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View Full Version : Laying sod over existing lawn.


JohnnyRocker
01-07-2010, 11:51 AM
I was wondering if anyone has ever laid sod over existing grass without using a sod cutter, nor tilling. If so, how well did the new sod do during the season? What experiences or opinions does everyone have on this issue. Thanks! :usflag:

Smallaxe
01-07-2010, 11:59 AM
Only ever put sod down over existing turf along the edges when the old wasn't worth the trouble of digging out to make it fit square. It seemsed ok, but I wouldn't risk larger areas on that.

MarcSmith
01-07-2010, 12:20 PM
they did this a lot in florida. kill the old and drop new on top. the only problem is when you get to sidewalks, curbs, ect the new sod is now higher than the curb line, which look chitty, plus it would also play havoc with sprinklers.

don't cut corners...do it right the first time and you wont have to worry about getting any call backs...

grassman177
01-07-2010, 03:19 PM
bad idea, do some prep work first, the roots have to have something to take into or it will fail fast not to mention the soil interface would be non existent

JohnnyRocker
01-07-2010, 03:47 PM
If I use a sod cutter, is it necessary to till also?

MarcSmith
01-07-2010, 04:01 PM
I would use sod cutter and then a hard tine rake to scarify the soil (rough it up a bit) and drop a bit of milorganite down before laying any sod.

if the soil is very highly compacted, then tilling may be needed...

another option would be to run a mantis tiller over the cut areas to scratch up the surface some..

Buddy Buds
01-07-2010, 04:08 PM
I had to do this on a yard back in May. The owner only wanted the front done but he ordered twice what he needed. The owner had the front prepped and we had to cover part of his back yard. It did great this summer.

jeffslawnservice
01-07-2010, 05:29 PM
I know someone that works for Brickman and they said that they put sod down over already existing turf after they scalped the old turf. I guess it worked for them but personally I wouldent do it. I would rather till it all up and then put the sod down.

NC Greenscaper
01-07-2010, 09:28 PM
I've put centipede and bermuda done on top of other grass and it did fine and still does. I don't do this as a rule though.

scagrider22
01-07-2010, 10:50 PM
I would use sod cutter and then a hard tine rake to scarify the soil (rough it up a bit) and drop a bit of milorganite down before laying any sod.

if the soil is very highly compacted, then tilling may be needed...

another option would be to run a mantis tiller over the cut areas to scratch up the surface some..

I agree 100% with MarcSmith, it could end up costing you big time if you lay over existing grass so save yourself alot of troube and do it the rite way.

ALLPro Landscaping
01-07-2010, 10:54 PM
go in with a tiller, till everything up real good, then you may be able to lay on top of that, but I would never lay it down wight on existing turf, you have to till it first then see what your left with

JohnnyRocker
01-08-2010, 12:23 AM
Well, if you had to rent one machine or the other to prep old turf for new sod, would you get a tiller, or a sod cutter?

scagrider22
01-08-2010, 12:33 AM
Well, if you had to rent one machine or the other to prep old turf for new sod, would you get a tiller, or a sod cutter?

If you can only get one get a tiller and then you can rake out the clumps of grass.

JohnnyRocker
01-08-2010, 01:28 AM
Would you bother killing the existing, if you are going to til it into the ground?

scagrider22
01-08-2010, 01:43 AM
Would you bother killing the existing, if you are going to til it into the ground?

Yes it will til up alot easier and les clumps to rake up.

KS_Grasscutter
01-08-2010, 05:46 AM
Last summer a friend of mine had a customer put sod over existing turf (about a 50% stand) in their back yard. No prep work whatsoever. None of it rooted in at all, even walking on it, it would slide around, months afterward. A lot of it eventually died, and by that point what was underneath it also died. Not sure if anything has been done since then to fix it.

If it's a small area, just use a flat shovel to scrape off whats there, and level up the area. Then throw your sod down.

Smallaxe
01-08-2010, 08:04 AM
All plants grow better in loose aerated soils.

ICT Bill
01-08-2010, 12:18 PM
Rent a sod cutter and get rid of the old then lay down the new, it would be smart to put an 1/8 inch of compost down first, you will almost be guaranteed a succesful job

If you lay on top of the existing and it fails later you will lose money, not smart

short cuts often cost more money than they are worth

Jason Rose
01-08-2010, 12:30 PM
Last summer a friend of mine had a customer put sod over existing turf (about a 50% stand) in their back yard. No prep work whatsoever. None of it rooted in at all, even walking on it, it would slide around, months afterward. A lot of it eventually died, and by that point what was underneath it also died. Not sure if anything has been done since then to fix it.

If it's a small area, just use a flat shovel to scrape off whats there, and level up the area. Then throw your sod down.

Haha, I was just going to post that... saved me some typing.

No, they haven't done anything, and they also quit cleaning up the dog crap. I hate that backyard. 1/2 mud and 1/2 crap.

alf500series
01-08-2010, 12:44 PM
another problem that i am suprised nobody else has said-and speaking from experience. if you put sod over existing lawn, if there are any weeds or other type of grass underneath the sod it will grow thru all of your joints. now several times i have cut the existing lawn down as low as i can get it(small yard)basically to the ground with a weed eater or old mower and put sod on top of that with no problems but i could have just been luck also. save your self the hassle-do it right the first time

JohnnyRocker
01-08-2010, 01:16 PM
so if the old sod is just tilled, won't that grow through the new seems also?

tlc23
01-08-2010, 03:22 PM
What type of sod?

JohnnyRocker
01-08-2010, 04:54 PM
Fescue.:weightlifter:

Landscape Poet
01-10-2010, 04:54 AM
they did this a lot in florida. kill the old and drop new on top. the only problem is when you get to sidewalks, curbs, ect the new sod is now higher than the curb line, which look chitty, plus it would also play havoc with sprinklers.

don't cut corners...do it right the first time and you wont have to worry about getting any call backs...

This does happen down here by some folks. Not everyone down here does this but I have noticed most of the hispanics do it this way. Yes it plays havoc with the sprinklers if the heads are not tall enough but it does not appear to be a issue with most of the jobs I have seen. And actually the raised turf next to the curb lines appear attractive to me with the type of edging we do down here, makes it look more like little carpet pads.

However in general yes it is better to go through and till and add soil or other admin to the top soil before laying.

scottbmcd
01-20-2010, 06:31 PM
I have seen it done here in Colorado, with limited success, and in Washington State (upper Pac. NW) with decent results. I would never do it myself, I hate doing the job over out of my own pocket. I have done small repairs with the scape it of method and been fine. If it is really dead rake it well, or even do a dethatch on it. Rake well, add compost, walk away with a happy customer & money in your pocket

PlantNut
01-20-2010, 06:45 PM
Have done this before - scalp old off, core plug then rake in a sandy fill and fertilizer. Then lay new sod over old. Works well with bermuda types, keep an eye out for interlopers resprouting through old, especially nut sedge if you do not have a history of working on this location. Have done it with fescue and rye/fescue mixes, still did well but had more weed control to do in the summer from existing bermuda growing through.

humble1
01-20-2010, 07:54 PM
dead turf decomposing generates a lot of heat so it will heat up and injure the new sod roots.

SilverTouch
01-26-2010, 02:19 AM
I have used a power rake (dethatcher) to run over the dirt after we have cut it out with the sod cutter. It loosens the soil up nice without complete tilling it up.

Smallaxe
01-26-2010, 08:05 AM
All of these points are valid, to one degree or another. The professional LCO needs to be able, to look at a given situation, then, make the right call, for each individual circumstance.
Working with living plants, means not every situation is the same. Not every eco-system requires the same treatment.