Suggestions on turf

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Lawnut101, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    I have a client that wants me to put a bid in for redoing a part of their lawn. The total area that needs to be done is 2,632 square feet. My question is, what would be the best method to rip up the existing turf? I don't own a skid, so I am trying to keep the cost down by not subbing that part out. I was thinking about renting a small tractor. But a sod cutter is out of the question, I couldn't stand cutting that much grass with one of those. Then I plan on spreading 2" or so of topsoil down and seeding and such.

    I also have 2 other options, for one I could spread the soil over the existing turf at about 1", and then seed over that, but I'm not sure if that would do any good.

    Another option would be to power-rake the area to loosen up the soil, and then seed or slice seed the area and of course apply fertilizer.

    What do you think?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Unless a dozen people jump in and say you can't sow seed till fall, I would do you second option. I spent a bit of time one spring spreading 10 yards of topsoil with a wheelbarrow and rake to get the ground perfectly level and overseeded as I went. Turned out great...

    Do you have irrigation there?
  3. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    I would suggest killing all the existing turf, rototill the area, rake out any chunks of turf that won't break up, and then topdress the area with new topsoil. I would then spread some fertilizer and seed. Finally cover with a Pennmulch or similar product and water. That is what I did in my backyard two years ago and looks great.

    You can do this as soon as the freaking weather makes up its mind this spring.
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    A toro dingo soil cultivator will till and bury the existing turf leaving you a good seedbed to seed or sod.

    I've done it before, one pass and you're done if you don't have to grade the area afterward.
  5. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    With a Dingo, how long would it take me to cultivate 2,632 square feet? It's gonna cost me $255 to rent the Dingo and the attachment for the day.
  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I would think you would want the setup for at least two days.

    You should be able to cultivate it in 3-5 hours tops, but you might want to have it for an extra day to be on the safe side.

    It's all in how much you want to spend.

    Sometimes I line up other work too, so I'll rent the machine for a week and the attachment for one day. Sometimes it's cheaper that way.
  7. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    That's true, I could do that other job I was asking about too.
  8. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    Sod cutting 2600 sq ft is easy even for a guy in his 40s like me.

    Another possibility is a slit seeder. Apply Roundup to kill existing vegetation. Wait at least one week for the turf to begin to turn yellow. Mow as low as possible and remove clippings if there are a lot. Make 2 passes over the lawn with the seeder. Try to make the passes at a 45 degree angle to each other: it gives the appearance that there are more plants germinating. Apply starter fertilizer and keep it moist. This is how southern golf courses overseed their Bermuda grass with perennial rye for the winter.
  9. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    Two more cents for your evaluation...Harley Rake attachment for Dingo is a lifesaver for time and grading.
    Basically you would want to do two - three hard runs with the rake spinning reels pressed in firmly removing the turf...Yes it takes a few more runs than Soil cultivator/Tiller. But here are a few advantages I find very important.

    1) It rips the existing but doesn't over excavate and leave you with a possible erosion or settling problem the first time you have a heavy rain.

    2) The harley rake is a dream machine once you have ripped out the grass...Very lightly skim the surface of your grade now with the harley reel and it will leave you a firm and extremely smooth finish, but still just fluffy enough for seed.

    3) The harley rake distribributes dirt to low areas as it goes and levels quite efficiently...I can rip and grade a 2500 sq. ft surface effectively with a harley rake in about 4 hours...

    4) The reels on the harley rake push all the large rock out in front or pull it as well as troublesome debris..Simply push or pull in to piles and then prepare to have about a cubic yard trash pile to load on a trailer and dispose of. Hell of a lot easier than having 3 tons of rolled up old sod to be disposed of using a sod cutter.

    5) Bottom line, I couldn't live without it ... It's a life saver and labor saver and I would highly recommend...Just like anything else on Dingo, I will admit that you will be in a much better situation if you are pretty familiar with the hand controls before you start...Otherwise it could definitely frustrate you for a while.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  10. betmr

    betmr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,663

    "White Gardens" has your best suggestion here. Take this advice. before you know it you'll want to buy one. or if you have a tractor w/ three point hitch, rent or buy a Harley rake, or Roto-Darrian. All three of these are the greatest for renovations. They turn it all over and leave you with a finished seed one pass. They're Soil Cultivators, You can even have a seed hopper ON them. One pass and you are done, look into it!!!

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