Anyone here grow sod?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by muddstopper, Sep 2, 2006.

  1. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    I have decided to try growing a small patch of fescue sod to sell. I Have already killed the field and will be putting to grade sometime in the next few weeks. My questions have more to to with what type of equipment do I need to harvest the sod. I am only planting one acre this year and will decide whether to expand to several acres,( probably never more than 10-20 acres) after I sell the first patch. I have planters, mowers, sprayers and irrigation available, what I dont have is a good sod cutter, or any sod cutter for that matter. I need advise on size and type sod cutter to buy. Should I roll or just sell squares? I am thinking more along the lines of the self propelled walk behind models. I would also be interested in buying a good used one and possibly upgrading later if all goes well. Any info and/or advise will be appreciated greatly.
     
  2. AAELI

    AAELI LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 362

    I use a Ryan sod cutter. 12" wide blade and cuts over 125' a minute. A couple of min of cutting and I am ready to load, haul and install. I only have zoysia on about 25000 sq. ft. It regrows in about 4 months after harvesting so I don't do much other than topdress, fertilize and spray.
     
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Are you cutting 12x? squares for placing on a pallet or are you rolling up the sod in ?ft lenght rolls. Also Zoyza will probably regrow pretty fast, for the fescues I will have to reseed after harvest. I will probably have a lot longer time between harvest as well. I have heard of a netting that can be used to help hold the sod together, do you ever use it? and how would it effect the cutter.
     
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    Seems to me that the amount of time you spend stacking 12x squares for a pallet would significantly decrease your profit margin.
     
  5. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Thats why I am here asking questions. There are no sod farms around my area to visit and learn from. The demand for sod is growing in my area and is why I am considering growing some for sale. The sod being deliverd here is coming 100+ miles and most of it isnt a suitable grass type for my area. I have the land to grow it on, I just need to figure out how to harvest it.
     
  6. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,749

    Sod costs 30 cents a square foot in my high priced market. That is mature, weed free, delivered, in 10 SF rolls, and placed on pallets around the property within 36 hours of being cut. If you sell all of your acre at 30cents/SF, you'll gross a little over $13,000 and take you a minimum of 9 months cultivation.

    If you already owned all the equipment needed, you'll have to prep it, seed it, water it, mow it at least a dozen times, fertilize it, control weeds, and control disease before you harvest. You'll have to strip it, roll it, palletize it, load it, drive it, unload it, and place the pallets all over the site. That is four semi loads, or many more other truck deliveries. That means having a piece of equipment to unload and distribute the pallets at the other end.

    That is a lot of hours, fuel, fert, water, pallets, and pesticides to pay for with $13k.

    Throw in buying any equipment at all and you are in debt.

    How much does sod sell for in your area?
     
  7. AAELI

    AAELI LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 362

    Yes, I am cutting 12" wide x 3/4" deep and average 12' per roll. That is all this old man will pick up at one time. I prep the area I will deliver to and plant it. I sell the sod for $3.50 per sq. ft.

    Zoysia does regrow from the rhizomes left in the ground fairly quickly. Sod quality after 4-6 months depending upon water, fert., etc.

    I have never used netting. This is my yard so cost of watching it grow is pretty cheap. I will be planting another small area, 8000sq.ft., to use for sod next week.

    Twice a year harvest at $3.50 per sqft for approx. 12,000 sqft is enough to pay off the mortage within the next few years. But I will try not to count the chickens before they hatch.
     
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,749

    Here in the US sod sells for 30 cents a square foot and less. Good luck.
     
  9. AAELI

    AAELI LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 362

    I noticed quite a few threads regarding cost of sod back there. Our island is limited in size and with property values at a low of $25 to a high of $1000 per square meter you just don't find many willing to commit any acreage to growing sod. The new homes going up and some older ones getting lawn renovations have spurred several of us to use our own yards to get sod jobs. There are a few hydroseeders out here but they are also pricey and don't seem to have very good results. Primarily from lack of experienced crews and the resulting poor application practices.

    I need strength at this stage more than luck! But thanks for the support.
     
  10. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    I am pretty sure the fescue sod that people are buying around here is going for around $0.20 persqft. As for equipment, the only thing i would have to purchase would be a sod cutter. I own enough land that I could plant the 10 or 20 acres without having to look for or lease other property. My plans are to sell and install the sod, not furnish other landscapers, that way I just cut it when I need it. One acre wont go very far doing lawn installs, so the sod cutter should be paid for after the first harvest. I figure on first harvest in about one year.

    12"x12' rolls placed on a pallet. Thats sound like a reasonable lenght roll that would be easy to handle. How many rolls are you placing on a pallet, 3-5-6 rolls per pallet?, and can you give me an estimated weight of the loaded pallet.
     

Share This Page