Help with ground prep for new sod

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-27-11, 02:03 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 56
Help with ground prep for new sod

I'm prepping my yard for sod that I'll install in about a month (I live in So. Cal) and need a few questions answered before I begin. My existing soil doesn't look bad, but just to be safe, I will remove a few inches of the existing soil, then will add new top soil. I already tilled the area once to aid in removal and leveling. So here's my questions: Do I need to till again to get the new soil mixed into the existing soil? Or is this optional? Does sod have a "standard" thickness? I need to know this so I can level the rolled top soil to the correct grade so the sod is level in height with my walkway and new irrigation.

Thanks,
Kevin
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-27-11, 06:08 PM
mike1059's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: usa
Posts: 68
tilling is optional and all the sod I've seen in oregon is cut to about a 1/2" depth.
 
  #3  
Old 09-27-11, 07:36 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 3,188
Just a guess but I think the sod thickness may depend on the grass species. Talk to the guys where you are buying the sod. If it's a local nursery or sod farm they can provide all the correct info for your area. If it's a big box maybe not so correct?
 
  #4  
Old 09-28-11, 09:01 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 17,648
I think tilling again might make it easier for the new sod to take hold but then you also need to account for additional settling as the soil compacts over time. If you do decide to till again I would wait until just before you put down the so. You don't want your precious topsoil getting washed away by a good rain. My local sod farm recommends that you freshly tilled soil be at the same level you want for your finished & aged lawn. The sod will be high when installed but 4" tilling depth settles/compacts down about right to account for the sod thickness.
 
  #5  
Old 09-28-11, 09:26 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 56
"Pilot Dane" - OK, so this is what I'm thinking. I'll bring existing tilled soil (it has rained once since) to 2" below final desired grade, and add 2" top soil (do not till again), then roll it, and lay the sod (assuming a 2 1/2" thickness). Considering that it's not freshly tilled, does this sound right to eventually have an even surface with my walkway or should I re-think my plan? Also, if it settles so much, which height should I place my spray heads?
 
  #6  
Old 09-28-11, 10:01 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 17,648
My sod was about 3" thick if you fluffed it up and count the grass blades but there was only about 1/2" of soil/roots.

You can play around with a small area in your yard. Prepare a small test area like you plan on doing for your whole yard. Then step on the freshly prepared soil and put all your weight on one foot (don't jump or stomp). Then measure the depth of your footprint versus the surrounding undisturbed soil. That should be about what it will settle/compact to within a few months. It's not scientific but it should give you something to go by.
 
  #7  
Old 09-28-11, 10:11 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,961
Don't forget the fertilizer! Putting it down before the new soil will help draw the roots down into the soil instead of spreading out.
 
  #8  
Old 09-28-11, 10:17 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 56
"Pilot Dane" - That sounds like a plan - thanks for your advice. Here's another question for you about the spray heads. I plan to add 4 - 5 more heads (7 existing on this phase with good pressure). How do I figure out how much pressure drop to expect? And with that pressure drop, how do I know what distance to place the heads?
 

Last edited by kevinf.; 09-28-11 at 10:38 AM.
  #9  
Old 09-28-11, 10:22 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 56
"Gunguy45" - Initially, I was planning on buying soil bags w/gypsum from HD, but the cost was too high. So I'm planning to buy 3 cu/yrds from local soil yard instead. I didn't ask them if their product has fertilizer in it. Is it common to buy soil with fertilizer by the yard, instead of bags?
 
  #10  
Old 09-28-11, 10:37 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,961
I doubt they include it....and gypsum isn't really a fertilizer anyway. In your area...I'd probably put down a spring mix or general purpose fertilizer. Maybe even a starter...the main thing is you want to stimulate root growth.


Edit: Might want to ask the yard if they have a blended mix using good compost, worm castings, or a composted manure of some sort. A lot of top soil (in my experience) is just soil that has been stripped off construction sites and screened for rocks and roots....not really all that good.

You might also see if you can find a deal somewhere on a few pounds of worms (red wigglers or similar) and scatter them all over the area. Best thing in the world for soil.
 
  #11  
Old 09-28-11, 10:47 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 56
"Gunguy45" - I'm guessing that adding fertilizer just something that I can buy from HD and put down with a broadcast spreader in pellet form before the top soil...am I right?
 
  #12  
Old 09-28-11, 10:51 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,961
Yes.....but read my edited version of my post....
 
  #13  
Old 09-28-11, 10:59 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 56
That's great advice about the fert and worms. Do you have any advice about my water pressure and spray head question from earlier?

I plan to add 4 - 5 more heads (7 existing on this phase with good pressure). How do I figure out how much pressure drop to expect? And with that pressure drop, how do I know what distance to place the heads?
 
  #14  
Old 09-28-11, 11:01 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,961
Nope...never been a sprinkler system guy.
 
  #15  
Old 09-28-11, 11:04 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 56
Thanks for all your help!
 
  #16  
Old 09-28-11, 11:06 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 17,648
Basically you have to measure your water pressure and flow rate. With those two bits you can tell how many sprinkler heads you can have on a zone. Commercial sites like Rain Bird and Orbit Irrigation have DIY instructions to do the figuring.

4 or 5 sprinkler heads is pretty much a zone on it's own. I doubt you will be able to add that many to one existing zone. You may have to consider adding another zone for your new heads
 
  #17  
Old 09-28-11, 11:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 56
"Pilot Dane" - That's good to know. Sounds like measuring my pressure and rate is my next step. Thanks for your help.
 
  #18  
Old 09-28-11, 01:02 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 17,648
If you need to add more sprinklers to get the coverage you need, but are coming up short with water flow or pressure you can try low flow heads. They cover a big area but put the water out at a lower rate which would allow you to have more per zone. So, currently you might have 7 heads and each glows 2 gallons per minute would consume 14 gallons per minute. You could switch to low precipitation rate heads that cover the same area but flow .8 gallons per minute which would allow you to run 17 heads and still flow the same 14 gallons per minute. You'd just have to run the sprinklers longer.

If you switch to the lower flow heads you need to do it for all the heads on that zone. You can't just change out one or two.

Here is a link to the lower flow heads on the RainBird website. I'm sure other manufacturers also have similar heads. But the video on the RainBird website does a good job explaining the difference between low flow and traditional ones.
 
  #19  
Old 09-28-11, 02:12 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 56
You're a wealth of knowledge! Thanks.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'