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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I know this really isn't the proper section for such a question, but I wanted to post in a "High Traffic" area , such as the John Deere Forums. And, since I have a John Deere 445 and will be using it for this project, then I figured it is not that bad of an infraction ;)

I have a lawn project coming up for next week (See thread here, found in the Landscaping section of the forum)

Anyway, I called a few places and one guys seams to stand out. He said the topsoil is screened organic from a field. He said its very good soil that the local nurseries use. Most other places I called couldn't even tell me anything about their soil except it was screened. He is quoting it at $20 a cu. yard delivered. I figure I need about 90 yards.

Does this sound like a good price?

Also, feel free to contribute to the original thread on any advice about installing a lawn..such as.. grass seed preferences, started fertilizer preferences, mulch preferences (peat moss, straw ??) and any tips or tricks you may have for a novice like myself.


Thanks,
Wasper
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Bob421,

I'm over in East Haddam.. a couple miles away from Devil's Hopyard State Park. How about you?
 

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A good place for this would be Backyard Round Table. Lots of traffic there. You might also post in the CUT Hut. There is a landscaper there that goes by the name picframer that is so good about posting and sharing great info you feel guilty reading it for free.

As for the question... I don't know about out East but that seems high. Garden centers have huge mark ups on materials like that, so if you haven't already look in the phone book under black dirt or some other heading along those lines and see if you can get it right from the source. Ninety yards is several dump trucks full so they would take your call I'm sure. I paid about half that per yard for 34 yards a few years ago. BUT my delivery was less than five miles from the source (and I didn't know anyone in the biz at the time.)

You definitely want screened as a start. Pulverized is a common term around here. The two processes leave you with a nice spreadable material. You aren't raking or dragging clumps of clay or sticks or sod you might get in generic "fill" material.

HTH.
 

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I don't think you need a complete renovation.
I would add 1 inch to the bare areas and top dress the rest with topsoil or compost. Try to get rid of the rocks first.
top dress, aerate, overseed and water.
 

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Organic?!! Could someone please point me in the direction of the non-organic topsoil?

The labels 'natural' and 'organic' are a nice way to bolster the price, IMO.
 

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used screened top soil i would do the spots that need it ...I wouldnt do the hole lawn as its a waste ...I used the fast grow seed and it worked out nice looks good to
 

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I am in the Southington area of CT and would say the price is very good. I assume at that volume you are getting delivery for free?. I would be paying closer to $30 a yard up here. I reseed part of my lawn in the spring. I found stuff called Manly Hay. I guess its a mixture of hay and stray that is preshredded and heated. The thinking is the heating process kills weeds. It seemed to work pretty good. Easy to spread. My problem was that I did it and thats when the dry spell we just got out of started. In the end the crab grass took over. In two weeks I will start all over I guess. This time using a slit seeder.
 

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I don't know what might be available up there, but there is large grading company here doing industrial site prep and road construction that saves and screens topsoil and sells it by the tandem truckload. Might check around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hi lawnguy,

Yeah, I asked my boss today and he said it sounded fair and that he paid more when he had soil brought in not to long ago. I work over in Cheshire (my boss lives there) right off 691 (exit 3).

Basically, my lawn is shot. What you see in the pictures in the other thread is 90% crab grass and the rest are a few different types of weeds. I had a huge grub problem and all my grass died on me. Also, the lawn surface is very ruff. The soil they used in this development was horrible and everything settled badly (the rocky area doesn't help either..). I was thinking of just covering everything and starting fresh with a well evened out lawn. That is why I was looking at so much soil.
 

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Organic?!! Could someone please point me in the direction of the non-organic topsoil?

The labels 'natural' and 'organic' are a nice way to bolster the price, IMO.
NO fertilizer organic, with B.S. added $90:fing32::fing32: slkpk
 

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OK, just to establish my bonafides here, I've got about 15 years of putting in new lawns and renovating old ones, so you can take whatever I suggest as stuff that might work.

So, first off, how will you distribute the topsoil? 90 yds is going to be 4 or 5 tandem loads, depending on how much the truckers can carry legally and how honest they are with their yardage. If it is freshly screened it will be fluffy and you will lose as much as 20% as it packs. We always figure that "truck yardage" will shrink 10% on material coming out of hard pile, more if it loose to begin with, as in screened.

That is a bunch of big piles, and a huge job to deal with with a shovel and dump cart. Anywhere the trucks back in there will be ruts to fill in. Often the sides of the ruts will be pushed up and that needs to be leveled off or else you will have to waste material to blend the raised edges into a smooth flow over them. Hard to explain via text, would be easier to show what I mean.

See if you can't find unorganic topsoil. Like somebody else mentioned I don't know if I have ever heard anybody identifying topsoil that way, sounds to me like a buzzword to jack the price. I'm assuming big trucks would deliver it. If I was faced with 90 yd of material and no dozer on site I would try to get it brought in a smaller truck. It is a lot easier dealing with 15, 6 yd loads spotted where they will do the most good, than 5, 18 yd loads. Maybe a couple big ones on the rocky spot and smaller ones where it has to be spread thinner? Either way I would get delivery spread out, use one load before the next arrives. Nothing is less fun that finding out that you put two loads where only one was needed.

Before I go much further, what do you have available for equipment, either your own or can be borrowed/rented? Even with a blade it would be hard to move that much material around with the 445. How do you plan to distribute and grade the new topsoil?

Fill in the equipment blanks for me and I'll expand on things a little.
 

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If you can find "Park Seed" I've used that pretty well in areas I've reseeded after construction. A nice dose of ammonium sulfate fertilizer on mature lawns also seems to work well. Generates lots of seat time at a minimum.
 

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That'd give you lots of seat time. I rented a Bobcat skid steer when I built my house.

The slickest thing I've seen used by a local landscape firm is a Harley rake on an ASV rubber tracked skid steer.
 

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Soil or dirt = A homogenous variable mixture of weathered minerals and decayed organic matter. In other words, its all organic by its very definition.

As to what you use to spread the dirt. I would rent a cut with a loader and a box blade. Use it to spred the dirt and then use your 445 for final grading.

If your yard has been taken over by weeds, then I would overspray with Roundup or a generic equalvalent before spreading the new dirt.

Start small, order just 1 truck, and see what the problems are, then adjust your plan accordingly.

steve
 

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Organic top soil is, at least from the supplier we use, is a mixture of screened field soil, manure, sand, moss. The results are a superior mixture that will improve any soil, increase the moisture holding abilities, tend to compact far less that just field soil.

If you are seeding then we only use Garden soil, it has a greater amount of manure and moss, the moss holds the seeds, keeps them warm at night and increases germination time.

The only thing I would ask your supplier is "Is it sterilized" I have seen lawns that used an Organic Top soil that wasn't that are full of weeds, some will not grow grass, some are growing whatever was being planted in the field over the years.

We use top soil when sodding and garden soil when seeding, my cost is $13.75 a yard for top soil and $20.80 for garden soil a cu/yd. This is commercial pricing as we buy about 5,000 yards a season.

Your lawn and soil looks pretty good based on what I can see, the ideal lawn will have 5 to 6 inches of top/garden soil, I would suggest an average of 3 inches for your lawn which is about 125 yards.

What seed will you use?
 

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As for spreading it a CUT with a loader and a box blade and it will fly, we average 16 yards an hour using a 2520/2720. A Landscape rake with guage wheels also works very well if you do not have access to a box blade, takes a little longer but not much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You guys are really getting me nervous here. I was all geared up to do this with my 445... but the way you are all talking, you make it sound impossible! I really dont know what 90 yards of soil would look like.. been trying to find pictures on the web, but came up short.

Really picframer, I'm a novice when it comes to this.. even less then a novice. This will be the first time Im tackling anything like this. I never did a lawn before.. so I have no clue as to the seed type and such. I was looking at scotts mix with that water shell on it and scotts starter fertilizer.

I have a whole week + weekends off to do this in (so basically 9 days). You dont think it can be done in that time frame? I'm going to talk to the dirt guy today and see if he can drop the dirt in smaller piles instead of one giant pile.

Really, any advice is helpful. The yard is really in shambles and a lot of the topsoil that was there is washed away and the clay'ish soil is exposed. What you see in the pictures of my yard is basically crab grass.. it was almost all bare before the crab grass took over.

So, I was thinking about running over the work area with my rake to loosen up the hard packed soil a bit. Then, cover it over with the top soil... lay down starter fertilizer, seed, then some kind of straw mulch (haven't figured that out yet)... water and pray for the best :praying:

My wife also picked up a couple of autumn blaze maples she want installed in the front yard.
 
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