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Steep lawn dead lawn with tree roots trying to get grass.

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Njon16, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. Njon16

    Njon16 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Whats up fellas I seem to be a bit stumped on what to do here. A customer of mine who's property is on a very steep hill is trying to get her lawn fixed up for the season. Now normally if they want a new lawn i'd say a quick seed/fert maybe a till if they want brand new lawn.... in and out situation.
    But her lawn is a disaster tree roots have taken over her lawn and the lawn can't hold any dirt even if I wanted to cover up the roots because all the dirt gets washed down the hill when it rains. Any ideas of what I could do here i've asked a couple nursery's and they pretty much said its a lose lose situation but there has to be something! This lady has money and is more then willing to spend it!!!!!!!!!

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I have that problem in my area as well...

    Which direction does the hillside face? What kind of soil is there now? and how dense is the shade and what is the duration of the shade and what part of the day will it get light?

    I should give you a warning up front, that she may have to spend more "Time" than "money"... Hills are tricky, and be patient until something clicks. But, I've succeeded at every challenge so far... :)

    Another thing, Is there any hardsurfaces nearby that allow water to move rapidly, before it hits your hill?
  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,161

    Put down 3-4 inches of topsoil and then sod. Worked great for me.
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  4. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    I agree.

    What type of trees are they? If they are some-thing like a cherry tree, the roots will be a constant problem afterwards any-ways. You may want to plant around their roots. They will move up and down depending on the water.

    When planting the turf I would suggest that you have the rolls go up and down the long ways, not side to side. For instance, our sod is generally ,,, 1x3 feet. Hang the one foot from top to bottom, so it runs the three foot down hill.

    Sod is layed like bricks, so that the seams don't meet up all the time, except along the sides. So cut some pieces in half, so you have some that are 1x 1.5 and stagger your seams... I would think if you start from the bottom this will limit the amount of half pieces. I guess the same idea works if you start doing long row short row long row etc
    from the top too.

    Don't pull or stretch the sod to get the seams to match up. When it gets hot, it will shrink back to its original size like memory foam.
    You need to move the entire piece and pick and pull and pat down each seam without stretching it.

    As it is being installed on a hill, you can "pin" the sod pieces with long nails. Some sod farms even have U shaped clips that they'll sell.
    This is so the pieces don't slip away while their roots are being established

    Just push the nails in until they meet up with where the soil starts on the sod.
    I have never had a problem with a nail poking back up in the future while I was cutting. If you are scared, beforehand you could paint the nails red and remove them later in the season.

    Correct the soil pH before you start and use a quality starter fertilizer.

    I usually roll over the sod with a roller afterwards so that it adheres to the planting area better, but this could be difficult where you are.

    Are you watering it, or are you putting watering cycle directions into your contract so the client does the watering?

    That would limit your liability if the sod has problems that were out of your control.

    KINGMADE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    Take a picture if you get a chance.
  6. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,353

    I agree with pinning and vertical laying of the sod. I would even consider a retention netting to give the roots even more to wrap around while is establishes.
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  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If it is as he indicates, he will need an aggressive shade tolerant sod, otherwise it will all be dead by Fall and back to square one, next Spring...
    I hear they have "Fescue Sod" now... :)
  8. Njon16

    Njon16 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Sorry for such a delay on the reply Fescue is what I will be using it takes very well in pretty much anything from what I understand and what the nursery has told me.
    My question is though I can put all this topsoil down and lay the sod no problem but since the water washes everything down hill do I have to worry about the topsoil being washed away from underneath the sod before it takes

    Also I included a pic it's not the best was kinda on the fly and the real rooty spot is to the left not caught in the pic and its the same kind of tree. As you see this is about mid day with a nice sun and the hill gets a bit steeper to the left not that much more though.

  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That doesn't look too steep. I wouldn't fret about either fescue sod or fescue seed due to the slope... Those shadows don't appear to leave much space for duration of sun, so prepare for low maintenance shade care... Not sure why you would need 6" of soil...

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