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Old 04-18-2009, 01:37 AM   #1
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Removing old grass with tiller?


Hi all,

I want to look into removing all the "grass" and weeds on my yard so that I can prep for new sod. I have never done this before. I have seen that some people use a "grass cutter" machine and then they use the "tiller" to loose the ground. I would have to rent either machine I used, therefore I would like to get just one. Since I really do not care to recycle any of the old grass can I just ran the "tiller" machine to stir the earth which I would assume will be removing the grass and weed from the roots.

Is there any special treatment recomended before installing the new sod? like fertilizer...etc?

Thanks

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Old 04-18-2009, 08:55 AM   #2
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Removing old grass with tiller?


Use the tiller. not sure why you do not want to recycle the grass, since this will help add nutrients to the soil. Till, rake add starter fertilizer. Let sit a few days. Then sod. Water heavy every three days to establish deep roots.

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Old 04-19-2009, 02:53 AM   #3
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Removing old grass with tiller?


One reason I do not want to keep any of the old grass is because there is a lot of weed and other wild plants in it. That is the main reason I think it would be easier to remove the whole thing and start fresh. As it is the old grass, if any left is in bad shape and with lots of dry spots all over the place.
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:06 AM   #4
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Removing old grass with tiller?


If you're going to rent a rototiller, you first need to kill all the weeds with weed and grass killer. Make sure it does have the grass killer in it. When you sod your new lawn, you don't want the old grass to come up as it might be a different variety than the new grass.

Rototilling without first killing the weeds will just mix them into the soil. A lot of them will survive and come back. Also, when you turn the soil, all the weed seeds that had been sitting on the surface will grow.

The only weed and grass killer I'm familiar with is Roundup. I've had good luck with it, but maybe someone here knows of a better brand, hopefully one that's cheaper. Make sure you buy the concentrate and not the 'ready to use'. Buy or borrow a sprayer. Don't spray when there is even a small breeze. The wind will carry it into your neighbors yard and kill anything it touches...

The good thing about doing it this way is the roots will be killed too. But, it does take a week or so for everything to die and turn brown.

Oh, one last thing. Before you rent the rototiller, ask the sod supplier if it's even necessary to rototill once everything is dead.

Good luck. I use to put a lot of effort into getting rid of the weeds in my yard. It was a real battle for several years. I lost. Now, I just do my best to keep them out of my flower beds.

Last edited by gma2rjc; 04-19-2009 at 04:16 AM.
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Old 04-19-2009, 01:39 PM   #5
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Removing old grass with tiller?


This site has some good information to help you prepare for sod http://www.sodding.com/prepare/index.html

I don't know of any specific books to recommend. Bookstores and discount bookstores usually have a lot to choose from this time of year.
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:37 PM   #6
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Removing old grass with tiller?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gma2rjc View Post
This site has some good information to help you prepare for sod http://www.sodding.com/prepare/index.html

I don't know of any specific books to recommend. Bookstores and discount bookstores usually have a lot to choose from this time of year.

Good website! I've been planning this project for over a year and have been getting a lot of mixed advise and this seems to simplifiy it all and ties all of the other info together.
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:46 PM   #7
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Removing old grass with tiller?


Good luck with it. It looks like a lot of work. Take some before and after pics too.
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Old 04-26-2009, 07:57 PM   #8
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Removing old grass with tiller?


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Originally Posted by gma2rjc View Post
If you're going to rent a rototiller, you first need to kill all the weeds with weed and grass killer. Make sure it does have the grass killer in it. When you sod your new lawn, you don't want the old grass to come up as it might be a different variety than the new grass.

Rototilling without first killing the weeds will just mix them into the soil. A lot of them will survive and come back. Also, when you turn the soil, all the weed seeds that had been sitting on the surface will grow.

The only weed and grass killer I'm familiar with is Roundup. I've had good luck with it, but maybe someone here knows of a better brand, hopefully one that's cheaper. Make sure you buy the concentrate and not the 'ready to use'. Buy or borrow a sprayer. Don't spray when there is even a small breeze. The wind will carry it into your neighbors yard and kill anything it touches...

The good thing about doing it this way is the roots will be killed too. But, it does take a week or so for everything to die and turn brown.

Oh, one last thing. Before you rent the rototiller, ask the sod supplier if it's even necessary to rototill once everything is dead.

Good luck. I use to put a lot of effort into getting rid of the weeds in my yard. It was a real battle for several years. I lost. Now, I just do my best to keep them out of my flower beds.
Yes, good advice. I did not think about this. I will like to kill everything before I put new sod. How long should wait after I add this poison to the ground before I add new sod. I would not like to add new sod a week after and for it to start dying.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:31 AM   #9
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Removing old grass with tiller?


The directions on my bottle of Roundup say to wait at least 3 days after the last application to rake, till or replant with seed or sod. Personally, I would wait longer than that as it sometimes takes 4 or 5 days for the plants to actually look dead.

The commercials on tv suggest that you'll see the plant die very quickly. That's not true. 24 hours later you'll only see a slight difference in the way the weeds look. After a few more days, they'll look like they're dieing. At least that has been my experience.

It also says if the ground is dry, to water before you spray the stuff. Watering to moisten the ground should be done at least several hours before you spray. Water left on the grass/weeds will only dilute the chemicals and make them less effective.

I've been using this stuff for about 10 years or so. We have a chainlink fence that goes all the way around the back yard. A trimmer worked ok on our side, but if the neighbors don't trim along their side of the fence, then it looks like heck. I don't blame them for not wanting to mess with it. So I spray along the fence on both sides.

The MOST important thing is, like I said, to not spray when there is even a small breeze.
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:51 PM   #10
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Removing old grass with tiller?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gma2rjc View Post
If you're going to rent a rototiller, you first need to kill all the weeds with weed and grass killer. Make sure it does have the grass killer in it. When you sod your new lawn, you don't want the old grass to come up as it might be a different variety than the new grass.

Rototilling without first killing the weeds will just mix them into the soil. A lot of them will survive and come back. Also, when you turn the soil, all the weed seeds that had been sitting on the surface will grow.

The only weed and grass killer I'm familiar with is Roundup. I've had good luck with it, but maybe someone here knows of a better brand, hopefully one that's cheaper. Make sure you buy the concentrate and not the 'ready to use'. Buy or borrow a sprayer. Don't spray when there is even a small breeze. The wind will carry it into your neighbors yard and kill anything it touches...

The good thing about doing it this way is the roots will be killed too. But, it does take a week or so for everything to die and turn brown.

Oh, one last thing. Before you rent the rototiller, ask the sod supplier if it's even necessary to rototill once everything is dead.

Good luck. I use to put a lot of effort into getting rid of the weeds in my yard. It was a real battle for several years. I lost. Now, I just do my best to keep them out of my flower beds.

I purchased a home that had been vacant for serveral months. The grass was dead with alot of weeds. I rototilled it without killing the weeds first. I am raking up the debris. After reading about this I see that I may have done this incorrectly. Any suggestions.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:21 PM   #11
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Removing old grass with tiller?


I would wait and see what happens. You may get a lot of weed seeds sprouting or there may be very few.

If your grass comes in nice and thick, it may choke out the weeds anyway.

No matter what you do, weed seeds will get into your lawn one way or another. They can blow into your yard from a neighbors yard or when birds are flying over, there can be seeds in the droppings that land in your grass.

I wouldn't worry about it right now.

When I built my flower beds, I dug out ALL of the live grass and weeds. Then I spread Preen (more than recommended) all over to kill any seeds that remained. I put mulch down and added the plants.

Even with all of that time, $$$ and effort, I still get a lot of weeds in all of my flower beds. The Preen helps a LOT! But you wouldn't want to use that if you're starting your lawn from seed as the purpose of the Preen is to kill seeds.

If you don't mind waiting to plant your grass seed, let the weeds grow in and kill them with Roundup. Read the manufacturer's recommendation on the time period needed between spraying and planting new grass seed.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:40 PM   #12
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Removing old grass with tiller?


Spray with Roundup or a generic (glynphosphate is the ingredient).

Don't till. It will stir up weed seeds that will sprout. If you do till, then wait until the new seeds germinate and spray them too.

I have a massive 8 HP Troybilt tiller (it's from the 70's -- over 300 lbs). It has a hard time cutting through grass.
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Old 12-31-2009, 04:18 AM   #13
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Removing old grass with tiller?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gma2rjc View Post
Watering to moisten the ground should be done at least several hours before you spray. Water left on the grass/weeds will only dilute the chemicals and make them less effective.

The MOST important thing is, like I said, to not spray when there is even a small breeze.
Water that is left on the grass and weeds won't dilute the mixture, it will actually help the chemicals get into the plants through the plant cells. It's not like when you are watering you are going to water with a fire hose for 4-5 hours and have 6" of water on your lawn.

You were also told in a previous post to water heavily to establish deep roots. Water heavily only on the first day. After that you just need to keep it damp for the next 4-6 weeks. If you have an in-ground irrigation system, water for 8-10 minutes three to four times a day. If you drag a hose and a sprinkler head around, do it for about 15-20 minutes three times a day. Don't water in the hi-heat of the day.

Don't fertilize until after the roots have set unless it's a starter fertilizer. You also should fertilize the top soil after you have it prepped and rolled, just before you lay the sod.

Mick

Last edited by Water Guy; 12-31-2009 at 04:21 AM.
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:53 PM   #14
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Removing old grass with tiller?


Another vote for killing the grass before tilling, and "RoundUp" will do just that. One suggestion: For every gallon of the mixed RoundUp and water, add six (6) drops of "Dawn" dishwashing detergent. Just that small amount of detergent will act as a "surfactant", which will make the sprayed material stick to the leaves better. This is how RoundUP works, it is absorbed through the leaves to attack the central nervous system of the plant. Thanks, David
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:08 PM   #15
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Removing old grass with tiller?


Hi Thurman. Is there anything that can be added to the tank with the Round Up and water that will show where the Round Up has been sprayed?

It's so easy to miss a few spots. Especially if it's a hot day and the leaves don't stay wet very long.

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