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Roots in the lawn,

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by LawnsharkMB, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. LawnsharkMB

    LawnsharkMB LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 582

    I'm working on an estimate for sodding a lawn. There are huge roots all over the place as the lawn is surrounded by trees. What kinds of problems can the roots cause? Should I just sod over them like they're not there?
  2. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,297

    -Roots will make your lawn unlevel, if they are really popping out that much. So you might have draining problem after.

    -Usually you need a good 6-8 inches of top soil underneath your sod.

    -If their is tree surrounded everywhere, make sure to pick a type of grass that is shade tolerant

    -Lots of tree will soak up all of the nutrients, therefor the grass will have a hard time to grow.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,955

    I try real hard to talk people out of sodding right up to the trunk. I suggest mulch, ivy, jasmine. A planting bed around large trees adds a lot of interest. Large trees and surface roots are tough to make completely level. Its usually the tree unable to find deep water so it spreads laterally and soaks up all the groud water. Sodding over will probably lead to failure and a nightmare to mow.

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  4. LawnsharkMB

    LawnsharkMB LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 582

    The guy said the lawn was in pretty good shape when he moved in, but now its just bare, hard clay with very little grass. It's a centipede lawn, which is fairly shade tolerant if I'm not mistaken so I guess the roots just sucked up all the water and nutrients and the grass eventually died off.

    About the 6-8 inches of top soil, this would put the final grade 5-7 inches above the driveway and sprinkler heads as they are just above level now.
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  5. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,294

    I agree with this 100%

    If you add topsoil you run the risk of smothering the tree.
  6. LawnsharkMB

    LawnsharkMB LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 582

    I have never even been a part of sodding a lawn. I worked at a golf course for a while, we stripped and sodded all 18 greens. We aerated and removed the plugs. Then went around the edge with the sod cutter. Then drug the green until it was smooth. Starter fertilizer was then applied and we started putting down sod. What is the same and what is done different when sodding a centipede lawn vs. a Bermuda green?
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  7. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,955

    Centipede is slow to establish. Like any other sod job. Round Up to kill off any weeds or unwanted grass, sod cutter to remove old dead lawn, set as shallow as possible to only remove the dead grass and leave any organic matter behind. Personally I fert before the sod goes down. Lay the sod, tight seams then water, water, water. A good spray guy is a must with centipede. Pricing would be materials, cutter rental and disposal. I won't go below a dollar a sq ft. Not knowing what Centipede goes for that might be low. Sod is hard, dirty work when your solo so make it worth your while.
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  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,225

    Garveau is right--if lots of trees--shade will kill the grass. That is probably the reason for thin grass to start with. And if you add to muuch soil --over about 3 inches--it will smother the roots--not enough oxygen--and the trees will die.
    Go with a shade loving ground cover.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    You'll want to till the lawn, especially if it's clay. As you approach the tree you'll begin to notice that there is a few roots starting to appear, and from there you have to decide where you stop tilling in relation to the tree's rootzone.
    Sometimes I actually go inside the canopy perimeter and rough up the surface roots abit, before I cover them and soak the soil over them to be sure they stay covered. It is very unprofessional to lay sod around roots. Tacky, is a better word. :)

    Do Not Mess With the Crown.
    I usually stay away from the trunk's perimeter at least a distance equal to the diameter of the trunk, sometimes even further, if I'm in doubt.
  10. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Ark
    Posts: 3,460

    If the lawn was in good shape when he 1st moved in and then it declined. You need to figure out why. Doing the same thing over and expecting different results is the definition of stupidity. Poor or incorrect maintenance practices? Centipede is VERY PICKY. The wrong practices will kill it quick. Research the threads on centipede if you choose to go with it again.

    Centipede is not what I would call a shade tolerant grass, although you will read this it must be taken in proper context. I would use certain varieties of zoysia or St Augustine if there is a lot of shade. I am guessing your climate is similar to mine. I am located in south Arkansas.

    Now would be a good time to check the sprinkler system for proper design before installing the sod. Someone who really knows systems will need to look at it, many who are in the business in my area do not know how to properly design a system. If you are adding topsoil you will need to raise the heads. If the roots are coming to the top excessively that is an indication of lack of water.

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