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Smoothing my bumpy land.



 
 
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  #1  
Old 22-06-2009, 04:34 PM
Registered User
 
First recorded activity by GardenBanter: Jun 2008
Posts: 9
Default Smoothing my bumpy land.

Hi.

I brought a house with a large garden that had not been tended in 20 years. After two years hard work, I have successfully cleared it of the large weeds, and now I have the basics of a large lawn that I'm keeping under control with a flymo. The problem is, where I have dug-out all the old bramble roots and dead trees, I now have quite a bumpy surface.

As the lawn is in pretty poor condition, I was wondering about rotovating the entire lot and raking it smooth, before laying new seed.

What I'm unsure of is, how fine does the rotovator chop up the earth ? I don't want to be stuck with great lumps of earth that I cant rake flat, and as my solid turns to mushy clay approx 6inches down, I only want to skim-off the top few inches so I can rake it flat?


Would a rotovator do this, or would a tiller be better…… I have no experience with either ?

Would I need to skim off all the top layer of grass anyway, or could I just churn all the existing stuff up into the soil ?


Thanks.
joe
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  #2  
Old 23-06-2009, 02:03 AM posted to alt.home.lawn.garden
EXT
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 33
Default Smoothing my bumpy land.

Joe Shmoe wrote:
Hi.

I brought a house with a large garden that had not been tended in 20
years. After two years hard work, I have successfully cleared it of
the large weeds, and now I have the basics of a large lawn that I'm
keeping under control with a flymo. The problem is, where I have
dug-out all the old bramble roots and dead trees, I now have quite a
bumpy surface.

As the lawn is in pretty poor condition, I was wondering about
rotovating the entire lot and raking it smooth, before laying new
seed.

What I'm unsure of is, how fine does the rotovator chop up the earth ?
I don't want to be stuck with great lumps of earth that I cant rake
flat, and as my solid turns to mushy clay approx 6inches down, I only
want to skim-off the top few inches so I can rake it flat?


Would a rotovator do this, or would a tiller be better…… I have no
experience with either ?

Would I need to skim off all the top layer of grass anyway, or could I
just churn all the existing stuff up into the soil ?


Thanks.
joe


Don't know what a rotovator is nor how large it is. In North America we use
Roto Tillers which may be the same thing. They come in all sizes from light
duty models made to cultivate small gardens to large heavy machines that can
chop through grass roots and compacted soil.

It sounds like you need a heavy duty model, one with rear tilling tines not
one with tines in front. It will weigh 250 to 500 pounds. That may sound a
lot but when hacking through turf and shrub roots even that will jump around
as it hits objects that it cannot cut through. They all can be set to cut
from 1 inch to about 6 inches and can go deeper with multiple runs. Even so,
with your description, it will take a lot to pulverize your soil. One word
of advice, with clay soils DO NOT TRY when it is wet, the tiller will
compact the clay into hunks and throw them around. Dry clay soils will take
a lot of work to turn into fine rakable soil. It can be done as I have done
it in the past with an 8 horsepower Troy-Bilt rear tine tiller that weighs
about 300 pounds. Even it took off, pulling me along when the tines caught
some heavy roots.

  #3  
Old 23-06-2009, 04:06 PM posted to alt.home.lawn.garden
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 432
Default Smoothing my bumpy land.

On Jun 22, 8:03*pm, "EXT" wrote:
Joe Shmoe wrote:
Hi.


I brought a house with a large garden that had not been tended in 20
years. *After two years hard work, I have successfully cleared it of
the large weeds, and now I have the basics of a large lawn that I'm
keeping under control with a flymo. *The problem is, where I have
dug-out all the old bramble roots and dead trees, I now have quite a
bumpy surface.


As the lawn is in pretty poor condition, I was wondering about
rotovating the entire lot and raking it smooth, before laying new
seed.


What I'm unsure of is, how fine does the rotovator chop up the earth ?
I don't want to be stuck with great lumps of earth that I cant rake
flat, and as my solid turns to mushy clay approx 6inches down, I only
want to skim-off the top few inches so I can rake it flat?


That is exactly the problem and the work that you get if you till up
the whole thing. Assuming the 6" of topsoil is otherwise OK and you
want to renovate, I'd:

Wait untill last week of summer, then kill of the lawn with
glyphostate (Roundup)
A week later, make sure it's all dead, then mow it short
Rent a core aerator and aerate the whole area.
Get topsoil delivered to fill in the low spots, rake level.
Rent a slice seeder (overseeder) to put down the seed.

If the areas that need topsoil are individually large, then a slice
seeder may not be the best choice for putting down the seed, as the
seeder works best in firm earth and could sink/bog down in loose
soil. But it is the best way to seed this. Alternatively you could
broadcast the seed and rake it in.

Also, check PH, adjust if needed, apply starter fertilizer, and keep
it constantly wet on the surface for 2 weeks+ until you see good
growth starting. Then back off the watering, to less frequent, but
deeper.






Would a rotovator do this, or would a tiller be better…… I have no
experience with either ?


Would I need to skim off all the top layer of grass anyway, or could I
just churn all the existing stuff up into the soil ?


Thanks.
joe


Don't know what a rotovator is nor how large it is. In North America we use
Roto Tillers which may be the same thing. They come in all sizes from light
duty models made to cultivate small gardens to large heavy machines that can
chop through grass roots and compacted soil.

It sounds like you need a heavy duty model, one with rear tilling tines not
one with tines in front. It will weigh 250 to 500 pounds. That may sound a
lot but when hacking through turf and shrub roots even that will jump around
as it hits objects that it cannot cut through. They all can be set to cut
from 1 inch to about 6 inches and can go deeper with multiple runs. Even so,
with your description, it will take a lot to pulverize your soil. One word
of advice, with clay soils DO NOT TRY when it is wet, the tiller will
compact the clay into hunks and throw them around. Dry clay soils will take
a lot of work to turn into fine rakable soil. It can be done as I have done
it in the past with an 8 horsepower Troy-Bilt rear tine tiller that weighs
about 300 pounds. Even it took off, pulling me along when the tines caught
some heavy roots.


  #4  
Old 26-06-2009, 05:14 AM posted to alt.home.lawn.garden
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 122
Default Smoothing my bumpy land.


wrote in message
...
On Jun 22, 8:03 pm, "EXT" wrote:
Joe Shmoe wrote:
Hi.


I brought a house with a large garden that had not been tended in 20
years. After two years hard work, I have successfully cleared it of
the large weeds, and now I have the basics of a large lawn that I'm
keeping under control with a flymo. The problem is, where I have
dug-out all the old bramble roots and dead trees, I now have quite a
bumpy surface.


As the lawn is in pretty poor condition, I was wondering about
rotovating the entire lot and raking it smooth, before laying new
seed.


What I'm unsure of is, how fine does the rotovator chop up the earth ?
I don't want to be stuck with great lumps of earth that I cant rake
flat, and as my solid turns to mushy clay approx 6inches down, I only
want to skim-off the top few inches so I can rake it flat?


That is exactly the problem and the work that you get if you till up
the whole thing. Assuming the 6" of topsoil is otherwise OK and you
want to renovate, I'd:

Wait untill last week of summer, then kill of the lawn with
glyphostate (Roundup)
A week later, make sure it's all dead, then mow it short
Rent a core aerator and aerate the whole area.
Get topsoil delivered to fill in the low spots, rake level.
Rent a slice seeder (overseeder) to put down the seed.

If the areas that need topsoil are individually large, then a slice
seeder may not be the best choice for putting down the seed, as the
seeder works best in firm earth and could sink/bog down in loose
soil. But it is the best way to seed this. Alternatively you could
broadcast the seed and rake it in.

Also, check PH, adjust if needed, apply starter fertilizer, and keep
it constantly wet on the surface for 2 weeks+ until you see good
growth starting. Then back off the watering, to less frequent, but
deeper.






Would a rotovator do this, or would a tiller be better…… I have no
experience with either ?


Would I need to skim off all the top layer of grass anyway, or could I
just churn all the existing stuff up into the soil ?


Thanks.
joe


Don't know what a rotovator is nor how large it is. In North America we
use
Roto Tillers which may be the same thing. They come in all sizes from
light
duty models made to cultivate small gardens to large heavy machines that
can
chop through grass roots and compacted soil.

It sounds like you need a heavy duty model, one with rear tilling tines
not
one with tines in front. It will weigh 250 to 500 pounds. That may sound a
lot but when hacking through turf and shrub roots even that will jump
around
as it hits objects that it cannot cut through. They all can be set to cut
from 1 inch to about 6 inches and can go deeper with multiple runs. Even
so,
with your description, it will take a lot to pulverize your soil. One word
of advice, with clay soils DO NOT TRY when it is wet, the tiller will
compact the clay into hunks and throw them around. Dry clay soils will
take
a lot of work to turn into fine rakable soil. It can be done as I have
done
it in the past with an 8 horsepower Troy-Bilt rear tine tiller that weighs
about 300 pounds. Even it took off, pulling me along when the tines caught
some heavy roots.


Joe - you're getting some advice from people who live under completely
different circumstances who are trying to extrapolate their experience to
your part of the world. Different soil, different climate and different
turfgrass. I've got a different opinion --.

If you can mow your present lawn with a flymo it may be that you don't have
a large problem --

(a) if unevenness was a huge problem the flymo wouldn't handle it; and
(b) since you're using a flymo I suspect that your definition of a "large"
garden may differ from ours. In this area a medium-sized lawn might be
4,000 sq. meters. That's not Flymo-able. I would think it's hard to use a
Flymo for more than about 400 sq meters. How big is your area, actually?

I don't think you have a problem big enough to require rotovating. Just
fill in the rough areas with top soil and rake smooth, then reseed -- kill
the weeds off beforehand with glyipho if there are that many, or if you're
changing the type of turf. The other stuff -- aerator, liming, rotovating
etc. -- looks like overkill -- especially the rotovating.

And if you do decide to kill off some areas with glyphosate, mow it first,
low, then spray. It'll go faster and cheaper, with easier clean-up.


 




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