Removing Sod For Renovation

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RobD70, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. RobD70

    RobD70 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    I took another guy out last Friday to look at this project. He said of all the projects they did over the years, he said he hasnt done anything like this. I am 1 guy and then my son will help here and there. It would be a insane amount of work and would take alot of days/hours to try and rip up the sod and then haul it all off. Then that soil is quite rocky, so we would have alot of rocks to deal with also. I am looking into another option, an that is to just mow the existing grass as short as the mower can go, then put a 1-2" layer of fresh screen top soil over it all and re-seed that. 2" will cost about $8,000 just for top soil. I would think it would take 2-3 days to get the soil there, dumped and spread out. Then fertilizer and seed. No matter how this one is done, it will be expensive. Judging by the homes in that sub division.....there is no shortage of money. I need to figure estimates both ways, taking the sod, rocks, etc off, leveling and seeding...and having top soil brought in to spread out and seed. I think the amount of labor in removing it all will cost him more than the cost of top soil and labor to spread it.
  2. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    If the soil is full of rocks then topping be the best route
    2'' of top soil $8k WOW your dirt is high
    Here cost about $1500 just for the dirt

    You have a tiller just till the sod up it will be less labor
    I would not use you PTO rake to break up the sod Use your tiller it will do a better job
  3. RobD70

    RobD70 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    I did a garden area for a couple people that was existing lawn and the sod is pretty bad with the tiller to. I thought of trying my tiller with the skids set so it would only cut about 1 1/2" down so we got most of the sod, then power raking it. It will still be alot of labor as it is a big area. Plus with it being rather rocky soil, it is rough on the tiller to.

    Top soil from one place I know of is $14.60 a yard delivered. We are talking 543 yards to cover 2 acres with 2" of screen top soil. I figured it using 88,000 square feet. If you could get that much for only $1500, you are paying only 2.76 per yard which is an incredible deal. You cant buy any dirt/soil/sand for that anywhere around here. Not even junk fill.
  4. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    Sorry typeO hit wrong button didn't catch till I couldn't fix it 3500 + I was figuring at 1.75 acres or 76,125

    My Tiller is a Bushhog brand 72'' HD but over the 25 years owning it I had gusset a lot spots

    Its nothing to find concrete/rocks I run mine at full depth I pull with a 4600 Ford diesel

    When tilling Sod I over lap half the tiller So I'm double tilling on one pass When I make 2 passes its like making 4 passes
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,800

    Recycled has a good idea. Kill it, level it and and slit seed--maybe with a bit of aeration and broadcast seed for reinforcement.
    Is this irrigated? If not--forget it.

    I think the best bang for the buck--install irrigation, kill it, mow short as possible, fix rough spots, resod over whatever remains.

    Don't lay the sod yourself--get big-roll sod. Sod farm lays 200 foot rolls 4 feet wide with a tractor. Goes quick.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  6. jspsc123

    jspsc123 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    sod cutter
  7. RobD70

    RobD70 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Sod cutter for a big area like this, 2 acres is not an option as it would take a long time to do and would be alot more labor. After considering a couple options, including spreading topsoil over the entire yard and reseeding that way, I will be spraying the whole yard, leaving it sit 2-3 weeks, then power raking it and seeding it. I have a spot in my back yard that I sprayed and let sit for like 11 days. I used my tiller to see how it looked and while it worked it up, it left of plenty of clumps of sod. I used my power rake and in 2 passes and 1 finishing pass, it was pretty decent. I think not take off to much in the first pass is the key so you do rip up big clumps of sod compared to taking the top inch or so and it being pulled apart instead. Some of the dead grass on top, but didnt seem to be any clumpos of sod that I could see. Most of the sod seems to have broken up pretty good and blended in nicely. That big of an area will still take a quite a bit of time, but getting rid of most of the sod will be a huge help.
  8. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    You have a Disc You can run a Disc on it to break first layer up
  9. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    I agree with everyone who said don't skin that sod have no idea how much that will be to haul off and the labor to pick it up . I recently was subbed to do 2 yards that the main contractor did not spray first. Most of the time we use a toro dingo with a soil cultivator ( because it's small and can fit through gates)..the amount of work it took to clean up that "live" sod was horrible. I would also guess if your not proficient with a skid steer you could be digging way too much soil out...One other thing..if you watch some you tube video's of dingo soil cultivators you can see it actually buries any rocks below the finish grade . I have not had any yards with lots of rocks so I don't have real world knowledge of how good that really works ..only what I have seen in the vids.
  10. RobD70

    RobD70 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    The entire yard will be sprayed and sit 2-3 weeks. I have a spot in the back yard at home here that I planned to level out, so I used it as a test spot. I sprayed it and left it sit 3 weeks. Yesterday I went over it with my power rake and it worked good. No gobs of sod to take off. The inital pass was enough to clean the dead grass and some of the sod off and produce bare dirt. You get the dead grass and what remained of the sod all blended right back in with the soil. It was not lumpy or anything either. The guys yard I will be doing is a big area and will take time. The only thing that might take me longer is he has more rocks there than we do. I did do a test spot on his yard of 40 feet x 100 feet to get an idea of the time it will take and how many rocks there will be as well as how much sod has to be hauled off. I took about 5-6 bucket loads of sod off just the test area. It won't be nearly that bad as it will all be sprayed. Spraying that grass and leaving it sit 2-3 weeks is a huge help. The soil also needs to be fairly dry and it works much better than when wet. My biggest problem will be how the weather is. I need it to cooperate for that week,

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