Turf Soil Types

<h2>About Turf Soil</h2>
Will you be doing the turf soil preparation yourself? Or would you rather get us to do the entire messy process? You can take into account the various factors we discuss below to assist your decision.

<h3>Turf and Soil: inseparable partners</h3>

Turf soil is important because it is the foundation of long term grass maintenance. Grass needs sunshine, air, water and nutrients from the soil in order to be healthy and actively growing. Moreover each of these essentials has to be in the right amounts at the right times. You can optimize these by starting with the best possible soil. Your existing soil might have too much clay, be too sandy, acidic, alkaline, compacted or poor in nutrients and organic matter. Additionally, the drainage may be poor (too dry or too damp). Or the space too uneven or sloping.


The best turf soil is firm but loose, therefore loams and sand-loam blends are best. They should have an acidity of pH 6 to 7. Also the soil should hold water well enough to be slightly damp, but not waterlogged. In Australia it’s rare to find perfect soil. Most Australian soil is geologically old, nutrient poor, salty and often non-wetting.


All these factors can stress your turf and never give you the beautiful grass you are hoping for. You’ll have to do something about it if any of these situations apply.


Most soils can be improved, although the amount of work and time required might be a problem for you. Your budget is also a consideration. Sometimes it can turn out more expensive (in both time and money) to do it all yourself than bring in the experts to take the load off you. The advantages of professional installation are:

  • cleaner site
  • better drainage
  • better looks and evenness
  • good growth rates
  • fast recovery from damage and wear
  • easy mowing
  • less time on maintenance
  • reduced use of water, fertilizers and pesticides
  • safety for children and pets

<h2>Soil and Site Preparation</h2>
Take a look at your site and think about how many of the following factors need to be done for your turf soil before installing the grass.

<h3>Factors to assess</h3>

<h4>Is your ground clear?</h4>
You must begin with cleaning up. All stones, branches, twigs, leaves, weeds and rubbish must be removed. Otherwise everything that follows will be more expensive, difficult and time consuming.

<h4>Is the site well drained and level?</h4>
Your site could need some excavating or filling to optimize drainage and water retention. Consequently, drain pipes need to be located and protected. Furthermore new ones might be needed. If not, you will still need to smooth out high points and fill low ones to achieve a level surface. The final soil level should be about 3 cm below path levels to allow for later filling and water flows. Likewise, the soil should slope away slightly from house foundations. It is easier to change the land surface after weeding and rubbish clearance has been done.

<h4>What depth should your turf soil be?</h4>
The topsoil should be about 100 to 150 mm deep, the latter being optimal. Check this on your site; you may need to buy in some soil.

<h4>Is your existing soil suitable?</h4>
What if your existing soil doesn’t meet the criteria above? Do you think you’ll be able to improve it so it’s suitable? You could have a go at treating it yourself to obtain the best base for your turf. If not you can purchase and prepare new turf soil.

<h4>Using your own soil</h4>
Due to considering the foregoing factors, you may decide that the soil you have is in fact suitable. If you are going to put the turf straight on top of your existing soil there are still some things you’ll need to do to prepare it:

hoeing to soften compaction
raking to a level surface
fertilizing, eg chicken manure
watering – to soften and settle the area, but not too soggy
adding conditioners to obtain the right texture, water retention and acidity. Examples are you can hoe gypsum through clay soil to soften it. Sandy soils require organic material mixed through, but not right below the turf roots or they could burn. Acid soils require lime. Alkaline soils require sulphur.

<h3>Too complicated for you?</h3>
Alternately you can contact us about doing it all for you. We can do the whole lot from assessment to site preparation to installation and aftercare. <b>Call us on 02-9098-6910.</b>

<h2>Turf Soil Types</h2>
Have a look at the turf soil types listed below and see if any of them sound suitable to you.

<h3>Turf Underlay</h3>
Turf underlay is a free-draining blend of sand, topsoil and nutrients. This includes an optimum balance of organic materials and minerals for roots to establish and lawn to grow lush and strong. It can be used to prepare an area for new turfing. Additionally it can rejuvenate run-down turf or fill in degraded or uneven areas.

<h3>Recycled Turf Underlay</h3>
This type of turf underlay is a budget product used for filling. It’s not suitable as a direct foundation for turf. You would first compact it and even out the surface. Then lay sandy soil on top of it.

<h3>Sandy Loam</h3>
Sandy loam is a blend of 80% washed sand and 20% washed soil. It can be used for new lawn or to top up established turf. It’s fast draining and encourages roots to grow deep. Consequently it is good for putting on top of clay. Furthermore because it does not need much compaction, sandy loam can be applied to a greater depth, for instance to suit Buffalo types of turf. Sandy loam is not suitable on top of sandy soils.

<h3>Filter Media</h3>
Filter media is a blend of sandy loam soil and organic material such as compost. It isĀ  free draining and low in nutrient. This is because its main use is for filtering out pollutants in pits that slow down runoff, eg rain gardens. It supports plants that grow in free draining soil, and prevents erosion and drying out of the soil beneath the pits.

<h3>Organic Topdressing</h3>
This is a blend of chicken manure and sandy loam. It both feeds your lawn and assists good drainage. However if using it as top dressing, do so only winter. This is because the high nitrogen content of the chicken manure can burn your lawn in summer. Similarly, do not use it directly under the turf, as it can burn the roots.

Topsoil is like sandy loam but with less sand. Consequently it is a bit denser. Nonetheless, like the other turf soil types, it drains well and promotes excellent growth of your turf.

<b>Whether you wish to buy the materials and do it yourself, or get one of our experts to do some or all of the job for you, call us today on 02-9098-6910.</b>