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View Full Version : how much for removing a yard's sod


zmowingmaster
12-17-2004, 02:48 AM
hello all,
yesturday a friend of mine asked me how much it would cost if he had to hire me remove the old dead grass from his front yard,put new top soil, an new sod. the yard is an average front house yard, it has only one tree in the middle.
i never did such a job, i usually do mowing only.
do i need to rent equipment, or is it better to buy one of those machines that cuts the sod, i've seen some people using it one time while driving, but never used it.
i may be doing this job next spring,but still haven't decided yet since i have no idea on how much it might cost.i've been mowing grass for around four years by now, and i am looking to start doing some light landscaping related jobs in the spring time. a person has to start somewhere, so i think this may be my first challenge ( well to some pros this just an easy thing)
thanks for the replys in advance guys

packerbacker
12-17-2004, 07:01 PM
hello all,
yesturday a friend of mine asked me how much it would cost if he had to hire me remove the old dead grass from his front yard,put new top soil, an new sod. the yard is an average front house yard, it has only one tree in the middle.
i never did such a job, i usually do mowing only.
do i need to rent equipment, or is it better to buy one of those machines that cuts the sod, i've seen some people using it one time while driving, but never used it.
i may be doing this job next spring,but still haven't decided yet since i have no idea on how much it might cost.i've been mowing grass for around four years by now, and i am looking to start doing some light landscaping related jobs in the spring time. a person has to start somewhere, so i think this may be my first challenge ( well to some pros this just an easy thing)
thanks for the replys in advance guys







I assume he just wants a renovation. Why rent a sod cutter if its dead already? Scalp the hell out of it. Put some topsoil down and seed it. Lot less work then trying to remove the dead stuff.

kalyeah
12-17-2004, 07:07 PM
is he dead set on sod? Why not just take a soil sample, kill the grass, amend the soil, and slit seed it?

J Hisch
12-17-2004, 07:19 PM
600.00- 800.00 plus topsoil and sod install would be billed by the yard.

YardPro
12-17-2004, 08:03 PM
I assume he just wants a renovation. Why rent a sod cutter if its dead already? Scalp the hell out of it. Put some topsoil down and seed it. Lot less work then trying to remove the dead stuff.

i agree
why remove the sod???
the marerial will do nothing but add amendments to the soil.

zmowingmaster
12-17-2004, 08:05 PM
i really don't know why he wants to do that from the first place, i think (only a thought) that probably the two new houses built next to his house have a very nice grass,or he got some cash that is so heavy on his wallet :) ,
p.s. i don't mow his lawn, he does it by himself, so i don't know if he cut the grass on regular bases or not.

packerbacker
12-17-2004, 08:06 PM
i really don't know why he wants to do that from the first place, i think (only a thought) that probably the two new houses built next to his house have a very nice grass,or he got some cash that is so heavy on his wallet :) ,
p.s. i don't mow his lawn, he does it by himself, so i don't know if he cut the grass on regular bases or not.





He's probably just looking for the instant results then. Gotta keep up with the Jones's heh?

YardPro
12-17-2004, 08:10 PM
there is still no need to remove the old sod before installing the new sod, unless the added height will be an issue

packerbacker
12-17-2004, 08:15 PM
there is still no need to remove the old sod before installing the new sod, unless the added height will be an issue




It wouldnt take longer to root with the dead stuff underneath it?

YardPro
12-17-2004, 09:15 PM
nope, not at all. the roots would grow into the dead grass matt quicker than into hard soil

lawnguyland
12-17-2004, 11:13 PM
Oh my, what a can of worms we have here.

#1. Good luck, if you've never done it, read up on it, then charge your friend very little as a learning experience.
#2. You can't just throw sod down on dead grass.

impactlandscaping
12-17-2004, 11:29 PM
Assuming the yard in question is say 30 X 60, or 1800 sqft(avg. around here at least), you will need to kill the exisiting grass with a non-selective herbicide, properly prep the area with a Harley Rake, remove large pieces of sod turves that did not root at all first, add new topsoil to achieve grade, hand fininsh, and re seed or re sod. I don't do sod, so I can't comment on the price of that. But with the previous assumptions,and hydroseed, you would be in the $ 1900.00-2500.00 price range around here

zmowingmaster
12-18-2004, 04:14 AM
thanks guys for your help,it is informative to me so far :)

YardPro
12-18-2004, 09:13 AM
impact.
with sod (all we do, we don't seed) you won't need to do all the extensive prep work. You can of course, but it is not neccessary.
just nuke the grass cut it short, use a little soil to level out and sod over the old turf. the decomposing old turf will create an excellent environment for the new root system.

Precision
12-18-2004, 07:49 PM
the better way to put in new sod is as follows

use a non selective herbicide on the "dead" grass.
Wait a minimum of 4 day (a week is better)
Rototill the sod into the soil - This turns in the organic matter and aerates the soil
allowing for easier root penetration.
Smooth out the rototilling - a flat rake will work fine
Apply starter fert or milorganites
water soil (approx 1/2 inch)
lay sod and make sure you butt it up well and tamp down any corner
leave room around trees, mail boxes, hedges, house line
water in with at least 1 inch of irrigation
water again with at least 1 inch of water every day for at least 2 weeks
Use the pull test to see if roots have anchored new sod prior to mowing (3-4 weeks)
next 2 weeks 1 inch every other day
next 2 weeks 1 inch every third day

Weekly checks for disease or bugs.

impactlandscaping
12-18-2004, 11:24 PM
Precision, all sounds good, but why wait 4-7 days? You can spray RoundUp and seed five minutes later.Time = Money payup :D

out4now
12-18-2004, 11:46 PM
So far Precision has given the best advice. There are several ways of doing this. How big is the area? Does the tree have any surface roots? How much is he willing to spend? What killed the grass in the first place? Last question most important. Why lay new sod if there is an underlying problem? Are there webworms? Other insects, fungal infection, pearl scale ? You can take a box scaper and cut it all off but then you have to pay to haul it off. I would find what killed it first then rototill amendments and terrrasorb in, run a bobcat with landscape rake( if area is large) install irrigation and or drainage if he wants it and you are qualified to do so then try and talk him intro hydroseeding or just put in the sod. You could also go with sprigs at less of acost but it wouldn't be pretty for awhile. jmy.02

YardPro
12-19-2004, 09:25 AM
there is absolutely no need to wait on the roundup, except if you're going to till. it will need 24 hrs to translocate into the root system.

also you can do all the prep work everyone has listed above. porbably better for you if you're in heavy soils. My recomendations are for here at the coast. here it is worse to till, etc. nutgrass is a hudge problem here, so we try and not disturb the soil unless we have to. also the decomposing mat of grass under the new sod is a much better media than if it is tilled in.

Geoffrey
12-19-2004, 10:30 AM
Yardpro,
I'm not doubting your experience or advice but I was hoping you could expand on it. I've been told and taught the exact opposite of all your advice. Round up has a residual effect up to a month but a week is minimum time to wait. Laying sod directly on the existing lawn can work but will overload the turfs ecosystem thus creating an immense amount of problems ie thatch, insect, disease. I agree with whoever stated it earlier that knowing how or why the sod needs to be replaced is the most important issue in a sod job. I also agree with all of Precisions list except I'd get a soil test first and water differently. Why waste water? Light and frequent first week then deep infrequent watering after that. I'd tell the customer to use there finger as a "moisture meter" to help them water. Thanks

Geoff

Precision
12-19-2004, 10:47 AM
The reason for waiting on the roundup is two fold. First the customer likes to see the effects starting before you till it under, second, the roots of your new sod are much more tender than the leaves that got sprayed. I have seen yellowing if sod it thrown too soon over the round up.

As far as the watering goes, I should have ammended that based on where you live. Here in Florida that is what you need because of our very sandy soil. Deep watering is good because the roots chase the water down, but here your grass will dry up if you water less than mentioned. I also use water as a leveler after laying the sod. Much cheaper than paying me to roll it in. And in the beginning there really isn't such a thing as too much water (within reason).

YardPro
12-19-2004, 08:12 PM
roundoup and any other glyphosates have NO ROOT activity.
the HAVE to evter through the stomata in the leaves and then are translocated through the plant. The block an enzyme used in the shikimate pathway. They essentally sotp a plant from being able to produce energy. (thier equivalent of glycolysis).


roundup has binders in it that render it inactive with soil contact. you cannout even use dirty water when mixing. This is done because of the widespread use now in the cotton and soybean industry with the (roundup ready) plants. they can not have thier produce washing into the rivers and wreaking havoc on the surrounding wildlife.

you have the wrong info on the potental thatch problem.
Thatch is accumulations of dead material ABOVE THE ROOTS, and under the crown layer.
laying new sod on old dead sod will NOT IN ANY way cuase thatch becuase the decomposing layer is UNDER the new sods roots.

how it going to create disease and insect problems? That's a knee jerk reaction. and what is overloading it's ecosystem??? that's nonesense.
the decomposing layer of turf is no different than an organically rich soil layer under the sod. It will retain moisture, it will release N in the form of NH3 and NH4 as the detritivores decompose the material.

i'm not trying to be a jerk to you , but your information is unfounded.

my second post was to clarify that my advise pertained to my area, not his and the tilling, amending etc, will work better, especially in heavy clay soils.

Different areas require different methods. It would be like you recomending lime to someone here. Here we have pH's in the 8-9 range and we add sulphur, NOT lime. But in 90% of the us lime is needed

Geoffrey
12-19-2004, 10:29 PM
Yardpro,
Nonsense, knee jerk, unfounded information, wow for someone who's not tring to be a jerk you lay it on pretty thick. I stopped posting on this site for a while because to often everyone seems so pissy. I love to just post my experience and thoughts without "researching" every little disagreement. I will stand buy my orginal post and footnote some information for you. Nada, Nothing, Not one piece of literature I own said to apply turf over an exiting lawn. You are the FIRST person I've heard say that, that's why I questioned your post and requested additional information. My information comes from the following sources.
Plants in the Landscape written by Carpenter an Walker
Horticulture written by George Acquaah
Alabama Extension, Alabama A&M, Auburn Ornamental and Turf Pest Control (State License Exam)

Thatch is defined as a layer of living and dead turfgrass stems and roots located between the soil surface (your old lawn) and the green canopy of the turfgrass (new sod laid over it).

Development of plant diseases temperature and moisture are especially important factors in disease caused by living organisms. They affect the activity of the organism, the ease with which a plant becomes diseased, and the way the disease develops. Warm and humid conditons invite disease and control of this microclimate is a must.

As far as laying down a new turf well I own 18 landscape books and NONE stated to lay sod over an existing site or unprepared site. ALL of them stated to prepare the site first. I'm not saying I'm right and your wrong but from my vantage point it looks like your the one selling snake oil.
Geoff

trying 2b organic
12-19-2004, 11:49 PM
I want to beleive Yardpro for a few reasons.

1. I have learned to trust real life experience over what I have read in books. As always the experienced landscaper is calling for what is the cheapest fastest most profiable method that works. In the books, someone with a university education, a little test field expereince but No expereince in the real world is recommending what would be an IDEAL method if time and money were not factors.

2. I have been researching the hell out of this in books and in my biz and the best reno solution for me will be one that does not require heavy equipment or huge labour dollars. Therefore I will be continuing to do renos without rototilling, using a bobcat to remove existing lawn, or Harley rake.

Any others who think * Roundup - Scalp -- Sod * works?

I think this does work, the one im not sure about is

Roundup- Scalp -- Seed

I think for number 2 I will need to put down some soil to get the kind of germination im after. ty all for input and great thread.

Geoffrey
12-20-2004, 01:32 AM
Organic,
Yeah I don't have any problems with doing things the fastest, most profitable way. But I think a debate in price and cost should be included. What I mean to say is if you do it that way and never have any problems fantastic. But if you price a sod job for so and so and then the customer has problems and then is cost so and so more to fix it. That's what I try to explain to people. Before this thread I've never heard of it doing that way. I just don't know if I'd completely discount research and someone trying to do a quality job.

Geoff

YardPro
12-20-2004, 09:24 AM
Yardpro,
Nonsense, knee jerk, unfounded information, wow for someone who's not tring to be a jerk you lay it on pretty thick. I stopped posting on this site for a while because to often everyone seems so pissy. I love to just post my experience and thoughts without "researching" every little disagreement. I will stand buy my orginal post and footnote some information for you. Nada, Nothing, Not one piece of literature I own said to apply turf over an exiting lawn. You are the FIRST person I've heard say that, that's why I questioned your post and requested additional information. My information comes from the following sources.
Plants in the Landscape written by Carpenter an Walker
Horticulture written by George Acquaah
Alabama Extension, Alabama A&M, Auburn Ornamental and Turf Pest Control (State License Exam)

Thatch is defined as a layer of living and dead turfgrass stems and roots located between the soil surface (your old lawn) and the green canopy of the turfgrass (new sod laid over it).

Development of plant diseases temperature and moisture are especially important factors in disease caused by living organisms. They affect the activity of the organism, the ease with which a plant becomes diseased, and the way the disease develops. Warm and humid conditons invite disease and control of this microclimate is a must.

As far as laying down a new turf well I own 18 landscape books and NONE stated to lay sod over an existing site or unprepared site. ALL of them stated to prepare the site first. I'm not saying I'm right and your wrong but from my vantage point it looks like your the one selling snake oil.
Geoff

you just emphasized MY point with your thatch quote.

the old truf becomes the SOIL it is BELOw the roots of the new sod in the soil layer, NOT between the soil of the NEW sod and it's shoots. that's where thatch is.
i think yoou're just quoting these things without actually understanding what they mean.

show me how your statement on disease relates to this situation? How it what i suggested going to promote disease, please make a connection.

as far as your books go, i would be suprised if they did suggest what i did.
in 90% of the US you need to break up the soil, and loosen the soil for root penetration.
Here at the coast there is no need to break up the soil, it's pure sand.
if you were to remove the existing sod here you would have only sand below it. if you were to till the material in , you would be mixing the turn and it's componets into the sand, moving them down into the sand and away from the roots of the new sod, where they are needed most.

geoffry I am not discounting any reseaarch someone does. i am merely defending my assertation that was questioned.

trying 2b organic.
do some research about roundup and you'll find out how it works. be careful though if you use roundup quick pro, it has diquat, which WILL dammage new material.

There is NO problem with using with either new sod or seed.

With sod SPRAY FIRST. then scalp. the glyphosate needs to enter the plant through a leaf. if you cut off all the leaves it will not be nearly as effective. as it will have less surface area to enter the plant.

if you top dress then seed (i would not seed over just dead saclped grass, for that i would cultivate) the seed takes a few weeks to germinate. by the time the adventitous root emerges, any chemical (except a pre emergent will be gone).
as far as the sod goes, depending on the variety you only need a a few inches of root penetration.

you also had asked about the price comparisons. This was the main reason that i suggested what i did. I probably should not have said anything though without finding out more about location, conditions, etc. that was premature of me

Precision
12-20-2004, 11:33 AM
The question of scalping vs tilling vs doing nothing is indeed a regional thing.

In florida with a dense, but dead st augustine or bahia lawn your new sod will have a very difficult time of getting a new root system established prior to drying out in the heat.

If you have a very sparse dead lawn, you also are likely to only have sand you are planting in, so a soil ammendment would be in your plan. Although much more important with st augustine.

Other soil situations and other grass types will require different actions. Sorta like shoes, yours are very unlikely to fit my feet.