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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    1

    Default New grass over existing sod

    I've got about 500 sq feet of yard that I would like to renovate. I want to bring in about 10 yards of topsoil to build up the depressions, etc.

    My question - can I just place 4 - 5 inches of topsoil over the existing lawn then reseed? or do I need to kill the grass first, cut it short or take all of it out?

    Thanks for your help

    Will
    Pacific NW

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,482

    Default Re: New grass over existing sod

    You can bury the existing grass without problems. Anything over 3 to 4 inches in depth will smother out what's there as well as prevent existing weed seed from germinating.

    Finishing your topsoil with a layer of sod will add an additional barrier against weeds and pre-existing grass coming up, as well as give you an "instant" lawn that you'll be able to enjoy this summer, rather than nursing seed, which will prevent use of the yard for most of the summer.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
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    5,558

    Default Re: New grass over existing sod

    You should remove the sod then fill. The existing sod will act like a barrier preventing proper moisture flow until it decomposes.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
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    1,585

    Angry Re: New grass over existing sod

    I inherited a disaster of a rear lawn in my present house. I elected to kill the existing "grass" with Round Up. I then rented a small tracker with a rear roto tiller and turned over the whole area. Finally, I installed new sod after re-leveling the area.

    The result was a beautiful new lawn - and then came the moles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,482

    Default Re: New grass over existing sod

    Contrary to my learned colleague ordjen, I recommend NOT using Round Up or any other herbicide because you're only polluting the soil. All herbicides do is kill the greenery on the surface, they do NOT kill the seed that lays within the soil, so as soon as you cultivate the soil, you stir up new weed seed that will germinate and take hold. The two things you can do to minimize future weeds is to mow the yard as short as possible, then use a sod cutter and remove the remnants and the majority of the seed. One other thing would to be to spread a pre-emergent ONLY if you're laying sod, the pre-emergent will prevent the remaining weed seed in the soil from germinating.

    I can see Jack's point about the existing sod creating a barrier, but IMHO, this has more to do with your soil quality and water table than anything else. It's certainly something to think about, but you must weigh it against your local conditions.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,585

    Default Re: New grass over existing sod

    Spruce,

    Under normal circumstances, I might agree with you. However, the original owners had done practically nothing in the back yard. It was more weeds than grass. They had also not leveled the ground, even mowing it was almost impossible because of its roughness. I don't think a sod cutter would have gotten all the roots of the weeds, not to mention the seeds. So, I elected to "nuke" the back yard.

    The new sod took wonderfully. I had amended the soil with several bales of peat moss and gymsum powder, as we have heavy red clay soil in the Portland area. I am sure the moles appreciated my efforts, as it made for easy diggin'.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,482

    Default Re: New grass over existing sod

    Quote Originally Posted by ordjen View Post
    Spruce,

    Under normal circumstances, I might agree with you. However,
    Are you trying to argue with me?

    Everyone has their own methods and reasoning, there's nothing wrong with that. I will admit that I've used the Round-Up method myself a time or two in my early days. The thing is, you're still only killing the greenery, and doing nothing to the seed that is still in the soil. The primary concentration of that weed seed is in the top inch or two of soil, this is why mowing the area short with a bagged mower, then using the sod cutter to remove the top inch of soil and a good percentage of the weed seed with it, is a good idea.

    The second reason for not using herbicides is that they stay in the soil pretty much indefinitely, contrary to the claims made by Monsanto (maker of Round-Up and other herbicides ). While these residues won't be much issue to grass, they will be an issue where vegetables will be grown and it will affect water runoff quality.

    As to amending the soil, I too am a big proponent of proper soil preparation over the use of chemical fertilizers. Realistically, there isn't a whole lot you can do with the yard, beyond working in good quality organic matter such as manure or compost. If your municipality has a green waste recycling program, that compost is really good, though it will be laden with whatever fertilizers and chemicals the city's residents apply to their yard (including herbicides sprayed around the home ). One of the worst things to use is human waste compost, which is full of heavy metals, all kinds of pharmaceuticals, and other toxic chemical combinations that find their way down a storm drain or that are used in the treatment process.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
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    5,558

    Default Re: New grass over existing sod

    Another problem with green waste recycling program compost is that composting doesn't kill seeds either so it is hard to say what you will be importing..

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    5,093

    Default Re: New grass over existing sod

    I agree with Spruce. What goes around, comes around.

    Herbicides are forever very harmful, when they are applied and in the future. That doesn't mean you can't have temporary success using them.

    Weeds rule and survive even the harshest conditions, where true green grass doesn't. It's the law of nature, since wild grass is supposed to sustain wild life of so many forms of life.

    Including underground rodents...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
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    Default Re: New grass over existing sod

    So, I should learn to love crabgrass?

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