Renovation- Clumpy lawn

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by godjwood, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. godjwood

    godjwood LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Messages: 137


    Given the advice in the past of renting a toro dingo soil renovator to renovate a lawn, I have used it for 2 lawns now and run across the same problem.

    In short, the machine sucks. It does not have enough power to dig more than a few inches, and it leaves the existing grass in clumps all over the lawn (which has been sprayed 2x with roundup and is dead). It does not bury rocks as advertised but instead drags them up to the surface.

    2 falls ago I did a renovation on a small (5k sqft) lawn and he complained it was bumpy. So I had to come in with topsoil and level out the low areas.

    Last fall I used the same machine on a 15k ft lawn and have the same issue. The customer has not said anything yet.

    But what I am looking for help on is:

    1) How should I fix this problem with the bumpy/uneven lawn
    2) What should I use in the future because obviously this machine sucks for this job. I know that skid steerers have a renovator attachment, but these do not go very deep only a couple inches. I know you are supposed to mix in amendments into the top 6" of the soil so this will not cut it.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    You're right, 2" depth for reno. is just dumb...

    The only way of doing it 'right', esp. with ammendments is to till and rake smooth w/out the compaction of running a skidster over it... I know it saves time to level with a skidster, but unless your're working with a beachsand lawn soil, that skidster makes everything more time consuming for years to come...
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,443

    I think your only practical choice is, kill the old turf and use a slit seeder. If you till, you have to get rid of hundreds of clumps of old sod. Either that or use a sod cutter and remove the old sod.
    Never done it myself--but rumor has it that you can apply Roundup At 9 am and slit seed at 10 am--and whole job is done in one giant step. Old grass dies as new grass emerges.
    Has anybody done this successfully?

    CHARLES CUE LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,319

    Riggle I had a lawn to over seed when i got about half way done. when the owner came out and decided she wanted to kill the existing grass. So i stopped and came back the next day to spray it with gly. When i came back 10 days later as requested by the owner to slit seed a lot of the lawn had grass seed that started to grow. So i would say it works.

    Charles Cue
  5. godjwood

    godjwood LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Messages: 137

    i have heard that as well that technically you are able to do this.

    a slit seeder wouldnt work because you are supposed to til in the ammendments evenly to the top 6". if you look on youtube the toro renovator is supposed to do this and looks good in the videos but in reality it does not work anything like this.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It might also be easier to rent a sd cutter and remover a 1/2" - 3/4" of the root zone b4 you till if those clods are going to be a problem... If the soil needs ammendments or loosening, it is better to do it right at the beginning to make it a trouble free lawn for years to come...

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