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recycledsole
11-20-2012, 09:26 PM
Hey guys,
First of thanks.

Ok, i have a customer who wants sod installed. Ill attatch a picture of the area where they need the sod. It is a mix of crappy grass and bare earth.

Do I have to strip all the grass off and till up the soil? Can i just put it on the crappy lawn? I have a manual sod stripper - which has wheelbarrow handles and a place to kick, i have a string trimmer, i have a tiller.

Pricing, i can get sod for $.29/sq ft, with $150 delivery fee (they said), or pick it up myself. How much should i expcet to charge for labor per sq / ft (including removal & installation- everything)?

Can i just lay the sod down, or do i have to cut it up and place it in a checkerboard like pattern?

Once its down, how often does it need to be watered?

is that slope ok to install sod on?

thank you so much!
p.s. i searched for this, but found these questions unaswered. i will research sod installation on my own also. any help is greatly appreciated!
260644

zackvbra
11-20-2012, 09:57 PM
i cant tell you what you should charge, because I dont know how it is in your area. What I can tell you is:
1) Now is not the best time to be laying sod.
2) Till the soil really good, to where you get all of the old grass cut up really good. I have a tractor with harrow discs I use for this application.
3) Level the ground as good as you can get it. I use a piece of chainlink fence with a steel beam on the back of it to keep weight on it, and I drag it around the lawn with my mower and then I use garden rakes and shovels and my feet to level it and pack it down
4) How you want the sod layed out is up to how much the client wants to spend on sod. You can put it down like solid checkerboard or you can leave checkered board spaces between the pieces of sod, it will just take a while for the grass to grow together, especially since your trying to do this in the middle of fall.
5) Slope doesnt matter, you can put sod on a slope.
6) It needs to be watered for 2-3 weeks quite heavily, but not drowned.

Hope this helps you out!
Zack

Sam's Mowing
11-20-2012, 10:07 PM
I've never installed sod before so I can't really hp but post some pictures after you finish.

GreenI.A.
11-21-2012, 01:33 AM
As far as being to late. My sod farm up here is still guaranteeing sod being harvested right now. We have about 6k going down in two weeks. This does depend on the type of grasses though. We will be using a blue rye mix, I would assume you will also be using a cool season blend.

Darryl G
11-21-2012, 01:51 AM
Sod installation can turn into a nightmare quickly...basically a finger pointing game of who is at fault if the sod fails. The sod farm says it was healthy and cut propertly, the landscaper says it was installed properly in a timely manner and the homeoner says it was watered properly. Only one problem...it's dead!!!!

In my experience, sod looks great at first but can decline pretty quickly over time if not cared for properly. It gets a lot of attention at the sod farm so it's really lush and dense. Then it's put in a not so favorable environment and it definitely notices and declines over time, sometimes rather quickly. If people really want sod, I tell them to call the sod farm and have them install it...not all of them install, but many do.

recycledsole
11-21-2012, 07:24 AM
thanks for everyones help.
i will research and hopefully get some more tips.
thank you

Smallaxe
11-21-2012, 10:13 AM
One of the great reasons for installing cool seasonsod, just before the ground freezes is that, as long as it is watered in adequately at the time of installation, the chances are close to a 100% success rate... no need to over water and no worry about under watering...
In MD where the OP is from,,, are we talking about cool season or warm season sods???

greenstar lawn
11-21-2012, 11:33 AM
Also after laying sod I like to go over it with a roller. Also make sure they take care of it after its I installed. Water, feed, and proper cut height
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recycledsole
11-21-2012, 08:29 PM
yea its cool season, tall fescue sod.

thank you!

agrostis
11-23-2012, 01:30 AM
From that picture, it look's like there are some tree/shade issue's. You have to have at least 4 hour's of direct sunlight a day during the growing season for tall fescue, and that is at a minimum, 6 hour's is better. The cedar on the left side of the house need's to go, IMO. The limb's hanging over the step's need to be cut back, big time. You have to fix the sunlight problem's first, it will make all the difference in success or failure. Is that a "for sale" sign by the front walk ? People in that situation are more likely to approve major change's.

The pricing seem's about normal, maybe five cent's more a sq. ft. than i pay, shop around a little more. You need to know exactly how many sq. ft. of sod you need. A pallet of slab's is 514 sq. ft. If you need more than 2 pallet's, have it delivered. Charge triple or quadruple the price of the sod, that's hard, dirty work, don't be afraid to charge for it.

I would just spray the old grass out with roundup and rake. Tilling is better but a lot more work. If you do till, charge seperately for it. Lose that manual sod cutter, those thing's are only good for triming around edge's and small patch job's.

Put down a granular starter fertilizer at 1 Lb. of N per 1000 sq. ft. before you sod. Do not put the sod down in a checkerboard pattern, most fescue's don't creep. Lay the sod down in a brickwork like pattern, alway's stagger the edge's.
At this time of year, just make sure that the sod and the ground underneath is moist. In the spring, water heavily for 2 week's then gradually cut back. Established fescue need's 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water per week, in your shady spot, 1/4 is probably all you need. Your fine to sod on slope's, but i would turn the sod long-way's to help keep it from washing out since it's not going to put down roots until next spring. I would also put sand on the edge's and the seam's to help it keep from drying out.

recycledsole
11-23-2012, 07:44 AM
From that picture, it look's like there are some tree/shade issue's. You have to have at least 4 hour's of direct sunlight a day during the growing season for tall fescue, and that is at a minimum, 6 hour's is better. The cedar on the left side of the house need's to go, IMO. The limb's hanging over the step's need to be cut back, big time. You have to fix the sunlight problem's first, it will make all the difference in success or failure. Is that a "for sale" sign by the front walk ? People in that situation are more likely to approve major change's.

The pricing seem's about normal, maybe five cent's more a sq. ft. than i pay, shop around a little more. You need to know exactly how many sq. ft. of sod you need. A pallet of slab's is 514 sq. ft. If you need more than 2 pallet's, have it delivered. Charge triple or quadruple the price of the sod, that's hard, dirty work, don't be afraid to charge for it.

I would just spray the old grass out with roundup and rake. Tilling is better but a lot more work. If you do till, charge seperately for it. Lose that manual sod cutter, those thing's are only good for triming around edge's and small patch job's.

Put down a granular starter fertilizer at 1 Lb. of N per 1000 sq. ft. before you sod. Do not put the sod down in a checkerboard pattern, most fescue's don't creep. Lay the sod down in a brickwork like pattern, alway's stagger the edge's.
At this time of year, just make sure that the sod and the ground underneath is moist. In the spring, water heavily for 2 week's then gradually cut back. Established fescue need's 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water per week, in your shady spot, 1/4 is probably all you need. Your fine to sod on slope's, but i would turn the sod long-way's to help keep it from washing out since it's not going to put down roots until next spring. I would also put sand on the edge's and the seam's to help it keep from drying out.

hello Sir
thanks for the reply. house isnt for sale. they just bough it. that is a contractors yard ad.
which tree are you talking about cutting? the one on the left SIDE of the house or the one on the left FRONT of the house? i already told them to cut the one on the side down. they are not sure. it is actully bending their gutter and hitting their house already. not to mention the leaves drop all over their roof, etc...
i dont use roundup, but i do have a tiller. thanks for your response it was very helpful.
thank you

agrostis
11-23-2012, 09:05 AM
I am talking about the tree at the left front of the house. If the tree on the side is touching then it definitely need's to go, now. That can cause a lot of damage when the wind blow's. People are sentimental about tree's, but they cause all kind's of problem's. Tree's and house's don't mix well.

jbell36
11-23-2012, 09:51 AM
ok, first off, a pallet generally covers 450-500 sq. ft...around here i think sod is right around 18¢ per sq ft...so your sod place seems high but that might be the going rate for your area...some people SAY they charge $1 to $1.50 per sq ft...well that would come out to about $500 per pallet that COSTS you $90 and doesn't even take one hour to put down...i don't see how anyone can justify $500/pallet and that is coming from someone who is not a low baller by any means...i like the triple pricing of the cost, so somewhere between $225-250/pallet, strictly laying, no prep work...can anyone else chime in on pricing? i'm curious on what others would have to say...i know some people would just charge 1 labor hour per pallet, so you are looking at $150/ pallet...the numbers are all over the board

GreenI.A.
11-23-2012, 02:28 PM
ok, first off, a pallet generally covers 450-500 sq. ft...around here i think sod is right around 18¢ per sq ft...so your sod place seems high but that might be the going rate for your area...some people SAY they charge $1 to $1.50 per sq ft...well that would come out to about $500 per pallet that COSTS you $90 and doesn't even take one hour to put down...i don't see how anyone can justify $500/pallet and that is coming from someone who is not a low baller by any means...i like the triple pricing of the cost, so somewhere between $225-250/pallet, strictly laying, no prep work...can anyone else chime in on pricing? i'm curious on what others would have to say...i know some people would just charge 1 labor hour per pallet, so you are looking at $150/ pallet...the numbers are all over the board

His prices seem pretty good for the north east. Obviously prices vary between types of grass, qty ordered and the qty you use throughout the year. We generally charge in the 1.50 a ft range, but that include prepping the area before hand and two fert apps.

Patriot Services
11-23-2012, 03:59 PM
ok, first off, a pallet generally covers 450-500 sq. ft...around here i think sod is right around 18¢ per sq ft...so your sod place seems high but that might be the going rate for your area...some people SAY they charge $1 to $1.50 per sq ft...well that would come out to about $500 per pallet that COSTS you $90 and doesn't even take one hour to put down...i don't see how anyone can justify $500/pallet and that is coming from someone who is not a low baller by any means...i like the triple pricing of the cost, so somewhere between $225-250/pallet, strictly laying, no prep work...can anyone else chime in on pricing? i'm curious on what others would have to say...i know some people would just charge 1 labor hour per pallet, so you are looking at $150/ pallet...the numbers are all over the board

That would be me charging/getting a dollar a sqft for SA sod. How do I justify that? I pay to have the turf killed off. I own two 5000 dollar sod cutters to properly cut out old turf. I add/remove/move/amend the soil so it is fertile, level and the new sod doesn't stand proud looking like an old burial mound. I use top quality sod. I ensure proper watering. I provide after care and warranty. Still think I charge too much? Drop and kick jobs stand out like sore thumbs and look good for about 3 weeks then it's all downhill:usflag:

CowboysLawnCareDelaware
11-23-2012, 04:13 PM
1. Rent a sod cutter to remove old soil
2. LIGHTY till surface of dirt to loosen soil, make sure its good soil or else add topsoil w/compost.
3. $1 per sq ft is a good number for someone starting out, make sure you cover all expenses and have a good profit. DON'T charge too much because you don't know what you are doing.
4. Make sure sod will sit nicely against sidewalk before you bring in the sod.
5. Spread STARTER fertilizer properly, lightly water lawn.
6. You want to lightly water lawn so the ground is moist enough to give the roots the easiest access, but not muddy so that you are making a mess.
7. Don't worry about checker-whatever crap, run them all the same way vertically or horizontally.
8. You will need use sod spikes, they are cheap. BUY THEM OR ELSE YOU WILL LOOSE THE LAWN DOWN THE SLOPE!
9. Tell them that they need to water every morning before 11am, if they water too much later after that the water will not get soaked into the ground and a fungus will form underneath the sod.
10. Make them water it because that is something that they can blame you for if a section doesn't grow.
11. If a section is starting to die a few days after it is laid, just replace it right away or else the customer has to look at a brown rectangle and they will cuss you out.
12. Drive by the lawn every other day if it is close by.

Talk with your local sod dealer when they have time, they are their to help you not hurt you. They will also usually keep your card on a board as a reference for customers to see.
Morningstar Turf Farms in Newark, DE is where I go. The more sod you buy the less the price is. Our sod comes in a pallet of 600 sq ft., I believe 10 sq ft sections. Talk to anyone you know locally in the business.

if you are anywhere near Newark, DE I would be willing to stop over and talk you through it or even help you out on the first job if you would like.

-Michael