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Hedge bed removal

2869 Views 16 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Landscaping-newb
I recently purchased a home back in November which sits on a corner lot. The previous owner had planted run of boxwood hedges that cover the entire front perimeter of the yard. I would guess there are probably close to 40-50 total hedges. Due to some neglect and poor maintenance of the previous owner the look of his design is pretty nasty.
So, I am going to be removing every hedge and filling the entire area with grass seed. I am not a landscaping professional and this is my first home. Common sense tells me to remove the hedges, weeds, roots and rocks first and conserving as much soil from the hedges as possible. Second, preparing the existing soil by hand raking, tilling, etc. Throwing a thin layer of new top soil in, adding seed, cover seed with another layer of top soil, rolling the area or atleast making sure it's level, covering with hay, and then watering 3-4 times a day. I also read that I should use a starter fertilizer as well, but I wasnt sure when to apply.
If there are any experienced landscapers in here that could share some wisdom, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks a bunch!
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I thought about using sod, but after asking a bunch of people I learned to stay away from it if possible (diseases, weeds, etc). The removal, so far, hasn't been too bad. Yesterday my wife and I were able to dig and remove about a 1/3 of them in a few hours while getting almost all the root out of each. There is also quite a bit of clover growth throughout the bed as well which has adding the pain of the whole thing. I am hoping once I get all the hedges/roots/weeds removed the existing soil will be good enough to start planting seed. I am hoping to conserve as much soil as possible to limit the expense on new top soil. I do understand a quality fresh coating of new soil is mandatory, but considering the existing lawn is in really good shape, the soil must be pretty good.
Any additional comments regarding the actual process of planting the grass would be appreciated. Thanks for the replys so far!
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I actually know a builder in the area and will ask him of any reputable landscaping companies in the area (canton, OH) that he would suggest for sod. Another question I have is how do you go about matching your type of grass, whether its seed or sod?
I just came across another thought. One side of my house has no landscaping at all, just grass. I wonder if I would be able to use a straight rectangular shovel and scrape out some sod from there and patch up as much as possible in the front were the hedges are being removed. I would then run a line of the hedges along the side of my house. Would there be a high likelihood of that grass surviving if I were to basically strip some patches of sod and move it to the front?
Well, we got all the hedges pulled yesterday. Final count.....78 of those damn things!!!!! Next step is to get the pulled areas filled and leveled. Anyone have any tips or suggested tools to make sure the soil is compacted enough to where I wont have any settling down the road? So far I was able to spread the remaining top soil to fill the holes but noticed when I walked over a spot it was a little soft. Thanks!
After you have turned the soil, just walk over it when you use your garden rake to grade to compact the soil enough to keep it from settling, but not so much that it is too compacted.

After you use seed, take your leaf rake, turn it upside down and drag it across the seeded area. This is a harrowing effect that will insure good seed to soil contact. If the area is big, then this also helps to cover any foot prints you create when you seed.

Skip the straw as cover. Usually is full of weed seed if you can't find sterilized straw. Just seed and water sufficiently to get it established. Water lightly once in the morning and once at night to keep the soil moist. After it has germinated, cut your watering back accordingly and water in the morning.

Also, buy extra seed and over seed the entire front lawn. This way you wont get a patch of grass that is different in color and structure from the rest of your lawn. You still might need to over seed in the fall in order to blend it all in completely.

Sod is good to use, and can be wayyyyyy better than seeding, but you will get a patch of grass that won't match, so then an over seeding will be necessary to blend it in.
Thank you for the tips. I went and walked the entire area where I pulled the hedges and put some pressure on the soft spots to compact them a bit more. I was planning on seeding this week but due to the crazy inconsistent weather here in N. Ohio, I am going to wait until probably early April. I figure with some upcoming rain showers and just letting the ground settle itself is probably better anyway. With regard to the straw cover, I was talking with a friends husband who I found out is a landscaper and he mentioned Scotts Patchmaster. Has anyone in here used this before? Would you recommend it? I was planning on using the same seed mix that is in this but didn't know if I would need to change the amount of actual seed I drop if I use the Patchmaster. Any advice or knowledge around this product would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for all the help!!!!
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Just a quick update to this project. As I mentioned all the hedges were ripped out and taken to a local compost. I actually waited a couple of weeks afterwards to let the ground settle a bit, which after quite a bit of rain there was definitely some settling.

Monday I rented a tiller and tilled up the existing soil to help chop up the remaining root from the hedges. I attempted to level off the tilled soil with a garden rake which also helped gather the remaining bunches of root and a lot of rock. I then rolled the soil with a lawn roller to compact and level. I purchased 3 yards of some really good top soil mix (40% soil, 30% sand, and 30% compost) and laid that on top of the old soil. Question - I read somewhere that if you are dropping new soil for a lawn you should have 4-6 inches of new soil depth. Unfortunately the depth ranged from probably 1-3 inches. Once the grass seed begins to germinate, will it have problems rooting?? Common sense told me no, but I could definitely be wrong.

After I dropped all the new soil I rolled it with the roller. Then I took the garden rake and roughed up the top .5 to 1 inch. I then watered it lightly and added a Scotts starter fert. Went over that with a turned over leaf rake then dropped my grass seed and went over that with the same raking technique. Seeding question - can spread too much seed? The area I am seeding is a 2.5 ft by 175 ft strip that runs along my sidewalk (corner lot). I wanted to make sure I had plenty of seed down but worried I may have dropped too much.

I ended up going with Scotts Patchmaster for coverage over the seed which also added more seed as well, but I wanted something that could help retain water, keep the seeds from washing out, and keep birds away from the good seed underneath. I plan on watering at least two times a day until I have at least 1-2 inches of growth.

I am basically looking for criticism here on what I did right, wrong, or what I could do differently next time. And sorry for the book but I didn't want to leave anything out!!! Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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Thanks for the feedback, and good to hear I didn't make any huge mistakes. The grass seed wasn't piled, but there were some spots that were a bit more covered than others which I tried to spread a bit. The Scotts starter and Scotts Patchmaster did not have crabgrass preventer in it. However, now that you say that, a few weeks ago I did spread Scotts spring fertilizer over my existing lawn (not the strip where the hedges used to be). I read on the bag to not spread onto newly seeded areas. I made an effort to keep a safe distance from that area but do you think with rain that the fertilizer could have possibly run off into that area? If that fertilizer were to reach a newly seeded area would it permanently prevent that seed from germinating, or will it eventually ware off? I think I kept it a safe distance however.

I am going to take some pictures of the area to show some progress. I'll post once I get them.

Thanks again!
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Here are some pics of the seeded area with the Patchmaster on top. I'll post some pics of the final product once it grows in.

Plant Infrastructure Road surface Asphalt Land lot

Plant Green Infrastructure Road surface Grass
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