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Preparation for laying sod down?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Otruba_843, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Otruba_843

    Otruba_843 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Messages: 14

    In the next 2 weeks, im going to re sod my back yard. Im going to spray with round up to kill the grass that is there now and then rake it up once its dead. After this is done, im a lost puppy. I have seen some that say to roto till the yard and some who say don't roto till and aerate instead because the ground will be mushy for a long time. Im live in South Carolina, Charleston area to be exact and am going to put down Palisades Zoysia. My backyard only gets a few hours of sun every day. What soil supplements do I need to put down?

    Here is what the yard looks like now.

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Looks like you have an anaerobic surface to your soil... lots of water? poor drainage??

    If you're going to invest in grass I would definately square away that soil for sure... looks like CG would have a hard time rooting in that...

    Is your soil clay? What is it like 6" deep ,,, right now??? Is Zoysia a shade grass???
  3. Otruba_843

    Otruba_843 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Messages: 14

    What does CG stand for? There has been a ton of rain in the past few weeks. There have been heavy downpoors in the early night causing the water to pool at night before it can drain and evaporate during the day.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    CG is Crab Grass... When you have soil that puddles, you have a problem... if it has to evaporate before it drains you have multiple problems...
    Even in heavy down pour is should drain away in a few hours...

    What you've described and from what I see in the photo you'll find it worthwhile in the long run to till in as much sandy compost as you can find, usu. bags of cow manure compost has some sand in it...

    Spread it over the ground and till it in deeply,,, soak it down and see how it drains and what the tilth of the soil is when it dries... till it again, with additional compost if needed...
    When the soil is moist, not wet, you can press a handful of dirt in your fist, open it up and poke the ball with your finger... it should crumble apart in your hand... if it is like modelling clay or silly putty, definately add more compost and till again...

    Always let the soil dry adequately before walking on it or even raking... if it sticks to your shoes, stay off of it... once your satisfied that you've done all you are going to, then rake it level(after settling the dirt with a good soaking and letting it dry out), then another layer of compost over it upon which you lay the sod... then soak it down again... with shade, you may only lightly moisten it once a day, after a couple of days drying out a bit... there is no rule of thumb for watering except don't keep the soil soggy,,, especially clay...

    The biggest problem is of course shade, and even though soils have the same needs everywhere according to climate, you may have trouble maintaining shade grass...
    Most people use too much fert and too much water for shade grass in cool season turf, around here,, but maybe 1/2 the fert and water will work in your warm season area... :)
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,308

    Not necessarily.

    Where do you come up with these suggestions? Unbelievable.

    Again with the really bad suggestions.
  6. Otruba_843

    Otruba_843 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Messages: 14

    So what should I do? I'm not looking to break the bank.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,308

    Get a soil test that includes reporting on organic matter, CEC, EC (soluble salts), macro & major micro nutrients, pH. From there, you can decide what needs to be done.

    For example, get the S3M test package with soluble salts added on.


    This allows you to establish a basic baseline to measure against in the future and to determine what your soil needs in terms of amendments now. Make sure you collect soil samples correctly, otherwise the results will be less than reliable.

    While you are waiting for the results, read this.


    FYI, it will cost you far more money in the long run if you don't properly prepare the site & soil. That includes preparing the soil for turf and installing a properly designed irrigation system if there isn't already one there.
  8. xclusiveTN

    xclusiveTN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I'm in Nashville, TN and you can get this done here as well:


    There is a sample of what you will receive on the soil test results. Didn't realize we had a number of testing facilites in the state of Tennessee.

    ***After reading thru their site you will be better off going with the lab in Memphis Kiril suggested as this lab charges a surchage $25.00 for out of state samples***
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Until the soil gets opened up,,, those numbers are meaningless... but people believe what they want to believe, and I certainly am not going to discuss any of it with kiril... :)
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,308

    Yes axe, you can erroneously believe what you want.

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