Roots and leveling

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by TPS, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. TPS

    TPS LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 363

    Hey guys, I have yard that needs to be leveled. They had about 20 trees removed and the stumps ground below the surface. The guy wants to remove some of the roots on the ground level. Is there any machine that could be used to til it up and break up the roots? It looks like after I level is once I will have to bring in some topsoil to fill in some low spots and put some fresh seed down. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If they are too large to work by hand - rent a machine that will do the trick.
    OR yank'em out with the ol' pick'em up truck. :)
  3. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    TPS, where in NJ are you? The type of soil you have will make a big difference in all the work you intend. If your intention from the beginning was to grade the property, having the stumps ground was a mistake. It would have been better to remove the stumps and filled the remaining holes. With a ground stump, there is no guarantee when the grading is done, the stumps will not be in the way, still. The stumps and roots will also rot, leaving a depression in the recently graded soil.

    If you wish to create a good planting or seeding bed, bring in compost and till it into the soil. You will likely break and expose many roots during this process, so that will also help in your cleanup. If the soil is marginal and you bring in a coating of topsoil, you are creating a very difficult to deal with soil situation. It's like putting a great butter cream icing on a nasty, dry cake. Once you get through the icing, the cake still sucks. By bringing in compost and tilling it in, you can create a more homogeneous soil profile that will encourage micro-organisms to thrive and release all types of beneficial nutrients.

  4. TPS

    TPS LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 363

    Awesome thanks so much for the help. The trees were all removed in the begininning of the summer. So I had no say in grinding vs. pulling. The guy wants to rent a stump grinder and grind them all a little lower. I was worried about the roots damaging the tiller. It will be a rental so I dont want to break someone else's equipment. We are going to rent a bob cat or tractor to move soil in, and now possibly compost, and grade the best we can. Is there any attachment I can run on one of these machines such as a tiller? My main concern is the roots doing damage to whatever machine I use. The soil isn't to bad. It's in the Pine Barrons, Atco-Medford area. Little sandy though. Thanks again.
  5. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    Sand is good, provides good drainage. You should be able to get both a tiller and a landscape rake to work with a tractor or skid steer. the tiller will mix it all up and the landscape or Harley rake will prepare a perfect seed bed. If they are going to grind the stumps further, they can also grind the larger roots. The tiller will be able to dislodge most any smaller roots remaining.

  6. TPS

    TPS LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 363

    Kirk thanks for the help, I really appreciate it. After looking at 2 to 4 day rental rates on Bobcats and tractors, it may be cheaper for me to find someone who owns one and is slow right now. I think me and him will grind the stumps and take care of most of the roots, then just have someone come in grade it and spread the top soil. I can use my tiller to mix top soil and compost if need be. Thanks again.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Try checking into a dingo, and soil cultivator, for the grading.
  8. Mowbizz

    Mowbizz LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 970

    I am doing the same thing for a customer who just bought an old farm for a "summer home." Basically, its an overgrown area that has been cleared of brush and trees and I have pulled all the stumps out with my Kubota BX24. What's left is uneven ground with all the major stuff gone but lots of smaller woody stalks and plants which were weed whacked off at ground level. She wants to make this a garden. I was planning on using my tractor's bucket (with a toothbar) to rip up the top layer of the ground, maybe a couple of inches thick. I have to get over there and "experiment" on how this will work.
    Have you looked into renting a compact tractor for this? My customer just decided that she wants to wait until spring to prepare this garden area, but I may talk her into getting it done this year and just go over there and get some seat time on the tractor to see if the bucket stripping method will work...
  9. AJ Lawnscapes

    AJ Lawnscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    You can rent a tiller for the bobcats.
  10. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 601

    How big are these stumps? You might want to consider a root rake or grapple bucket for the skid steer, it will pull alot more roots faster and easier than you'll do with a tiller, I'd get rid of as much of the stump as possible, including roots, then bring in either compost or some really rich topsoil and till it in a good foot or more, shouldn't be hard with a skid mounted tiller.

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