Remedy Clay Soils

The Real Dirt About Clay


What does that really mean? When clay succumbs to compaction that we subject it to in the backyard, on the playground or on the athletic field, natural porosity is destroyed. That means we reduce the number of voids between the clay particles. These voids are areas where water, air and nutrients are stored. Without these pore spaces, there is no space for root growth.

As clay compacts, it is primarily the large, air- holding pores that are lost, leaving the remaining pores holding water. That means mud! Few plants like to grow in mud.

Well-structured clay has high total porosity and balance between water-holding and air-holding pores. It also has a high capacity to store nutrients and provide habitat for helpful microbes.

If only there was a way to prevent clay soils from becoming compacted…

There is! Profile Soil Conditioner, a porous ceramic, is a special blend of clays with very high porosity, balanced evenly between water-holding pores and air-holding pores.

It won’t compact. When Profile Soil Conditioner is incorporated into a clay soil, it simply adds pore space—- permanent pore space that won’t re-compact or break down. With this new and permanent pore space, roots grow freely.

Profile Soil Conditioner can be applied in two ways--either back-fill holes after core-aeration (1 bag/200-300 sq ft) or till in (1 bag/100-200 sq ft). 

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Remedy Red Thread


Red Thread is especially prevalent during the spring and autumn months on slow-growing, nitrogen-deficient turf. It may cause severe damage to bluegrass, fescue, ryegrass and bentgrass species in humid and cool temperate regions of the world.

Diagnosis: Circular or irregularly shaped, small to large patches of infected grass become water-soaked and die rapidly. The tan color of dead leaves may be the first symptom observed. Dead leaves are generally interspersed with healthy leaves, which gives an overall diffuse, scorched or ragged appearance to the patch. The patches may be widely scattered or close together and may join together to form large areas of infected turf.

Inspection of individual plants reveals that only the foliage is infected, and death usually proceeds from the leaf tip downward. When the air is saturated with moisture, the pathogen produces colorful mycelium structures that are of diagnostic value. Pink to pale red or orange fungal growths, called “red threads”, may extend up to 10 mm beyond the end of the leaf tip. Pink cottony flocks of mycelium up to 10 mm in diameter may also be produced. When the red threads or flocks are present, following humid weather, the patches of blighted grass take on a reddish cast that is easily detected.

Control: It is essential to maintain adequate and balanced soil fertility. Applications of nitrogen fertilizer are particularly helpful in reducing disease severity, but excessive rates of fertilizer must also be avoided. The soil pH should be in the range of 6.5 to 7.0 for turf grass. Water as needed to prevent drought stress in the turf. Water should be applied deeply but as infrequently as possible and early in the day. Avoid frequent sprinkling in the late afternoon as this results in longer periods of leaf wetness.

Selectively prune trees and shrubs, or arrange the landscape design to increase light penetration and air movement over turf. Collecting turfgrass clippings during periods when grass is growing slowly may reduce the number of fungal threads that are incorporated back into the turf. 
Note: Red Thread information provided courtesy of OSU Department of Horticulture.

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Renovate Your Lawn

When a poor lawn has the proper grade and well-drained soil, it can be more easily improved through renovation, rather than complete reconstruction.

Spring and fall are ideal times to renovate a lawn, although success can be achieved in the summer. Renovation involves the removal of thatch, grass and weeds, while thinning the lawn down to the soil to permit the introduction of improved varieties of grasses like those found in Pro Time Lawn Seed mixes.

The result is a beautiful, uniform new lawn without roto-tilling.

1. Select your preferred Pro Time Lawn Seed mixture for the area. There are seed mixes for every kind of situation--sun, shade, high-traffic, water conservation/drought tolerance, ecology, etc. Check the recommended application rate for that mix. Determine the square footage by measuring length by width. 

2. Use a dethatcher (power rake) to remove dead vegetation and to expose the soil. Rake up excess as needed.

3.Core-aerate the area. This is an important step because it enables soil enrichment. Remove the cores after core-aerating.

4.Broadcast an organic based fertilizer while the aeration holes are exposed.

5.Backfill the holes with Profile soil modifier to improve the soil structure.

6.Rake the area with a rake until smooth.

7.Broadcast lime.

8. Spread the seed with a broadcast or hand-held "whirlybird" spreader.

9.Cover the seed with Pro Time's grass straw mulch applied through the mulch roller.

Note: One pass will deliver the proper amount of mulch and will provide the perfect micro-climate for seed germination.

11.Keep the area moist, but not soaking, throughout the germination and establishment period.

Expect to see new grass blades emerging in 7-14 days. Mow the new lawn when it reaches 3-4 inches, removing only one-third or less of the new growth.



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Spot Repairs

When the whole lawn doesn’t need renovating and problems are somewhat localized, spot repairs can be effective. Seed-to-soil contact is the key in spot repairing your lawn.

Remove any offensive weeds using the method of your choice. Fill in the void spots with Pro Time Lawn Seed to be sure that weeds don’t return to fill in. You CAN choose what grows in your lawn!

In areas where moss in the lawn is predominant, control the moss first with a product that contains ferous ammonium sulfate (iron). Then, remove the dead moss by raking or dethatching. Moss will return if the lawn is thin, so overseeding with Pro Time Lawn seed is essential for complete recovery. (If moss persists from year to year, consider supplementing soil with Profile Soil Conditioner, a porous ceramic that allows water, air and nutrients to be held at the root level.)

Broadcast a starter fertilizer and overseed with Pro Time Lawn Seed at the rate noted on the package. Cover the seed with Grass Straw Mulch, spreading a 1/8" layer with a mulch roller or by hand for smaller areas. Keep the area moist, but without puddles, until the new lawn is established. Once roots of new plants have established, keep the new grasses growing thickly by fertilizing with a slow-release, organic fertilizer.

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How To Install A New Lawn

Spring and Fall are great times to install your new lawn.  Natural rainfall combined with 50+ degree soil temperatures are the perfect conditions for sowing seed.  The following are general guidelines, though not every step may be applicable to your situation. 

Soil Preparation

If the old lawn has not been removed, we recomend using a sod cutter to remove the existing lawn.

Run a rototiller over the area, loosening the soil 1-2 inches deep.

If the soil has a high clay content, we recommend tilling in Profile soil modifier at the rate of about 1 bag per 100-200 square feet.

Optional: Spread a weed-free compost 1 inch thick over the area to help improve the fertility of the soil. Lime may also be added at this time to achieve a pH of 6.5 to 7.0.

Surface Preparation

With a landscaping rake, remove large clods and irregularities in the grade.

Note: For larger areas a drag mat can speed this task.

Settle and compact the area with a water roller filled with sufficient weight to firmly compress the soil.

Note: The finished seedbed should be firm, not fluffy. You should be able to walk on your seedbed without sinking more than a quarter inch into the soil.

Seed and Fertilizer Application

Broadcast starter fertilizer at a rate of 10 lbs per 1000 square feet. This will provide nutrients in the correct amounts to get the lawn off to a fast start.

Our Pro Time 10-16-10 Starter fertilizer also provides a complete micronutrient package for long term health of the lawn.

Spread the Pro Time lawn seed you have selected for your site at the recommended rate on the package with a hand-held whirlybird spreader.

Note: For large areas, a walk behind broadcast spreader will make the job go faster.

Completely cover the seedbed approximately 1/8″ deep with Pro Time's Grass Straw Mulch, applied through a mulch spreader. This helps to protect the seedlings and holds in warmth and moisture.


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