buffalo turf will allow for the healthy development of the majority of the roots of the lawn with lots of oxygen and no water logging. The same depth will also ensure the greatest possible chance of removing any water logging occurring on top of the Buffalo grass. And lastly, if the lawn is being grown on a slight slope, then much of the excess water will be drained away to the lowest point within this same topsoil profile where the lawn is growing in the sandy loam.

Soil Compaction before Laying New Buffalo Grass

After soil improvement has been undertaken, the soil will need to be compacted prior to the laying of any new Buffalo turf. This is vitally important for two reasons.

Firstly, it is so the lawn can be properly laid on an even soil bed, with far less chance of the lawn developing a slope and grooves as the soil slowly compacts over the years.

And secondly, for soils that aren’t properly compacted prior to a new roll of turf being laid, there is far too much oxygen in and around the roots of the turf as it is trying to establish itself. New lawns laid in such conditions do very poorly, and can even die off in areas.

So be sure to properly compact and level all soil improvements prior to the laying of new Buffalo grass turf.

For more fast facts and Q&As on our varieties –

Or check out our handy Quick Lawn Selection Guide.

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