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Prepping lot for sod/lawn

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by wagonproject, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. wagonproject

    wagonproject LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    I usually just browse pictures and all the useful information on here. Looking at doing my own lawn. I purchased the house where the owner put sod in the front yard but didn't prep the ground or maintain it. There is humps and low spots everywhere, lines where the sod shrunk from dieing, can pull sod up by house, etc. The ground underneath is somewhat rocky as well as the backyard which is just full of weeds. I want to put in new irrigation and new sod in both the front and back yard. I'm looking for ideas on what to do. I had planned on spraying weed killer (stuff we use on farm just lighter dose) and killing sod and weeds everywhere. Now I would want to strip the old sod correct, not just till it in. Then take a harley rake to the whole yard to clean it up. And finally top dress with new topsoil. How deep would you want new top soil? Then finally get irrigation put in and lay down the sod afterwards or seed. Thanks for any input or suggestions.
  2. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    I would suggest removing all of the old sod and take soil samples to your local extension office for testing to see what you have to work with and what you need to amend the soil to reduce the chances of history repeating its self. At least this method will allow you to start out with a fresh canvas and move forward in a practical manor.
    easy-lift guy
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,551

    Hire a pro for best results. A full service sod farm would have the proper equipment. I was thinking you would have sandy soil in Mattawan. There is a good one in Constantine.
    Use Roundup full strength--no sense in killing part of the grass. Wait 10 days. Have the old sod removed with a sod cutter. Then hauled away. Fix uneveness, dips and mounds. Otherwise, no need for topsoil unless it is pure sand. Lay irrigation pipe, wire and valve boxes. No heads yet. Lay big-roll sod. Add irrigation heads and let the water fly. Fertilize about every five weeks for first year. Plan on weed control in midsummer and fall--because weed seeds will be hidden in the soil.

    If there is a shade problem--sod will not solve it--use a ground cover adapted for shade in areas where no blue sky is visible.
  4. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    And after the OP followed your suggestions and the soil was not tested to determine weather the Ph was correct in the first place how is it possible to correct this potential problem after the fact. If the Soil Ph is wrong in the first place the lawn will die a slow death and I suspect the OP would not want to have history or the expense all over again. Even a professional sod company would at least suggest a soil test in advance of laying any new turf, at least here in SW Florida would.
    easy-lift guy
  5. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Messages: 3,253

    Remove sod with gas powered sod cutter (rental)
    Even dirt out for nice foundation
    Apply 3-4 inches topsoil
    No need to use herbicides, that will only decrease soil fertility.
  6. wagonproject

    wagonproject LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    Thanks guys! There's a couple sod farms near by, in Constantine and Decatur. Would I need to rent a sod cutter or could I just take top level off with the bobcat? Then apply new top soil and have it tested? Think I need to at least take some of the old dirt off as it's pretty rocky in places. Really no shade places to worry about.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    I would remove all of the existing material first. Take your soil samples from various locations around your property say maybe one sample every 1000 sf. After determining weather your soil ph is correct for the type turf selected I would till in the necessary amendments into the soil. Top dress with a couple of inches of top soil and install your irrigation system. Than install your lawn and water in. Only water in the morning say between 6/7 AM to allow excess due to dry off and lessen the chance of fungus and disease activity.
    easy-lift guy
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014

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