Renovating a lawn after tree removal...?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by bdoss123, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. bdoss123

    bdoss123 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    Last fall, the power company was nice enough to remove around 10 pine trees that were close to the house and in the middle of what could otherwise be a nice front yard.

    Now there is a ton of pine needles/pine cones/and wood chips (from the stump grinding) in that area. I want to renovate the entire property this spring (and probably overseed again in the fall).

    So my question is, what's my best bet for prepping this area so that I can spread compost, aerate, and then power-seed? Can this work be done by hand (with a few laborers) - or am I going to be better off getting someone to bring in machinery to clear/level the yard?


    - BD
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It sounds like a lot of stuff is probably on the ground there and a few laborers will clean it up better than any thing else. Get rid of the fresh needles and grindings , but keep the older composted stuff worked into the soil.
    Not sure why you aerate rather than till.
  3. happylandscaper

    happylandscaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    We are working a similar job where a dozen pines were cut and stumps ground up. I removed the pine needles and wood chips and there where alot. I used a small loader and dumped them onto my dump trailer hauled them off. It took two loads. I am going to bring in a little topsoil to spread in the area to help fill some of the holes where the stumps were ground. I am having to wait on the topsoil here because it been so wet and cant get any now. I plan on liming the area working up the soil and seed, fertilize and straw.
  4. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 724

    In the area around the trees tilling could be tough because even though the stumps are ground there is still a massive amount of wood (roots) just under the surface.

    Just as a side note. Personally, I try to keep tilling operations to a minimum. It wrecks the natural soil structure that takes a fairly long time to develop on it's own. By adding lots of organic matter during tilling you can help build a better structure than what you had but in that case several soil scientists have told me to just do that once and then leave it alone. From there just continue with your proper soil management practices that are less invasive, let the soil structure redevelop and in the long run you'll have nice soil to grow in. Tilling is also very hard on tree and shrub roots that also grow in the same portion of the soil.

    I'm not saying that I don't use a tiller, I just try to use it sparingly (new construction sites, etc).

    bdoss, if there are some shrub beds around and you're close mulching season, the grindings make a very good mulch. Usually I talk them into letting me spread them out and then topdress with whatever more aesthetically pleasing mulch you normally use and that keeps from having to move them far. It's good for the plants anyway.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I prefer tilling, for as the roots decay there will be a lot of settling over the next several years. A tiller digs up the smaller ones and allows you to clean them up. Works the organic matter deeper in to the soil profile along with whatever ammendments are desired.
    You end up with a more consistent texture that is easily raked smooth with less settling in the long term. If the trees were young and grass was still growing under them that would be a different story IMHO.

    A definate yes about the grindings. When a client wants them out of there they come right home to my garden. :)
  6. bdoss123

    bdoss123 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    I am relucatant to till due to reasons described above; although I do see the point about the roots settling.

    And yes - another great plus to this project was all of the mulch and grindings I got to keep.

    Regarding the stump removal - do I need to dig out those holes and refill with a decent soil mixture?

    - BD
  7. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    We did a job almost identical to the one you described last spring. We had to remove 7 blue spruce trees and ground out the stumps, several trailer loads later we were finished. We cleaned up the entire area and brought in 4 tons of topsoil, added lime and starter fertilizer. We added 100lb of lime to the area since the PH was 3.5-4 then tilled in the lime and fertilizer,graded the lawn w/ slight slope for drainage, seeded the area and rolled the new lawn for good contact. A year later and they have a nice healthy green lawn.
  8. golfguy

    golfguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    A powerbroom attachement for a stihl line trimmer is the most effective method of cleanup. Trust me on this one and buy one or rent one for this job.

    The Lime is also a must and a great recommendations. Old stump holes tend to generate mushroom growth and the lime will also help aleveate this problem.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Yes. We have always just raked out the chips and covered whatever was left of the stump with topsoil and seeded.
  10. bdoss123

    bdoss123 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    Thanks for all the input.

    Can I ask your recommendations for the following:

    How much lime per 1k Sq FT?
    How much topsoil per 1k Sq FT (volume and/or desired depth)?
    How much seed per 1k Sq FT?

    The front yard is the area that had the trees removed from it, but I topdressing and reseeding the entire .5 Acre Lot (minus two buildings).

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