Using Sand to Promote Lawn and Garden Health
We have talked a whole lot about plants, insects, soils, chemicals, etc… but one topic that we hardly hear about in landscape and gardening is sand. How important is sand and how can sand add to the overall health of our landscape and gardens?
When persons hear about sand the first thing that comes to their mind is the beach and yes you are right sandcastles. Now don’t get me wrong, it is nice to kick off our shoes, head to the beach, and become that child we once were having an all-out sand party.
Sand is beneficial in so many ways.
Sand plays a very big role because of the part it plays with our soil profile. While we can agree that soil is at the heart of the survival of plant life, soil still needs help in order to meet plant requirements.
Sand and it’s many uses
1. Top-dress lawns. Lawns that have uneven areas can be leveled by adding sand. As you add sand to those uneven areas rake sand lightly because you don’t want to damage grass or their tender roots, as you rake in the sand, it should be worked down to the grass root zone. Then irrigate or water so sand can settle. The end result is you will have an even lawn.
2. Sand helps in making clay soils more porous. Clay soils are soils that are known as poor drains soils, this type of soil is not ideal for plant growth because once wet this soil can hold moisture for long periods of time which spells trouble for plants.
A good quality soil holds the right amount of water while excess moisture drains through. Too much moisture can cause a plant to decline, the waterlogged soil will cause fungus to develop and destroy plant roots.
Sand can help by opening up soil particles allowing excess water to drain through or runoff. To learn more about soil type follow this link. Soil type.
3. Garden soil aids in proper airflow or circulation. Do you know that soil is very much alive, what I mean by that and what most people don’t know is, there are billions of soil microbes like bacteria, fungi, protozoa, etc…. that lives in soil.
The presence of these microbes is to assist in plant growth. These soil microbes convert organic matter such as dead grass roots, other plant parts along with the Bodies of insects, rodents, and other animals, breaking their bodies down to make the soil more fertile for plant life.
What does all of this have to do with sand, soil microbes need oxygen in order to live, the sand helps to provide oxygen by making spaces in between soil particles for microbes. In return, microbes do their part in helping our plants so they can survive. This process can be likened to a chain reaction.
4. Many landscape design features a sand trap area for recreational purposes.
5. Sand aids in lawn repair, if certain parts of your lawn die out, once you have diagnosed and treated the problem, removed dead grass fill and level spots with sand and watch as grass fills those areas.
6. Adding sand to clay soils can condition soils for plant life.
Word of caution
When using sand, the sand should be free of salt. Using sand that contains salt can be damaging to grass and plant life. Salt- free sand can be purchased from hardware stores or your garden centers.
The final word
Sand can be used in so many ways and yes in our garden and landscape also. Go ahead and use this white gold that does its part in plant life to ensure that garden plants, as well as our lawns, are growing healthy.