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View Full Version : Large Lawn Renovation Need Advice


Chattybirds
07-22-2010, 10:36 PM
So, a friend of the family asked me and two other buddies to "renovate" their lawn. The task consists of replanting new grass and leveling a few small areas that have some unevenness, nothing too bad. The entire area of lawn is 2-3 acres. We thought the best way to do this job, since they wanted ALL NEW GRASS, since it was alot of weeds, would be to kill the grass with some kind of round-up,using a sprayer pulled by a tractor/atv/etc, then rent a 5 ft comerical tiller for a 30-40hp tractor and till the entire lot, then compact the soil with a roller, then spread grass with a seeder pulled by a tractor/atc/etc then finally cover with a light coating of straw. Please tell me if this is a good plan for this kind of job or not. If you don't think this is a good idea, please tell me what you would do...but i don't have access to expensive hydro seeders and other equipment like that, just the general equipment mentioned. Thank you any advice will be appreciated.

JoJo1990
07-23-2010, 07:13 AM
By putting straw down you are asking for a weed invasion. Do they have a way to irrigate 2-3 acres daily to keep the seed bed moist?

Smallaxe
07-23-2010, 07:15 AM
No idea what zone you are in or what your soil is like, but why would you go through the expense of roundup if you are going to till anyways? Are your weeds that big a deal after a close mowing? Is it quackgrass?

Rolling before seeding and compacting the soil for the rootzone, is really a pet-peeve of mine. Mechanical compactors, do more damage to future turf than any other single factor. Once you are level and seeded, saturate your seedbed, to make the 'soil to seed contact'. Forget the straw if possible. It too causes more harm than good.

RAlmaroad
07-23-2010, 07:17 AM
Don't know where you live, not what type of turf you have in mind; so, wait until fall to do the work and you will not have to irrigate so much when the seed sprouts.

jonthepain
07-23-2010, 08:02 AM
what smallaxe said.

also, you might consider renting a hydroseeder, or have a hydroseeding company come out and do it. they are pretty reasonable.

RigglePLC
07-24-2010, 11:49 AM
Don't do it is spring. Crabgrass will come back quicker than your good grass. Fiond the reason for the poor conditions before attempting to correct it. Otherwise it will happen again. Best to just feed and kill the weeds--taking advantage of rains whenever they happen. I am thinking it is not irrigated--if it was neglected they may neglect it again. sure fix the uneveness.

Chattybirds
07-24-2010, 03:20 PM
I'm located in South Central PA, as of now the ground is extremely dry, and the ground is hard. Our Spring and Fall on the other hand is just the opposite. I was thinking of tilling the land more towards late August, early September when the ground would hopefully moisten up a bit. but Smallaxe you say you do recommend to roll, or not? I agree with straw not helping keeping weeds out, but I'm not exactly sure what i should do to keep the seed intact and keep the moisture in so much, if i would have problems irrigating the lawn. For the hydroseeding, Would anyone know what the price of that, for 3 acres (just to compare what you all would charge to what is available in my area)

indyturf
07-24-2010, 08:31 PM
Your best to plant mid Aug-mid Sept. if it were me I would spray it with a 3way weed control and try and save any of the grass that is desirable. have you thought about slit-seeding? you could rent a pull behind if you have a tractor or use a self-propelled walk behind. I have a LS seeder and it does an awesome job. would be much less work and a better finished product that tilling, rolling and over-seeding

Chattybirds
07-24-2010, 11:45 PM
Your best to plant mid Aug-mid Sept. if it were me I would spray it with a 3way weed control and try and save any of the grass that is desirable. have you thought about slit-seeding? you could rent a pull behind if you have a tractor or use a self-propelled walk behind. I have a LS seeder and it does an awesome job. would be much less work and a better finished product that tilling, rolling and over-seeding

No, actually I havn't considered slit-seeding, only because I am unfamiliar with that method, I did a few minutes of research, you are right about getting nicer job, but a the main thing would be, the house was built just a few years ago, and never obtained any real grass seed, as it was a pasture/ hay field before, and having a high percent weed, say if i had 75% weed in this lawn, would slit-seeding still be a good option?

Cloud9Landscapes
07-25-2010, 12:52 AM
No idea what zone you are in or what your soil is like, but why would you go through the expense of roundup if you are going to till anyways? Are your weeds that big a deal after a close mowing? Is it quackgrass?


:hammerhead: Anytime you are going from weeds to grass round-up MUST be applied. Spend the extra money and make 2 applications.

If you till the weeds over, you are doing nothing but mixing them into the soil and asking them to sprout.

I've never tried silt-seeding but I think it would be good for this application. I would suggest rolling the area before seeding to assure the area is level, then fill in low spots. Then roll it again to assure good seed to soil contact.

jonthepain
07-25-2010, 07:12 AM
For the hydroseeding, Would anyone know what the price of that, for 3 acres (just to compare what you all would charge to what is available in my area)

.08 sf

http://www.thecorporategrounds.com/Hydroseeding_Cost_Calculato.html

or rent one and do it yourself for around .02 sf

Smallaxe
07-25-2010, 07:39 AM
:hammerhead: Anytime you are going from weeds to grass round-up MUST be applied. Spend the extra money and make 2 applications.

If you till the weeds over, you are doing nothing but mixing them into the soil and asking them to sprout...

That is true with weeds, like quackgrass, however, even with that it is less work and expense to hit, whatever does regrow.

If the ground is, lousy, compacted, or whatever, there is no substitute for cultivation.

Smallaxe
07-25-2010, 07:47 AM
I'm located in South Central PA, as of now the ground is extremely dry, and the ground is hard. Our Spring and Fall on the other hand is just the opposite. I was thinking of tilling the land more towards late August, early September when the ground would hopefully moisten up a bit. but Smallaxe you say you do recommend to roll, or not? I agree with straw not helping keeping weeds out, but I'm not exactly sure what i should do to keep the seed intact and keep the moisture in so much, if i would have problems irrigating the lawn. For the hydroseeding, Would anyone know what the price of that, for 3 acres (just to compare what you all would charge to what is available in my area)

Rolling loose soil causes compaction. Rolling wet soil is even worse. level the ground with a drag of some sort when the soil is dry, so as not to compact it with the tractor, so much. Plant the seed, then soak it down.

If you can't irrigate all 3 acres, irrigate a section that you can keep moist. Don't spread yourself too thin. Pick an area, and keep it perfectly moist, all the time, until it is old enough to dry up a bit. It is better to have 1/2 acre of good turf, than 3 acres of dusty weeds. Whatever lawn goes into winter well adjusted and stablished will be fine next spring.

Turboguy
07-25-2010, 10:07 AM
I'm located in South Central PA, as of now the ground is extremely dry, and the ground is hard. Would anyone know what the price of that, for 3 acres (just to compare what you all would charge to what is available in my area)

You asked the price of hydro seeding. There is no set rule and prices can vary a lot. Just to give you some idea my price this year per acre to hydroseed is $ 2250.00 an acre on one acre or more. It might be possible to find someone cheaper but I doubt it would be much less than $ 1750 an acre or someone might charge more but probably if they were much over $ 3000.00 an acre I would keep looking.

Another option for you might be to rent a hydroseeder. We rent ours for $ 175.00 a day and even if you had to pay a bit more you could go that route and probably do it for a few thousand.

Cloud9Landscapes
07-25-2010, 02:22 PM
Rolling loose soil causes compaction. Rolling wet soil is even worse. level the ground with a drag of some sort when the soil is dry, so as not to compact it with the tractor, so much. Plant the seed, then soak it down.
.

This is why we aerate and spread 50 lbs of gypsum/sqf. the year after seeding/sodding. IMO you should till, run the harley rake, use the drag mats and the roll with a heavy roller.

Smallaxe
07-25-2010, 02:41 PM
This is why we aerate and spread 50 lbs of gypsum/sqf. the year after seeding/sodding...

This may be fine in some soils, that are sandier than, they are clayey...

Why is rolling so important, after dragging? that you're willing to work for years, relieving compaction?

jonthepain
07-25-2010, 06:11 PM
Just to give you some idea my price this year per acre to hydroseed is $ 2250.00 an acre on one acre or more.

Hey TB, would you consider coming down to Raleigh? My partner just finished logging 8 acres and we are trying to put together 2 soccer and 2 Lacrosse fields.

Send me a pm if you are interested.

Thanks!
jon

Cloud9Landscapes
07-25-2010, 06:25 PM
Why is rolling so important, after dragging? that you're willing to work for years, relieving compaction?

Dragging makes it mostly flat and rolling compresses the lawn so it does not settle un-evenly Then you can go back after rolling and rake in the low spots.

Smallaxe
07-25-2010, 08:48 PM
Dragging makes it mostly flat and rolling compresses the lawn so it does not settle un-evenly Then you can go back after rolling and rake in the low spots.

Water saturation, does a more thorough, and even job of that. Then when it dries it is full of air, and structure forms during that process. Superficial raking with a broom rake may or may not be desirable.

Turboguy
07-26-2010, 11:38 AM
Hey TB, would you consider coming down to Raleigh? My partner just finished logging 8 acres and we are trying to put together 2 soccer and 2 Lacrosse fields.

Send me a pm if you are interested.

Thanks!
jon

Thanks for the offer Jon, If it is after it's too cold to seed here I might think about it. Some warmer weather might be nice. There is an IBM facility somehere near Raleigh that I did some of the seeding on ages ago. I have hydroseeded a lot of places including the Virgin Islands and even Baku in Azerbaijan which is on the Caspian Sea south of Russia. You are probably better off finding someone local though. The Hydro Seeding Association has a list of local contractors at www.HydroSeedingExperts.com if you need someone to seed it otherwise if your timetable is Nov or Dec I might think about a few days in nicer weather. Thanks again.

jonthepain
07-26-2010, 11:48 AM
Thanks for the link TB! I didn't know there were so many hydro contractors in our area.

When I get a handle on timing I'll shoot you a PM and see if you want to come down.

Hopefully by the end of the year.

btw I know that IBM campus - my son used to work there as a programmer.

thanks again
jon

Chattybirds
07-26-2010, 10:11 PM
Water saturation, does a more thorough, and even job of that. Then when it dries it is full of air, and structure forms during that process. Superficial raking with a broom rake may or may not be desirable.

you both have valid points, if i dont compact the soil with a roller, would it be safe to run a tractor over top the loose soil with a pull behind spreader without disrupting the soil to much? or is that where i should spread it with a walk-behind spreader?

Smallaxe
07-27-2010, 09:47 AM
you both have valid points, if i dont compact the soil with a roller, would it be safe to run a tractor over top the loose soil with a pull behind spreader without disrupting the soil to much? or is that where i should spread it with a walk-behind spreader?

Run the tractor over it when it is dry, to minimize the damage. Hopefully the ruts will disappear, when you soak it down.
The thing I always noticed with pulling a roller around with the tractor, that the tractor ruts also appeared in the roller track. Harder for the ruts to blend in under those circumstances... At least in heavier soils.

Fireguy97
07-27-2010, 10:36 AM
This is all great advice, but as was said before, without an irrigation system to keep the seed moist during germination, you will be back to the same situation as you have now. If you can't keep the turf irrigated, you will have an ugly mass of weeds/lawn again.

Don't forget to get before, during, and after pictures.

Mick

Smallaxe
07-27-2010, 07:42 PM
We had 3 acres of renovation in a woods. What we did, was level, add topsoil, seed by hand and run a hose to the spot and had it go everyday, until it germinated. Then we were ready to seed the next spot.
Fortunately, the HO on that job believed, that it is better to do one spot well, than to deal with mediocrity or failure, over all.

Cloud9Landscapes
07-27-2010, 11:08 PM
+1 on the irrigation. Any lawn should have a irrigation system.

Smallaxe
07-28-2010, 08:15 AM
Another method, that was commonly done, on large areas w/out irr.; was to prep the lawn then put the seed down after the growing season was over. Relying on winter snow and spring rains to establish the entire area.
Cut high to eliminate the CG getting started next season, rather than the Pre-M. You do not want to stunt the root growth, of young plants trying to establish, b4 the hot dry summer.

Chattybirds
07-31-2010, 11:33 PM
ok smallaxe, makes good sense...Thanks everyone for posting! much appreciated!