seed or sod samll areas?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by gogetter, Aug 13, 2001.

  1. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Hi guys. I have a new customer that wants to grow grass where they had a few big trees removed from.
    I guess they had a stump grinder come in because there is saw dust, chips, dirt and stuff in the areas now.

    There are two areas. One measures about 6' in diameter. The other area is about 10' in diameter.

    They are mounded up about 2" above ground level right now. They asked me to remove excess dirt/debris to about 2" below ground level, add topsoil til level. Then plant grass seed. (This is what HE said he wanted).

    I currently only do maintenance so I have no experience with this type of thing.

    They asked for a price, but first I need to know the best way to go about this.

    Go with seed like he asked, or would sod be better/easier?

    Anything special I need to do to prep area first?

  2. CCLC

    CCLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 261

    We'd just dig out the debris and replace them with topsoil.

    Rake seed into the topsoil and put some hydro mulch on top.

    Have the customer water.

    Grass will come.
  3. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    This may be a dumb question, but I'll ask anyway.

    It's about the hydro mulch that you mentioned. I've seen this stuff being sprayed out of large rigs on larger areas, but how would I get it for these small areas? Thanks.
  4. bam

    bam LawnSite Senior Member
    from .
    Posts: 261

    In PA you probably have access to Penn Mulch (I think it was created by Penn State?).

    Or Lesco carries bags of seed starter. I would say they're all fairly equal in there purpose, to get seed going.

    Or Sweeney Seed Company if there in your part of PA.

    Usually in ~40lb bags;
    hydro mulch is usually a huge bale, when I worked for another company, they had it delivered 10 pallets at a time, if you could get 1 bale it would be from an ag supply or seed store.
  5. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Hmmm, now I remember I have seen stuff sold in 20 and 40lb bags. It's for bare spots and it's green mulch (almost looks like it's made of paper) and has seed mixed in.
    I just thought this was for real small bare spots.

    Would like more opinions still. Sounds like this stuff would be quick and easy though.
  6. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    I would prep the area and put fescue seed down. Make sure it gets good contact with soil and instruct customer to water.
  7. CMerLand

    CMerLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    You have to remove all chips from the hole or you will have a major settling problem in the years to come as well as thin yellow grass growing in these spots.

    As the chips decompose they will collapse inward creating a sinkhole where these stumps were. Also as they decompose, they will rob any available nitrogen from the soil to help with decomposition.
  8. i am not gonna get into whether or not you should sod / seed it. however i will say this to you. before you give any kind of price probe around in that hole a bit. i remember doing a job last year where i had to get grass goin where i think 3 or 4 stumps had been ground out. well we cleaned out the chips, and found that there was a rock or two in there. we had to bust up the rocks and bring in a grinder 2 times to clean up what the other guys didnt do. there were parts sticking up around the edges, and in the middle and whatever else. also keep this in mind- the stump and roots will continue to decompose over the next couple of years because it is next to impossible to get everything with the grinder. and if there is a problem with there being parts of the stump still sticking up- try to be nice. because you start grinding and the chips build up fast, and after a while you cant see if you missed anything unless you really dig around in there.
  9. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073


    My perspective deals with the economics of sodding small spots.

    Maybe not the same by you, but by me, most of the sod farms are 45 mins each way from 90% of my work. For larger jobs, its no problem to have it trucked in. For smaller jobs (less than a pallet), I have the option of either driving all the way out there to pick up the stuff or take my chances with a few garden centers that stock a limited amount of sod in stock.

    If I go to the garden center, then I have to either call in advance to place my order or just go there and hope they have it. Again, the problem is that only a few nurseries/garden centers sell sod so I may have to drive just as far as the farm is to pick it up.

    Also, the garden centers charge about 2x the price as it would cost to go pick it up myself.

    So, if you don't see where I'm going with this, I'll tell you. Small sod jobs are usually a pain in the but, and therefore end up costing a whole lot more than if I were to just topsoil, seed, and mulch.

    I usually talk people out of it, unless they insist, but then price them accordingly for all the time that is needed. I don't think I have ever had anyone inisist on sod after hearing it will cost them $200 more over seed and soil for a 6x6 area.

    Just imagine doing all that running around and finding out that you are 2 pieces 2 short! Also, think about what happens if one piece dies and you have to make a special trip to the house, to the nursery, etc. just to replace it.

    Maybe the sod farm is right next to you or you have a very local supplier and this does not apply to you, but thats just my situation.

    On another note, I agree with using the penn mulch or other similiar products for such small areas. Straw doesn't seem to stay in place very long on a small spots and just looks 'messy'. As for hydroseeding, unless you own one and happen to be in the area, I can't see the economics of bringing one in for such small work.

  10. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Steve, thanks for the reply. You're right, the sod farm is about 30-35 minute drive.

    I haven't heard of this Penn Mulch. Can you tell me more about it.? What's it look like?

    Thanks again.


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