How to Sweeten Soil

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Q: I would like to know how to sweeten soil that has been under a spruce (removed) to grow grass.

The soil is going to be depleted of nutrients as the spruce is efficient at storing all the goodies from the soil above the ground.

  • Step 1) remove as much root mass as possible as the effects of the spongy root mass will be evident for many years.
  • Step 2) replace the soil in the area with a well drained topsoil with at least a 30% sand content. You may have to go to about 7.5-10cm deep to level the area
  • Step 3) Lime the area with a granulated lime such as dolopril at the rate on the bag
  • Step 4) wait 14 days
  • Step 5) level the area and hand remove any volunteer weeds
  • Step 6) spread a turf starting fertiliser at the bag rate. At the same time spread a shady lawn mix!! although it’s in the sun shady lawn will work as it has the highest tolerances of sun shade, wet dry and high/low fertility. It has 4-5 cultivars of grass in the blend and so will alos blend colourwise into the area
  • Step 7) wait 14 days
  • Step 8) Re-seed with more shady lawn mix to make it thick and lush
  • Step 9) only cut the new lawn when there is no frost and then leave the height at about 7.5cm for the first year or so so that healthy roots can establish
  • Step 10) Remember to keep the fertility high throughout the year and to follow a lawn care plan that includes liming, watering and fertilizing for the next year or so the roots that are left in the area will decay so it is not unlikely to see a bloom of mushrooms through the area. It just means the leftover roots are becoming a good source of nutrients.