Easiest way to rip up an old lawn?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Classified, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Classified

    Classified LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    I just got a call from my brothers best friend. He wants to rip up his lawn and resod it. He bought the house about a year ago and the previous owners let the lawn go to hell for a long long time.

    He has about 1/8-1/4 acre of lawn (I have only been there once at night) and I am just trying to rough estimate the price in my head. But, what is the easiest way to rid the old "turf"? I was thinking of renting a sod cutter but at 18" wide, it would take forever to do. So then I was thinking of just using a skid and and just scrape up the grass leaving the dirt only. I realize I may have to harley rake it but that wouldnt be an issue. I have both sod cutter experiance and plenty of skidder experiance, its just that this isnt what I designed my company to but have no problem doing things like this for good friends.

    So.....Sod cutter or skid?

    What do you think?
  2. Arnolds Lawn & Landscape

    Arnolds Lawn & Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Use a skid steer with a tooth bucket. Angle the teeth downward and srcape as you back up. Then with the bucket level scoop off existing lawn, then smoothe over with new loam.
  3. threeleafllc

    threeleafllc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 188

    We use a skid steer with a harley rake it seems to only pull up the sod and rocks ,and leaves alot more dirt then our old way witha tooth bucket.
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    ok,...First,...you have to look at a few things...One,..Is he going to just put in a new lawn. Second, why is he wanting to get rid of the old? A whole bunch of weeds? Bare areas? Undesirable grasses?
    If the first answer was yes, and the second was any of the above, then just ripping it out may not even be what you want to do. As a matter of fact, it probably isn't. The reason being, is there are many types of grasses (undesirable) that even though are tore out, leave roots, runners, and rhyzomes that can respread. The answer to this would be to spray the lawn off with glyphosate, repeat if necessary, the tear it out. the stuff will come up much easier, and not leave any bad cultivars growing. Now, it CAN be just taken up with a skid (or tractor), with some experience and care, but the gly is well worth it. You may just be able to till and prep it afterward, depending on the growth density of the existing foliage. However, a harley rake would work MUCH better for this. It does both steps at once, along with leaving a much better bed to lay the sod. Also, is he bent on sod? Would he consider seed? You can have much better results in a month to a month and a half than with sod, at much less the cost.
  5. Classified

    Classified LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    Thanks for all the help. He actually just left a messege on my phone today. I am going to call him in the morning to find out more details. Also, as for the condition of the lawn currently, im not sure. Like I said, I have only been to his house once and it was dark out. You have at least armed me with a few options to give him. And if I were to tear it out as he requested, I would definately kill the current lawn first. Skipping that step would defeat the whole reason for replacing the lawn. Im sure he will want the lawn sodded. I have done a bit of sodding and maybe we have good quality sod but If watered correctly, the lawns always look great.

    Anyway, I appreciate your help once again. He owns a sign shop so its time to start swaping services. I have 2 trucks that need lettering.....:cool2:

    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,780

    I would say use the skid, but just find out what the irrigation situation is.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I would just go rent a Toro Dingo with the soil cultivator.

    One pass buries the rocks, sod chunks etc.. and you have a perfect seed bed to do whatever you want to it.

    Less time altogether, and you won't have to haul anything off.
  8. 4.3mudder

    4.3mudder LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,227

    I like the word rig... Reminds me of HALF AZZING IT!!!
  9. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    I wouldn't recommend that if there are a lot of undesirable weeds/grasses in the turf. After a week of watering you will have the same lawn again.

    On a side note our cultivator works well, but we find tilling existing turf creates more work...it doesn't seem to create that "perfect" seed bed. We find spraying with roundup first (yes we are licensed) and waiting about a week is the best if you are going to go the cultivator method.
  10. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I agree, spraying with roundup would be optimal first.

    The cultivator has it's place. I like using when ever I can to save time and effort if possible.

    I try to go with the smallest machine, and least amount of passes possible. I hate compaction, and it takes years to recover from it.

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