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Cheap soil for lawn maintenance?

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  • Jul 19th, 2017 7:03 am
[OP]
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Sep 12, 2012
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Toronto/Markham

Cheap soil for lawn maintenance?

I am curious to know what kind of soil is best to use to bring back a thin lawn besides using lawn soil. There are so many kinds of soil out there from top soil to garden soil to potting mix and surely there is a cheaper alternative to buying the highly priced lawn soil to thicken up your lawn.

I do seed regularly but I get some bald spots here and there mainly due to lack of sunlight in some areas and critters that like to dig up the lawn to find breakfast. Soil advertised as lawn soil seem to be expensive and I find top soil has wood chips that I'm not to fond of spreading all over my lawn. So I'm looking for a cheaper alternative to lawn soil and a soil that does not contain twigs and wood chips but will work well to keep a healthy lawn.
Last edited by hamandcheese on Jul 17th, 2017 3:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Apr 23, 2009
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Are you sure you have poor soil? Might want to have it tested at your garden center. That will give you a better idea about what you need to add to your soil to fix it. Your soil may be just fine but you may have grubs. You may get screened triple mix, or screened top soil or screened compost. All of these choices would be expensive but good for the lawn. You will likely get wood chips or debris of all sorts in cheap soil mixes.
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Apr 18, 2013
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I'd recommend adding some home made fertilizer! Yes you can add your own "number 2" into the lawn soil and it will help your lawn grow much greener and thicker.
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Jan 25, 2007
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Triple mix isn't expensive by the cubic yard. 20-25 bucks. Best to use a trailer and then you can drive it around the heard just dumping some out. A dump truck of 5+ yards would be 200ish bucks.
Gbill2004: Thanks but I'll just smell the couch before/if I buy it.

jonnyb: I go in there like PICASSO and toss the glue everywhere, I don't care what house I'm on.
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Aug 3, 2011
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hamandcheese wrote:
Jul 17th, 2017 3:20 pm
I am curious to know what kind of soil is best to use to bring back a thin lawn besides using lawn soil. There are so many kinds of soil out there from top soil to garden soil to potting mix and surely there is a cheaper alternative to buying the highly priced lawn soil to thicken up your lawn.

I do seed regularly but I get some bald spots here and there mainly due to lack of sunlight in some areas and critters that like to dig up the lawn to find breakfast. Soil advertised as lawn soil seem to be expensive and I find top soil has wood chips that I'm not to fond of spreading all over my lawn. So I'm looking for a cheaper alternative to lawn soil and a soil that does not contain twigs and wood chips but will work well to keep a healthy lawn.
Don't go for cheap soils. Going for reasonably-priced soil is okay, but if you just chase for a cheap stuff, you'd get a much more expensive problem later on (ie. weeds). Personally, I like triple mix and manure...but I'd only put them on the lawn in the fall season.

Also, are you sure you need new soil? You need to check if there's any other problems with your lawn:

-Grub or other insects under your lawn especially if critters are digging up your lawn (they only do that if there's something to EAT, aka grubs). If you have grubs, then you will get a patch of dead spots (the bald spots that you've mentioned above).
-If there's moderate-high traffic on your lawn, make sure your soil isn't too compacted. When was the last time you've aerated your lawn?
-pH of your soil? You can use a cheap litmus paper to quickly find out.
Last edited by Arabidopsis on Jul 17th, 2017 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jan 27, 2006
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Most soil is made up of three components - a peat like substance, loam (ie clay, sand), and organics like compost. The only thing that really decomposes and disappears over time is compost. So for almost any older existing, you really only need to add compost to refresh it. Of course, if the conditions are bad enough (ie. lots of clay or sand) then other things like peat may have to added but that will depend on what your conditions are. In general, compost will get you done.
[OP]
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Sep 12, 2012
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Toronto/Markham
Jerico wrote:
Jul 17th, 2017 4:49 pm
Triple mix isn't expensive by the cubic yard. 20-25 bucks. Best to use a trailer and then you can drive it around the heard just dumping some out. A dump truck of 5+ yards would be 200ish bucks.
I was hoping to buy bags of soil from my local Home Depot or Walmart.
[OP]
Member
Sep 12, 2012
317 posts
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Toronto/Markham
Arabidopsis wrote:
Jul 17th, 2017 7:16 pm
Don't go for cheap soils. Going for reasonably-priced soil is okay, but if you just chase for a cheap stuff, you'd get a much more expensive problem later on (ie. weeds). Personally, I like triple mix and manure...but I'd only put them on the lawn in the fall season.

Also, are you sure you need new soil? You need to check if there's any other problems with your lawn:

-Grub or other insects under your lawn especially if critters are digging up your lawn (they only do that if there's something to EAT, aka grubs). If you have grubs, then you will get a patch of dead spots (the bald spots that you've mentioned above).
-If there's moderate-high traffic on your lawn, make sure your soil isn't too compacted. When was the last time you've aerated your lawn?
-pH of your soil? You can use a cheap litmus paper to quickly find out.
Right now I am using Triple Mix so I'm hoping it works well.

I used to get critters digging up my lawn, but lately it's kind of stopped. I'm not sure if it is because of the rain we have been getting.

As for aerating my lawn, I haven't done it for at least 3 years. How often should I be aerating my lawn?
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hamandcheese wrote:
Jul 18th, 2017 10:53 am
I was hoping to buy bags of soil from my local Home Depot or Walmart.
It's ridiculously expensive. I just bought a few bags totalling 140 litres of topsoil to spread on a thin patch of lawn, and even spread thin it only covered maybe 2 x 6 meters. It would probably cost $1000+ to cover my lawn that way!
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Paris
hamandcheese wrote:
Jul 18th, 2017 10:53 am
I was hoping to buy bags of soil from my local Home Depot or Walmart.
Then it will cost you a fortune
Gbill2004: Thanks but I'll just smell the couch before/if I buy it.

jonnyb: I go in there like PICASSO and toss the glue everywhere, I don't care what house I'm on.
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Faith24 wrote:
Jul 18th, 2017 11:01 am
It's ridiculously expensive. I just bought a few bags totalling 140 litres of topsoil to spread on a thin patch of lawn, and even spread thin it only covered maybe 2 x 6 meters. It would probably cost $1000+ to cover my lawn that way!
A nursery could drop enough to cover your yard 2" thick for 300 bucks. It's the only way to properly topdress.
Gbill2004: Thanks but I'll just smell the couch before/if I buy it.

jonnyb: I go in there like PICASSO and toss the glue everywhere, I don't care what house I'm on.
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Aug 3, 2011
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hamandcheese wrote:
Jul 18th, 2017 10:55 am
Right now I am using Triple Mix so I'm hoping it works well.

I used to get critters digging up my lawn, but lately it's kind of stopped. I'm not sure if it is because of the rain we have been getting.

As for aerating my lawn, I haven't done it for at least 3 years. How often should I be aerating my lawn?
It's best to aerate annually.
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Arabidopsis wrote:
Jul 18th, 2017 4:42 pm
It's best to aerate annually.
Aerate then top dress for best effect as the new soil gets into the holes.
Gbill2004: Thanks but I'll just smell the couch before/if I buy it.

jonnyb: I go in there like PICASSO and toss the glue everywhere, I don't care what house I'm on.
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It's all good advice above but the poster who recommended testing your soil is where you should start. And then consider the drainage and the presence of grubs and ants - topdressing is a good practice but does not always get to the root of the problem (no pun intended)

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