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Old 02-22-2009, 03:38 PM   #1
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lawn renovation questions


I am planning to re-sod my backyard but landscaping is not really my expertise. The backyard is a problem because it is very lumpy and consists of very compacted clay soil. Only grass that ever comes in is crab or quack grass. I will be doing about 6000 sq. ft. and am curious what the most efficient means would be to go about this. I'm thinking about renting the largest rear tine tiller I can find or bobcat or other tractor w/tiller, to break up soil/turf and also till in peat moss or something. Then would probably rent a bobcat with planer attachment to grade. Would this be an acceptable way to renovate the lawn? If so, what is the best equipment to use to accomplish this? Should existing grass be killed first?

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Old 02-22-2009, 03:50 PM   #2
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rent a skid steer with a harley power rake which is made for breaking up this clay, kicking out rocks and leaving the yard with an ideal condition to sow seed.

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Old 02-24-2009, 12:44 PM   #3
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Good of you to fix the soil first. No way roots would have been able to grow through that. Clay will pool water on the surface, and rots some kinds of roots.
When I put in a flagstone walkway last summer, and added in some small shrub planting areas, even the sharp shovel had to be jumped on to go into the ground(I welded the neck the reinforce). I mixed a lot of peat, mushroom soil, some composted manure, and some multch(if it's new it will steal nitrogen though)

Local arborists might be able to do a soil sample (at least check/adjust ph).
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:19 PM   #4
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Bob,
How deep does that power rake cultivate?
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Old 03-05-2009, 01:44 PM   #5
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Hi dhag. If your soil contains as much clay as it sounds I would consider bringing in some fresh topsoil. If you could get away with raising your landscape 3-4inches, I wouldn't even bother tilling, simply place a nice bed of top soil, roll it with a hand roller, place your sod and water it lots for the first couple of weeks until the sod has taken. A bed of clay will maintain moisture hence keeping your topsoil moist at all times. Even if you till it, it will eventually get hard again. Just a thought.
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Old 03-05-2009, 04:01 PM   #6
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A power rake uses a roller with many carbide tips that grind the dirt and kick out all the rocks. When the last pass is down it leaves the soil loose with small dimples like on a gold ball that allow the seeds to collect. Normal wind quickly covers the seed with loose soil so no additional work is needed but to plow and seed. For clay soils, I add peat moss and cow manure and grind it all in while the machine mixes at the same time. There is no better tool for new lawns.

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