Questions about a tilling job...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by allstar, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. allstar

    allstar LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    Customer wants an area behind their house prepped for sodding.The area is about 2500 sq. ft.,has quite a few trees but has been cleared of brush and the gound is covered with pine straw.The property is fairly level.I believe the trees are far enough apart to allow me to do at least part of it with my tractor but I'll probably have to use my WB tiller to do a good bit of it.
    My main concern is tree roots:I don't want to kill any trees nor do I want to damage my equipment.
    2 questions:
    1.) How do I handle the 'tree root' problem?I'm thinking about just staying away from the trees with the tractor and using the WB tiller with the tines set real shallow.
    2.)Shouldn't I remove most of the pine straw before tilling the ground?
    Thanks in advance for the help.
  2. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,581

    1) You shouldn't do too much damage with a walk behind tiller.. Most of the time when I work around trees the tiller just "hops" over the roots.. But if a tiller won't work, maybe try a shovel and a rake but remember to charge for it.

    2) I don't have any experience with pine straw but my best guess would say remove it. What was it there for? Decoration or were they trying to grow grass there? I use Lesco Seed Starter pellet mulch, works 1000x better than straw..
  3. allstar

    allstar LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    Yeah,the pine straw is just there for decoration.The customers originally wanted a low maintenance backyard and now they want grass.
    I'm trying to avoid shovels and rakes as much as possible.
  4. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,618

    Hey Allstar, your getting advice from a 17 year old that doesn't know what he is talking about. Damaged roots can caused havoc with a tree depending on the type of tree and how old it is. Till outside the drip line of the tree or further to keep from hitting the roots. If they have pine trees then forget about grass under the trees.

    Pine needles are acidic so you need to get rid of them if possible.

    1. What kind of trees they have? I hope they are not pine trees.
    2. How much shade is in the yard from the trees. You need to get grass that is for low-sunlight if yard doesn't get much sunlight,etc.
    3. Get a soil sample kit and mail it off to get a soil analysis. You need this first to determine what the soil needs so it has a good balance for grass to grow.
    fcl01 likes this.
  5. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,581

    Ok F you too.. What the hell is going on with you people saying I don't know what I'm talking about.. You don't even know me.. I SAID, if tilling won't work a rake and a shovel would be the best way to clean it out.. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out..
  6. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,618

    Real mature type. You might look at yourself instead of blaming others on this site.
  7. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    I don't want to get in the middle of a tif here but DLS1 is correct. Quality you are probably a nice guy but to advise using a tiller and "hopping" over roots around a tree is asking for trouble. A WB tiller can cause huge problems for a tree. Especially if the tilling is only on one side of the tree. The drip line is a safe place to start but remember roots can grow well farther than that. Soil tests and use the correct grass type is also good advice.


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