Questions about sod

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Lawn-Scapes, Sep 16, 2003.

  1. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    I was asked for an estimate for sod installation. This would be my first. The area is 1700 square feet of extremely thin turf... mostly dirt showing.

    My questions:

    Does this area need to be tilled or harley raked if adding a couple of inches of soil?

    How long should it take to lay the sod once the area is prepped?


    ps... If anyone from the Maryland area knows the price of sod and going rate for install.. would appreciate the info.
  2. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    Pending your soil structure determins what you do.

    If you now have a 3 - 4" layer of top soil, you can till and add some peat moss, then add the soil you need to bring to level. Till it again. Roll it with some weight in the roller.

    If you have less of a top soil layer then add much more peat moss and not bad to add compost as well, till it. Add the soil needed and till again. Roll.

    Tilling the existing soil breaks it up and adding the organic matter helps with drainage and water retention and the soil is broken up and aids in establishing a deeper root system.

    We wait a week after soil prep to lay the sod. We prefer to let it settle on it's own rather than compacting it with the roller over and over again. To aid it in settling. Water it daily, not 2 days before applying sod.

    It will need some adjustment with raking prior to sod. But at least now the soil is firm enough to walk on and not create deep divots.

    One other thing with the soil prep. You can lime at that time or lime at the time of installation. Hold off on fert. Unless you can get a Super Phospate. 0 - 36 - 0
  3. Stickman11

    Stickman11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I take it you are a grass cutting business? Want my advise..stay away from money! Especially 189sq.yds. want to sub it to the sod farm and simply be the middle man. Thats a good way to put a little and sometimes alot of hamburger money in your pocket. You are also helping out the sod farm workers who make hardly any money as it is.

    Without going into a long story here's how I do it. (and it has worked out great)!

    I sub all the work to the sod farm (except the prep work).
    Example: 660sq.yds 9-10-03 new customer.
    1.Killed off grass with round-up pro. Waited 7 days. (30min.labor)
    2.Rented Toro Dingo w/ harley-rake and preped. (5 hours labor)
    3.Spread starter fertilizer. (5-minutes labor)
    4.Sod farm layed sod following day.
    5.Tell homeowner to allow access to irrigation controller.
    ** You need to be there when sod arrives and time it to be there when they are done.
    6. Pick up your check that evening and go over watering instructions with client.
    ***One thing I will say about sod..instant gratification..homeowners love to pay when excited!!!

    I charge the homeowner $4.00 x 660sq,yds(includes tax, delivery,and installation).
    $400 flat rate for prep work (no top-soil added).99.9% of time harley rake does such a good job that no extra soil is needed.
    Total bill $3040.00

    Sod cost me $1.50 per sq yd. $1034.55w/tax
    Sod farm charges $0.20 delivery per sq.yd. $132.00
    Sod farm charges $0.50 installation per sq. yd. $330.00
    Dingo cost me $200.00 full day to rent. $200.00
    Starter fert. $9.00
    2-men for prep @$10.00hr. $100.00
    My cost.............................................................$1805.55

    My profit...........................................................$1234.45

    Not bad for 1/2 day work and never lifting a piece of sod!!!!!
    I'm lucky enough that the sod farm will even come out and measure for me so I never have to worry about too much or too little. Again, let the people who do it for a living work for you. Its a no-brainer.

    Most sod farms are native to the area in which you work. All this extra dirt...rolling...compacting is not necessary. Harley rake is only designed to till 2inches. You really don't need to be any deeper!! And starter fert. is a MUST!!!! (before you lay the sod of course)!!

    So much for keeping it short. I hope this helped.
  4. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    Thanks for the info guys.

    I think I would like to attempt to do it just for a learning experience... but the client is the president of the HOA that I am going to place a bid on so I need to make sure it is done right... so maybe I'll sub it out.

    Again.. Thanks!
  5. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    You may not need to adhere to going rates.

    What do you need to make per hour?

    And what do materials cost?

    Also, if you do extra details, make sure and list everything you do so the customer is aware of how much they got.

    If you did a pH test - list it.

    If you add lime to chemically fracture the soil texture - list it.

    If the grass seed is special - list it.

    Part of the key may be identifying why the old lawn is not doing well. Often, that will indicate what must be done. In fact, usually.
  6. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Messages: 1,557

    First off is there irrigation on this site? If sod gets dry for 1 time then its gonna be hard to keep it alive. Needs to be watered atleast once a day for 2 weeks if not twice a day if its hot. I would go in and core aerate the site. Run it over 3 or 4 times and get slot of plug holes in the lawn, apply some starter fetilizer, and seed and topdress it with a little peat just to keep some moisture on the seed. Much easier than laying sod and you can achieve the same results IMO.
  7. Stickman11

    Stickman11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I must say (NCSUL) I would have to disagree with you on the aeration part. He stated that the area is mostly dirt. Instead of aeration I would split-seed. Split-seeding allows you to rake in all directions, aerating is more for "established" yards. That's why the tines are so far apart. If you are gonna go over it 3 or 4 times whats the point.

    The part I do agree on is peat moss. Great FYI!!! Perfect for what seed doesn't get in the ground. Also good for the soil. I hate straw!!!

    The McGuire Landscape
    Richmond, VA.
  8. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Messages: 1,557

    Well the reason i said aeration is because most of the time when i get bare spots in my lawns i have problems with compaction so i aerate to pull out long plugs instead of split seeding.

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