How to properly grade/prep cleared portion of my lot for lawn.
#11
  Re: (...)
I cleared out some fallen trees, stumps, and other debris from a portion of my 2 acre wooded lot about 18 month ago. Since then I have been mowing the weeds to keep things under control. Basically I have crabgrass and other grass-like plants covering the area now that there is abundant sunlight on the area.

I would like to turn it into a decent lawn. The rest of my lawn is quite nice looking, so it would be great to add to it.

I have a 16.5HP ZTR mower that is a workhorse, but certainly not a tractor or other more appropriate piece of heavy equipment. The area in question is no more than ¼ acre I would guess. So, I have looked at box scrapers like this: Box Scraper

But I really do not know if that would work very well to get the weedy vegetation out and then smooth out the ground so that a lawn could be planted and mowed without bone jarring ruts, etc.

I would greatly appreciate any advice on how to approach this job. I am more than willing to rent heavy equipment like a bobcat or whatever may be needed. There is no way I could spend anywhere near what a professional would charge to do this.

I even thought of doing it by hand a small section at a time, but instead I think I'd rather go ahead and knock it out in a couple weekends if possible.

All advice and assistance, plus war stories from any veterans out there, is most welcome.

BTW, I live in VA just outside DC so once I get it prepped, and the seed growing for about a month, it should be smooth sailing from there.
sleepy hollow

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#12
  Re: How to properly grade/prep cleared portion of my lot for lawn. by sleepy hollow (I cleared out some f...)
I did the same thing about the same size back in '93, and then $$ was tight. I did have a big Troy-Bilt rototiller (still have it) and over a few weekends tilled, raked, tilled, raked three times, but I did have good soil and didn't have to add any, and the grade was pretty much ok, so not a lot of moving soil. Worked out fine.

I'm sure there is heavier equipment out there, and I know that Bobcat has a tiller attachment, and maybe rent a rake to tow behind. That would make it a one weekend job.
Credo Elvem ipsum etiam vivere
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#13
  Re: Re: How to properly grade/prep cleared portion of my lot for lawn. by Admiral (I did the same thing...)
Once you get it fairly leveled out with rototiller and a landscape rake, drag around a bed spring, they work great for final leveling. After you spread the seed then run over it with the bed spring again and water.

I'd round up what growth you have... work up the ground get it level, and plant grass seed ASAP and keep it watered. If your slow at getting the see planted wait until you start getting weed growth and round up the lawn again. Then plant the seed.

Mid to late September is a great time to get grass started around here.

Mark

I'm no expert, unlike everybody else here - Busdrver


Nah...I like you, young feller...You remind me of my son... Timberwolf 03/27/12

Here's a fact: Benghazi is a Pub Legend... CharlieD 04/19/15

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#14
  Re: Re: How to properly grade/prep cleared portion of my lot for lawn. by Admiral (I did the same thing...)
Thanks for your suggestion, Admiral. I'll look into the attachments. The soil here is not as good, mostly clay with some topsoil. But it will grow the tall fescues pretty well with proper attention. Of course the weeds never seem to care about the soil quality, but that's another story. I grew up in the NYC suburbs where the soil was black and rich loam, excellent stuff.
sleepy hollow

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#15
  Re: Re: How to properly grade/prep cleared portion of my lot for lawn. by CLETUS (Once you get it fair...)
+1 on putting the Round Up on the existing vegetation.

I've done quite a few new lawns - a good time for seeding in MD/VA is at the end of August. Your timing is good.
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#16
  
The problem is that everytime you work the soil new seeds get germinated from the seed bed.

We planted 17 acres last August, we started with a spray of round up in the fall of 2013, after green up in the spring of 2014 we sprayed again. Due to weather we couldn't get it planted. In August, we sprayed again, planted 2 weeks later and got very little weed competition.
Mark

I'm no expert, unlike everybody else here - Busdrver


Nah...I like you, young feller...You remind me of my son... Timberwolf 03/27/12

Here's a fact: Benghazi is a Pub Legend... CharlieD 04/19/15

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#17
  
Just to add, you don't have to use the Round Up brand. Check for other brands -the key ingredient is glyphosate. You can get the generic concentrate (41%) for about $20/gallon.
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#18
  Re: Re: How to properly grade/prep cleared portion of my lot for lawn. by sleepy hollow (Thanks for your sugg...)
sleepy hollow said:


Thanks for your suggestion, Admiral. I'll look into the attachments. The soil here is not as good, mostly clay with some topsoil. But it will grow the tall fescues pretty well with proper attention. Of course the weeds never seem to care about the soil quality, but that's another story. I grew up in the NYC suburbs where the soil was black and rich loam, excellent stuff.




Ah, the clay... just till it more than you think is necessary to break it up a bit, might want to think about some additional soil or something to break up the clay, but its only a lawn.....

Oh, from my days in North Carolina and clay, once you seed keep it watered with some straw on it, I watered every other day for about an hour to keep it moist and let it grow fairly high, then take a string trimmer to it a few times until the soil firms up before mowing to avoid making lawn mower ruts in the soft soil.
Credo Elvem ipsum etiam vivere
Non impediti ratione cogitationis
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#19
  Re: Re: How to properly grade/prep cleared portion of my lot for lawn. by Admiral ([blockquote]sleepy h...)
All,
Thanks for the tips and discussion. I like the roundup suggestion especially.

One final question: What is the secret to ending up with a flat lawn surface? By this I mean what is the best way to avoid the bone-jarring mowing or ankle turning touch football experience? How do I get the terrain as close as possible to the Camden Yards playing surface, or the Augusta National fairways?

Thanks.
sleepy hollow

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#20
  Re: Re: How to properly grade/prep cleared portion of my lot for lawn. by sleepy hollow (All,[br]Thanks for t...)
sleepy hollow said:


What is the secret to ending up with a flat lawn surface? By this I mean what is the best way to avoid the bone-jarring mowing or ankle turning touch football experience?






CLETUS said:


Once you get it fairly leveled out with rototiller and a landscape rake, drag around a bed spring, they work great for final leveling.





Once you get the grass established you need to roll it... a lot...
Mark

I'm no expert, unlike everybody else here - Busdrver


Nah...I like you, young feller...You remind me of my son... Timberwolf 03/27/12

Here's a fact: Benghazi is a Pub Legend... CharlieD 04/19/15

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