Mass renovation

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by nate1422, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. nate1422

    nate1422 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    I live in Southeast PA, moved into a new home in Late July and the landscaper rockhounded the yard and seeded using straw for mulch. I put down scotts starter fertilizer and I watered the yard every morning and afternoon trying to keep it moist. It started to grow, got nice and green, grew to about 4 inches, I mowed it back to 3.5 and it got hot, started to turn brown no matter how much water I gave it. I gave up and sent a soil sample to penn state and watched some weeds grow. Deficient in Phosphorous and pH is 6. I'll adjust with lime and superphosphate when I reseed and also add starter fertilizer.

    I have lots of rocks that are in the 1-2 inche range and some 10+ inchers that are under the surface. So I plan to completely redo the yard now and avoid the headaches later. I plan to dig it up and reseed next weekend. I know it is getting late in the game for a KBG, red fescue, per rye blend but it has been so dry, I have been trying to wait and would rather chance it to frost in November.

    Anyway, what I need to know is, is this a good plan? Or would I be better off just aerating and reseeding. If you all agree with the rip up plan, can anyone recommend what to use, a Harley rake or rockhound on a skid steer? I know the rockhound supposedly doesn't do so hot with the bigger stuff but I am not too familiar with the workings of a Harley rak. I will be renting the equipment ($400) but I do have someone that knows how to operate the machinery.
  2. baddboygeorge

    baddboygeorge LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249

    if your yard is decently graded dont worry about the rock . get some good topsoil an work about 2 inches over exsisting soil. seed with a good fescue at about 12 pounds a thousand for a new lawn an cross seed. so your gonna spread at 6 pounds a thousand cross ways to get the total of 12 pounds a thousand square foot.once that is down , spread your starter at 3.5 pounds a thousand, moderately. After that is completed straw very well an then roll with a roller over the straw to pack the straw an seed into the soil . after that , water twice a day for 14 days an enjoy! i hope ya got your mower ready . any more questions let me know thanks george
  3. nate1422

    nate1422 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    The grading wasn't all that great to begin with. When they raked it originally they drove the straw blower truck around the yard and rutted it up, then everything settled a little more here, not so much there and it is a crusted over rock at this point. I have an acre lot so to bring in topsoil and overdress is going to be a bit too expensive right now for my budget. How much would a job like this cost normally, just the topsoil and loader, just so I can get an idea? I am not in the business right now but I would like to start picking up some work. My exmark 48" metro walk behind is waiting and ready for some thick turf.
  4. baddboygeorge

    baddboygeorge LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249

    i wouldnt consider anything like that for under 3500 dollars lots of work but with the right equipment its a days job an about 2500 profit . good luck an have fun
  5. nate1422

    nate1422 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    Thanks for the input on price. I know it is going to be a boat load of work for myself and some friends. Ashame that the builder was not interested in doing it right in the first place. I am still looking into the loader etc. Who knows, maybe I can land some renovation work in my neighborhood, everyones yard needs the same work mine does.
  6. fcl01

    fcl01 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Messages: 249

    besides the deficiencies in the soil, it was also not prepped the way it should have been.
    a rockhound or harley rake only preps so deep. yes they make a beutiful looking seed bed but underneath that nice topcoat is rock-hard compacted soil.
    a tiller, pulverizor, disc, boxscraper, soil-ripper or at least something should be used prior to the rockhound or harley rake to loosen the soil as deep as possible (i usually shoot for 4 in.)
    a lot of landscapers dont practice this and some places do not require this.
    but for the most part, the installs that i do are in new housing developements and have clay smeard around by a dozer during the final grade. poor soil packed by heavy equip. requires speacial care. :waving:
  7. lilmarvin4064

    lilmarvin4064 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    It would be a good idea to incorporate the phosphorus into the soil 3 to 4 inches deep. Too much superphosphate on the soil surface could possibly burn. I've seen ONE pellet of superphosphate kill a small tomato plant.
  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    I agree with fcIO1,there are probably more rocks below the
    reach of the equipment your thinking of useing and that will impede your drainage.Also the builder scraped off the topsoil and the Landscaper did not do anything to improve the soil that was left and that was subsoil usually not good for sustaining life.I would till in as much organic matter as possible when you do your renovation and go deep.
    I don't understand why the use of straw is so prevaient when covering a seeded lawn.Straw is FULL of weed seeds and straw seeds so you are sowing straw with the grass.
    I would cover the seed lightly with a little top soil or Topper and roll it.I know your buget is limited so this might not be an option but I never use straw to cover a seeded area.You might do well to cover the large part of the area with straw and cover the area around the house with a topper.But regardless go deep and remove all the rocks you can.
  9. nate1422

    nate1422 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    Let me tell you, everyone here rocks!!!!!

    Please move to PA and knock on my door. Anyway, thanks for all of the input. I am looking into getting some compost delivered to incorporate. My budget is going up and up and up because I want it right and spending the money now will prevent years of headaches. Anyway, I will look into a tiller and rockhound to do the job. The machine is the expensive part, a tiller will only run another $100 bucks or so extra.
  10. nate1422

    nate1422 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    So here is the plan. I plan on spreading out 30 cu. yds of mushroom soil(about 1/4 of the lot is septic drain field that I cannot touch). Till that into the soil to 4-6" with a bobcat and tiller. Then rockhound, starter fertilize, seed, drag with fencing and roll with with an almost empty roller. Does this sound acceptable for a 1 acre lot. I was planning on just aerating the heck out of it and topdressing, then slit seeding but I think from what I have read from all of you, the big problem is 2-6" down so I should alleviate the compression, not to mention it is now late september so the seed has a better chance than July.

    One more question?? I am busting the budget here so mulching is going to be tough. Do I need to add mulch??? I don't want to use straw again as that caused problems to begin with and PennMulch is $$$. I am up at 5 watering the entire lawn and then again at about 3-5 in the afternoon. Am I chancing it?????

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