Need some advice for customers older home bare backyard

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by wiseguyslawn, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. wiseguyslawn

    wiseguyslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 464

    A good customer of mine has recently moved into an older home with very established older trees. The front yard has nice turf, however the back has many of these trees which the shade has killed off the turf. The trees roots are showing through the soil. Its not a huge backyard maybe 5,000 sq ft.

    My suggestions are going to be to get a rid of a couple of the trees to start.

    My question is the customer is suggesting bringing in new topsoil and seeding. I beileve this does need to be done but the existing soil should be broken up rototilled, etc. before the new soil is brought in. To prevent a soil profile. Not sure what to do with the roots on top of the soil. Should I smooth the new soil over them? Any suggestions advice would be great. Thanks
  2. Mahoney3223

    Mahoney3223 LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 995

    you need to get a soil test done on the soil to see what kind your dealing with there. i don't know what kind of trees you have there but if they are oak you will want to treat with lime to neutralize the acidity of the fallen leaves from years past, esp if the yard is all dirt.

    Once you get the soil test back you can determine what type of grass will grow here. if they trees are removed you will have to get the stumps ground out etc. then put down your lime, then haul in your new dirt. grade it out (assuming you know how) and plant the appropriate grass type.

    should be some $$$$
  3. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    If your business is yard renovations then you should probably already know all this.

    If it's not then I would be careful about "learning on the job" when big trees are concerned. I rarely see anyone willingly pay to remove large old trees. A, it's expensive, and B, they often consider them an asset. I'd probably pass on the job and find them a dedicated landscaping company (no maintenance) that specializes in these jobs. Observe how they do it and you'll know if it works or not by seeing how this one does. But this one could go bad in a big way.

    What's more likely is that they will not want the trees removed and will instead want you to magically make their shady moss growing lawn to become a thick lush one, like it was sunny. In my experience, that never happens. My number one frustration in terms of advice giving is that you tell them grass won't grow well in deep shade, and they never listen. They seed it, sod it, till it up and add soil, all to no avail. finally then they MAY cut the trees down. But usually by then they have moved on to the next guy who promises them the world via a $4000 renovation job.

    I'd think the roots should be chipped along with the stump to avoid problems with fungus and sinkholes later. There is no way I would cut trees down near a home unless I was experienced at it and specifically insured for it.

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