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LawnsharkMB
02-04-2012, 12:17 AM
I'm working on an estimate for sodding a lawn. There are huge roots all over the place as the lawn is surrounded by trees. What kinds of problems can the roots cause? Should I just sod over them like they're not there?

JFGauvreau
02-04-2012, 08:51 AM
-Roots will make your lawn unlevel, if they are really popping out that much. So you might have draining problem after.

-Usually you need a good 6-8 inches of top soil underneath your sod.

-If their is tree surrounded everywhere, make sure to pick a type of grass that is shade tolerant

-Lots of tree will soak up all of the nutrients, therefor the grass will have a hard time to grow.

Hope this helps.

Patriot Services
02-04-2012, 09:04 AM
I try real hard to talk people out of sodding right up to the trunk. I suggest mulch, ivy, jasmine. A planting bed around large trees adds a lot of interest. Large trees and surface roots are tough to make completely level. Its usually the tree unable to find deep water so it spreads laterally and soaks up all the groud water. Sodding over will probably lead to failure and a nightmare to mow.

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LawnsharkMB
02-04-2012, 10:34 AM
The guy said the lawn was in pretty good shape when he moved in, but now its just bare, hard clay with very little grass. It's a centipede lawn, which is fairly shade tolerant if I'm not mistaken so I guess the roots just sucked up all the water and nutrients and the grass eventually died off.

About the 6-8 inches of top soil, this would put the final grade 5-7 inches above the driveway and sprinkler heads as they are just above level now.
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agrostis
02-04-2012, 10:49 AM
I try real hard to talk people out of sodding right up to the trunk. I suggest mulch, ivy, jasmine. A planting bed around large trees adds a lot of interest. Large trees and surface roots are tough to make completely level. Its usually the tree unable to find deep water so it spreads laterally and soaks up all the groud water. Sodding over will probably lead to failure and a nightmare to mow.

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I agree with this 100%

If you add topsoil you run the risk of smothering the tree.

LawnsharkMB
02-04-2012, 12:08 PM
I have never even been a part of sodding a lawn. I worked at a golf course for a while, we stripped and sodded all 18 greens. We aerated and removed the plugs. Then went around the edge with the sod cutter. Then drug the green until it was smooth. Starter fertilizer was then applied and we started putting down sod. What is the same and what is done different when sodding a centipede lawn vs. a Bermuda green?
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Patriot Services
02-04-2012, 12:44 PM
Centipede is slow to establish. Like any other sod job. Round Up to kill off any weeds or unwanted grass, sod cutter to remove old dead lawn, set as shallow as possible to only remove the dead grass and leave any organic matter behind. Personally I fert before the sod goes down. Lay the sod, tight seams then water, water, water. A good spray guy is a must with centipede. Pricing would be materials, cutter rental and disposal. I won't go below a dollar a sq ft. Not knowing what Centipede goes for that might be low. Sod is hard, dirty work when your solo so make it worth your while.
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RigglePLC
02-04-2012, 01:14 PM
Garveau is right--if lots of trees--shade will kill the grass. That is probably the reason for thin grass to start with. And if you add to muuch soil --over about 3 inches--it will smother the roots--not enough oxygen--and the trees will die.
Go with a shade loving ground cover.

Smallaxe
02-06-2012, 08:54 AM
You'll want to till the lawn, especially if it's clay. As you approach the tree you'll begin to notice that there is a few roots starting to appear, and from there you have to decide where you stop tilling in relation to the tree's rootzone.
Sometimes I actually go inside the canopy perimeter and rough up the surface roots abit, before I cover them and soak the soil over them to be sure they stay covered. It is very unprofessional to lay sod around roots. Tacky, is a better word. :)

Do Not Mess With the Crown.
I usually stay away from the trunk's perimeter at least a distance equal to the diameter of the trunk, sometimes even further, if I'm in doubt.

ArTurf
02-07-2012, 08:08 AM
The guy said the lawn was in pretty good shape when he moved in, but now its just bare, hard clay with very little grass. It's a centipede lawn, which is fairly shade tolerant if I'm not mistaken so I guess the roots just sucked up all the water and nutrients and the grass eventually died off.

About the 6-8 inches of top soil, this would put the final grade 5-7 inches above the driveway and sprinkler heads as they are just above level now.
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If the lawn was in good shape when he 1st moved in and then it declined. You need to figure out why. Doing the same thing over and expecting different results is the definition of stupidity. Poor or incorrect maintenance practices? Centipede is VERY PICKY. The wrong practices will kill it quick. Research the threads on centipede if you choose to go with it again.

Centipede is not what I would call a shade tolerant grass, although you will read this it must be taken in proper context. I would use certain varieties of zoysia or St Augustine if there is a lot of shade. I am guessing your climate is similar to mine. I am located in south Arkansas.

Now would be a good time to check the sprinkler system for proper design before installing the sod. Someone who really knows systems will need to look at it, many who are in the business in my area do not know how to properly design a system. If you are adding topsoil you will need to raise the heads. If the roots are coming to the top excessively that is an indication of lack of water.

Patriot Services
02-08-2012, 09:57 PM
So what did you decide to do? A ton of good advice to take away here.
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LawnsharkMB
02-08-2012, 10:23 PM
Thanks for all the responses and great advice. I talked with the homeowner about removing the couple pines that are still in the lawn and removing the roots. The HOA won't let him remove any more trees but he is gonna have the protruding roots removed. In the meantime I'm gonna do a soil test and see what the problems are other than lack of water which I know was a problem because the guy is only there 5 weeks out of the year.

Patriot, you mentioned that a good spray guy is a must with centipede. Please explain. I thought centipede had low fertility requirements and was a very pest resistant grass?
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Patriot Services
02-09-2012, 08:46 AM
Protruding root removal:confused::nono::cry::dizzy::hammerhead:. Not sure what the HO is thinking. You can't just hack out a large surface root without consequences. The tree will be compromised structurally and the death clock started.

On the Centipede it really doesn't live up to its claims much like Zoysia. It's very slow to establish which lets weeds get a big jump on it. You dont want to apply herbicides when trying to establish. Centipede can easily be overfed which further slows things. It's not very wear tolerant and has problems with decline after a few years even with proper care. A soil test is a great start. You might still be able to save the existing turf with an overseed, compost, amendment plan. I would still like to use groundcovers around the trees. :usflag:

Grasssales2001
02-09-2012, 10:46 AM
What type of trees are they? How long has the homeowner lived there? Centipede does have low fert requirements and can be an acceptable turf.