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When you start new flower beds ...?

Posted by lilyfinch 7 Middle Tn (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 7:55

What do you do with all the sod you take up ?

At my last house I made a horrible monstrosity of a pile behind my shed and that was a huge mistake . Not sure what I was thinking. Weeds grew like crazy and it started to look rediculous .

We now have a blank slate and I have no idea what to do with the grass when we remove it ! What do you do ?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

Don't remove it. By stripping and dumping the sod you are throwing away some of the most valuable soil you have and leaving yourself with a bed below grade which you have to fill with effort and expense.

You could either do traditional double digging, in which case you bury the sod, or one of the cover and kill methods, in which case the sod rots down and improves the soil in your bed.

That heap behind the shed may well provide you with some wonderful soil if you dig into it. Rotted sod was a key ingredient in old timers' potting mixes.


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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

flora is correct, but if for some reason that doesn't work for you and you still want to remove it and you have a place to pile it, try this:

Pile it up, wet it down really well, and then cover the pile with black plastic. The plastic will prevent weeds from growing and will speed up the decomposition process. After a few months, the whole pile - sod and all - should be well rotted. You can reuse the whole pile in your garden.

or if you have a lot of time to wait:

Cover the area you want to be your garden with plastic. Let it sit and cook all season. By next spring the sod will be dead and decomposed, the ground will be sterilized of weed seeds. Remove the plastic, break up the ground a bit and plant. You won't have any sod to remove.

Kevin


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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

I do lift the sod just to speed things up a bit - but I don't discard it! I do a sort of modified lasagna approach - I lift the sod in late summer/early fall, turn it upside down in the bed area, sprinkle some compost accelerator on it if I have any around, cover it with newspapers, add a layer of chopped leaves on top and leave it for the winter. By spring it has rotted down and can be planted into easily. I've never had grass regrow from the upside down rotted sod but maybe I have well-behaved grass :-) If you have a lot of couchgrass or other nasty spreaders, you might want to wait a year before planting to watch for grass returning.


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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

Omgosh these are great ideas! I truthfully had forgotten about these methods , I read about them a loooong time ago and obviously didn't listen , so now I will .
I like the plastic idea ... Wonder if it'll be ready by fall tho ? I have lots of roses I promised a new home to ;)
Or the double digging ... If the plastic won't work.
Thanks for the great ideas ! :)


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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

lily - I just noticed you're a couple of zones warmer than me and I would imagine you're summers are way hotter than mine. So yes, the plastic method might do the job by fall. In fact, I bet it will.

I used this method on a new garden area a couple of years ago and seriously it was the easiest garden I have ever made. Once the plastic was taken off, I didn't have to do anything other than breaking the ground up a bit to plant. All the grass and weeds were gone.

Kevin


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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

outline the bed ... spray it with round up ... and the following weekend .... and add soil on top ...

basically ... you are removing a layer of compost.. to build a bed on top .. and then adding compost.. whats that all about ...

if you refuse RU ... rent a sod cutter if of significant size.. cut the sod.. flip it over.. and bury it with the new soil ... do not leave it buried.. near the edges where the new soil might thin ...

work smart.. not hard ... crikey ...

ken


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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

The best time to start a new bed is in the late fall. Just smother the area you plant to plant in the spring with several bales of hay. When spring comes, you can just dig holes in the hay and plant. Use hay - not straw. Straw has no nutrients.

Hay is my favorite mulch and you can often get it for nothing if you have farmers around. They might have old or spoiled hay that can't be used for animal feed.


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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

At my old house we just tilled it into the soil. Didn't dig it up at all. After tilling a couple of times we just had to pick out a handful of clumps here or there. It worked well and we didn't have grass grow back in the bed from anything left behind.


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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

Will any of these techniques work with Zoysia grass (short of pulling up the sod)? The stuff seems near impossible to kill and i'm paranoid leaving any trace of it will allow it to overtake my new flowerbeds.

Right now, what I do is remove the sod in clumpsand shake off the top soil to try and preserve some of the "good" soil for the bed, but I hope there's a better (ie easier) way!

Your thoughts are appreciated!

Michele


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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 19, 14 at 8:13

With aggressive southern grasses like shudder bermuda, and probably zoysia, you better kill it with heat treatment and/or roundup first. Else you'll be very very very sorry by midspring next year.


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RE: When you start new flower beds ...?

exactly as has been suggested....but when making a turf stack, I often add a handful of lime between some of the (upside down) turf layers and always cover it with black plastic. It will take a year to rot down but you will be left with a pile of wonderful friable topsoil. A little base fertliser added and it makes a superior potting soil. As long as the stack is large enough, the heat generated will usually kill off pernicious weeds, roots and seeds....but you can always spray a herbicide a week before lifting the sod.
Double digging, as Flora says, is a wonderful method of preparing new beds but it is hard work and a fairly lengthy process - I do it once and single digging (if at all) in following seasons.


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