Amateur resodding with KBG

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by strat81, May 5, 2010.

  1. strat81

    strat81 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Hello everyone. I checked for a FAQ or a tacked/sticky thread about this but didn't see one. If I missed it, please point me in the right direction.

    I'm a homeowner in central Nebraska that's looking to add some curb appeal. The impetus is that the neighbor is getting a new lawn since it was torn up for a basement installation.

    My current lawn is a mixture of KBG and fescue as well as a variety of weeds. There are plenty of dead patches right now. I have some grading issues too as the lawn is dished in the center and water collects there.

    The variety of grasses (and weeds) combined with the grading problems and the general poor condition of the lawn has lead to decide on putting in new sod. It's bad enough that walking across it in anything other than boots is begging for ankle pain.

    I know that I'm getting late in the year for KBG, but a landscaper and the sod farm both said I'd be OK if I get it in before Memorial Day. I decided on KBG for looks and its alleged ability to spread and crowd out weeds. I'm aware it requires more water than fescue, and I'm okay with that.

    The lawn in question is approximately 1000 square feet, separated into two halves, each half bordered by concrete. Here is the plan:

    -Spray ag-grade Roundup on a calm day. The farmer I'm getting it from mixes it 1 quart to 10 gallons and recommended 2 oz per gallon for my purposes.

    -Three to four days after initial Roundup application, spot-treat areas that were missed or are otherwise not dead yet.

    -Eight days after Roundup application, water lawn thoroughly.

    -Ten to eleven days after Roundup application, till the lawn. A friend has a Deere lawn tractor with a tow-behind tiller that will be doing this for me.

    -Once tilled, it will be graded with a slight crown in the center of the lawn with edges 1" or so below the concrete border.

    -Compact the tilled soil with a heavy roller.

    -Have sod delivered and laid within 24 hours of delivery.

    -Use the heavy roller again to ensure good sod/soil contact.

    -Water 3x per day for 45-60 minutes for three weeks. An irrigation system is not present. Watering will be handled by a common 360* "spinning" sprinkler.

    -Mow on highest setting 2-3 weeks after laying the sod.

    The goal is to have this done by May 23rd.

    Please critique my plan and offer any insights you have.

    Also, grubs are a problem around here. When would I be safe to apply a product like Grub-Ex? After the first mowing in 2-3 weeks? 6 weeks? Other?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    Sounds like a plan.

    Few things.

    Before you kill it there are a few steps to take. First mow it as low as you can get it. Bagged obviously

    Then you need to take a trimmer with a long string on it and scalp all the remaining grass as low as possible, preferably down to the dirt but just destroy as much as you can does not have to be perfect. Rake up all the debris and make sure none is left on the lawn. The more vegetation there is the more roundup will be needed and the less effective it will be.

    THEN hit it with round up once, wait about 5 days and hit it again. The temperatures forecast will have a tremendous effect on how fast the round up will work. The hotter it is the faster it will work, needs to be at least 70 or higher. You probably won't have any issues with that this time of year but pray for heat.

    10 days from the first spray you will be good to go, lawn should be gone by then. If you want to get rid of any existing dead vegetation it is not really necessary if you scalped it right the first time but knock yourself out if you want to.

    If you are adding top soil add it first, then till. I would love to see video of a tractor with a pull behind tiller trying to do a 1000 sq foot lawn. That is beyond overkill and you would be better of renting a good walk behind tiller for that small of an area. The tractor might do more harm than good.

    As far as the grade is concerned do not make it too severe, honestly I would aim for slightly above the edge grade so it will settle to perfectly level over time. Ideally you want the lawn to be perfectly level or slightly sloping away from the house at most. The lawn needs water, and if you grade it so that everything runs off you are going to be fighting an uphill battle constantly in the future.

    Lay the sod immediately, no reason not too schedule the delivery accordingly. Mine is usually on the ground within 4-5 hours of being cut.

    With the right amount of water you should be able to mow 7-10 days after you lay the sod. 2 weeks is a little too long if it is getting the right amount of water.

    I would use a high output sprinkler like this one...

    You don't need the extra large coverage one like that one, but a similar one. They have them at Lowe's in a 2 pack for 20 bucks.

    Thie circle type and the other types of sprinklers do not put out the volume of water one like that can.

    Water the hell out of it in the morning for 45 minutes and in the evening 45 minutes and you will have a great lawn in a few weeks.

    Mow high and often.
  3. strat81

    strat81 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks for the response, bigslick.

    I've mowed as low as I can go, but I'll be sure to hit it with a trimmer and rake up the excess.

    The sprinkler I have is one of the two you linked to - I have the 999ZS.

    We are expecting the tractor to be overkill, but for clarity, it is a 3000-series Deere, IIRC. We're expecting it to be a two man job, with one person being a spotter so we don't till the sidewalk in addition to the lawn.

    The lawn does not touch the house, but I'll be careful with the grading, crowning, etc.

    I'm going to try to time the delivery as close as possible to laying it, but work might interfere. I'm at the mercy of their delivery schedule since I don't have a pickup or trailer with which to haul a pallet or two of sod.

    Thanks for the great feedback!
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,670

    I think the Roundup could be a little heavier. 4 oz insead of two--if your hand sprayer is a low pressure homeowner model. You want the grass dead--not just sick. Many experts suggest leave the grass long so you have more leaf surface to absorb the herbicide. Do not use a heavy roller, as you risk compaction and hard-packing the soil. Light roller, only.
    Rotary tilling makes a mess: you will have hundreds of small pieces of sod to rake up. Yuck.

    Proper way is to rent a sod cutting machine--and strip the sod off the soil. (Dead or alive--doesn't matter). Or save the aggrvation--hire a pro--who already has the equipment.
  5. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    First, I have sodded with pure KGB in July with excellent results. As long as it gets enough water, you can sod with KGB any time.

    I agree with Riggs, use a stronger Roundup mix, spray it, and repeat 10 days later. Then don't rototill at all. Use a power rake set at the deepest setting. Remove the dead debris, a mower will be fine, put you could also blow it and do light leaf raking. Themain thing is to be sure that any thatch is gone. If the thatch is removed, roto tilling is NOT needed.

    Then bring in about a yard of top soil for every 1000 sq feet, and level it. When you lay the sod.... be sure to lift each piece one against the other. If you lay an adjoining piece with ANY grass under the next piece, that seam will show for a year. That is the secret of laying seamless sod. Just lift each seam peice up and lay it back down together against the next seam. Don't throw and go. Get those seams to disappear the day you lay it, or you will see seams for the next year.

    Good luck.
  6. strat81

    strat81 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks for the tips guys.

    Riggle, I think you're right about 2 oz being weak... I sprayed it Thursday and saw little to no effect. It's supposed to rain for the better part of this week, so the grass will regrow a bit. I'll try a stronger mix on the longer blades.

    Whitey, good point about laying them properly!

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