Old turf removal for sod installation

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by MDLawn, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    I have a bunch of small sod jobs under my belt (1000sqft each) and feel I have the prep down. I like doing these types of jobs and want more. However if I get a chance for a larger sod install I would like to know what is the most effective way to remove the old turf (if it is needed). Also I am not a certified applicator so I cannot spray the whole lawn to kill it as some on here say to do (is that even a good thing to do?).
    With the small jobs I have used a sod cutter and it has worked well. I have also done work for a recreation department removing infields from baseball fields. We used a combo of sod cutter, tractor, and front end loader. Our supervisor decided to use the front end loader bucket to rip off the old infields but dug down way too far.
    Anyways back to business what have you found most effective at removing old turf? I have seen some attachments for mini and regular skidsteers and wasn't sure if they could take established turf and make it into a ready to lay sod situation. Any hands on experience with this is greatly appreciated. I have seen a lot of vidoes from attachment manufacturers but would like to know real world experience.
     
  2. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    any help appreciated
     
  3. shelbymustang616

    shelbymustang616 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    Well we have always used a sod cutter as well. Run the machine around the yard, pick up the old lawn lay down some new top soil and lay down the new sod.
     
  4. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    Even on larger properties?
     
  5. Bustedblade

    Bustedblade LawnSite Member
    from Ny
    Posts: 145

    Fact is, on really large applications cutting the sod is impractical and, since I've seen builders lay sod righ on clay and construction debris (wonder why it died???) I use a rockhound on a skidsteer, it is fast and it cleans, levels and preps in just a few passes, I follow this up by spreading my prep mix, hound it again and lay the sod, water it properly and done. I have used this method alot with fantastic results, as a bonus, I have found some neat things like a hammer, measuring tapes and even a set of car keys.
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  6. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    Now that you mention it a full sod job on a new large property probably wouldn't need a removal as it would most likely to be a new build. That rockhound seems like quite the tool for that type of job. I guess the sod jobs I have been doing have been on smaller lots where the sod cutter is pretty simple to use and a large skidsteer is completely impractical. Thanks for the info.
     
  7. Bustedblade

    Bustedblade LawnSite Member
    from Ny
    Posts: 145

    I did one in September that was about 13,000 sf and had been sodded by...well I'm out of words for this one, it was awful. We actually rented another skidsteer and blasted out the prep in one day, going in two directions with the hounds worked awesome and we pulverized the old sod and made it into a workable base. The soil was so bad we actually mixed in some mulch/pete/sand/SF to make it grow.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  8. southerngreenscape

    southerngreenscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 73

    the way i would do it is scalp the grass down low and then run over it with a harley rake and then most everything you have is just piles of the old grass, you hardly have any dirt to haul away just loose grass it works good, you can use a dingo with a harley rake for small jobs or a skid steer with a harley rake for big jobs, if you can do a small yard you can do a big one.
     
  9. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284


    I don't know why I wasn't able to think about cutting the grass low first :hammerhead:. I have seen the harley rakes in action but wasn't sure how it would handle removing a lot of grass. Now it is all clear. It's great when your brain finally starts to work :dizzy:. I've used the dingo for some dirt jobs and what a time and back saver. Worth the rent every time. If I can get jobs to justify it I would look at a used one but renting will have to do until then. I think with the small jobs I would probably still stick with the sod cutter.

    Thanks to all of you for your inputs on this!
     

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