Getting our soils right beneath our buffalo lawns is the single greatest determining thing we can do to ensure a beautiful healthy and lush buffalo lawn for the entirety of its lifespan. Sandy soils can present a problem for buffalo grass which can be almost as bad as clay soils, albeit due to very different circumstances.
Sandy soils are often highly alkaline in nature, which can be as bad for a lawn as highly acidic soils can be. Sandy soils by their nature usually lack a healthy soil nutrient profile and as a result will often be unhealthy much of the time. Unhealthy buffalo lawns will be weak and can develop bare patches and invasions from weeds and diseases.
Another problem with some sandy soil types is that they can be highly water repellent, meaning the soil cannot circulate water effectively across the entire soil profile, and cannot hold onto water for long periods of time. And the problem here is that the lawn will require more watering more often than should otherwise be normal.
Over the life of the buffalo lawn being grown on sandy soils, we can therefore expect the turf to be less than what it should be, never as green as it should be, never as lush as it should, and often having more problems than what would otherwise be expected.
With these things in mind we can see that improving sandy soils prior to laying new buffalo turf can be a very worthwhile decision to make. So lets take a look at our options.
Minor Soil Improvements
Our first option to improve our soil for buffalo grass is to add minor nutritional products to the soil and raking them through to gain a more organic base for the turf to live on.
Such products will usually be organic in nature, things like blood and bone, seaweed products, soil improvers based on sheep manure etc. All these things are fine, and the only products we would really want to avoid would be fresh manure products, which could in fact cause major health problems for the new turf after its laid, due to the strength of the nutrients the new turf is being exposed to.
In most cases these products will be of temporary benefit in nature and will not provide a good long term solution to having a new buffalo lawn being grown on poor sandy soils. With this in mind we should consider this course of action as being for sandy soils which still have some decent nutritional value to them.
For sandy soils which have very little nutritional value or organic matter present in them, then we would be looking for a far better and more long term option and solution to improving our lawn soils, before laying our new buffalo lawn.
Topsoil Replacement With Sandy Loam
A more long term solution for getting past the problems of growing buffalo grass on sandy soils is to replace the layer of topsoil on which the buffalo grass will be growing for its entire lifespan.
With this solution we really are providing a long term foundational basis for our new buffalo lawn. Ensuring our new turf will survive, grow and prosper as best as it possibly can.
In doing this, we will be wanting to remove the top 20 to 30 centimetres of soil, and disposing of it. In its place we will then lay new sandy loam from the soil supply shop.
This is a more expensive option, and more so as the lawn area gets bigger and we will need to hire a Bobcat operator to dig the topsoil out and dispose of it afterwards, and then of course having the new soil delivered and installed. However, with this in mind, it really will provide the very best solution and foundation for our lawns for many years into the future
These really are our only two options available to improve a sandy soil for laying a new buffalo lawn on. Either soil improvement or soil replacement. If we choose to use sandy loam or another similar lawn soil type or soil mixture to replace the sandy soil is not whats most important. Improving the soil prior to laying the new buffalo turf is what's important.
Of course, should financial matters be of concern then we all must work within those limits and adjust our practices accordingly. So if topsoil replacement is not viable, then some other type of soil improvement would be far better than doing nothing at all.
Last of all is if we have buffalo lawns which are growing on sandy soils, or any other type of soil of poor quality, then we will need to ensure we always pay careful attention to the nutritional requirements for the turf. And we do this by implementing a good year round fertilising program with the use of good quality fertilisers, which include trace elements, and phosphate.