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Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Posted by gardensnake1010 none (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 11, 12 at 21:43

Ok, so I have decided to resod my lawn with St. Augustine. I have already applied Roundup and am waiting for everything to die off. My neighbor did this same process last year and decided to till his lawn before laying his sod (it does look good). From some general browsing here, you guys don't recommend tilling. I went to Home Depot and the guy there said I should use a sod cutter to get rid of the current dying grass. My dad says I don't have to till or use a sod cutter, but rather just lay the sod on the existing dead grass. Can you guys give some suggestions as to what is the best way to do this. Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Need more information:

* What type of grass did you have when you sprayed it with Roundup?
* Where are you located?
* What is the rate of Roundup that you used? ( Example: 3 ounces per gallon of water)

Depending on where you are located, this may not be the best time of year to be sodding St. Augustine. You definitely do NOT want to lay new sod on the existing dead grass. You want your new sod to be in contact with the soil underneath. Tilling will usually leave the ground unsettled, and it will take a couple of growing seasons for the area to properly settle. This is why you shouldn't till the ground prior to planting.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Yes, don't till.

There are tools with vertically rotating blades that will do what you want. They have different names including power rake, verticutter, slit seeder, and a few others. Look for one with blades, not flails. Adjust it to just barely scratch the surface of the soil. Then blow or rake all that chaff away into your compost pile. Then you can sod directly. If you notice high or low spots, fix those before the sod goes down. And do all that before the sod arrives. Once the sod arrives, it needs to go down YESTERDAY. St Aug will get a fungal disease if it sits on the pallet too long.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

No tilling period.

As Dave mentioned you can use a vertical mower, but I would add what we call a Sugar Coat or improved enhanced top soil along with a good starter fertilizer like 10-10-10.

All Sugar Coat means is a thin layer of a material. To late to tell you now but you should have waited until next spring to do this as you would have better results. Not a lot of time left this season for the roots to set deep and get acclimated. What is your location?


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

I'm not sure why my last reply didn't come through, but I suppose I didn't take the final step of posting my reply.

In response to the original questions.

1. The type of grass I sprayed was Bermuda.

2. I am located in Richardson, Texas.

3. The ratio of Roundup Concentrate I used was 6 ounces/gallon of water.

As I said, my neighbor laid his sod at this exact time last year and his looks great. Please tell me if this is the wrong time to lay it for Richardson. I figured with the mild winters we usually have it would be an ok time to lay it.

I also want to know the differences of St. Augustine. I am looking at three varieties. Palmetto, Del Mar, and Raleigh. Raleigh is the cheapest, but the other two seem to be more cold weather tolerant.

Thanks everyone for the responses. I definitely will not till.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

You can lay the sod now, just not the optimum time to do it...

But you have raised a huge RED FLAG. You are in DFW and want to replace Bermuda lawn with Saint Augustine? Why?

You just as well go to the Middle East and promote the USA and Christ as that will be easier, take less time, and more rewarding.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Ok, that definitely got me laughing. I appreciate the humor.

I will say that my lawn is in horrible shape. Nasty weeds everywhere. One of the biggest problems as well is that I have a large tree. The grass will not grow under the tree or on the side of my house. It's simply too much shade. I keep getting letters from the homeowners association saying that I need to lay sod or plant seed.

I know that watering and fertilizing are important and I have tried that along with weed killers and pre and post emergents. Nothing seems to work. After seeing my neighbors redo their lawn with St. Augustine, I am sold. I have the money and I like the way it looks.

If you have any info on the different types of St. Augustine, please let me know. Thanks.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Ok, that definitely got me laughing. I appreciate the humor.

Glad you got the humor line, some here do not get it.

Of the 3 selections you mentioned go with Palmetto as it is the most shade and cold tolerant of the three. It also has the finest texture being a semi-dwarf variety,, darker color, and most disease/insect resistance of the 3.

Avoid the Raleigh as it is the lowest quality of the 3 with terrible disease and insect resistance.

Now for the reality check. You are going to have a mixed lawn of Bermuda and SA. The shade areas will be dominated by SA, and full sun areas depending on your maintenance practices will be mixed with more than likely dominated by the Bermuda.

If you go with Palmetto aim to maintain at a height of 2.5 inches. That will help suppress the Bermuda and optimum height for Palmetto being a semi-dwarf type.

Good luck.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Texas-Weed wrote:
> You just as well go to the Middle East and promote the USA and Christ as that will be easier, take less time, and more rewarding.

========

Well, I don't think Texas-Weed's comment was that funny. I'm not going to make a federal case out of it, but I thought it was a little insensitive to Muslims in the audience, put Christians in a bad light, and of course, it was off-topic to grass. But no big deal. No federal case needed.

I'm an atheist, although I still enjoy attending Christmas services. I happen to be Christian on both sides, but I guess I just read too many science books in high school. Now if there are any ladies who want to return me to the Lord, or to Moses and Yahweh, or to Muhammed and Allah, I have a very open mind. I'm very convinceable. Now that's funny :-)
[chuckle]

So GardenSnake, since you're in Dallas, you might want to consider zoysia as a lawn. From reading GardenWeb, I've gotten the impression a lot of people in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Northern Texas are switching to zoysia from bermuda. Zoysia is *very* popular in Florida too, not to mention the entire Transition Zone of the U.S.

Zoysia is a much lower maintenance grass than bermuda. You don't need to fertilize zoysia as much as bermuda, and you don't need to cut zoysia as low or as often as bermuda to keep zoysia looking good. You can even cut zoysia as high as 2 inches, just once a week, or even less frequently in times of drought. During this last drought with super hot temperatures, I only needed to cut my zoysia after 5 weeks! And I even watered it during the high-heat drought, but I still only had to cut it once in 5 weeks.

Zoysia doesn't grow vertically as fast as bermuda. Bermuda grows tall like a weed :-)


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Texas-weed, why are you saying that I'm going to have a lawn of Bermuda and St. Augustine? I killed all of the Bermuda. I'm confused.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Well, you think you killed all the bermuda, but there's no telling if a few rhizomes are still lurking under the ground. St. Augustine isn't a match for those bermuda rhizomes, but zoysia is. If any grass can halt bermuda's spread, it will be zoysia. Depending on climate, humidity, area of the country, and lots of other factors, sometimes zoysia will win out, and sometimes bermuda will win out in head-to-head confrontations between the two--or at least that's my impression (I may be incorrect here though). I haven't read any definitive science on this, just anecdotes on the internet--individual cases reported on the internet.

Zoysia also doesn't produce gnarly looking seedheads like bermuda. Zoysia's seedhead is just a single short spike while bermuda's seedhead is a 3- to 7-fingered pinwheel-looking monstrosity (heh heh--well maybe monstrosity is overstretching).

Another thing is zoysia's seedheads are only produced during a few weeks in spring while bermuda's seedheads seem to be produced all spring and summer-long if you don't cut the grass often. At least that's my impression, because the owner of one of the two bermuda lawns in my neighborhood lets his bermuda grow really tall, and even today in mid-September (Fall is just a week away), his bermuda is producing millions of seedheads. I could let my zoysia grow super tall, and it still wouldn't produce any seedheads today--it just produces good-looking single-spiked seedheads for a few weeks in spring.

Zoysia is also thicker than bermuda. Zoysia is like a carpet.

So I would choose zoysia over St. Augustine. But that's just my 2 cents. Good luck with your lawn :-)


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

I killed all of the Bermuda. I'm confused.

You did not kill the Bermuda, you just made it mad and angry at you. All you di was kill what is on top of the ground, not what is lying underneath the surface. It takes many rounds of RU and even that will not completely eradicate it. It will come but up through the SA sod you lay down on top of it.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

St Augustine makes a pretty good grass if you have bermuda mixed in. You end up taking care of one or the other. If you mow it high and fertilize only 3x per year, the bermuda will be pretty weak. If you have any shade at all, the bermuda will die out under the additional shade of the St Augustine.

Comparing bermuda to a mix with either zoysia or St Aug, bermuda will be the winner after the nuclear blast. Once either zoysia or St Aug are stressed from drought or disease, bermuda will move in. Eventually, when there is no care at all, bermuda wins. Otherwise, you are the one controlling how much bermuda there is.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Dchall_san_antonio wrote:
> Once either zoysia or St Aug are stressed from drought or disease, bermuda will move in.

I don't want to disagree with you Dchall. You obviously know a lot about lawn care, and I enjoy reading your posts very much, but Professor Turgeon in his well-regarded 9th edition book Turfgrass Management says that zoysia has a lower disease potential than bermuda. Turgeon provides a list of 7 popular warm season grasses and their disease potential from high to low. Bermuda has a slightly higher disease potential than zoysia. Here's the research professor's list from higher disease potential at the top to lower disease potential at the bottom:

St. Augustine
Bermuda
Zoysia
Seashore Paspalum
Bahia
Centipede
Buffalo

The lower you are in the list, the lower your disease potential.

As for drought tolerance, you'll see in this next list that Zoysia and bermuda are ranked closely.

Drought Tolerance from High to Low:

Buffalograss
Seashore paspalum
Bermuda
Zoysia
Bahia
St. Augustine
Centipede


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

GardenSnake, if you do go with St. Augustine over zoysia in your formerly bermuda lawn, cut the St. Augustine high, like Dchall is saying, specifically at 3 to 4 inches. This high cutting will help thin out any bermuda that might want to try to make a comeback. Alway keep an eye out for bermuda too.

According to the October 2006 issue of GCM magazine (Golf Course Management magazine), published by GCSAA.org (the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America), there is a combination of synthetic herbicides you can use to suppress bermuda in zoysia, but I wouldn't mess with that chemical stuff. For example, combining Turflon Ester with Acclaim Extra or combining Turflon Ester with Fusilade II will achieve about a 70 percent suppression rate, but don't mess with that chemical stuff, since you're not caring for a golf course. Just pull out any bermuda that might want to challenge your adopted lawn, whether it be zoysia or St. Augustine. And keep pulling any bermuda out that you happen to see.

So if you go with zoysia sod, cut no lower than 2 inches, and if you go with St. Augustine, cut at 3 to 4 inches. You don't want to cut off more than one-third of the grass blade at a time, so that means wait until the zoysia reaches 3 inches before you cut it down to 2 inches, or wait until the St. Augustine reaches 4.5 inches before you cut it to 3 inches. Or wait until Augustine reaches 6 inches to cut it to 4.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

but Professor Turgeon in his well-regarded 9th edition book Turfgrass Management says that zoysia has a lower disease potential than bermuda.

That is some pretty funny fiction stuff you got there. Anyone who knows anything about turf grass knows darn good and well Zoysia is subject to all kinds of disease problems and Bermuda can survive nuclear holocaust.


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Zoysia

So if you go with zoysia sod, cut no lower than 2 inches

Where do you come up with these fair tales? Zoysia is maintained just like Bermuda for cutting height of 1-1/2 down for coarse varieties like Z-52 and down to to 1/4 inch for finer textured varieties like Diamond and Emerald.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Oh please, the only fiction I see is the fiction you push, Texas-Weeder.

Bermuda has a higher disease potential than Zoysia. Of the 7 popular warm season turfgrasses, St. Augustine and Bermuda are the 2 worst when it comes to disease.

But if you disagree with the esteemed Dr. Turgeon whose textbook is in its 9th Edition, perhaps you should email him. Please be sure to provide lots of rigorous, scientific evidence. Don't waste his time.

You're partial or shall we say biased in favor of Bermuda because you own a Bermuda sod farm. You've retired but the Bermuda bull is still in you - chuckle


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Meyer Zoysia can be cut as high as 2 inches in spring and summer. The range of 1 to 2 inches is a good cutting height for Meyer.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Zoysia seems to be gaining popularity in North Texas, and I guess that upsets a biased Bermuda person like yourself - Lol

It's not easy to re-tool factories, and it's not easy to re-tool sod farms, I suppose, or switch over from growing bermuda to zoysia. Probably very expensive to make that switch, and possibly botanically very hard.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

I guess more zoysia sales in North Texas means less Bermuda sales in North Texas.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Zoysia seems to be gaining popularity in North Texas, and I guess that upsets a biased Bermuda person like yourself - Lol

I have 220 acres of Zoysia on the farm, and 33 years experience growing it. How much do you have, 1000/ft2 and a worthless book.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Oh, you don't have any zoysia on the farm.

By the way, I enjoy 4,100 square feet of zoysia, not 1,000.

However if you did in the future try to grow zoysia on the farm, who would want to buy zoysia from a sod farm that used to grow bermuda? Lol


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Texas-weed, don't get sucked in by this fool...he seems to have a personal issue with you. You're career in sod farming speaks for itself.

You actually grow grass...he reads about it.

Sorry to get off topic, but this thread has been off for a while.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Jdo you just brought the thread a little more off-topic with your post. Most reading this would say you and Texas-Weed are the fools. Texas-Weed again brought another thread off-topic with the following extremely off-topic remark (which was both Anti-Christian and Anti-Muslim). He said to GardenSnake [quote] :

"You just as well go to the Middle East and promote the USA and Christ as that will be easier, take less time, and more rewarding."

This remark puts Christians in a very bad light and denigrates Muslims.

Now what in the world does his wacky remark have to do with grass? And how does that promote harmony among the many ethnic groups which make up and which built America: Christians, Jews, Muslim, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.? We are a melthing pot after all. Who is the real fool here, JDO? You and Texas-Weed are, but Texas-Weed is a super fool. I don't think his family would approve of his behavior.

I don't have anymore to say about this, because this post is also off-topic. I've said my peace. Try to stick to grass Texas-Weed. You often go off-topic.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

I had a pinball machine that did that all the time.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Hi gardensnake1010:

One application of Roundup will not kill your bermudagrass. There is a specific process that is required to significantly suppress bermudagrass, and you do not have enough time remaining in this growing season to accomplish that task this year. I really think you would be better off to just accept the condition of your lawn this year, and develop a plan for renovating your lawn next season. However, if you do decide to go ahead and install St. Augustine sod now, you can expect to see bermudagrass popping up in your St. Augustine lawn next summer.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Texas-Weed wrote:
Anyone who knows anything about turf grass knows darn good and well Zoysia is subject to all kinds of disease problems and Bermuda can survive nuclear holocaust.

With all due respect Texas-Weed, I found another source that backs up Research Professor A. J. Turgeon's list of disease potential shown above in an earlier post.

Again, bermuda has a higher disease potential than Zoysia. Of the 7 popular warm season turfgrasses, St. Augustine and Bermuda are the 2 worst when it comes to disease, according to Professor Turgeon's book Turfgrass Management.

But let's look at a different book :-) Let's look at Texas A&M University's Richard Duble's book called Turfgrasses - Their Management and Use in the Southern Zone.

This is what Duble has to say about zoysia:

"Zoysiagrasses are relatively free of serious pest problems. Brownpatch, rust, and leaf spot diseases can cause problems in zoysia turf, but the grass usually recovers when environmental conditions change."

Hmm, that sounds pretty innocuous to me--pretty harmless. Now let's see what Duble's book has to say about bermuda:

"Bermudagrass does have numerous pest problems, however, which tend to increase with higher levels of management. High nitrogen fertilization rates, close mowing, and frequent irrigation tend to increase the susceptibility of bermudagrass to insects and diseases.

"Serious insect pests that feed on the foliage of bermudagrass include armyworms, cutworms, sod webworms, bermudagrass mites, and Rhodesgrass scale (mealybug)....White grubs can severely damage bermudagrass by feeding on grass roots. Nuissance-type insects found on bermudagrass include chiggers, ants, and ticks.

"Several serious disease organisms and nematodes also attack bermudagrass turf. Dollar spot, spring dead spot, leaf spot, brownpatch, and Pythium are all fungus diseases that attack bermudagrass turf. Several species of nematodes also cause significant damage to bermudagrass turf."

Gee, that doesn't sound quite as innocuous as zoysia. Duble writes very little about zoysia's disease potential, but he's got a mouthful to say about bermuda's.

Now let's look at what he says about weeds and bermuda:

"Weeds are also serious pests in bermudagrass turf. Vigorous, healthy turf properly maintained provides the best means of weed control in bermudagrass turf. But, where turf thins due to environmental stress, pest problems, or poor management, weeds rapidly invade bermudagrass.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Texas-Weed wrote:
>Zoysia is maintained just like Bermuda for cutting height of 1-1/2 down for coarse varieties like Z-52 and down to to 1/4 inch for finer textured varieties like Diamond and Emerald.

Whoops, gotta clear up another fiction you started.

Zoysia can be cut to a height of 2 inches. The 1.5 inches you wrote above is not the max mowing height.

Again, 1.5 inches is not the accepted maximum mowing height for zoysia, contrary to what you say.

From the University of Florida:

"Medium- to coarse-textured zoysiagrasses should be mowed weekly, or when they reach a height of 3 - 4 inches. They should be mowed [to] a height of 2 - 2.5 inches with a rotary mower. Fine-textured zoysiagrasses maintained at heights below 1 inch require more frequent mowing."

The Scotts Lawns book also allows for 2 inches. The range it provides is 3/4 to 2 inches, depending on variety, of course.

Duble's book Turfgrasses...of the Southern Zone also mentions 2 inches, as do at least three other sources I've seen in the past.

So you see TW, for the medium- to coarse-textured Zoysia japonica varieties (like the Z-52 you mentioned), zoysia can be cut to a height of 2 inches not the 1.5 inches you said. Sure, Meyer (aka Z-52) can be cut lower than 2 inches but 1.5 inches in not the accepted maximum as you wrote above.

The varieties within the fine-textured Zoysia species like Zoysia matrella and Zoysia tenuifolia (now known as Zoysia pacifica) are maintained lower, but not the Zoysia Japonica's. And the Z-52 you mentioned above is a Zoysia Japonica--it's Meyer Zoysia.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Oops, forgot to add:

I wouldn't be pressing this issue Texas-Weed, but in prior posts in this thread you accused me of making up [quote] "fictions" and "fairy tales." It's not me who's making up the fictions Texas-Weed. It's you :-)

You made up at least 2 fictions in this thread: that Zoysia has greater disease potential than Bermuda, and that not even the coarser Zoysia varieties should be cut higher than 1.5 inches. You are wrong on both counts.


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

***TILT***


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

Thanks Grass1950 :-)


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RE: Sod cutter, Tiller, or nothing???

My experience with zoysia and my observations of zoysia in my neighborhood in San Antonio indicate that zoysia has bigger problems than have been alluded to. And, by the way, I realized the zoysia topic is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off of the original topic, but I'm going with this one post and I'll back away. In my yard, once zoysia becomes stressed through heat, drought, or disease, it is gone for the rest of the growing season. No amount of tender loving care will nurse it back to green before next April. In my neighborhood many new homes went in with zoysia. All of those have been converted to St Augustine because they realized the yellow color was not coming back any time soon. There are two older homes with zoysia. One of those chooses go to with the yellow all season and let Nature take Her course. The other one chooses to cut out the yellow sod and replace it with new sod.

Bermuda, on the other hand, will recover in a few weeks from just about anything. So even if there is a slight probability of increased problems with bermuda, the consequences of the problems are much less with bermuda than with zoysia.

And for anyone who wants to go through the academic challenge to see where this thread got off track, go back and reread the first five days of replies.


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