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Dead lawn steep hill? Rototilling?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by deere615, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. deere615

    deere615 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,676

    Guys I have this smaller front lawn that needs renovated this is not a recent picture but shows what needs done: the top and the sides of the hill need redone.

    What is the best way to approach this, Not sure if my compact tractor/loader will make it up the hill plus it would be tight maneuvering. Would rototilling it all be the best option? Will a rototiller work on the hill and pretty tough soil?

    What is the best and most efficient way to get this job done?

    dead front hill.JPG

    dead front hill.JPG
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,211

    Looks to me like you have zoysia grass. Ideal for this situation--a south facing steep slope, which is not irrigated. Sunny and hot location.
    Installing irrigation or a battery operated sprinkler timer would do a lot of good.
    Two terraces and two retaining walls (or three), plus sod, plus underground sprinkling might work. Unsafe to mow this type of slope. Try to make it safe to mow, perhaps adding a flat spot plus a terrace with low shubbery. Zoning laws may require a building permit and an engineer to design any wall over two feet.
  3. deere615

    deere615 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,676

    Yes it is south facing and sunny. Though there is no irrigation the homeowner usually keeps the hill water through the summer but we had such a drought last year that they didn't even bother.
    I don't think they want a wall, they like the grass and if I do that mowing will be difficult trying to get a mower up there. Plus there is a good size back yard(shady back there and it doesn't need renovated. I never had too much trouble with mowing the hill I usually use my 36" at this account.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    PA may be a little worse than the midwest, but only under extraordinary conditions...

    IMO, thre is no possible advantage to bringing machinery on to a hillside terrace of this nature...

    Some things can ONLY be done by hand and this looks like one of them... There is a simple solution with low-tech hand tools, whether Zoysia or KBG... But I would look into No-Mow which is a fescue, and if you do NOT water too much, or fertilize too much you can get a 'natural mature stand' of easily managed and clean, good looking turf...

    The right plant for the Right place... :)
  5. deere615

    deere615 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,676

    Thanks for that tip, Yes I was thinking the same thing that there will be alot of handwork involved. I never heard of the no-mow stuff but it seems nice. can it be brought pretty much anywhere? I will have to check around for it. Can it still be mowed weekly or every other week for that nice manicured look? Also would I use it on the whole area or just the hill? Then use a sun mix seed for the rest
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    No-mow is a fescue and even though its taller than people would like, it can be left alone more without looking long and shaggy... If you are going to mow every week anyways, perhaps its not worth it to you...

    I would think your local seed dealer should be able to get some for you...

    Can you overseed the hill w/out digging too much?
  7. freddyc

    freddyc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 578

    What are you talking about?

    This is a short, simple job for a troybilt tiller. You'd be done and ready to seed in 1-2 hrs max, and you'd have a deeper, better seed bed then scratching it up with a rake or whatever. Rent a tiller and break it up relatively deep so the new grass has a decent chance of having deep roots un-obstructed by hardened soil. Do a quick core sample with a shovel to see how deep it is with regard to compaction and also to get a look at the soil itself. If it were me I'd tell the homeowner that you have to add a little compost in the tilling.

    Regarding seed type, use what you want but only consider a deep rooted version. The sun will beat that surface to death every day and due to slope the water will run out of that hill faster than OJ Simpson running from the truth..
  8. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    From a rototilling standpoint...not saying this is the best option but Tilling down hill with a old school designed Troy-Bilt horse is frankly dangerous.....especially if the operator presence kill engine switch is defeated or absent on early models. I've done it - hit a rock on slope like that tiller pitches forward rotating tines and body parts had a close call. Tiller tumbles and flips over not fun. :hammerhead:

    If you do till - take the extra time and use a Mantis or a Honda FG110 mini tiller.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    It is always best it you don't have to dig into the slopes, that steep and loosen a bunch of soil... A tractor or tiller is definately more risk than its worth and for me comes under the heading of abusing machinery. The mantis style is a good sggestion, but again; If you can get by with roughing up the surface and overseeding, so much the better... JMO
  10. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,541

    Build you a nice Landscape wall out some blocks and make it a flat lawn Then you don t have mow that slope

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