Laying sod in spring

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jeffyr, Jan 30, 2001.

  1. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    Early in the spring I will have a small area of about 1000 ft. sq. to sod. The homeowner put sod down 2 or 3 years ago and then killed it by draining part of his pool and backwashing the filter onto it. There are 3 oak trees in this area and the roots are shallow.

    The question up for debate is : What should I do about the dead turf ? Should I rent a sod cutter and peel it up ? and if so, will the tree roots effect the performance of the machine ? OR will core aerating the heck out of it and then an inch or so of topsoil be better since under the old turf layer there are tree roots and I will have to put down top anyway ?

    Thanks for your opinions.

  2. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    Opinion is right.Ive never run into that.
    It seems like what you want to do should
    make a good grass soil as you would have
    loose soil 5-6 inches .MIGHT NEED TO WATER
  3. Starling Lawn

    Starling Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    use a sod cutter and a very sharp can add soil after the old grass is removed.aerating this over and over will kill you.
  4. nlminc

    nlminc LawnSite Bronze Member
    from GA
    Messages: 1,671

    I would use a sod cutter. They can take just the turff away if its adjusted correctly. Sod cutters are nice to work with in this kind of situation.

  5. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    First off be carfull of adding topsoil over the root system of oak trees, this can kill them or cause stress that can damage them. 2" might be ok but 5"-6" your going to have trouble! It might have been a combination of the back wash and low sun light from the oaks that caused the thinning of the grass and add into that oaks don't like to compete with other plants and you have a very thin lawn.
  6. powerreel

    powerreel Banned
    Messages: 481

    If the pool chem and oak trees are to blame, I say, use any soil you have lime the sh*t out of the dead turf, then throw your new soil, and sod. why dump all that organic material when you can turn it to soil?
    Also the post on tree roots is key, I have done houses in new sub's where heavy equipt ran over the dripline and alas! a dead tree. Maybe get the property steward to consider acidic shade plantings instead of turf.

    [Edited by powerreel on 01-30-2001 at 07:05 PM]
  7. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    I have told them that the sod is likely to thin again, but they want grass. They are understanding to the situation of the oak trees. I don't think tilling is an option with all the oak roots. They are mostly small, but i don't want to damage the trees. I have never used a sod cutter so I am not familiar with the time it will take.....any thoughts? I think that that is the way to go, along with a couple of inches of soil and then sod (and lime underneath !!!)

  8. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    LIME + OAK trees = DEAD TREES oaks are a acid loving plant you sweeten the soil too much and you got nothing but headaches, If THEY want grass then think of adding just an inch or 2 of topsoil and put down the sod ask for your money as you leave. Make it their problem.
  9. powerreel

    powerreel Banned
    Messages: 481

    paul, thats solid advice.The best thing is NO grass and acid ,shade plantings. Less water and better on your IPM program

    [Edited by powerreel on 01-30-2001 at 09:09 PM]
  10. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 436

    I would run a tiller over the area to be removed several times real fast. This way you don't dig into the ground very much and you also up-root most of the grass. Then rake as muck of the existing dead grass off. Next put down 1-2" topsoil and sod. Being under Oaks there will be a problem with the trees competing with the sod for water. If the lawn is irrigated there shouldn't be any problem but if it's not irrigated the sod will begin to thin and die, as before mentioned. Another solution, which I haven't tried but see alot of im my area, is to sow some shade tolerant fescue in a small diameter around the trees to fill in the green. Around here you can drive around now while warm season grasses are dormant and there are still lawns with green circles of 15' diameter aroung trees.

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