Bermuda Yard question?

DalmavFebruary 10, 2013

This last July I moved into my new home. The previous owners had an above ground pool and a large deck taking up about 75% of the back yard. They removed deck and pool and re soded at my request.
It appears that they used large tractors to remove the items cause there are huge ruts and basicly very uneven top soil. They just applied the new sod over these large ruts.
The sod did grow over the summer and filled in, but the ground is still really uneven.
I want to get some top soil and rake it in to level out the major spots. My Question is should i weed n seed / fert the ground before i cover it with the fill soil? I am looking about covering about a 10 yard diameter area with fill dirt.

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Leveling Bermuda is usually done with sand, not top soil. If the depressions are very deep, then top soil might be better. Do a google search for "Bermuda lawn leveling with pics!!!" for a good write-up on this process. Also google the "Bermuda Bible" and follow the instructions for your lawn. Leveling shouldn't really change your fertilizer or weed killer applications.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:56PM
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I am a turf management major and work on a golf course and here's what you can do
1. No doubt use topsoil for sure on a yard sand is good for golf courses and ball fields not a yard. But what you can do is cut away the sod in the ruts with a shovel or sod cutter and save your pieces aside. Then fill your ruts with topsoil making the topsoil level with your yard(the topsoil will naturally settle dropping your raised sod pieces back level with your yard when you lay them back on) then lay your existing sod back on the topsoil and tamp it with a tamper, a shovel, your foot... Anything to make sure the roots and soil contact each other. *make sure if in summer to fertilize with a fertilizer high in K (potassium) has this is the mineral most linked to root growth and water at least 30 mins everyday until turf has a root hold*
2. Instead of using existing turf you can buy some sod to replace what you removed if you don't want to mess with cutting and removing the sod and laying it back in the same order.
* Bottom line don't worry ab weed seeds in your fill dirt or pre-treating the soil before the fill dirt because it does no good and your fertilizer is below your roots anyway. What you do is, with bermuda because i live in the south with a bermuda yard is wait and see what weeds emerge if any and treat with a post emergent selective herbicide in the summer or I would tackle this project in the early winter when grass is dormant and wait for your winter weeds to show and kill with roundup (because warm season turf isn't affected by roundup in the winter) and then treat with a preemergent in early February for your spring/summer weeds. I know it is a lot but you can find websites that give times when and when not to apply herbicides/fertilizers and the appropriate herbicides for certain weeds! Hope this at least gets you an idea of how to start this.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:32AM
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Assuming a few items, the quick answer is no, do not fertilize prior to filling in the low spots. First things first, do not fill in the low spots until the lawn is actively growing. Once the lawn is active, topdressing can be done gradually, by adding 1/4" to 1/2" layers of soil periodically. It can also be done as a single project. The choice between sand or topsoil really depends on the conditions. Sand has the advantage of easily reaching the lowest point and tends to level very well, it is also easy to work with. However, the major disadvantage with sand is that it has a very low cation exchange capacity, which is a measure of a soil's ability to hold nutrients. There are a lot of choices for composts, which have the highest cation exchange capacity, such as mushroom or produce compost. I have used these in the past with great success.

As for your fertilization plan, the gradual top-dressing method would not warrant a deviation from your basic Bermuda fertilization schedule. If you cover the area over in a single step and you sod or sprig it you should use a starter fertilizer on the initial treatment. Starter fertilizers (usually 18-24-12) are higher in Phosphates, which directly stimulate root growth. If you don't plan on putting down sod, sprigging Bermuda will speed up the covering process. Good Nitrogen levels through the growing season will be especially important to get the rhizomes to spread and help the Bermuda knit together for optimal turf density. Potassium levels should be monitored even beyond the growing season, as this vital nutrient plays a major role in sustaining the turf during transition, stressful periods, and when pathogens are present.

Here is a link that might be useful: Serenity Lawn Service Facebook tips

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:32AM
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You can burry bermuda with a sand mix and it will come back very nicely. There are a couple of services in ATL that offer leveling. The picture shows the application the day they performed the leveling: cut, scalp, aerate, fertilize and finally apply sand mix. If you have deep ruts more than an inch or two, i would remove the turf and level it with the sand mix then re apply sod. Wait till next year to level.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:50PM
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...and here is the same area roughly 6 weeks later. I can now use a reel mower at under 1". Yay!

This post was edited by rager_w on Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 16:55

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:53PM
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Great pictures. It's been about 10 years now, but I once offered reel mowing as a service, and topdressing with sand was usually a necessary step. Those pictures take me back in time. Also, one trick to really get your turf density improved is to use a growth retardant like Primo Max. It reduces upward leaf growth, but increases stolon and rhizome growth. Just about any golf course you find uses this all summer long.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:26PM
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Good suggestion serenity. I use a verticutter once a month to thin the canopy, but that might be even better.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Rager, what kind of work do you do specifically. I ask because I receive inquiries from customers to do landscape jobs (which I don't do), and I need someone that knows what they are doing, so that I can feel confident about referring them.

Here is a link that might be useful: contact page

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:56AM
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Hah...too funny. I am just a hobbiest that loves to do lawn work. I am a sourcing manager for a major consumer products company. I did go to Michigan State though, so maybe turf management is in my blood!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:27PM
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