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Proper equip for preping 'Boulder Field' for lawn...

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by janb, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. janb

    janb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    I'm back at my least favorite job site.

    This place is ALL football to basketball sized boulders with a little dirt mixed in to fool you into thinking it's flat. Any grading results in huge mound of 'one-man' river rocks, and not enough dirt to fill in the holes.

    Also it was heavily timbered till the PO lost the place to the bank, and logged it and left town. I've ground ~ 40 stumps (~ 4' dia x 4' high, surface roots to < 10' radius... no dirt...) the stumps have rocks even 1 ft above ground level, really tough on stump teeth...:cry: There are still ~ 10 stumps left, but I'm not gonna grind anymore HERE...they might need to be dug out with a LARGE trackhoe, then hauled off. It was hard enough to burn the soggy and dirty slash piles, I'm sure they couldn't have provided enough fuel for burning the stumps.

    I just finished burning 2 'house size' slash piles, (5 yr old :nono: from 3 acres of clearing) thus there is an abundance of 3" dia sticks 6" to 12" laying around. (they slip through the brush rake) I'\ve spent ~ 4 hrs of hand work picking some up.

    The customer wants a lawn...:rolleyes:

    Can a guy rent a rock / stick screener?.
    Unfortunatley looks you would have to take off a couple feet (~ 1 Acre lawn area) and screen the boulders out and spread the soil until it's deep enough to till. Or import a lot of expensive dirt. (this place is in the boonies, but I don't know of any dirt nearby.)

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,151

    You could rent a screener and shave off the top six inches of soil with your Bobcat, sreen it and spread it back out. Thomas makes a nice smaller screener that would be perfect for a Bobcat size loader. It may take a while but certainly cheaper than topsoiling the entire project. You could try running a Harley or Preparator over it and see how clean you can get it. Can you post any pictures?
  3. tnmtn

    tnmtn LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NE Tn.
    Messages: 1,022

    football to basketball sized rocks are good sized. can you run through it with a root grapple or rock bucket and get the larger ones out of the way before try to grade? i would at least try to get the rocks down to a manageable size for other attachments.
    good luck
  4. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    I'd take a rock bucket and scrape the big stuff off. Then I'd use a Harley to get the rest of it out.
  5. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Have you tried digging deep to see how far the nugget infested gravel goes ?

    Screening the soil will be allot of work how much does the homeowner want to spend ?

    Couple options would be dig 12 inches off the whole surface and import good material or use the out of sight out of mind approach and go over the top a bury the mess with new soil.
  6. janb

    janb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    interesting, as there are very few rocks smaller than 6", but... I dug a couple ft deep, and same stuff 6" to 24" river rocks.

    the home owner does't want to pay anything (suprise). :confused:
    He is not too happy with me, as I offered to come in and move about 30 3' dia x 30' trees the logger left laying around + mow with my brushcat last yr (lots of alders / blackberries) and then he was gonna just maintain his new 'miracle' lawn with his rider... when he saw how rough it really was he asked me to do some grading, then I found the rocks (brought in my 350 trackloader) and if you try to scrape off a couple inches you start uncovering the boulders (most are 12-16")

    So much for 'grading'.... you scrape 50 ft, and you will be 'hand picking' rocks for 3 hrs... even with the 4:1 bucket, it is still faster to jump off and hand load, as nothing is flat with 16" craters everywhere.

    The place is really transformed from the mess I came into, but... he can't maintain with his riding mower yet, and he is disabled so... he won't be handpicking rocks.

    I've been using my 7' 'tonged' industrial grapple on the Bobcat, or my 4:1 with rezloh. How do those HD curved brush / rock rakes work? Any rental suggestions? This action is pretty hard on the machine...

    I was considering renting a large (850?) trackloader that won't mind impact of boulders and screening the dirt. What there is appears to be nice and black (obviously a river botton at some time)

    Where to rent a Rock Screen?, not your average item...

    I've seen a 'grizzly' up the road. (inclined rock screen / basically a cattle guard on legs,) seems that would not be too productive, mechanised 'shaker' with graduated screens seems better, but gonna need to handle the 'big stuff'.

    If it was me....(in customer's shoes) I'd consider stock piling and selling the rocks to cover the screen rental, as these are nice size for landscaping, and in many places (like my house) there is not 1 rock !

    Again, it is very interesting that there seem to be no gravel sized rocks ?
  7. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    It sounds like a nightmare yard :eek:

    It is like I thought all the soil is full of round nuggets and there isn't much you can do about it. There is one area here that is like that and I know the local contractors had problems trying to grade peoples yards.

    A shaker screener is what your going to need if you want to screen out the good topsoil and see if a small gravel mine wants the rock. Any of the small stuff like 6-12 inch rock crushes easy and makes good 3/4 clear.
  8. smalley360

    smalley360 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    It sounds like a royal nightmare. Can you post some photo's to get a better idea of what the site looks like? I wish you the best of luck to get through it quickly and profitable.
  9. dozerman21

    dozerman21 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,171

    I would probably go this route, and then bring in some top soil and cover the whole thing at least a few inches. There isn't going to be a quick or cheap fix. I'd be afraid to keep going down, it sounds like it may not get any better.

    I also agree with the idea of stockpiling the rocks and trying to sell them or use them for landscaping. Even if the homeowner doesn't want them, maybe you could use them or sell them?
  10. fhdesign

    fhdesign LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    We have rock infested areas just like you described in my area and no inexpensive solutions here either.
    Preferred method here would be to use a larger excavator (like a 120,160) and screen it on site or loaded and hauled off site to be processed. There's nothing wrong with using your equipment it will just take a little longer.
    If the customer is on a tight budget, maybe they just need to do a smaller area properly and when they have more money come back and do more.

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