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Preparing your soil

Proper site preparation and soil improvement prior to planting make it easier for the grass roots to penetrate deeply and evenly. Deep roots make lawns more drought tolerant,  more water efficient and better able to access available nutrients. A dense lawn will also crowd out weeds and be more resistant to insect attack and disease. 

When is the best time to prepare soil?

Before your turf is laid.  This will enhance your lawn's ability to survive in Australia’s harsh environment.

Benefits of soil preparation

  • Improved uniformity
  • Increased density resulting in reduced weed infestation
  • Faster recovery from wear
  • Reduced use of water, fertiliser and herbicide
  • Reduced maintenance

For optimum growth, turf needs just four things; sunlight, air, water and nutrients. Reduce any of these, or provide too much of any one, and the grass may dieback or not perform to its full potential.

What is the best soil for healthy turf?

Loams, sandy loams and loamy sands with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 are the very best soils for producing a beautiful, high-use, low-maintenance lawn. These ideal soil mixtures are seldom found on property after construction, however the site soil can be amended to suit your turf.

Can soils be improved?

Yes. Most soils only need minor improvement to create stronger, better quality turf and reduce ongoing maintenance.  The Oz Tuff team can help you identify the improvements needed to your soil.  Just contact us today!

How deep should the soil be for turf?

The absolute minimum soil depth for a quality lawn is 100mm (4 inches).  For  the benefits of deeper root penetration, Oz Tuff suggests a soil depth of 150mm (6 inches).

Step-by-step site preparation

Follow these simple steps for a beautiful, healthy and trouble-free lawn.

1.  Clear the site of all building materials.

Remove wood, cement, bricks, buried stumps, rocks, stones or other debris that is larger than 4 - 5cm (2 - 3 inches) in diameter.

2.  Grade the entire area to eliminate drainage problems on the property.

Slope the grade away from building foundations.  Eliminate or reduce severe slopes and fill low-lying areas. Often a bobcat is used for grading, but it can be done with hand tools if the area is small. The grading will probably uncover more debris that should be removed and not buried.

3.  Till  soil to a depth of at least 5 cm (2 inches).

This ought to be completed prior to adding any topsoil or soil amendments. This will:

  • alleviate subsoil compaction,
  • permit a bonding of the topsoil to the subsoil,
  • improve root penetration, air exchange and water movement.

4.  Add topsoil to achieve a topsoil depth 10-15 cm (4-6 inches).

Topsoil ought to be loamy sand, sandy loam, clay loam, loam, silt loam, sandy clay loam or other soil suitable for the area.

Incorporate humus (fully decomposed organic matter) into the topsoil to the extent possible, practical, and affordable,

5.  Test the soil pH with a chemical soil test to determine if any pH correcting materials are required.

The level of acidity or alkalinity in your soil will determine the type and amount of soil amendment needed.  A soil analysis is strongly suggested for this purpose.  Oz Tuff offers clients chemical soil analysis, professional interpretation of results and soil amendment recommendations. 

6.  Finish grade the entire site.

To maintain the desired grading contours and slopes, you will need to shape the finished grade with a bobcat mounted level frame for large areas or a heavy duty rake and hand held level frame for smaller sites.

7.  Roll the area with a lawn roller one-third full of water to firm and settle the surface.

If low spots are revealed by this step, fill these spots with soil to match the surrounding grade surface. If time permits, allow the area to settle further with rainfall or by applying irrigation water.

8.  The site is now ready to turf.

By preparing your soil this way, your new lawn will look great; require less maintenance, and need smaller quantities of water, fertiliser and herbicides. It will also maintain a high degree of density and will recover rapidly from wear.

Learn more about laying turf, establishing turf and maintaining turf

We’re here to help!

To find out how Oz Tuff can help you with the preparation of your site, read more about our services or contact us today!