View Full Version : Sod Removal

06-12-2002, 12:39 AM
I'm putting in a system with a trencher for the first time ever, and I was wondering if I should get a sod cutter to cut out where I'm digging and put it back when I'm done to make it look better?

JR LeGer
06-12-2002, 02:08 AM
For trenching, I don't think you have to go to that extent. You can probably make cuts with a shovel or some other simple tool you have laying around. You could go all out and cut or whatever you want to. It is important that when you are done with the trenches that they are packed well and or water settled or you may have noticable trench lines in the lawn.

06-12-2002, 01:38 PM
What's the best way to pack in the trenches?

06-12-2002, 09:01 PM
How long are the runs of pipe and how nice do you want it to look when your done? Rent a sod cutter and go along where the trenches will be dug. Use a square spade to cut the pieces small enough to roll up and set to the side. Trench the runs, make the connections, and install the heads. Backfill the trenches and tamp them WELL with a hand tamper. 8"x8" or 12"x12". Unroll the turf back into the trenches and tamp that again. The nicer the lawn the better the sod cutter will work. If the lawn is thin and spotty cutting it will be difficult. My suggestion would be to use a vibe plow- much less labor intense. Pull the runs and hand cut small squares of sod for fittings and heads- much less work. Good luck?

06-13-2002, 01:06 AM
This is on my own yard and I want it to look at if nothing happened. I didnt want the lines from the vib. plow to show because this is probably the nicest lawn in town. I am only doing a part of it my lawn this Saturday because that is the only time I will have in two weeks to do it.

06-13-2002, 08:53 AM
Vib plow should not be a problem if the soil is well watered and the turf is prime before construction starts.


06-13-2002, 08:54 AM
after seam restore

06-13-2002, 10:33 AM


06-13-2002, 10:42 AM
Look's like fun in that rocky soil

06-13-2002, 07:32 PM
Tony - I think I have a job in a couple of weeks near my house that I will be pulling if you would like to see how we do it and the types of systems we put in here.

Only problem might be some tree roots.

06-13-2002, 08:31 PM

what exactrly are your guys doing in that picture and why do you have to do it that way? I run a Maxi sneaker every day and I can't imagine doing an install any other way....

JR LeGer
06-14-2002, 02:46 AM
I feel dumb, but I am not sure what that is--maxi-sneaker.

Tony looks like he is showing one of his workers using a trencher in an AZ back yard. That is exactly how my company does it.
The gates leading into most of the back yards here are small and there is only so much you can get back there.

Looks like a concrete border on one side of the yard and a retaining wall type planter along the back wall. He probably charged about $5000 or $10,000 for that job and it probably took 3 or 4 days, tops.

Whenmy guys are done with the trenches and lines we usually water settle them.

06-14-2002, 07:51 AM
A case maxisneaker, quite possibly the greatest thing to happen to irrigatiopn installation....It has a 37hp diesel motor, articulating hydrostatic 4 wheel drive, and can be equiped with a vibratory plow, a trencher and a boring unit capable of 50' /+ bores....it truly does the work of 10 men. how small are those arizona back yard gates? there are smaller vibratory plows that might work (ditchwitch 255 sx, vermeer lm25, case mini sneaker) that are still plenty powerfull for a residential or small commercial and are likely to fit through the gate.....


06-14-2002, 10:00 AM
Too rocky and soil too loose to pull I would assume. Nobody pulls in Phoenix that I know of......we are very sandy and I think the pull would fail.......when it isn't sandy, it is rocky.

Actually JR, we did not do the walls....just the grass, sprinks, curbing and I think the job was a total of about $3k and it took a day and a half. We kinda specialized in that small stuff for awhile. Still do actually.

Dana.....don't know what is going on right now. The fire is too close to make plans. Sorry for not getting back to you but it has been a battle around here lately.

06-14-2002, 06:53 PM
I understand Tony. Hope all works out OK for ya.

Harold pics show a good lawn when the pulling occurs. But when pulling through a bad lawn, (sparse grass, shallow roots, etc.) it tends to make a mess. But at the same time that homeowner should realize that putting in the system is eventually going to make that yard look better with regular, evenly didtributed water. Clean up is actually easier on a bad lawn.

I do not like trenching.

06-18-2002, 12:57 AM

Part of my friends selling point and part of my friends pricing is the fact that he does do a 'clean, looks like we weren't here' job.

In order to do this, one must do whatever it takes and or have the right equipment to make sure that when they leave the job it is as close to as it was, if not better than it was, when they leave.

I've worked on quite a few install jobs and with my friend, and as I do my own landscape work, see a lot of the 'other' guys install jobs. What a difference!

For instance, when installing heads in lawns, some guys dig a hole, throw dirt all over the place, rip up the grass in a 2 ft circle, and then just cram it all back in the hole when they are finished, leaving all sorts of rocks and what not surrounding the area.

Meanwhile, as I'm sure a lot of you guys do, we have to careful remove the sod, place it aside on a small tarp, dig the hole, placing all the dirt on the tarp, put the head in, back fill the hole, place the 'sod' back around the head, and then plastic rake up any debris left behind.

I think whether you want to remove the sod or not is a matter of what kind of product you are looking to achieve, and whether or not you are in a market that is willing to pay for that level of perfection. My friend takes great pride in his attention to detail, and it shows as he manages to both retain a high level of customer satisfaction while still charging higher prices than others.


06-18-2002, 08:03 AM
We do basically the same thing with the protection. We only cut sod on 3 sides if possible and fold it back. Taht way the orientation is alwasy right and its close to the hole when your working. WE alwasy use a "cover" to put soil on. I know hurry crews that don't bother with them but there is no grass clean up and you just pull it to the hole and roll the soil back in and tamp. It is quicker.

We used to be real careful about the sod stripping and removal using a spade to cut and peal the sod. Now I'm trying to get the guys to use a 4" trench shovel. Just chop the 3 sides for a head hole as quick as you can, flip uit back and excavate a little on one side of the pipe and a short trench to the head. Since we are using poly for most laterals anymore plus the snap on Blazing Saddles a head install can be done very quickly.