Home > Soil > Lawns and Soil Type

Lawns and Soil Type

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 16 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Lawns And Soil Type

Before laying a turf lawn - or planting a lawn - it is important to ascertain the type of soil upon which you will be growing your lawn. Simply planting grass in soil already existent within the garden environment without checking its ability to sustain a healthy growing lawn is not enough and can cause you more difficulties later on.

There are different types of soil and different lawns that will flourish with them; these are the soil types that are most common:

  • Clay
  • Sandy
  • Loamy
  • Chalky
  • Peaty
These soils are the most common to be found in the British Isles and are each, in their own way, excellent for growing varying types of shrubbery and plant. However, when it comes to growing and nourishing a lawn not all of these soils are suitable so it is best to check early on to find out which soil your garden contains.

Clay Soils

This type of soil is normally very sticky and pliable and often lumpy in wet conditions, but when they dry out they form hard clots. Clay soil is made up of fine particles, which contain little in the way of air spaces, making them hard to work with and at best difficult to drain.

Sandy Soils

Sandy soils are gritty and have formed from weathered rocks: the likes of limestone, shale and quartz. Should the soil contain enough in the way of organic matter then it is easy to cultivate most things within it but sometimes it is prone to over-draining and drying out in the summer months. Likewise, in the autumn and winter months it can have some difficulty holding on to moisture and nutrients making it a good soil to work with but a difficult one to keep topped up with everything your lawn would need to survive. A lot of additional work is involved.

Loamy Soils

Loamy soil is the one soil that most gardeners say is the perfect soil to grow in. Made up of around 40% sand, 40% silt and 20% clay Loamy soils have varying degrees of texture, which range from easily pliable soil to tightly packed clots. These are normally full of organic matter and drain well but generally still retain a lot of moisture and are rich in nutrients.

Peaty Soils

Containing more acidity than other soils, Peaty Soil contains a lot more organic material than other soils because the level of acidity slows down the level of decomposition. Also containing fewer nutrients than a lot of other soils it can be prone to an over retention of water. Using fertiliser and a strict gardening regime alongside a decent drainage system and this particular type of soil can be an excellent growing soil.

Chalky Soils

Normally light brown in colour, Chalky soils are of an alkaline nature and will usually contain stones of varying sizes. Drying out quickly in the summer and blocking out trace elements such as iron and manganese, it is definitely not a soil to try and establish plants or grass in. The quality of Chalky soil - it has to be said - is quite poor and needs a lot of regular work including the introduction of fertilisers and other soil improvers over a sustained period of time.

So, for growing your lawn it is safe to say that either Loamy or Peaty soils are the best to use for establishing and nurturing a lawn that will grow all year round and be visually pleasing on the eye. You could get away with having a soil such as a Clay or Sandy type but you should be aware that these would need a lot of additional work to help you on your way.

There are things you can do like increase the PH of your soil - or indeed lower it - should your lawn require it and more often than not your local garden nursery will be able to provide you with the best advice on how to go about this process as well as being able to supply you with all the required materials to help you get your soil just right for laying that first sod or planting that first batch of seeds.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
read your info on laying a new lawn, i have the problem of an oak tree in the garden thus the existing grass is very poor and tree roots make the surfacevery uneven i will be able to dig up existing grass and rebuild the level of the garden with new topsoil do you think this will give me a good basis to create a new lawn will be thankful for any ideas to help my situation
oggy - 24-Jun-12 @ 12:02 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Ren
    Re: Problems With a New Lawn
    Hi moved into a new build last June, they turfed our garden but the lawn was dead when layed so was turfed again in October but by…
    5 March 2019
  • MacO
    Re: Above Ground & Underground Lawn Pests
    @Cherry Court - it sounds very strange. Are there any drainage pipes in that area which could be causing the…
    21 September 2018
  • Cherry Court
    Re: Above Ground & Underground Lawn Pests
    Hello We have had a problem with a corner of the lawn, which was developed about 14 months ago using compost and…
    20 September 2018
  • arthur
    Re: Problems With a New Lawn
    AS bove i had a new turfed lawn put down early june, before it was laid the ground was rotavated,raked, leveled,heeled in,good quality…
    3 March 2018
  • Ady
    Re: Types of Grass
    @Freshman - You need a drought-tolerant grass. Buffalograss is native to the midwest-America and is very hardy - but still needs 1/4" of water per…
    18 December 2017
  • Freshman
    Re: Types of Grass
    Hi Can you please advise me for the best grass seed to grow in Africa Ghana Thanks
    15 December 2017
  • Molly
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Clued-up on Common Lawn Problems?
    Previous neighbours have emptied there water butts into our garden through a hidden pile, then…
    5 October 2017
  • David in Devon
    Re: Adjusting Your Soil's PH
    On the ph advice on lawns, you state that rhododendrons flourish in alkaline soil. Really? If so, you need to inform RHS that they are…
    26 September 2017
  • Col455
    Re: FAQ: Lawn Mowers
    @graham - Have you thought of getting someone like Green Thumb in to treat your lawn. They can spot all the diseases etc and give you the best…
    19 September 2017
  • graham
    Re: FAQ: Lawn Mowers
    I have a lawn that was 1st laid down some 22 years ago and it is on 2 levels with a slope between. It covers approximately 25m x 15m and consists…
    18 September 2017