Looking for advice on what to rent for new lawn

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by tvvbsn, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. tvvbsn

    tvvbsn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I am planning on seeding my yard later this year. The yard has been rough graded, but was done last fall. I have some spots that are a little rough due to runoff and just some rough grading. Over the past 8 months field grass, thistles and weeds have kept most of the dirt in place. I have mowed it and plan on spraying with Roundup prior to planting seed.

    I am looking for advice on what to rent to get the yard ready for seed. I have had it rough mowed. I was wondering if I should till and drag, or use a box blade with scarifiers, use a tractor and disc. Just not sure of the best way to get it leveled. The difference in the ground from the top to the bottom of the roughest spots is up to 12 inches. I was planning on useing a small tractor and overseeder to place the seed.

    Thanks for any advice
    Tim
     
  2. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,167

    First off, it would depend on how big of an area your talking about, condition/type of soil.

    Is it rocky? Black loam? Sand?

    Now would be a good time to bring in your top soil and send in some soil samples so you know what your working with. Ideally, you want to have everything ready to seed between Aug 15-Sept 15

    More info, pics would help
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    In my years if there is one thing I have learned it is that a nice lawn is no accident because it can not be explained away and it can not be given to somebody or bestowed down upon or be ingrained or any other thing because quite simply no matter how much money or time or labor one throws at it there exist elements that if they are not in place there will be no such thing.

    A nice lawn requires an understanding, a comprehension that as a rule takes YEARS of practice, why I have seen folks who got sod installed and not two months later it's all dead again... They blame it on the sod company and in some cases it might be so, but ultimately it was as likely their fault.

    Because it's not that most lawns look like crap, that too, but it's the simple fact that most folks lack the understanding and the years of experience required to first have and then maintain such a lawn. There is the key factor is the maintenance and the care that follows all along, nothing can bypass or supersede that, there exist no short cuts.

    Grass is a plant, its care and nurture takes a fair college degree or as I said, experience that comes with the years, years that is, more than a few.

    Not to discourage, but I would start with core aeration and 50 pounds of seed per quarter acre of turf, then go from there and don't ever stop, in my book that's as likely to turn out as any more drastic measures would and hopefully in 3-4 or 5-10 years you have yourself a beautiful lawn.

    Peace
     
  4. tvvbsn

    tvvbsn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Its about a 1.5 acre lot. It is all black dirt. There are a few rocks, but not any bigger than about 1.5 inches. The few rocks that do come up, I can pick up and it wouldn't even fill a 5 gallon bucket.

    Where would I take the soil to be tested?

    I'll throw up a few pics tomorrow.

    Thanks
    Tim
     
  5. Newt*

    Newt* LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    Hi Tim,

    I'm not one to use herbicides so I can't say what to do about that. I would use a power sod cutter to remove the weeds and compost what I remove. I would bring in a combo of 60% topsoil and 40% compost if you feel you need topsoil because all that is there is subsoil. If no topsoil is needed, then I would just add 4" of compost and mix it into the soil. Bringing in topsoil runs the risk of bringing in weed seeds. Adding the compost will improve drainage, improve the tilth (texture) of the soil and add good microbes to the soil. Good soil will support your turf. Feed the soil and you feed the plant material that grows there.

    You can send soil samples to your local extension service. Then you'll know what to add to your soil in addition to the compost.
    http://www3.sdstate.edu/CooperativeExtension/

    If you need to level large areas without power equipment you can make this large rake.
    http://turfgrass.com/planting/rake.html

    The prep for seed or sod is the same.
    http://www.garden.org/articles/articles.php?q=show&id=75&page=1
    http://www.hortmag.com/article/Seeding_a_New_Lawn/

    If you maintain organically you can core aerate each fall and topdress with 1/4" to 1/8" compost.
    http://www.american-lawns.com/lawns/aeration.html
    http://www.homeandgardenmakeover.com/lawnaeration.html

    Maintain organically and it's cheaper and better for humans, pets and critters.
    http://www.organicgardening.com/feature/0,7518,s1-5-18-142,00.html
    http://www.nwf.org/backyard/chemicalfreelawn.cfm

    Newt
     
  6. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 641

    You guys are recommended the application needed for a 6 to the acre suburban lot to a guy with an acre and a half. He also said he has black dirt and no rocks.

    If your grade is close, I would rent a Harley rake to do your final grade, incorporate a bit of compost, roll with the heaviest roller you can find after working in the compost, then use your slice seeder.
     
  7. WALKER LANDSCAPE

    WALKER LANDSCAPE LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,415

    I agree with Jeff.:clapping:
     
  8. mybowtie

    mybowtie LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 683

    I agree with the last 2 posters....A soil sample would help. Rent a toro dingo
    with a power/harly rake. If you cant get that, the next thing would be a rototiller. Compost wouldnt hurt either. Set the tiller to around 3" and mix the compost in. Seed, Roll, and water in the evenings...:usflag:
     
  9. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,167

    Sounds like good advice but I would also add an application of starter fertilizer available from your local co-op at the same time as seed and again 3-4 weeks later.

    DO SEEDING BEFORE SEPT 15th
     

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