It’s a funny area talking about the root zone mix. I would not till the sand with the existing top soil. If you have the opportunity did nit out about a foot and put a couple inches of drainage gravel. Then the existing top soil , and if you can 4 inches of sand . Grade your green . Seed and then put peat moss on top. In testing it had best success rate for germination.
want to keep the organic matter out of the root zone.
seeding rate for Bentgrass is 1 1/2 to 2 pound per 1000 sq/ft
check out this http://www.bentgrassdoctor.com/selection__establishment_of_creeping_bents_in_the_21st_century
I thought about peat moss but recall reading somewhere to not use it. I also read that some people have success spreading straw over the fresh seeding to discourage birds and retain some moisture, (I'm a couple weeks out from seeding anyway so have some time to decide). I don't want to go to the trouble of digging out the soil, putting in gravel and replacing it, so would you say it's best to till my soil, drag it level and then place the sand on top without tilling? If I understand you, the seed should be seeded directly in a sand bed rather than a sand / soil mix? There is a field tile from the adjacent farm, that runs directly under the green site and the area has a natural grade that sheds water very well.
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If you'd let me, I'd love to follow along and offer whatall advice I can give. My qualifications:
-Complete unsuccessful backyard green project where I made every mistake in the book
-1 year of work as a golf course laborer
-someone who wants to see you succeed where I failed.
Peat moss is an essential and valuable component of greensmix at my course (if you want I can ask my super for proportions, I'm on a first name/go bbqing basis with him.)
Unless you are blessed with perfect soil, the less existing soil you use and the more sand/organics you use the better. I remember on my green pouring some sand on top, rototilling, and thinking it was good, before a month had passed I had a rock-hard clay mass nothing would grow in.
One thing I'm concerned about reading over your plan is drainage. Assuming the surrounding soil does not drain well, if you do not provide a subterranean means for water to escape, your rootzone will become bathtub because water can't go anywhere. Drainage is perhaps the make-or-break of the project.
@BNGL , @mallrat who I think will take an interest in this thread...
when I rebuilt the green , there was a university study regarding germination of Bentgrass with various materials, the pellets, etc
sand with peat moss had quickest and highest percent cover.
I think you've underestimated the sub-grade and drainage requirements.
I'm not worried about drainage, as I said, there is a tile directly under the green and a gentle fall to the municipal drain and ditch in my front yard. The area is never wet and as lawn gets mowed even in early spring by my Kubota which has industrial tires and they don't damage it. We are in some of the best farming country in South Western Ontario with the clay layer being quite deep though I may decide to mix some peat into my soil / sand mix.
Thanks. Do you mean mixing peat moss into my soil mix, or spreading on top after seeding? Probably you can't tell much from the pictures, but I pulled a plug of sod from green location, and this is what my native soil looks like.
You may well have sufficient soil and drainag by itself, with the field tile and contours. However, in my experience this is not likely...
Golf course grass is the stupidest thing on the planet: if you don't water it, it dies. If you overwater it, it dies. If you overfertilize, it dies, if you underfertilize, it dies. If an area gets too trafficked, it dies, and so on.
The reason for going overboard with drainage now is to give that grass the best possible conditions to grow within a predictable growing environment. I'm confident you could have a green without special subsurface drainage, but Id still recommend some special drainage
Actually my comment had less to do with drainage and more to do with stability of the surface as the ground settles. Retaining a surface smooth enough for putting is no easy task.
Yes, true. I could build a USGA Spec green for thousands of dollars that might also not work. My plan is to balance the risk so that if I fail, it's just grass and I can return it to lawn and without having a great deal of capital tied up. I will be adding about 10 cubic yards of sand to the area watering heavy and rolling prior to seeding which is already a much better start than just spreading seed. The method I am following was suggested to me by the Superintendent of a private club in Toronto and I have also shared these plans with another Superintendent friend from a course a few miles from my house and he also thought it sufficient. In the end, this will be a practice green in my yard; is this the way they would build a green at their club?...probably not, but I'm comfortable with their advice and the capital involved is worth the gamble.
Agreed. I did not mean to be confrontational and apologize if I came across that way. I'm beginning to think you have better dirt up there than I did in California! (Our clay layer is on the surface)
You are lucky to have a tractor to do the heavy lifting!
Oh you're crazy..... but all successful people are lol!
Be a freak not a sheep
One benefit I have is the cool climate which is favourable for bent grass. We only get really hot weather for late July and August. I'll have a look at the soil when I get the sand mixed in to see how it looks and decide if I should add some peat moss. I'm hoping to have the sod stripped in the next few days if the weather is nice then I will take my roto-tiller to the area and rake out and rocks that may be there before the sand comes.
Don’t mix sand and soil
mix sand and peat 80-20 for the root zone layer
Just finished hand edging the green shape. I'm hoping this helps me keep a clean edge through construction. Next I will see if I have any luck peeling the rest of the sod with my loader bucket. It will make nice garden compost eventually.
Okay....Big day today, sod is stripped. I used the loader on my tractor and it took forever because the bucket isn't very big. I could have rented a sod cutter but I still would have had to load sod up an move it since I wasn't going to reuse it. Stripping the sod made the surface very uneven, so I took a first pass with the box blade, (first with the teeth down to pull up and stones), and next to sublevel and spread things out. I kept the bucket on the tractor so I could pick rocks as I went and the process worked pretty well. Next I plan on taking a pass with the roto-tiller so I can make sure I got all of the rocks that should be picked, and after that I may rake it out by hand with my 3' rake before rolling. If that proves too much effort, I'll throw the box blade back on and level with the rear blade. Then.....sand....lots and lots of sand, and peat....
In for the eventual mental fatique, head scratching and the naysayers with their early " I told Ya so"., :-)
All the best and I think you have a solid, well thought out approach. At the end of the day, successful or not, you jave challenged yourself and I have enjoyed the process to date.
Thanks! Trying to find a balance of building something that will provide a great range of practice opportunity while not being too invested cost wise, (if that makes sense), since I'm aware of the challenge in upkeep. I haven't done much work on this in the past couple days because our weather has turned cold and we are actually expecting snow tomorrow, (**** polar vortex!). I did manage to take the roto-tiller to it and rake out most of the surface to pick some finer stones and add some contour to the base level. More stone picking and eventually watering and rolling, (unless I time it right after a rain), then I can bring in my sand.
It is really shaping up. Love the home. Classic beauty looks perfect with a green in the yard. Old Tom would be proud.
Thanks, the home has been a continual work but we love old houses and were quite happy to find 1.5 acres close to town. We also keep a large vegetable garden, a dozen or so laying hens and raise broiler chickens every year. We also planted a small orchard as well, (4 apple trees, 4 peach trees, 2 pear trees). I'm going to love looking out the front window onto a golf green, (and eventually the view from the front porch).
It sounds like that beautiful home has the perfect owners. If it could speak, I’m sure it would be pleased that you who made it your home, care for it and the land and in the process feed yourselves.
We had a garden and chickens for years , until we didn’t due to life events. For some reason, I always thought the chickens were great partners. We fed them, they fed us and were amusing pets as well.
I remember in North Raleigh (N.C.), off one of the main roads that spoke off from the highway that encircles the city, there was a house that was surrounded by greens, maybe 6 in all? I can only imagine the guy was a greenskeeper at one of the golf clubs.... I thought, well brilliant way to advertise his skills to the ongoing traffic.
Not far from where I live, there is an 80 year old man who was once a greens keeper at a private club. He has built 3 greens on his farm with a series of tee blocks that make up 9 holes. He also has a clubhouse of sorts in a shed and hosts a small group of neighbours for a weekly league night, (BYOB). I've never been but a friend of mine goes and he is going to introduce me so I can get some advice regarding my project. This man also has a snow groomer and grooms nordic ski trails that host an area club and high school events. Sounds like a wonderful place!
I hadn't done much work on the green the past few days because the weather turned cold. I used the time to cut and split more firewood for next winter. Today I got back to working on the green and finished shaping / leveling with my 3' rake and picked stones before I rolled in preparation for sand. Tomorrow I will order 12 cubic yards of sand.
Woke up to 3 inches of snow this morning......the good news is that it is mostly melted now. Tomorrow morning I have 14 ton of sand being delivered and I'll get busy with the tractor and loader when the base dries up enough. Sneaking up on seeding!
Have you thought much about the bunker? My advice is to make the face out of railroad ties... My bunker was about the only thing that was successful on my green, but it was a constant battle maintaining the faces and lip. If I were to do it again I would have rigid, permanent walls for as much as I could fit...
Happy to have found this thread. I am in the process of gutting and rebuilding the storage bay in my garage to have an indoor hitting bay and that can feel overwhelming at times. To follow this will be inspo!
A couple tidbits that may or may not help. Around here (SC), all of the greens are built on either 80% or 90% sand. When our course rebuilt its greens, it scraped 3"-4" of organics (thatch) off the top and still had 12"-13" of clean "droughty mix" (90% sand) left for a base.
I built a stacked sod bunker next to my green at my old house. It was pretty cool, but did require some maintenance-- nothing too arduous. Now they make very very realistic looking artificial stacked sod faces for bunkers. They used them at a course I played in Scotland and honestly you couldn't tell the difference. No maintenance required. FWIW I used my bunker a lot. My green was close to my house, and I used to hit bunker shots in every direction. That's how I discovered I had impact resistant windows.
Great project--thanks for sharing it with us.
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